The Early Days.

The club was first formed in 1977, and up to June 1978 was doing well. Membership was growing and fundraising was bringing in  lots of money for club funds. From having nothing in the beginning, the club now had 4 demand valves, 4 cylinders and various other pieces of equipment. For help during this period we would like to thank Kilmarnock branch members who helped us so much with the pool training sessions.

History - Have A Go Night 529x263By May 1980 the club had moved into Irvine Watersports club and had over 50 active members. This was due to regular ‘Have a go’ nights where the public were invited to come along to the pool and ‘Have a go’. Also with all the fundraising that was being done the club was making a good name for itself, and this also helped increase membership.

 

History - Compressor Install 200x150With membership growing steadily the club applied to the Scottish Sports Council for a grant to help buy a new compressor. On the 16/05/1980 the club was awarded £1,600. The cost of the compressor was £3,500 so with another grant this time from Cunningham District Council and a lot more fundraising the club finally took delivery of their new compressor on 31/10/1980. As the club did not have it’s own clubhouse the new compressor was installed in the Watersports Club.

 

History - Local Paper Atricle 300x200From the early days of ‘shore diving’ the club was branching out and members were organising expeditions far and wide. The more popular destinations were Oban, Sound of Mull, Isle of May to name but a few. These destinations are still very popular with members and it can be guaranteed that there will be at least 2 weekend expeditions to Oban and Mull every year. In those days diving was quite an unusual sport to take part in, so when the club set of on weekend expeditions sometimes the exploits made the local papers!

 

The Club’s First Boat 1982.

History - First Boat - Assault Craft 529x314Since the majority of good diving is not always a short swim from the shore, the club had to consider purchasing a boat. This would allow access to the varied range of wrecks that are in the Firth of Clyde. Dinghies had been used until then but they had only held about 2 people. On 8th January 1982 ISAC splashed out £400 on an ex-army assault craft. A further £800 was spent installing an engine and repairing the boat. Thus the club was now ready to take on the world! Well maybe not the world but certainly about 5 miles off shore. It also meant that 12 fully kitted divers could go out together to the likes of Arran and enjoy a full days boat diving.

History - Fancy Dress 300x242Over the years the club has taken part in many charity events. Either helping out or raising money. The annual Harbour Festival, at the time, was always a favourite in which the club always entered a float. The club have given safety cover for raft races and after a successful charity duck race that raised £700 the members dived the River Irvine to retrieve the ducks.

As well as doing much work for charities the club has also held many social functions for the members. The most popular seemed to be fancy dress discos. As you can see certain members entered into the spirit of things maybe a little too much.

Lobsters!

History - Claws The Lobster 510x157By July 1986 it was reported in the local paper that ISAC membership had increased so much that it was one of the biggest and most active dive clubs in Scotland. We can still boast this to date. During October 1987 while diving out of Saltcoats, one of the club members came across a massive 14lb lobster. Since it is not common to come across lobsters of this size, ‘Claws’ made headlines. What happened to him after that, nobody knows.

Sea Fury 1989.

As the years pass each member will hold on to their favourite memories. It could be their favourite expedition or their favourite wreck dive but the one thing that will stick in everybody’s minds is the ‘Sea Fury’. On the 10th June 1989, at the Scottish International Air Show at Prestwick, disaster struck a 43yr Sea Fury fighter plane. Just after take off Pilot Lt. Commander John Beattie reported problems with the hydraulic systems. What this meant was the landing gear was jammed. One wheel down and one up.

History - Sea Fury Press Cutting 510x305The problem was the plane couldn’t be landed safely. After circling Prestwick for two hours and being followed by S.A.R. Sea Kings, Lt Comm. Beattie had no choice but to ditch. The landing gear was still stuck and the fuel was running low. The decision made, the pilot safely baled out and the last flight of this Sea Fury ended up in the sea out from Turnberry. Lt Comm. Beattie was picked up by one of the Sea Kings and apart from being wet, was uninjured. The Royal Navy mounted a search for the wreckage.

Now, anytime disaster strikes in the sea, dive clubs from all around are interested. Each club wanting to be the first to dive the ‘virgin’ wreck. ISAC being no different started to mount their own search. After studying video footage of the crash, studying the landscape around the area, taking bearings and a lot of detective work later the club had a rough idea of where they thought the wreckage was. This was nowhere near where the Navy were searching.

The club boat circled the area continually till eventually a ‘hit’ came up on the echo sounder. A diver was immediately sent down to check it out. Within 5 minutes he was back with a piece of alluminium. They were close. Each diver then took it in turns to search the sea bed. All the hard work eventually paid off and the wreckage was found. Various items were removed by the club.

History - Sea Fury Clock 202x233

One of these items recovered was the clock which had stopped at the time time plane ditched, and also the pilots private possessions. All these items were returned to the Navy except the clock. It was taken away and mounted on wood with an engraved plaque on it, and was presented to Lt Commander Beattie at the Watersports Club. The Navy continued with the salvage and all remaining items were removed from the seabed.

History - Willie Lee With Sea Fury Gun 202x244

 

 

 

 

 

For all their hard work in finding the wreckage, the Club was presented with the gun from the plane. It can still be seen in the club today.

Magnum Restoration 1989.

By late ’89 the club hit a snag. The Magnum pool was under renovation. This meant that the club no longer had a deep pool to train in. This made training sessions impossible. After a lot of looking around the club approached Auchenharvie pool in Stevenston for permission to use the pool there to continue training. It was not ideal because it was not Irvine, but, it did mean that ISAC was back in business. This was all to change again with the Magnum getting their ‘space bowl’. A 3m deep pool which is ideal for training in. It is still in use today.

ISAC Helps Out.

April and May of ’94 were eventful months for the club. In April they were asked to help a stranded singer get from the Isle Of Arran to a Christening on the mainland on a Sunday morning. The club members involved went over on the Saturday, had a dive, then took in the gig at night. After a happy night spent in tents the club sped back to Irvine with their passenger in time for the Christening.

In May some club members were relaxing in the Watersports club when 2 men came in to say that a couple of people had tried to swim across the river outside and had got in to difficulty. The club boat was launched and Glen Wallace who had his dry suit available went in to the water to help. It turned out one of the swimmers had an attack of asthma on his way across. Fortunately the swimmers were very lucky and thanks to ISAC nothing serious happened. It could have been a lot worse as that part of the river is notorious for under currents, plus the water was freezing.

Another New Boat 1993!!!

History - Another New Boat 1993 511x306As we speed through the 1990’s the club purchased another boat. A 5.5m RIB which had a 90bhp 2 stroke engine fitted.
This boat and engine kept members happy for a good 5 years but, with high maintenance costs on the engine, it was becoming too expensive. The engine was also struggling to cope with the work load it was being given on a dive day. The club decided to put in an application to the Lottery Council for a grant towards a new engine.

 

New Engine Fitted

History - New Honda Engine 510x320

Once the word came back that the application had been successful, many a happy night was spent debating about which was the best engine to buy. It was eventually decided we would purchase a 130bhp Honda. We received the grant for £5000 which was put towards the cost and the club paid the rest, another £4000. On the 23rd Jan 2000 the new engine was officially unveiled by Robin Cameron from STV’s ‘High Road’.

 

When one thing goes they all go. At the time the engine was on its last legs our trustworthy 20 year old compressor gave up the ghost and died on us. With 60 members that’s a lot of cylinders to fill. Without a compressor it also became a major problem. The club once again applied for a grant. This time to The Foundation For Sports And The Arts. Fortunately again the club was successful and by the summer of 2000 we took delivery of a £13,000 Bauer compressor. £6000 of this money came from the grant while the club funded the rest. We can now fill up to 10 cylinders at a time, and up to 300bar pressure.

A Bigger Boat 2002.

History - Ace Of Clubs 320x240In Late 2001 the old 5.5m Tornado RIB suffered significant storm damage. It was clear that the boat was uneconomical to repair. This gave the club the chance to specify a brand new boat exactly to our requirements. A 6m Tornado was decided upon with an offset console and a larger load area to accommodate divers in more “comfort”.

Ace of Clubs – Tornado 6m RIB – We are still happily using it to this day.

 

 

 

Another New Engine Fitted 2014

We got an award from the Lottery Grant (Awards for all) and purchased a new engine. Supplied and fitted by Clyde Outboards, we chose a Honda 150CC. Its fast!