Do I Need to be able to swim?
How good a swimmer do I have to be?
You need to be able to swim at least 200 m without difficulty.
What is the difference between being in a BSAC club and diving with my PADI qualification?
You will be a member of a club. This means you have access to Training, Equipment and Buddies to dive with, as well as to the benefits of BSAC at Regional and National level.
I have heard you have minimum levels for going diving. What are they and why do you have them?
To dive on most club trips you need to have some form of rescue training, This means BSAC Sports Diver, PADI Rescue Diver, SM Club Diver, etc.
I am a PADI instructor. Can I teach?
To teach within a BSAC branch you need to cross your instructor qualification over. If you want to do this, talk to the Diving Officer or Training Officer at the squash or at the pub meet.
How much diving do you do abroad?
If people want to dive abroad, then trips will be organized. We usually try to run an overseas trip every year, provided there is demand for one. Recent overseas destinations have included Lanzarote (January 2013, September 2016) and the Red Sea (December 2011).
Can I dive with you without becoming a member?
Guests can dive with the club subject to Diving Officers permission and subject to spaces not being taken up by club members; however, if you plan to dive with us regularly you will need to become a member.
Where do you train?
We have pool Training sessions at Chesterton Community College. Open-water training is done at a variety of inland and costal dive sites. Our nearest inland dive site is Gildenburgh Water about an hour’s drive north of Cambridge, we also regularly venture further afield to Stoney Cove in Leicestershire and the National Diving Centre near Chepstow.
Can I just dive on my PADI/SAA etc. qualification?
If you have a rescue qualification then yes, you can usually dive with us on your existing qualification. However, if you qualified somewhere warm and clear, then you will need to gain experience in diving in the UK on shallower dives before building up to the limit of your qualification as UK conditions are often more challenging than places such as the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
I am a BSAC Advanced Diver what can you offer me?
What do you want? We are a progressive club, taking on board new techniques. We often run trips for more experienced divers.
I am at ARU can I join your course?
We are partially funded by the University of Cambridge, this means that we have to give priority to members of the University of Cambridge. If there are spaces free on our courses, then we can discuss this. Come and talk to us at the Panton on a Thursday evening.
Who will provide my instruction?
We have a team of BSAC Nationally Qualified Instructors who are helped by trained Assistant Diving Instructors. See the website for details.
Do you do any specialist training courses?
Yes. We can run many of the BSAC Skill Development Courses in-house including First Aid for divers, Oxygen Administration and Practical Rescue Management. Any courses that we cannot run entirely in-house can be arranged with help from the Regional Coaching Team.
What sort of social activities do you have?
Apart from the weekly pub meet, we organise numerous other socials throughout the year, including curry nights, barbecues, film nights and bowling trips. We also organise an annual dinner, Christmas dinner, and a garden party.
How much stuff will I have to buy?
You need to own your own Mask, Fins, and Suit. We advise people to get drysuits for use in the UK, and usually place a bulk order with a manufacturer around Christmas time in order to get you the best possibly deal. For those joining the OD/SD course, initially only a mask will be required, as all other equipment for pool training will be supplied by the club.
Is diving expensive?
Yes, unfortunately it is. However, we try and keep the costs as low as possible. None of the instructors are paid for their time, all the trips are run at cost, and equipment hire from the club is kept as low as it possible thanks to the University’s subsidy of our maintenance costs.
Do I have to retrain to join you?
You don’t need to retrain. However, if you don’t have rescue training, then we would encourage you to join our Sports Diver course, as these additional skills are a prerequisite for most club trips.
What sort of diving does the club do?
Everything. If it’s there, we’ll dive it.
We dive all around the UK. Recent trips have included:
- Scapa Flow
- Farne Islands
- Milton Country Park
We have even dived the Cam (!), as well a regular training trips to a couple of local quarries (Guildenburgh Water and Stoney Cove). We also sometimes dive abroad – our most recent overseas trip was to Lanzarote. Why not take a look at our trip reports to get a flavour of what we do? Essentially, we do whatever diving our club divers want to do.
Does the club own a boat?
Due to the three-year turn-over of most of our member, we have found that it is impossible to maintain sufficient Boat Handlers, Outboard Maintenance specialists and Approved Boat Handling Instructors to instruct in seamanship skills. This is because most of our training time is required for teaching divers.
What equipment does the club own and how do I use it?
We have twelve full sets of SCUBA kit. In addition to this we have stage cylinders and regulators for more advanced diving, and safety equipment including emergency oxygen kits, oxygen analysers, and resuscitation manikins (for rescue/first aid training). You need to be a member of the Club to borrow club kit. You also need to have permission from the Diving Officer before diving using club kit.
I’m not sure I want to dive in the UK what can you offer me?
We are primarily a UK diving club. If you have not tried diving in the UK, then we encourage you to come along and give it a go. It is very different to diving in the tropics; however, it is also brilliant diving.
Will the club help me become an instructor?
We encourage it. Although we cannot run instructor training in house, if you want to become an Instructor we can help you along the way. We have a lot of instructing experience in the club all of which can be useful.
I trained in the UK, can I dive on holiday?
Yes. UK training, and more importantly experience diving in UK waters, is recognized world wide. BSAC Qualifications will be recognized and accepted anywhere.
What’s it like diving in the UK?
You remember those wonderful pictures of the on TV, of clear blue seas and divers in wet suits swimming though colourful coral forests surrounded by multi-coloured fish? Yes? Well, it’s nothing like that. It’s colder, darker and the visibility is usually much lower (although it can at times surprise you). Why do we do it then? It can be very rewarding, UK waters around the UK are rich with marine life and are some of the best in the world for wreck diving – the feeling of descending a shot line down onto the deck of a wreck, turning on your torch and startling a lobster out of its hole is hard to describe. You glide along the deck towards the wheel house shining your torch into passing portholes, stopping to look at some piece of wreckage. It’s a very different sort of diving that you’ll get abroad in warmer climes. You just have to try it …
The reduced visibility also means that we dive in a different manner here in the UK compared with warmer climates. In warm seas diving is mainly in escorted groups led by experienced divers, whereas in the UK we normally dive as an independent two person team (known as a buddy pair), each diver being fully trained in navigation, rescue etc. That is why the UK based training agencies take longer to train a basic diver: there is more to learn.
I trained on holiday. Can I dive in the UK?
Maybe! Due to the differences in UK conditions when compared to holiday destinations you are probably not prepared for what you will encounter. If you have gained a recognised diving qualification abroad you can go diving in the UK; However, you will have to become familiar with UK conditions and do some shallow familiarisation dives and possibly a bit of training first.
How much time do I have to invest?
We require 2 evenings a week during the Michaelmas and Lent terms if you register on the OD or SD courses.
If you are already qualified, we have our pub meet on Thursdays from 9.00pm in the Panton Arms. Come along, meet us and ask questions.