Scuba remains off-limits in UK



Scuba remains off-limits in UK

Swanage Babb

Picture: Colin Babb.

Scuba divers hoping that the relaxation in English lockdown restrictions to enable more exercise to be taken might allow those in the same household to resume their sport have been disappointed.

This week’s phased-in official guidance had been widely recognised as confusing and open to interpretation in specific areas.

A response from the UK government press office to a Divernet request for clarification simply drew attention to the newly updated social-distancing guidelines for England, which make no mention of sports other than tennis, golf and basketball.

However, the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG) was convened online on 12 May to determine how the changes might apply to the diving community.

The training agencies, medical experts and supporting industry representatives present concluded that “the infrastructure to safely support diving activity is still lacking and requires more time to re-establish itself”, reported Dai Atkins, National Diving Officer of the sport’s governing body the British Sub-Aqua Club. 

“Contamination risks remain too high during the preparation for diving,” said Atkins, adding that diving businesses trying to operate safely and within the law could experience undue pressure as a result.  

“More importantly, should emergency support be necessary, this would place an unacceptably high burden on rescue services and medical-treatment facilities at a time when they are already stretched,” he said.

14 May 2020

“We should be considerate of the impact any activity could have until such a time when the supporting infrastructure can safely operate at full capacity and in line with government guidance.

“With regret, we must encourage divers to act responsibly and not go diving, however safe it may seem to do so. We will continue to work together to provide suitable guidance to support a planned return to safe diving as and when the time is right.”

Further BDSG consultations were expected to take place, but only to coincide with any further changes in government guidance.

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