Do you have to be a good swimmer?
Not necessarily. This may come as a surprise, but confidence in the water is more important than your ability to swim long distances. You will need to be able to comfortably swim 4 lengths of the pool and tread water for a few minutes. You'll find that diving is actually easier than swimming because there's no need to raise your head out of the water to get each breath.
Do you have to be physically fit?
Fitness will help but is not essential. The club does encourage physical fitness and dedicates some of the pool time to this end. On request, we also run fit for diving swimming courses via one of our instructors who is an ASA qualified swimming coach and we encourage all members to stay fit and healthy for the dive season.
I have an illness or disability, can i still dive?
This depends on the illness or disability and its severity. As part of your membership process you will be asked to sign a self-declaration medical form. This form requests details of any illness or disabilities and is standard practice in the UK. The British Sub Aqua Club has medical referees who can advise on your suitability for diving. If you are able to be declared medically fit to safely dive, the club will do all it can to support you.
Is it difficult to learn?
Not at all! Through a well-established and relaxed training curriculum, you will steadily develop your diving skills and knowledge. Initially, underwater skills are learnt in the pool and the theory in a classroom. The training is fun, easy, interactive and is geared towards learning by 'doing'. The instructors are very dedicated and will progress at a speed you are comfortable with.
How long does it take to learn to dive?
Progression in your training depends mostly on the commitment that you can give to learning and diving.
Typically, it takes about 8-10 weeks to achieve Ocean Diver, the basic diver qualification This requires attendance at the weekly pool and theory lessons and the open water training days.
Diving is one of those activities where you never stop learning. To achieve the Advanced Diver qualification usually takes a minimum of 2 years.
What will it cost?
Diving is an exciting and challenging sport which requires a certain amount of training and equipment. Initially it is expensive, similar to skiing or golf, but once the equipment has been purchased it becomes a relatively inexpensive sport. The club will lend you equipment for your first year as your train and quality, giving you time to purchase equipment as you become familiar with your preferences and what you require.
A full set of new equipment may cost around £1,200. Fortunately there are a number of options to help you.
- Purchase equipment in stages to spread the cost and take advantage of sales.
- Purchase equipment second hand, often a full set can be bought for £500.
- Some shops offer excellent deals and interest free credit.
- Some equipment can be borrowed from other club members.
Please note there are some other smaller costs i.e., pool fees are £2.50 per night and cylinders fills which can range in price from local shops or you can use the club compressor for free.
Where can I buy the equipment?
There are a number of dive shops around Stockport and Manchester and some great bargains can be found. The club also has an agreement with a local shop offering 10% discounts to club members.
What if I miss some lessons?
Nowadays it is very difficult to attend all the training sessions, If you miss any, they will be fitted in where possible.
Is it safe?
Yes, the British Sub Aqua Club have developed their Safe Diving Practices and training programs from many years of experience. They are designed to slowly build up skills, knowledge and develop safe diving attitudes. Diving is similar to driving a car, if you drive recklessly, i.e., drive on the wrong side, go through red lights etc. then you're heading for trouble. However if you stay within the general rules of the road, you'll be safe. The same applies to diving. To put this into perspective, it is safer than flying or driving and many other everyday sports. Incidents rarely occur and are usually related to ill considered risk taking. HGSAC place a great emphasis on safe diving practice and has an excellent safety record.
I have trained with another agency. Can I still join?
The club welcomes divers from all agencies. Those wishing to dive with the club from another agency can do so and have the option of free cross-over training as part of their first year's membership or to continue diving within their own diving qualification limits. Most divers opt to cross-over as this then opens up the free Skill Development Course training and higher diver qualifications for most divers. The club is non-political so carrying on with PADI/SAA/NAUI is also supported.
If the training is free what's the catch?
We are often asked what the catch is and why the training is free. Training is part of your yearly membership and thus is not charged for. What we ask for in return is that you attend the club, attend social events and enjoy diving with us. The club exists to get people diving and that is all we ask of our members. members that dive regularly, attend social events will progress quickly through the club training structure. Charges do apply for any materials and associated training delivery costs (i.e. pool attendance fees).
I need the qualification for Duke of Edinburgh award or university, can you help?
Many universities running Marine Biology (or similar) courses require the BSAC Ocean Diver course as part of their prerequisites. The club has around 20 ex-members currently away at university doing just this. The qualification can also be used as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award. HGSAC actively encourages membership of the 14-25 category in order to support both these targets.