Now 10-year-olds can dive with BSAC
Picture: Derek Keats.
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.
24 July 2020
Initially the online content applies only to Discovery Diver and Ocean Diver theory modules, but with further courses to be added. BSAC says the move offers trainees more learning options and support, allows them to catch up if they miss club lectures or need to revisit topics, saves on hard-copy training materials and relieves strain on “already stretched” instructors.
Updated Discovery Diver student materials suitable for 10-year-olds will be available on BSAC eLearning only.
*** A SCUBA DIVER died on 21 July after getting into unexplained difficulties in a Scottish loch. The 35-year-old man, believed to have been looking for scallops, was diving in Loch Eriboll in Caithness with a dive-buddy in the early afternoon, according to press reports. The other man dragged him ashore, where first-aiders from a nearby fish-farm administered CPR and raised the alarm, but when paramedics arrived he was declared dead at the scene.
Three Coastguard teams attended the scene with the Stornoway search and rescue helicopter. Police, who also attended, said that the diver’s death was unexplained pending the result of a post mortem but was not considered suspicious. A report was being submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.