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“Hey you guys!”

Discussion in 'Member Introductions' started by B€N, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. B€N

    B€N New Member

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    Hello all at UKDivers forum.

    Right then - typical reader rather than poster but will try my best! I’m here to get advice, gain valuable and priceless information and hopefully meet a few diving buddies along the way.

    Not sure how much I can contribute as relatively new to diving (experience wise) but wanted to do the honourable thing and introduce myself as I’m not on Facebook so haven’t really interacted with any fellow divers via social media (other than watching Sam’s endless videos on Simply Scuba’s YouTube channel!).

    In terms of diving experience and how I’ve got in to it, I’ve always spent hours snorkelling while on holiday, got a great fascination with the deep blue and did a couple of try dives in Mexico and the Red Sea a good few years back so finally did my Open Water in 2016. I managed to squeeze it in before a holiday to Lanzarote so did the theory and confined space with my local dive centre then did the referral route for the open water dives while away. Fell in love with the sport, especially being able to momentarily switch off and hide away from the stresses of everyday life!

    Completed my AOW last year, again, squeezed in before a holiday then did the adventure dives while back in Lanzarote. Absolutely blown away by deep, wreck and especially night diving so can’t wait to get more of that drug!

    I’ve not dived at all in the UK and as much as I was hoping I’d have been able to dive regularly, I’ve struggled to make the time, hence one of the reasons I’m here!

    I’m yet to complete my dry suit training but will definitely be doing it this summer so I can start diving our own shores! Capenwray and Stoney Cove are roughly around 1hr 50 and 1hr 10 minutes away from me so hoping to gain some experience in both, sooner rather than later also.

    I’ve managed to get quite a bit of kit together and after extensive research, think I’ve made some decent choices but again, one of the reasons I’ve found myself here is for advice and recommendations so will also hopefully be able to return the favour at some point.

    Anyway, another reason I fell in love with diving is that it stops me rambling on! I’m completely new to this forum malarkey as well so if I’ve gone ‘overboard’, please someone tell me to wind it back a few paragraphs!

    Thanks anyway and Hi! once again.

    Ben
     
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  2. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ben - I followed a similar path about three years ago. After AOW, I decided that moving to BSAC would give me more opportunities to dive in the UK. At that point, AOW is regarded as their lowest qualification, Ocean Diver and I took their next, Sports Diver which goes over AOW skills in more detail and prepares you better for UK waters. Instructors are volunteers and the training takes longer than PADI.
    I am in the Hartford club, which, sounds about half an hour South of you. They are active in training and friendly and dive regularly in Eccy Delph and Capernwray and further afield. Anglesey is the nearest salt water. If you are interested, PM me and I'll give you contact details.
     
    B€N likes this.
  3. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    Nice introduction, welcome Ben. Ask anything you like, we like to help but sometimes this means you may get conflicting advice
     
    B€N likes this.
  4. B€N

    B€N New Member

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    Hi John,

    Thanks for replying and for the info.

    I briefly got chatting to a volunteer at my local dive club when I did a refresher with them last year. He’s a tech diver and I think quite highly trained with BSAC. Some of the things he was telling me sounded a lot more comprehensive and thorough compared to PADI and to be honest I’d been meaning to look it up. I think he’d have gone in to further detail but got the impression he felt at liberty to watch his words, being a volunteer at a PADI dive school and all!

    I’m definitely going to look in to it as my next goal was to get the Rescue Diver grade under my belt so maybe flipping to BSAC would be a better option. I’ve not really set a mark at which I wish to stop with my training as I’ve just seen it as the better I can get at diving and the more experience I gain, the better (and more) time I’m going to have in the water and also happy in the knowledge knowing I could be at hand to help any fellow divers should the requirement be there. I’ve got 2 daughters that want to get in to diving so I definitely want to be well experienced and at a more confident level when they are in the water with me.

    I’ve just had a quick look at BSAC dive clubs around my local area and can’t believe how many there are. One of the downsides I’ve found with PADI is that there’s literally only one club in my area.

    Thanks also for the heads up on Eccy Delph, just looked it up and didn’t even know it was there! It’s an hour away from me so very handy. Cheers. Forum proving useful already as I’d never heard of Vobster either and I spend a lot of time in Bristol which isn’t far from there. The place looks amazing.

    Thanks John, appreciate the advice.
     
  5. B€N

    B€N New Member

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    Thanks JB. I guess at least conflicting advice explores all options! Pretty sure there’s a saying about opinions and everyone having one! :D
     
  6. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    Glad to help - BSAC has a lot of choices for further training - I did first aid for divers, for instance. As well as getting an idea as to how you could manage a casualty on a RIB, the majority of the course would be equally useful at home or around. Follow-on is Oxygen delivery that I will do when offered.
    If you go BSAC, you need to get a good look at the club - I have contacted a number that had long-term members and no further training, a second that tried but with their training in chaos and, finally, my current one that is organised and enthusiastic.
     
    B€N likes this.
  7. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Hi Ben, welcome to the forum.

    Ignore @jb2cool's comment, he's wrong ;)

    UK diving's quite different from warm-water diving. A half-decent (i.e. dry) drysuit is essential for comfortable diving and will extend your diving year. Sure, people used to dive in wetsuits all the time in the UK, but at the cost of loss of comfort and convenience.

    Clubs really are a good way of getting diving. The commercial clubs, i.e. PADI clubs, are OK, but it's about the flow of money you bring to them, so they'll flog you loads of 'speciality courses'. Clubs, typically BSAC or other similar agencies, will often do those skills for free or as part of the more comprehensive Sports Diver course.

    Aside from the speciality courses, there's only really three PADI courses for recreational diving: Open Water, Additional Open Water and Rescue Diver. The rest of their courses are about "professional courses" such as shop assistant (aka DiveMaster) or instructor courses.

    Once you've gained experience in recreational diving, there's a future awaiting you with technical diving -- so much kit, so much money... This allows you to get to the deeper wrecks, exceed the NDLs, or maybe venture underground. The world's your lobster as it were.
     
  8. B€N

    B€N New Member

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    Hi Wibble,

    Thanks for the welcome and also your advice.

    Dry suit aspect of things is part of my plan for this summer. It has been for the last couple of years to be honest - just need to make more of an effort to find the time.

    How you describe PADI is exactly the experience I’ve had with them regarding the commercial and up-selling aspect. Love the ‘shop assistant’ comment!

    I’ve not really looked in to tech diving too much at the minute being at the stage I’m at but it’s definitely something I’d like to aim for. Deeper wrecks and (deep) cave diving is something that interests the hell out of me from photos and videos I’ve seen from a few pages I follow on Instagram.

    Cheers.

    Ben
     
  9. B€N

    B€N New Member

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    Thanks John. I’ll do a bit of research and see what my options are regarding a BSAC club. All else fails - I’ll be in touch and make the journey to you! Think your club is around 45 minutes away from me.
     
  10. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    I'm about the same distance away, although I only go to club nights at the pool if there's something to sort out. A dry suit with undersuit in a 25 degree pool is like a Turkish bath. For retirees like me, there is a dive on Wednesday every week or so at Eccy or Capernwray.
     
  11. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Well-Known Member
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    Hello Ben.

    Possibly echoing what the others have said, but now you’ve got a bit of a foundation I’d head straight down to the local BSAC club (do a little asking around first, some clubs are shite) and get on their next Sports Diver programme. In time it might also be worth looking at some of the more general courses that focus on skills like buoyancy, trim fun awareness from some of the more technically orientated agencies.

    Don’t do a dry suit speciality course. Someone at your new club can sort you out I’m sure. I taught my daughter to use a drysuit, so ignore the bollocks and ensure you can mess around somewhere nice and shallow until you’re a little more comfortable.

    Be good to get your girls into it. Mine qualified two years ago and loves it. Still haven’t managed to get her into the UK sea though.

    No need to rush into ‘technical’ diving or even have it as a goal - some of us will never be technical divers and are just happy being in the water; keeping it simple without any big aspirations.
     
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  12. B€N

    B€N New Member

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    More great advice so thanks. BSAC here I come!

    Has your daughter gone straight down the BSAC route? Until joining this forum, I’d have enrolled mine with PADI, more so because I was looking at my eldest (12) doing something while we’re away in August and the dive company (PADI) I’ve been using in Lanzarote are brilliant and really relaxed.

    I’ll look in to what BSAC have to offer in terms of buoyancy and trim as although I did it as part of my Advanced Open Water - I felt it was barely touched on and I definitely want to perfect it. I struggled a little the last time I was in a pool but then felt I had it pretty nailed when I was in the sea. I know it will be different again when I get in fresh water and obviously different in a dry suit so I’ll take your advice and get practicing. I was reading on here last night about perfecting buoyancy, techniques and things to try so again, all useful stuff.

    Cheers.
     
  13. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    TC has it spot on :)
    Sport Diver is the way to go big time, has so much you'll need for UK diving and yes that includes drysuit.

    Technical diving is often touted as a goal, when in reality the only goal is what you need for right now :)
     
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  14. B€N

    B€N New Member

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    Thanks Tel - just on BSAC’s website as we speak!

    I know what you’re saying about goals - one step at a time and all that! When I first started diving 3 years ago, I expected to have a lot more dives under my belt by now but in reality, I just haven’t found the time - or the people to go with either to be honest. Definitely found that my local dive school is geared around selling courses more than anything else, as Wibble has previously mentioned PADI always seem to be. Never managed to see the same people twice who I’d want to dive with outside of a pool and it’s always absolute chaos with them damn new divers!

    Goal for the immediate is just getting more regular dives in, perfecting buoyancy and in turn improving confidence. I’m confident enough but also realise my limitations and ability. I’ve only dived with a guide/instructor which suits me at the minute but definitely want to get to the point where I’m not just tagging along!
     
  15. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    The club I'm in trains a lot of youngsters - they start by snorkelling until they are old enough to start diving proper. Looks like a lot of fun. Wish I'd started at that age, but you can't turn back the clock.:(
     
  16. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Well-Known Member
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    My daughter qualified with SSI originally due to her age when she started (11) and the fact that we had a decent SSI kids school very close to home. She’ll probably do the SSI equivalent to AOW when we are on holiday and then crossover into Sports Diver when a little bigger.

    I know a few that have gone straight to BSAC with the snorkelling etc and it’s working for them very well, so just have a good look at your local options and take it from there.
     
  17. Vanny

    Vanny Active Member

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    My 2 kids are sports divers now but we started them on a PADI ow course on hols. That was enough to begin , only took a few days and in the sun , warm water etc was easier on them.
     
  18. NickPicks

    NickPicks Active Member

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    BSAC clubs will take trainees from the age of 12 upwards. I expect some clubs shy away from teaching younger kids, but ours has certainly taught 13 year olds in the past, and we currently have a couple of 14 year olds training (for Ocean Diver and Sports Diver).

    I did the Buoyancy and Trim workshop SDC last year and found it very useful (and managed to reduce my weight by 2kg). It included theory lessons and a couple of dives with task loading and holding stops. (and I'm still practicing it to be honest).
     
  19. B€N

    B€N New Member

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    Likewise John - the confidence my girls have got when snorkelling in the sea with me is what I only started doing when I was over twice their ages! Beats them staring at a screen all the time as well.
     
  20. B€N

    B€N New Member

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    Thanks TC. I’m going make a few enquiries this weekend. I’d never given anything other than PADI a thought for my daughters but then I’d never really anticipated going down any other road for myself either before joining this forum so I’ll have a good look at the different options.
     

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