Sorry Simon, yes those BSAC branches do exist I am sorry to saySeveral of my sons friends all asked me about learning to dive so I pointed them in the direction of BSAC, these are all late 20s early 30s with reasonable employment and surplus income. They all left their clubs within a year, some left during training and went to PADI and others just gave up.
We live in an age where we don't wait, we want something, we google and buy online, It arrives the next day. BSAC is way too slow, these guys wanted to go diving not listen to anecdotes from some old dude with an entourage of cronies spitting out the same anecdotes week in week out.
There were only two who stuck it out and eventually continued with PADI the rest gave up, if you can't hold the attention of the young diver who expects a level of service then you will just be dealing with older diver who eventually die and the club dies with them.
I just read through my old messages from one of them.
"Quick update, I'm ripping through the ocean diver course (done the pool sessions and planning the quarry dives now) so should have the qualification by the time I come to Egypt. Looking like we'll be coming for two weeks, probably the first and second week of September. Really enjoying the diving even in the pool. Can't wait until there is actually something to look at! Just trying to stop myself spending a shedload on kit before I've actually worked out what I need."
"We are planning 4 dives over 2 days. Then I have two open water dives off angelsy using the RIBs on July 28th. If that all goes well there's a couple of shore dives in August."
"I havent bought any kit other than mask at the moment so I'll hold off, the bsac club has enough decent stuff for me to finish my training."
"we are busting our arses to pass this bsac ocean diver qualification before we come. Honestly they are the most anal people in the world. Moving at snails pace. The amount of fucking about we are having to do is ridiculous. Still we'll have it in the bag by the time we come to egypt."
"Passed my ocean diver course last night."
"Just bought a brand new set of atx regs, octo, ds4 and console off that person on Yorkshire divers or £255. Not bad. Also got a buddy commando jacket."
" Just had a dive so shit in anglesey I might sell it all again."
"Most dis organised mess I've ever seen"
"First time they've camped apparently. No one told me that. No one had a fucking clue what was going on and pretty much every boring safety drill they'd bored me to death with over the last three months went out the widow as soon as they got flustered. I ended up launching the boat off the beach, as no one had thought to check there was boat launching facilities, the boat broke down on the way back after the dive and no one could work the radio. Pure luck we got a tow in the end. Not a single diver found the wreck despite the leader saying he'd marked it on the gps, i saw sand and that was it.
Then last night they were changing all the dive plans for today due to weather and it was clear no one had a clue what to do so I just said fuck this, and came home at 11pm last night. Got back to the flat at 1.30am.
"This is rapidly what I'm realising. around the pool and the quarry he is bIlly big bollocks making me go over things I've already done, and telling me tales of previous trips etc etc... When I just want to dive. Then on an actual trip when just a few tiny things go wrong he looses the whole plot and pulls everyone out when would have easily done another dive. Im not some retired pensioner with time and money to burn. If I'm spending £200 and using up days off uto go diving then I wanna spend more than 17mins on a flat sandy bed at 9m. They call paddy divers something rotten but after what I've seen his weekend they should book themselves on some padi courses. They are a bunch of shit bags. The amount of times they've banged on about wave action and how hard it's is to swim and you get seasick etc... I thought I felt a bit of current yesterday, but it was nothing bad at all, I get out and half the club are throwing up on the boats complaining how it's like a washing machine. Well they must have been in a different sea to me. But then when we broke down I got sick too. But back on shore after an hour and a bacon sandwich I was good to go, but they pulled the second dive. Bunch of pussies. oh and they have VHF licences but no one knew how to work that radio in the rib."
"Got all my sexy new kit now.
Atx 40 stage two and octo
Ds4 a clamp
New style commando BCD
A few different masks
Dry suit (still leaking)
Sunnto stinger computer
A dive club who can navigate and have some balls."
Personally, I thought that this training was pretty quick for BSAC but it needs to be quicker, BSAC needs to change with the times, the shambles over Stephen Martin should have seen the whole lot resign and if they won't then they need voting out.
It's your club, if you do nothing then it will fade and die.
We took on three non divers in late January, every Monday has been a classroom lecture and a pool lesson, last night I booked extra pool time and went through Dry suit training with two of them for three hours and Sunday they are at Capernwray, fingers crossed for 001 and 002, if so another Sunday and they will have completed Ocean Diver. Saltwater time will come on the Branch Holiday Dive this summer, but there will be other Capernwray training trips after OD and before the Holiday under the heading Practice Practice Practice.