Q: Is scuba diving dangerous?
A: The honest answer is: It can be.
Scuba diving is an adventure sport and as with any adventure sport, it carries some risk.
Diving involves entering an environment that is extremely hostile to human beings. We are not meant to be underwater for an extended period of time and without the specialist equipment we use and the training we do, we would not survive for very long at all.
However, scuba diving is a very safe sport. The equipment used today hardly ever fails and you are taught from day one how to use your back-up systems in the rare event that it does. You’ll never dive without your buddy looking out for you and you will never be allowed to dive beyond your training limits.
What's more, rescue skills are an integral part of BSAC's diver training programme - they are not an optional extra that you have to pay for as is the case elsewhere – so everyone on the boat knows how to save your life.
So while we can’t promise you risk-free diving, we can say that you’ll never be safer than when diving with a BSAC club and we can promise that the rewards are very much worth it!
Q: From what age can I dive?
A: We train divers from the age of 12.
And there is no upper limit!
We only offer in-club training to students under the age of 18 if they are doing their training alongside a parent or guardian. This is for a number of reasons, not least easing the burden for our volunteer instructors when it comes to safeguarding your child. Learning to dive together not only allows you both to experience the magic of the underwater world together as a shared experience, but you also have a ready made buddy on demand!! Bonus!!
If you are looking for training just for a student under 18, we will be happy to arrange a training package for them using our partner dive centre - Stoney Cove.
Q: What does it cost to learn to dive?
A: It depends on which route you choose, although there really isn't much in it.
We currently offer two routes to your Ocean Diver Qualification; In-club training and fast track training via our partner dive centre - Stoney Cove.
For in-club trainees the costs break down as follows:
Annual Branch Fees: £162
BSAC 12 Month Membership: £61
eLearning Pack: £59
(the eLearning pack and a hard copy training pack is available for extra cost)
So to start learning in club, the initial upfront cost is around £280. However, it must be remembered that some additional costs will need to be paid when we get to open water training including;
Open Water Site Fees - Typically £20 per day for 3 days plus registration fees (£80)
Drysuit Hire - £30 per day (£90)
Gas - £50
So we think all told, it's around £500 spread over a few months.
Our partner Dive Centre offers the Ocean Diver course delivered fast track over 5 days for an inclusive sum of £565 which includes all of the above plus an additional 3 months BSAC membership. Once you've completed the course, your branch fees can be paid monthly just like any other qualified member at the rate of £13.50 per month.
Q: Do I need to be a good swimmer?
A: No. You need to able to swim and tread water for a few minutes, but we certainly do not demand athletes who can swim miles. Confidence in the water is much more important.
Scuba divers don’t swim – we fin. And we’ll teach you how to do that as part of your training.
Q: Do I need to be fit?
A: As with most activities, a good overall level of fitness will help; much of the kit is heavy on land and you'll need to hump it around. But again you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete, as evidenced by some of our current members!!
What you do need to be is “medically fit”. Scuba diving puts stresses and strains on the body that are not found in other activities. As part of your enrolment process, you will be asked to fill out a medical questionnaire. If that raises any concerns, we will either get you to see your GP or refer you to one of the BSAC’s specialist dive doctors or both. In the end it will be up to them whether you are fit to dive.
Q: I am disabled – Can I dive?
A: It will depend on the type and severity of your disability. Again, if there is any question as to your ability to dive safely, we will ask you to confirm with your doctor or one of the BSAC’s specialist doctors that you are fit to dive. Once medically cleared, you can be assured we will make whatever adjustments are needed to get you in the water with us!
Q: What kit do I need to start?
A: Just swimwear and an old T-Shirt
When you start your diver training with us as an in-club trainee we will provide you with a full set of kit to use while you are completing your Ocean Diver course. This kit will be yours to look after, clean and assemble just as if it’s your own. So there is no need to purchase any kit until you’re sure scuba is for you.
As you progress through your training and reach the open water sections of your course, you will need a dry-suit to protect you from the cold. These can be very expensive to purchase, so we do not have any for trainees to borrow. However, trainees can rent dry suits from a number of local dive centres and suit manufacturers at very reasonable rates.
If you choose the fast track training via our partner dive centre, then all kit, including a drysuit will be provided for you as part of your course.
Once you have qualified and joined the elite group of people on the planet known as scuba divers, you’ll need your own set of scuba kit as ours is only for Ocean Diver training. Kit costs are discussed below.
We'll guide you on what to buy and best value - so don't worry about that!
Q: Can I buy my own kit from the start?
A: Of course you can. But we wouldn’t recommend it at first. There are so many different configurations of kit that we would recommend you try them out in the club before you commit to buying any of the larger items of dive kit.
If you really must dash out and spend some money, we would recommend getting yourself
your own well-fitting mask, quality open heel fins and some neo-booties.
Q: I’ve heard scuba equipment is expensive.
A: It can be!
As with most sports, the sky's the limit if you want to splash out on kit. If you were to purchase all
your equipment brand new from the really expensive brands, then a full set up including a
top-of-the-range drysuit could easily set you back £4,000+.
But there are reliable brands offering
better value, not to mention a thriving market in really good second hand equipment
where you can get your kit for a fraction of the cost of new.
Realistically though, you'll need to be comfortable spending between £1,000 to £1,500 in your first year on kit as we only give you a set of kit to complete your Ocean Diver course. Once you've completed this, you'll need to have your own set of kit to use.
We do not loan or hire kit to qualified divers - even ones who've trained with us.
When diving, your safety is dependent on the reliability of your kit, so it’s important
to know that it’s been looked after and serviced regularly and performs well.
As a member of our club, we’re not going to let you get scammed or sold something useless or unsuitable. We’re here to look after you throughout your scuba experience and you can call on other members' know-how if you’re not sure what to buy or whether you should be considering a new or second-hand item.