Dacorum Sub Aqua Club
This page describes the diving the club does.
The Club's diving
DS-AC is very much an all-rounder's club. We believe in variety - there is a great variety of sites, styles of diving and things to see and do underwater.
To give you an idea of what sort of diving we do:
- We dive from RIBs, hardboats, live aboards and the shore.
- We do all sorts of diving: wreck, scenic, drift, night, cold water, warm water, deep and shallow.
- Some people use still or video cameras
- We do remote British and European sites as well as tropical diving.
- We have 25 nitrox trained divers, we have a small band of trimix divers and rebreather divers.
The club encourages members to have a go at all types of diving.
We welcome divers trained by other organisations.
As a BSAC club, one of our strengths is that our training and our reason for existence is to dive the seas around the British Isles.
Diving safety is given top priority in the Club.
One committee member, the Diving Officer, is responsible for ensuring the safety of all dives. The Diving Officer does this by:
- making sure the qualifications and experience of the divers on a trip match the planned diving
- appointing a suitably qualified Dive Marshal to supervise each trip
- checking the quality of courses run by the club
- validating the award of diving qualifications
- checking the skills and experience of new members
Diving is carried out following the Safe Diving Practices and other BSAC recommendations.
We have two oxygen first aid kits. One for our club RIB and one for other dive trips.
Training and Qualification System
We operate a system of training and qualifications that ensures that people get training appropriate to the type of diving we do and that everyone understands the limits to each diver's skill and experience.
See the Diving Qualifications, Training and the Instructor pages.
Although the main reason most members join the club is to dive around the coast of the British Isles, the club visits a wide range of dive sites.
As we live far from the coast, we have to be fairly organised in making arrangements to go diving. We rarely travel less than 100 miles to launch sites at the sea, so, trips are arranged weeks in advance and often planned in detail well before the first day of diving.
What is a dive trip?
A dive trip may last from a day to a week or more. Here are some of the types of trips we organise:
- RIB (rigid hull inflatable boat) diving
RIB trips are demanding and energetic because we arrange and do everything ourselves. As we have the freedom to do exactly what we want on a RIB trip, they can be adventurous and interesting.
We research and plan the dives sites, navigation and tides. We launch and drive the boat. We locate the site - often not an easy task. Finally, we decide on dive pairs and keep a watch, in turn, on the boat, while each pair dives.
See some photos of RIB diving trips.
This sort of diving typically costs £30+ per day. The costs of air, food, accommodation and travel to the launch site are extra.
We generally hire a day boat for a weekend. The boat has a skipper who takes care of driving the boat and locating the dive site. On these trips divers can concentrate on diving and leave the strain of running the boat to the crew.
Normally, we tell the the skipper what sites we want to dive. He advises us if the weather or tides on the day make sites undesirable. We decide on dive pairs. All pairs dive at around the same time, going in at one or two minute intervals. The skipper, who is experienced in dealing with divers, keeps a watch on us while we are underwater.
This sort of diving typically costs £35+ per day. The costs of air, food, accommodation and travel to the launch site are extra.
We have hired live-aboards for seven days at a time in places like the Red Sea, Channel Islands, Normandy beaches, Baltic and the Hebrides. The boat has a crew which takes care of operating the boat, navigating and cooking. All the divers have to do is get up in the morning and dive. Often we do pre-breakfast dives! The divers don't have to walk more than a few steps to get into their diving equipment. That easy diving!
Normally, we tell the the skipper what sites we want to dive. He advises us if the weather or tides on the day make sites undesirable. We decide on dive pairs. All pairs dive at around the same time, going in at one or two minute intervals. The crew, which is experienced in dealing with divers, keeps a watch on us while we are underwater.
This sort of diving typically costs £75+ per day. The costs of drinks and travel to the launch site are extra.
We dive from the shore at sites like Chesil beach or St Abbs. This type of diving can be simple, cheap and quick to organise. Many shore dives are spectacular and well worth a try especially in the middle of summer.
We dive in pairs, in turn, leaving experienced people on shore to keep watch.
See some photos of shore diving trips.
This sort of diving typically costs nothing. The costs of air, food, accommodation and travel to the launch site are extra.
- shore diving at inland sites
Sites such as Stoney Cove, Guildenburgh, Wraysbury and Blue Lagoon are convenient and easy to reach. They are often used for training and winter diving.
See the Map page to find out how to get to these sites.
We dive in pairs, in turn, leaving experienced people on shore to keep watch.
This sort of diving typically costs £5 to £10 per day. The costs of air, food, accommodation and travel to the launch site are extra.
When abroad on holiday you can often dive with the local resort dive operator or dive school. They are often expensive and more restrictive than we are used to. Often they have good reason for being so. They may ask you to:
- do a check dive (to see you have the basic skills)
- dive with a guide
- do two dives in the morning (with little interval between them)
- observe depth and deco limits (very wise if there is no decompression chamber nearby)
- use a low volume cylinder (for example 10 litre)
See some photos of a resort dive trip.
This sort of diving typically costs £25+ per dive. It is essential to bring evidence of your diving qualification and medical. It is a good idea to bring your own equipment except for weights and cylinders.
Here are some typical extra costs:
- air : £2 to £4 per dive depending on size. Beware of twin sets - twin 7 litre cylinders often cost twice as much to fill as a 15 litre cylinder. Nitrox is generally twice the price. Trimix and other mixtures are many time this price.
- accommodation : typically £12 to £25 per person per night for B&Bs, £50 ppn for hotels, £5 ppn for camping
- travel to the launch site : varies widely depending on whether you are flying to the Red Sea, towing a boat to the north of Scotland or driving to Littlehampton.
How much diving do we do?
Each year, collectively, we do between 900 to 1,200 dives. As is common in many clubs, there is a hard core of about a quarter of the members who do half of the dives.
Most training dives take place in the 6m to 20m range. They generally happen in freshwater sites like Stoney Cove and Guildenburgh or in sheltered sea water sites like Chesil Cove or Portland harbour. See the map and launch sites pages for the locations of these sites.
With hardboat and RIB diving we generally do 2 dives a day, depending on the tides, weather and site:
- The first is likely to be in the 25m to 35m range. 40+m dives happen occasionally.
- In the past, only a couple of handfuls of 50m dives were done each year. Now we have trimix and rebreather divers, so the number of 50m+ dives will increase.
- The second dive of the day is likely to be in the 15m to 25m range.
With live aboards and shore diving, you dive as much or as little as you want - say between one and four times a day.