Club History

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Our club became a BSAC branch in 1958 and was designated branch 58 so we have been around for a long time. In 2008 we celebrated our 50th anniversary by doing a Mexican wave with divers jumping into Stoney Cove.

Historically things have changed a lot over the years as some of our founder members would tell us, one current member started diving on the formation of the branch!!

In the early days dry suits did not exist and wet suits were made to measure by ourselves by ordering neoprene and hopefully cutting to size and sticking together and then adding a posh yellow strip of material to cover the glued seems.

In those days it was perfectly acceptable to grab/plunder anything of remote interest off wrecks and there are now some of the older retired members with portholes in pride of place in their front rooms!
Spear fishing was the name of the game before it became “unfair” to take fish using SCUBA although breath holding dives were common place as the training regime was more robust in those days and continued to be for quite a number of years.

Then all training was done on Twin Hose regulators and SLJ’s (Service Life Jackets) and you weighted for the expected depth you were going to dive to.

For those who remember the tests were alphabetically i.e. A, B, C, D, E and F. All of these were completed in the pool except D which was open water snorkelling tasks.

Grades have changed over the years as has equipment and techniques. In the early days it could take up to 6 months just to qualify as a Snorkel Diver!

Before the advent of Police Search and Recovery teams the branch was asked on a number of occasions to search for missing people in the local rivers.

Now we all use the latest kit but some of the “old school” will remember the ABLJ (Adjustable Buoyancy Life Jacket) which in the early version had no direct feed so needed to be inflated during the dive orally to adjust your buoyancy.

Skills and equipment have changed hugely and now we all dive with high capacity cylinder, BCD’s , high tech single hose regulators with an AAS, dive computers and hopefully non leaking dry suits although with a plethora of ancillary bits and pieces.

On a final note one of our original members was even unable to swim when he first joined but went on to hold a number of Committee posts before he became an Honary member and hung up his ABLJ, Twin Hose and Jet Fins!

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