New diving barge advances BIM’s commercial diving training for industry

An Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, officially launched its new diving barge at Castletownbere on Friday the 17th of September.

Its spacious deck area includes state of the art on board facilitates including a decompression chamber, surface supplied diving station, welfare accommodation and hybrid battery power system.

BIM runs two diving programmes at its National Fisheries College of Ireland (NFCI) in Castletownbere, Co Cork – Surface Supplied Diving Operations and Commercial Scuba Diving Operations. Its Surface Supplied Diver programme is the only one in Ireland and is recognised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK.

The barge began life at Dublin Port but had no longer been in use in the last number of years. It was bought by BIM in 2020 for €1 and moved down the coastline to Co Cork where the team at Bere Island Boatyard reconditioned it to its current glory, under the guidance of Ian Mannix,  BIM Skills Director, Captain Shane Begley, principal of BIM’s NFCI and Brian Murphy, Senior Diving Instructor on the programme.

Ireland’s aquaculture industry is the main employer of commercial divers in the country.  Divers working in the industry are required by law to hold a commercial diving qualification. 16 adults are registered to take part in BIM’s commercial diving programme next month. For more details on the programme, visit