We as a club welcome non divers and are very happy to provide the training for them, however we are into diving to enjoy our diving and not as a training establishment, we have therefore evolved a training cycle that works for use. We do not want to be training all year round and through the Summer we want to be diving. Our basic training cycle works as follows and we do not rush to get new divers into very cold water in the winter, we wait for the temperature to rise in the Spring:-
Ocean Diver Course 1 This course provides you with the essential knowledge and skills needed to prepare for open water diving. Learning to dive is all about learning to use your equipment properly and safely. We will generally start an Ocean Diver Course in late October or early November, and we will work over the next few months to complete the pool and classroom theory lessons. The pool lessons will be each Thursday from 20:30 till 21:45 at the swimming pool at Kingsmead Leisure Centre Canterbury and the Theory lessons will be at Herne Bay (at the Herne Bay Angling Association), generally on a Saturday or Sunday when we will aim to get 2 or 3 done on each session, the Theory Test will be done after a suitable revision period.
The Ocean Diver training course concentrates on preparing you for this with a series of lectures and training in the safety of the and then introducing you to open water in a controlled and safe manner. This also gives you the opportunity to practice safety skills in the company of a qualified instructor or experienced diver.
The students then continue to the Sports Diver course
Ocean Diver Course 2 This course will generally start after Xmas and will be run if we have sufficient numbers, and will be the same basic process as above.
Ocean Diver Lake Training We will aim to get divers progressing into open water at Larkfield Lakes outside of Maidstone in late March / Early April once the water has warmed up to about 11 Degrees. Here we will convert you from doing the skills in a swimming pool 4m deep to doing them in a lake 7-8m deep in a semidry suit. This is an important progression in the dive experience and we will aim to do 4 progressive open water lessons in the lakes, this will generally mean that those in training will have to attend 2 sessions doing 2 lessons in each covering basic diving skills.
Ocean Diver Sea/Boat Dive Training and Assessment It is only in very exceptional circumstances that we will complete dive 5 the Ocean Diver assessment dive in the lakes, this is because we are qualifying an Ocean Diver to dive to 20m in the Sea, and we do not believe this can be achieved in an 8m deep lake.
We therefore run an annual trip to Weymouth on the first May bank holiday weekend of each year to achieve this. On the first day at Weymouth we will take you out with an Instructor to dive one of the wrecks in the harbour off of a club Rhib (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat), this will be to a depth of about 12-14m. After this dive we will than take you out for a 2nd dive which will be your Ocean Diver Assessment dive, if you want some more practice before this we can do the assessment on day 2.
The 2nd day we will pair you up with experienced divers again to gain more experience while we dive along the coast around Lullworth Cove, on the Monday we will aim for you to dive with another diver from your course on a site you are familiar with. We will also progress your depth experience down to about 18m during these dives.
Sport Diver Pool Theory and Lake Training Most of the wrecks we have off of Dover are too deep for Ocean Divers, we also feel that more skills are required for the general dive conditions so we immediately start all new Ocean Divers onto a Sport Diver Course. Soon after we return from Weymouth we will conduct the single pool lesson and the 7 Theory lessons for Sport Diver. We will then do another couple of lake training days in May during which we will cover Rescue Skills, Navigation and DSMB Deployment.
Sport Diver Sea/Boat/Wreck Dive Training and Assessment Once we have completed the Lake dives you will be ready to dive off of Dover on the Club Rhib’s. We will take you out to wrecks in the 20m range and teach you how to dive safely on shipwrecks in the channel, we will then once you are ready take you for your assessment dive when you will plan and lead a dive with an instructor on a channel wreck generally one of the Loanda, Maloja or UB109 (See wreck section for details). On successfully completion of this you will be signed off as a Sport Diver hopefully in early June.
Post Qualification Progression Once you are a Sport Diver we can progress your experience, we will initially pair you off with experienced divers and Instructors as you develop your skills and confidence and also progress your depth experience from 20m down to 25m, 30m and if you want to 35m. You are now very much ready to go diving around the world safely.
What problems do we have? We will generally give a fair amount of notice for all training, however quite often people cannot make the day, we are quite used to this and put on additional sessions, however all the Instructors are volunteering their time so there is an onus on those in training to make an effort to get to those sessions. If you keep missing sessions you will fall behind the time schedule as shown above, also if you cannot make the Weymouth trip we will have lots of problems getting you through the grades as per the time scale above. Everything is still achievable but by the Summer the Instructors will be diving in the sea not wanting to go teaching in lakes.
Further Diver Grades Once you are a Sport Diver we encourage divers to just go diving for a couple of years, gaining experience and just enjoying the experience before thinking about moving up a grade. We run Dive Leader (The next level) and Advanced Diver Courses on an as required basis, so about every other year we will do the Theory Lessons and then divers generally arrange the other skills and experience on a dive by dive basis, although we will have specific DL Skills days on the dive programme. Advanced Diver is dealt with very much in the same way.
Along with training in the BSAC Diver Grades of Ocean Diver, Sport Diver, Dive Leader and Advanced Diver we provide the additional training courses within the Club.
Divers from other agencies may be familiar with paying for extra training in Boat, Wreck and Drysuit diving, we teach all of these as part of the mainstream courses at no extra cost.
Nitrox Workshop: The BSAC now teaches the use of Nitrox (Oxygen rich air) as standard on its Ocean Diver and Sport Diver Courses, we run workshops to train divers who already have OD or SD qualifications to use this gas option. These workshops are free and you just need to pay £15 afterwards to register your qualification at BSAC HQ and get a Qualification card to enable you to buy the gas from Dive Centres.
Boat Handling: Each winter, subject to demand we run 1 or 2 Boat handling Courses in Herne Bay that teach the basics of seamanship to Cox a dive boat safely in open water. These are a 2 day course done over a weekend that entails both theory and practical lessons. The cost is subject to fuel used and incidental expenses, but is generally around £60-70.
Diver Cox’n Assessment: Once a Boat handler has sufficient Boat Handling experience we have the ability to take them for Diver Cox’n preparation and an Assessment. Cost subject to numbers and fuel used.
Oxygen Administration: This is now covered as part of the Dive Leader course, however it can be done at OD or SD grades and when we run this training (once most winters) if you want to do it as a Skill Development Course you can do so. It teaches the essential Diver First Aid skills of administering 100% Oxygen to a diving casualty and recognition and treatment of diving related medical issues like Decompression illness and Lung damage. Cost about £5 to cover the O2 used during the lessons.
Other Courses: We have the facility to run other skill development courses like Practical Rescue Management, Search and Recovery, Dive Planning and Marshalling and also Chartwork and Position Fixing, however as these courses are now largely covered within the Diver grades we do not generally run them anymore as there is no demand.
We also arrange outside instructors to run courses within the club when there is a demand and in recent years have had Seasearch, Marine VHF Radio Operator, Gas Blending and Nitrox courses hosted.
Divers that are already qualified are very welcome at the Club, we have had many divers who are current in their diving and qualifications join and get straight on with diving with us, we have also had quite a few divers who qualified some time ago and who have not dived for a while join and we have arranged a refresher programme for them tailored to suit their needs.
In all cases we require documented proof of qualification and experience and would generally want to do a checkout dive at the Diving Officers discretion.
Divers Qualified outside of BSAC: Divers with qualifications other than those issued by BSAC are also very welcome and there are 2 ways of integrating into the clubs diving. The first is to join and dive on your current qualifications and to their limitations, the other is to crossover to BSAC using a SALT crossover, which gives you the equivalent BSAC grade, so that you can then carry on your training and development within the BSAC system. The table is here:- Crossover information
We also convert divers to the aspects of UK diving they may not have done before and run training in Rescue Skills, Drysuit, Boat and Wreck diving as part of the normal dive programme and at no cost other than the normal dive cost or Drysuit hire cost.
The most common grades and options we come across are covered below, these are only a few examples and we are very happy to look at all options. If we do not know where you fall into the BSAC system then we simply consult with BSAC HQ.
Open Water Diver: We have many divers join us who have done an Open Water Diver Course on holiday, we have 2 options here, the first is that you crossover to BSAC at Ocean Diver level and then start Sport Diver training.
The other and far more common one that people tend to opt for is to complete the Ocean Diver Course working on skills that were maybe not totally mastered on holiday, this gives the chance to consolidate skills and knowledge and progress through the training at a fast pace in areas that you have already mastered. We would always try to pair you up with someone of similar skills set through the training.
Advanced Open Water Diver: Divers at this grade can dive on their qualifications again, but dives from 20m down to a max depth of 35m with a Dive Leader or above only, there may be reluctance by some club members to do this though due to the lack of rescue skills at this level and we would have to review your dive experience. At crossover level it equates to Ocean Diver, this is due to the course lacking a lot of the skills taught at Sport Diver level like Rescue Skills, DSMB Deployment and Decompression Diving.
Most AOW divers joining us crossover to Ocean Diver then do the Sport Diver Course, we can use your previous experience to cover some elements of this training.
Rescue Diver: This crosses over at Sport Diver level, we would need to cover the aspects of Decompression Diving and any other skills not generally taught on PADI courses like DSMB deployment. SD also enables you to start down the BSAC Instructor route if you wish to go along this route attending an Instructor Foundation Course.
Dive Master: This level crosses over to Dive Leader and we would need to review any areas of the qualification you have not covered like Decompression Diving and the BSAC 88 Tables and enables you to attend BSAC Instructor training courses and examinations.
Instructors: Instructor grades generally require attendance on a BSAC Instructor Foundation Course to learn the BSAC Methods of Instruction and are then crossed over.