At what age can someone start diving?

Divers must be over the age of twelve years to enrol in a BSAC course. The exception to this is the BSAC Discovery Diver course, for which a diver must be over the age of ten years.

How long does it take to qualify as a new BSAC diver?

The time it takes to qualify as a diver depends on several factors. A BSAC Ocean Diver trainee must complete their theory lessons and sit a theory exam. A trainee must also complete a minimum of five sessions in the pool and show that they are competent and confident in the water. These two steps can take several weeks, as each session lasts about an hour and our club meets for roughly an hour or two per a week.

Moving to open water, a trainee must complete a series of practical lessons, again demonstrating their competence and confidence in various underwater skills. As all of our instructors are volunteers, we cannot guarantee that they will be available to teach you at the time that you request. You may also need time to look for certain items of equipment to hire or purchase e.g. a drysuit or to attend to other commitments.

All of the above will be affected by how far, and how quickly, a trainee progresses in the course. Some trainees pick up skills with ease, pass their exams with flying colours and can’t wait to get into open water. Other trainees need time to work on skills, prepare for their exams and balance their passion for learning to dive with other commitments in their lives.

All in all, a BSAC Ocean Diver course could take a number of weeks and months to complete.

What’s the difference between BSAC and PADI?

The British Sub Aqua Club is a non-profit organisation. It is a membership association, awarding internationally-recognised courses in scuba diving. Almost all BSAC instructors are volunteers.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors is a company. PADI also offers internationally-recognised courses in scuba diving. Its instructors are paid; some instruct for a living.

Can BSAC divers go diving with PADI divers?

Yes, and vice-versa. Anyone with a BSAC or PADI qualification has an internationally-recognised certification to scuba dive. This means that BSAC divers can go diving with PADI divers (and vice-versa) whether in the UK or abroad. But it is important to note that each diver must dive according to the practices and limits of their respective qualification.

Can I join a BSAC branch or dive with BSAC divers if I have qualified with PADI or another diving organisation?

Yes. If you qualified with another organisation, you are welcome to join our branch, or another branch of BSAC. See this page on the BSAC website to find out more about joining BSAC. You can also find out the BSAC equivalent of your qualification here. Please note that club membership fees are not waived for divers who qualified elsewhere.

Do you teach non-BSAC courses?

No. Some of our instructors are qualified to instruct courses outside BSAC, but our club only teaches BSAC courses.

Fitness to dive

How fit to I need to be to dive?

All divers in the UK must declare their own fitness to dive. If a diver answers “yes” to any of the conditions listed on this document, they are advised to speak to a medical referee, who will give their professional opinion on the diver’s fitness to dive. This may require an examination in person.

Divers do not need to be in tip-top physical condition to dive, but it is clear that a good level of fitness will help deal with the ordinary requirements of diving. Being dehydrated, drunk, hungover, exhausted, anxious or otherwise badly out of shape are conducive to neither a safe nor enjoyable experience.

Generally, we expect club members to be fit enough to swim several lengths of an ordinary swimming pool without stopping to rest.

Could I speak to you about my health?

You can, but we will not be able to give you proper advice on whether you are fit to dive or not. This can only come from a medical referee. You can find out more about medical referees from the UK Diving Medical Committee. The UKDMC’s website features a list of approved medical referees.

Can my GP approve my fitness to dive?

Your GP can offer their professional opinion on your health and any conditions that would relate to diving, just as they would offer their opinion on your health when it comes to any other sport or pastime. However, professional approval of fitness to dive must come from a recognised medical referee. Please consult a member of the UK Diving Medical Committee.


How do I join the Coventry Sub Aqua Club?

Please write to us to arrange a visit to our club at one of our weekly meetings. You are free to meet club members and get a sense of the club before signing up. If you want to give diving a go before signing up to learn, please ask about a try-dive. If you’re set on joining our club, please ask to speak with our Treasurer or Membership Secretary.