After decades of debate on the issue, the British Sub-Aqua Club has finally decided to emulate commercial diver training agencies and lower its minimum age for entry-level training from 12 to 10.
The issue has proved controversial over the years. Club-divers’ families are often involved with branch activities, with children keen to join their parents under water, but some members have regarded the knowledge and awareness required to dive safely as being difficult for some children under 12 to acquire – and an additional responsibility for volunteer instructors.
The reduced age limit applies only to diver training to the level of Discovery Diver, which is a component of the entry-level qualification BSAC Ocean Diver (the equivalent of PADI Advanced Open Water Diver), and a depth limit of 12m will apply.
Individual branches can decide whether they wish to accept younger recruits or prefer to impose their own higher minimum age limit. Those clubs that elect to accept trainees from the age of 10 are being asked to review procedures for safeguarding, risk assessment and insurance cover.
In a further step into line with commercial training agencies, BSAC is launching its own optional eLearning platform in mid-August to allow for more flexibility in its entry-level training.