Diving Safety




PDCSAC is a Special Branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and therefore follows the guidance and recommendations of the BSAC to support safe diving operations. This note provides the guidance to all members on the safe management of diving and is to be followed for all dives conducted under the auspices of the Branch.
The BSAC describes those running diving operations as Dive Managers whilst the MOD uses the term Supervisors – for clarity the MOD convention has been used in this document.
If at any time there is a conflict between the guidance given here and the directions of the appointed Supervisor then the safest and most conservative action is to be taken.  Any areas of disagreement are to be reported to the Branch Diving Officer as soon as possible.
Guest divers may dive with members, subject to the BSAC endorsed recommendations of seven visits per year, and are to be made familiar with the contents of this document by the host.  The host is to confirm this to the appointed Supervisor – by taking part in the dive the guest is confirming that they will comply with the safety management system in place and that they will follow the directions of the appointed Supervisor.  Guest divers are to complete a Medical Self Declaration form prior to diving which is to be passed to the membership Secretary for the branch records.


The Branch Diving Officer is delegated the authority to direct all diving operations conducted by the Branch – that authority is delegated directly from the BSAC National Diving Officer.  Only the Branch Diving Officer is delegated the authority to award qualifications gained under the BSAC Diver Training Programme. These delegations form a key part of the BSAC Members Insurance Indemnity.
All dives undertaken by the Branch require the approval of the Diving Officer prior to the dive taking place.  The Diving Officer may delegate the authority to plan and supervise dives to suitably qualified and experienced members of the Branch (see below).

Conduct of Branch Dives

All Branch dives are to be conducted following the guidance in BSAC Safe Diving.  All members taking part in the dive are to follow the instructions given by the appointed Supervisor.  The Supervisor will give a dive brief to all members planning to undertake a dive.  Anyone who does not attend the dive brief is not to take part in the dive unless the appointed Supervisor has the opportunity to give the individual the dive brief prior to departing for the dive site.  The dive brief will cover, as a minimum, the information detailed on a suitable dive slate approved by the Diving Officer which is to be used for all dives conducted by the Branch.  In addition to the risk assessment contained within the dive brief format the Supervisor is to carry out a dynamic risk assessment on arrival at the planned dive site.  If the conditions on the site are different to those planned for then the Supervisor is to assess whether or not the planned dive can go ahead, is to amend the dive plan as necessary or move to the alternate site given in the dive brief.
All divers are to confirm to the Supervisor that they are fit to dive, are content to undertake the planned dive and that their equipment has been tested, is working and is appropriate for the planned diving operation.
All divers are responsible for carrying out the dive in accordance with the dive plan.  Should it become necessary for safety purposes to deviate from the dive plan then the Supervisor must be informed of the details of the dive actually carried out and the circumstances that caused the change in plan.  This is not an authority to deviate from the planned dive but rather allows for exceptional circumstances.  In all cases where a dive has been conducted outside the planned dive then a BSAC Incident Report is to be compiled and passed to the Diving Officer.

Depth Limits

Branch dives are limited to the depths given in Safe Diving and to those for individual members based on their qualifications.  The following limits apply:
Air Diving – 50 metres; for dives greater than 40 metres the written authority of the Diving Officer is required.  A formal work up programme will be required to be put in place for all dives greater than 40 metres with additional safety measures put in place.  The Diving Officer can provide advice on suitable work up programmes and safety measures.
Mixed Gas (TRIMIX) – 80 metres for those holding the appropriate qualifications and equipment.
Mixed Gas (NITROX) – for those holding the appropriate qualifications, as mandated by the maximum operating depth of the mix using a ppO2 of 1.4 for the dive phase and a ppO2 of 1.6 for the decompression phase.

Ocean Diver – 20 metres.
Sports Diver – 20 metres on qualification with the option to extend to 35 metres with appropriate depth progression and experience.
Dive Leader – up to 50 metres subject to appropriate depth progression and experience post qualification. See the note above reference dives beyond 40 metres.
Advanced Diver – up to 50 metres subject to appropriate depth progression and experience.  See the note above reference dives beyond 40 metres.

For all dives below 30 metres an independent air source containing a gas that can be breathed throughout the depth profile of the dive is to be carried.  This could be in the form of a manifolded twin set subject to the diver being trained in the appropriate techniques. This is in addition to any decompression gases carried to reduce the decompression penalty of the dive through Accelerated Decompression techniques.
All depth progression is to be based on steps of no greater than 5 metres per progression – only a single progression can be completed on any one dive.

Branch Diver Training

All training within the Branch is to follow the detailed syllabi contained within the BSAC Diver Training Programme (DTP).  Training opportunities can be taken on any dive programmed by the Branch subject to a suitably qualified instructor being present and with the agreement of the appointed Supervisor.  Instructors are to ensure that they are using the latest edition of the DTP and that the planned training can take place within the parameters of the diving programme without affecting other divers.
The Training Officer is to maintain a register of all Branch Instructors and is to pass a copy to the Diving Officer.  Any query reference the content of any lesson within the DTP is to be referred to the Training Officer or the Diving Officer.
All Branch members are encouraged to expand their qualifications and the Diving Officer in conjunction with the Training Officer is to identify what qualifications members wish to gain.  A Branch Training programme will be published for members to plan their training and the Diving officer with the Training Officer will identify instructors to deliver the requested training.
The Branch will organize a Branch Training Session prior to the start of the diving season which will include an up-date on diver-related illnesses and practical CPR using therapeutic oxygen.  All members are strongly encouraged to attend and all authorized Supervisors are to attend.  Practical rescue scenario training will be programmed into the diving programme across the diving season.


The Branch holds a small pool of equipment which is available for hire by members – the small hire charge will be used to support the maintenance of the equipment.  The Equipment Officer is responsible for ensuring that all Branch owned equipment is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Branch Members are not to use items from the Branch store without signing in the stores book and are to ensure that they pay the appropriate hire charge when using the equipment.
Branch members are encouraged to use their own equipment for Branch dives – members are responsible for ensuring that their equipment is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.  All members are to sign an annual declaration that their equipment has been maintained and this is declaration is to be held by the Secretary with the membership files.  The appointed Supervisor for a Branch dive is to satisfy him/herself that the equipment used by a member is appropriate for the planned dive.  In particular for dives to 30 metres or deeper, or a dive involving wreck penetration, then a charged independent air source of a minimum of 3 litres is to be carried by each diver.  The Supervisor has the authority to stop a diver taking part in a dive if he/she considers that the equipment being used is not suitable for the dive being conducted.


The Branch compressor can be used to fill all cylinders used by members in support of their diving activities.  Only members who have completed formal familiarization training may use the compressor – the Compressor Officer is to ensure that a register of qualified users is maintained and kept next to the compressor.  Visitors and guest divers are not to use the compressor under any circumstances and non-members cylinders are not to be filled unless the non-member is diving as a guest with the Branch.

Boat Operations

The Branch boats may be used by members both as dive platforms and in support of Branch non-diving training activities.  They are not to be used for any other purpose without the written permission of the Chairman, Diving Officer, Training Officer or Branch Secretary.
The boats are only to be operated by members holding either a Combined Diving Agencies Boat Handling qualification, a BSAC Diver Coxswain qualification (the preferred qualification for operating dive boats) or a RYA Powerboat Level 2 qualification.  Non-qualified personnel may operate the boat during the transit to and from a dive site subject to direct supervision by a qualified cox’n – a second kill cord is to be fitted to the member supervising the trainee.  A Non-qualified Cox’n is not under any circumstances to drop off or pick up divers.  All members are to note that RN or Army boat handling qualifications are not recognized by the diving agencies and may not be used to operate the Branch boats (and such use may invalidate the Branch boat insurance).


Only formally authorized supervisors are to plan and conduct dives within the Branch.  A nominal of all Supervisors delegated authority to plan and conduct dives is at Annex A.  All personnel holding (or who have held) a Sub-Aqua Diving Supervisor (SADS) qualification issued by JSSADC are automatically qualified to supervise Branch dives subject to having completed the Branch Induction training.  All new SADS joining the Branch are to submit a request to the Diving Officer requesting inclusion in the Branch nominal of authorized Supervisors having completed the Branch Induction training.  Members who qualify as a Branch SADS at JSSADC should request authority from the Diving Officer to supervise Branch dives but any authority to supervise will be limited to specified dive sites that are well known to the Branch – the Diving Officer will provide the list of appropriate sites on request.
Other members who wish to supervise diving may be authorized to supervise dives subject to the following criteria:  they must hold a BSAC Advanced Diver qualification, have an appropriate boat handling qualification, hold a VHF Short Range certificate, be in date for diving-related first aid, have completed the Branch Induction training and be recommended by a Branch Authorized Supervisor.  A Dive Leader may be authorized to supervise dives to a limited number of specified sites provided they also meet the standards set out above.  All requests to be added to the Branch Authorized Supervisors nominal are to be forwarded to the Diving Officer.
Dive Leaders and above under training are required to supervise dives as part of their courses.  As part of their training they can plan, brief and supervise a dive but an authorized Supervisor is responsible for agreeing the plan before the brief and remains responsible for the overall safety of the dive.
Authorized Supervisors may dive subject to a suitably qualified person being on the surface to supervise on their behalf.  Dive Leaders and above may be nominated as the Assistant Supervisor provided that they have an appropriate boat handling qualification, hold a VHF Short Range certificate, be in date for dive-related first aid and have completed the Branch Induction training. The list of approved Assistant Supervisors is at Annex A.

Dive Records

All Branch dives are to be recorded using the approved Dive Management Slate.  On return to the Clubhouse the details of the dives are to be copied onto paper copies of the Slate and placed within the Dive Records Folder.
All divers are to record the details of their dive in a personnel Dive Log.
Qualification Record Books are to be signed off as appropriate by the relevant instructor following any training serials conducted during the dive.


Diving safety is the responsibility of everyone involved in a diving operation – whilst the nominated Supervisor bears the overall responsibility every diver has responsibilities to the Supervisor and the other divers to ensure the safety of everyone.
The recommendations of Safe Diving, coupled with training and experience, provide the framework for safe and enjoyable diving.  The Branch has highly experienced Supervisors, Instructors and divers and everyone should take every opportunity to develop their own skills by asking questions, undertaking courses and learning from the more experienced.
If anyone has any questions with regard to the Branch Diving Safety Management System, has any suggestions for improvement or is unsure how to apply anything from the references or this document then please refer them to the Diving Officer without delay.

Steve Cox
Branch Diving Officer
NI 239
FCD 911

17 November2016

Annex A to
Dated 17 November 2016


Name  Qualifications Date O2 Refresher Completed
Steve Cox First Class Diver, SADS (Current), SADS Assessor (Current) Feb 16
David Dyter Advanced Diver, SADS (Non-active) April 16
Gareth Thomas Advanced Diver, SADS (Current) April 16
Alan Potts Advanced Diver, SADS (Non-active) April 16
Bruce Green Advanced Diver, SADS (Non-active) April 16
Eric McDade Advanced Diver, SADS (Non-active) April 16
Robert Swan Advanced Diver, SADS (Non-active) April 16
Steve Cottrell Advanced Diver April 16
Jon Parlour First Class Diver Feb 16


Eddie Neighbour Dive Leader, Diver Cox’n April 15
Keith  (Cal) Calladine Dive Leader, Diver Cox’n April 15

Download pdsac-dsms-2016-17