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  1. #1
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    Best path to continue diving in UK for a fresh AOW

    Hello all

    I've just recently done a OW and AOW courses in eastern europe and since i permanently live in the UK I wanted to ask for advice on what is the best path to gain experience and progress in the UK. As far as I have been told AOW transfers to trainee sports diver in BSAC which means that you are not a sports diver yet but also not simply ocean diver already but are still limited to 20m even though I have done the Deep Diver speciality that allows for 40m limit.

    So question No1 is whether a AOW with a Deep Diver speciality can get his depth limit extended to 40m when he transfers to bsac? This is a pretty important question for me because if I could dive with a limit of 40m I would not need to spend money to get Sports Diver and could just concentrate on getting as much experience as possible with my current qualification. After all the SD gives you a limit of 35m so whats the point of transferring to that?

    I live in london and have looked at several clubs around London. Whilst I'm sure they offer some good training they also have both anual and per trip fees. So I suppose question No2 is whether it is wise to join a club and invest into training with it, or rather just find a more experienced dive buddy, go diving as much as possible and then invest into different courses like ADP or maybe GUE fundamentals instead of spending that money on club fees?

    Thanks in advance for all of your help!

    Best

    Steph

  2. #2
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    When you join a BSAC club you dive on your existing qulifications. So that would be to 40m.

    You ask what the point of Sports would be, that would be things like DSMB usage, Deco diving qulification (which if you do want to dive to 40m makes more sense than a bounce dive). Rescue skills, basic navigation and line usage.

    A well run sports do we course would make you a very rounded diver and will cover most of the UK diving you would want to do. Also being in an active BSAC club will give you a group of people to dive with.

    Yes most BSAC clubs have a club fee and a trip fee. The club fee will cover the cost of joing the club, and access to club facilities. This might be things such as a compressor, nitrox, pool usage. And the club may have there own rib (and a few clubs do have there own hard boat).

    The trip fees are there because a trip is a different cost.

    In regards to wether to join or find an exsperanced buddy. If you know of one and don't do the whole club thing that may work out better for you.

    I personally went the club route and prefer it than trying to find random buddy's online, as you don't know how good they will be.

    If you have only just done AOW, then personally join a club, do sports diver to fill the gaps in my knowledge and go diving. There's nothing stoping you also arranging dives outside the club as well, just the club gives you a pool of buddy's an exsperance.

    As for ADP id put that off for a bit, and get a few more dives done before Fundies (it's the best course I did, but just getting dives in is better when starting out, as it lets you know what you enjoy from dives).

  3. #3
    Coastal Member dwhitlow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swifty View Post
    When you join a BSAC club you dive on your existing qulifications. So that would be to 40m.

    You ask what the point of Sports would be, that would be things like DSMB usage, Deco diving qulification (which if you do want to dive to 40m makes more sense than a bounce dive). Rescue skills, basic navigation and line usage.

    A well run sports do we course would make you a very rounded diver and will cover most of the UK diving you would want to do. Also being in an active BSAC club will give you a group of people to dive with.

    Yes most BSAC clubs have a club fee and a trip fee. The club fee will cover the cost of joing the club, and access to club facilities. This might be things such as a compressor, nitrox, pool usage. And the club may have there own rib (and a few clubs do have there own hard boat).

    The trip fees are there because a trip is a different cost.

    In regards to wether to join or find an exsperanced buddy. If you know of one and don't do the whole club thing that may work out better for you.

    I personally went the club route and prefer it than trying to find random buddy's online, as you don't know how good they will be.

    If you have only just done AOW, then personally join a club, do sports diver to fill the gaps in my knowledge and go diving. There's nothing stoping you also arranging dives outside the club as well, just the club gives you a pool of buddy's an exsperance.

    As for ADP id put that off for a bit, and get a few more dives done before Fundies (it's the best course I did, but just getting dives in is better when starting out, as it lets you know what you enjoy from dives).
    apart from spelling issues () this post pretty well covers it.

  4. #4
    Established TDF Member Tel's Avatar
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    Join a club and do Sport Diver.

    UK diving and especially 40m depths are almost inevitably square profiles and will mean you go into deco.
    PADI Deep is non-deco, so you'll need a deco course of some sort.

    Unless you've done a load of specialities you'll also need Drysuit, Nitrox, DSMB. line laying and Rescue*.
    Of course at this depth you'll burn through gas so redundancy and good gas planning is needed as well.

    All this lot and more is included as part of Sport Diver, so IMO it's a total no brainier to do this at the same
    time you'll be doing real dives with a club.

    Once sport and number of dives racked up you'll be a true Independent UK diver and that opens up a load
    more doors than what you have now or what you'll have by just going diving with a random mate that may
    or may not be any sort of mentor.

    And BTW if you want a recommendation for a good London club, checkout Hellfins

    http://www.hellfins.com/


    *A thankfully few number of divers think that Rescue is unnecessary at this level, but as it's inclusive as
    part of Sport even if you feel that way, it's no extra ££ to do it.
    Last edited by Tel; 24-06-2019 at 11:10 PM.

  5. #5
    Established TDF Member Chrisch's Avatar
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    Both options have their merits. A club means other people to dive with but they might be good or bad and the club might be awful as well. Either way you are taking a chance. Forget the crossover nonsense as pointed out you are trained to a level and can dive at that level going forward. Clubs in my experience are the most expensive way to dive. I agree with Tel - Hellfins have a very good reputation and if I were looking for a London club it would be my first choice.

    It appears to me that a great deal of dive trip organisation in the UK now takes place on facebook. If you are on that you should find people to dive with. I am not on facebook and I am sure that I miss out as a result, but I dislike it enough that I am prepared to miss out.

    If you do not already do so you should think about a drysuit and any training you might need to use it. UK waters can be cold and a drysuit will probably give you more opportunity to dive for the money than any training or club fees. From London Brighton/Newhaven are the normal venues. Have a look at Newhaven Scuba https://www.scubadiving-brighton.co.uk/ They have a shuttle boat and are a good outfit. Like nearly every shop in the UK they also have a club you can join to find buddies and take part in organised trips. It will not be a BSAC club so you would need to do additional training with a commercial organisation.

    You mentioned GUE and that is worth a look. It is a costly option so take your time and figure out what you really would like to do.

    I hope you enjoy diving here in the UK - we have some great wrecks and when the weather and visibility are good the diving is as as good as anywhere in the world. It can be shit too

  6. #6
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    Welcome Steph

    You won’t find many that argue with the bulk of what Tel has written above.

    I crossed over from AOW and started on the sports diver programme, but diving to my 30m qualification limit on club dives before I had passed SD.

    The main difference I found between PADI and BSAC were between being spoon fed with no development outside of the paid training and a far more hands-on in depth approach that gave me lots more confidence and the ability to enjoy dives a lot more.

    I’m still a member of a great club, even though I don’t get to do much diving with them, but they have pool access, should I ever need it, and a decent compressor.

  7. #7
    Established TDF Member Nickpicks's Avatar
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    Yep, If you join a BSAC club, you can carry on diving to your current qualifications. Any decent club will welcome non-BSAC trained divers.

    The crossover table comes into play when you want to continue training, which for you would be the Sports Diver course, and although this doesn't give you any more depth, it's broadly equivalent to doing the padi specialities of Rescue; dSMB; Nitrox; and Drysuit.

    I've also heard nothing but good things about Hellfins, and depending on what part of London you're in, CliDive seem very good too.
    The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.

  8. #8
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    Morning

    Thanks for the great answers! I am in fact meeting with someone from Hellfins sometime this week and also Clidive and London no1, but did just want to check if I am going in the right direction. Would anyone be able to point me in the direction of an active FB group where people bunch up for dives around the UK? I'll have a dig myself but just thought i'd ask, cause chances are there is more than one group like that and a lot of not very active ones. Also in terms of GUE fundamentals, i've read posts by some people who where saying that they wished that had taken the course earlier. Am I mistaken in the understanding that fundamentals are just what they say they are in that they teach a very solid correct fundamental base in trim and buoyancy, rescue and other techniques that you can progress from?

    I suppose one of the reasons that I was having doubts about a club environment is that unlike in technical diving courses and instruction, where people say that you pick an instructor you like, instruction that goes on in a club is a bit of an unknown black box (at least it seems that way to someone who has just started being interested in this sport). So there is a need to choose a club wisely not only because of how many ribs a club has but also because of the instructors that teach in it. I realise that all those who work as instructors in clubs have reached the required qualifications and are solid people but also being an ex paragliding instructor I realise that maybe some are better (or more interested) in teaching than others or have reached higher technical levels of diving than others. Is there a rating of clubs according to the excellence of their instructors anywhere in the internet abyss? Maybe there is an unofficial but widely supported view about that?

    Again thank you for all the help!
    Steph

  9. #9
    Sorry for being a dick jb2cool's Avatar
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    I first did fundamentals with just 25 dives to my name, it stood me in good stead for future diving but it was really a bit too early for me as my buoyancy was a bit all over the place so I didn't get as much out of the course as I could have done if my buoyancy was a little better. If your buoyancy is vaguely in control then yes, it's a good course but GUE is not for everyone. It does have some specific kit requirements too so if this is vastly different to your kit then there will be some changes needed.

    Happy to chat to you offline to discuss further.

    The GUE-UK facebook group could be what you are after, there are plenty of people here that meet up at Wraysbury for skills practice and arrange other trips too, if you are considering GUE then this could be an easy way to get some info without committing to a full course.

  10. #10
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    Hi Steph,

    Welcome.

    London No 1. are out diving St Kilda this week. One of my club members is their expedition planner. You can be a member of more than one BSAC Branch.

    Visit all three London Branches you’ve mentioned and see which fits your needs.

    The level of instructor expertise is like any other activity there are good, bad and indifferent. Unlike the commercial world BSAC instructors dive with the people they train therefore they have a vested interest in teaching the best.


 
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