A hugely innovative ‘floating classroom’ ensures the maritime training carried out by Bellacragher Boat Club is amongst the finest provided in Ireland.
Located in the town of Ballycroy, on the Mayo coastline, the club delivers high-calibre training in all aspects of boat handling, maintenance and navigation, as part of the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) training network.
Bellacragher Boat Club was established in 2003 with the express aim of developing a facility to attract visitors, while encouraging greater use and enjoyment of the enormous natural resource lapping at the edges of Mayo’s rich coastline.
Given the numbers that now converge on the western coast annually to experience the Wild Atlantic Way, the club’s foresight will pay major dividends for the local community.
To ensure people could maximise their time at sea, the club focused on development of its training capacity and now runs a full range of certified courses under the auspices of the ISA, with the unique ‘floating classroom’ allowing for the crucial delivery of training at sea. The club also delivers marine training for students at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology undertaking the Outdoor Pursuits degree.
Today, Bellacragher Boat Club has 65 members and eight instructors delivering its courses. The club operates a safety boat, a lifeboat, seven catamarans, three laser boats and two ‘optimists’ –specialised dinghies used by children and teenagers.
The club sought support from Clann Credo in order to upgrade its facilities and expand the range of training on offer. This included the purchase of a wheelchair accessible vessel, more advanced radio equipment and enhanced amenities aboard the floating classroom.
Clann Credo carried out a thorough assessment of the project proposal and found that it would result in considerable social and economic gains for the town and surrounding areas.