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What makes a good dive club?

Discussion in 'General Scuba Diving' started by clique, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. clique

    clique Active Member

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    Being in two minds about whether I'm going to renew my BSAC membership, as my local club isn't really working out for me - what actually makes a good dive club?

    From a facilities point of view, the heart (or lungs) of the club lies in the gas facilities. What I value most from a club is the ability to fill my cylinders when I want, with what I want. So, Compressor, Oxygen, Helium and associated hosing and analysers. My previous club were able to offer all this, and a membrane compressor with 24/7 access so this can be done!

    Like minded divers, a difficult one as what I want will be different to what you want! So without getting bogged down on the detail, I'd like to be able to find enough people interested in the type of diving I want to do, to allow me to do it.

    So, over to the great unwashed... if Carlsberg made dive clubs, what would they be like?
     
  2. Big Joe

    Big Joe Active Member

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    All of the above plus a fully staffed free hard boat with lift, guaranteed vis and they pay you to join.
     
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  3. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    There's as many reasons as there are people in the club. Lots will fall into certain categories depending where they are in their diving career:
    • Training - newbies join clubs to get trained
    • Access to expensive kit - gas
    • Go diving
    • Meeting like-minded people - could be beginners with beginners; techies with techies; instructors with instructors
    • Buddies to train with
    • Learn new skills - could be learning how to teach, could be improving skills, moving down a new topic (SM, CCR, Tech)
    • Sense of belonging - some people just like clubs
    Some clubs are all-rounders; some are narrow; some like tech, some like rec...
     
  4. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    The club I'm a member of is small and has basically no facilities, but it is cheap! £20 for the year on top of the BSAC fees - but we have good trainers who are willing to train, and it allows us to choose what diving we want to do and where, so we're often on charters etc. BSAC membership allows access to their training program and SDCs, which I like, and we have shared access to pools etc., for training. Really we're in the "meet like minded people and go diving camp". Off to Weymouth and Portland in a month or so...
     
  5. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Personally, I've never found a club that suits me - with the exception of UK Divers.

    They've all been too focussed on basic training or recreational diving. OK, could well be me, but that's their problem :couchpotato:
     
  6. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    I feel the same.

    I just can't see what I'd get out of paying club fees.
    Would I do any more diving? Unlikely.
    Would I use the gas shed? Possibly, but location plays a big part. My local(ish) club has a compressor but no O2 or He and the fees total around £200 per year. Given that the only time I use tyre gas is in my suit inflate bottle, that's not good VFM for me.
    Meeting likeminded people? People like me don't tend to have the club mentality, so that's a no.

    I think I've been very lucky in that I've found likeminded people mostly through UKD (or as a result of a UKD meet), so I don't need to search hard for buddies.
     
  7. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Nah it's your problem :p

    A club only remains solvent if the membership is sufficient to keep it running and they wont do that if
    it's no good, so by defination ANY club that is still running is good :)

    However that doesnt mean the club is good for you and me as what we want out of it can differ a lot.
    So yes one club might be bad in that they don't do what you or I want, but good in they do exactly
    what the current membership want.

    So if the club (and it's members) is happy it's not them with the problem, it's the punter that doesnt like
    it cause it doesnt do what he wants, that or he's not done his homework.

    Went to a gym near me, thought i'd checkout membership, but they are rubbish cause they don't do
    car servicing :( ............................. Sounds stupid, but that's the kind of logic we are using :)
     
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  8. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    I'll add a "responds to emails in a reasonable time". My endeavours to find a BSAC club are not going well. I thought the Holt based North Norfolk divers looked a possibility, but they haven't responded to my last update - yes, I know it is the off-season and it is Norfolk (I wonder where they get their gloves with five fingers.:whistling:). Just looked at their facilities and they have "a compressor", which doesn't sound good for my Nitrox.
     
  9. pitdiver

    pitdiver Active Member

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    as

    I had similar problem in my local area. I contacted two or three local BSAC clubs regarding some refresher training. More than happy to join and pay fees etc. Never heard from any of them. Seems they are not interested in new members. Seemed to reinforce my opinion that they are very Cliquey.

    In the end gave up the thought of getting back into diving and got rid of all my gear. I think Mrs PD feels the same although she has still got some her kit etc wetsuits.
    Furthermore I don't think this is any different at PADI based clubs. We went to the monthly meetings of one club and there was a distinct impression that we not really welcome.
    Oh well that's all in the past now I'm just happy to visit this forum occasionally to see what's going on.
     
  10. clique

    clique Active Member

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    Get your HSE Scuba then that could well become a reality ;)
     
  11. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Know that one well. They seemed to be interested in simple diving and going away on holiday. Definitely no skills development and a lot of piss taking about diving in puddles. Made a big thing about the pool nights, but never managed to be able to make it as it was always full with people doing OW, etc.

    Gave up in the end. "Joined" another club (or shop loyalty scheme) to get access to their cheap gas (free air & half price nitrox) which has saved me loads - twinset of 32% is £8.50. Their club nights are quite nice too and have seen a couple of presentations which was really interesting. Still struggle to find a tech-oriented group though, but that's where UKD comes in.
     
  12. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    I'm seriously considering it for 2018!!
     
  13. Iain Denham

    Iain Denham Active Member

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    Just cancelled my BSAC subscription and left the club, still go diving with them (and others) cant be bothered with the club thing, although I only had my PIE & TIE to do and I would be an instructor, but I think I would rather just go diving...
     
  14. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    TBH if you don't get enough of a kick out of teaching as an ADI/AOWI, then doing the TIE/PIE
    won't make a lot of difference as the die tends to be cast in the learning to teach stage.

    However the manner a club teaches and runs training dives can differ immensly and it can be
    that element and not the teaching itself that's at fault.

    I tend to advise to look back and think about the elements you enjoyed while being taught and
    what elements you enjoyed while teaching and if that's what you've been doing. If all you've been
    doing is other stuff you find is a chore then it's not surprising teaching has become negative
    as it's meant to be fun.
     
  15. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Come diving with us. We've got cookies. Well, those of us who play in overhead environments!

    Teaching can be fun, until it stops being fun. I used to teach, but feel that I did my time. Keep thinking how nice it would be to teach in warm, clear holiday locations. Then I realise how old and cynical I am.
     
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  16. furryman

    furryman hmmmm
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    More dive trips than curry/bowling/pub nights would be a start (and would rule out most of the BSAC clubs round here!)!!

    Dive clubs have a big problem on general, and that is the overall viability of the old model.

    Compressor? Nice to have. But given the maintenance/insurance/risks, the members who don't fill cylinders end up subsidising those who do fill cylinders (nothing is free in this world).

    Same logic applies to boats. The only fair way to make them viable is to charge a sensible per-dive fee.... in which case you might as well go out on a commercial boat and let someone else do the cleaning and maintenance.

    Club room: unless you are lucky enough to own your own premises and have exclusive use, then someone has to pay for that access. And that means competing with many other leisure activities, sharing space, and perhaps ending up with conflicting needs (we can't run a rescue/cpr training session on Thursday because Janine is running a mother-and-baby yoga class).

    Training: unless you have a captive, cash-poor audience (such as a Uni club), then you are going to be faced with competing against the commercial ticket-issuing bodies. And it's no good being told that "if you train with us we can give us a basic ticket that will allow you to dive in three-to-six months, maybe, assuming that Joe can arrange his shifts and Mary can get the weekend off to go up to Stoney for the open water sessions." when you are going on holiday to Antigua next month.

    We have moved to a pay-per-element model in the world. Look at Ryanair: but a seat, buy a flight, buy a meal, buy a drink, buy a printed ticket, buy space in the hold for your case, etc. Gone are the days of paying a fee and getting the whole package (including elements the you personally don't want, but are very important to Sid next door). Nowadays we buy just what we want, when we want it. And so the social element becomes more important: we want to be with people that are "like us". So the right club is the one that gives us those people, at the time we want them, at the price we want to pay. Anything else is an extra, and we pay for it at the time we consume it.

    And in the case of UKD, we don't even have to look at them to interact (antisocial bastards that we are).
     
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  17. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    Wibble said overhead environments... maybe that is the answer! (No one at my club will come to play with me...)
     
  18. becky9

    becky9 Diving bore!

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    Just a thought but maybe its the helmet ;) :D x
     
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  19. clique

    clique Active Member

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    So far with my brief time on the dive club committee, I've got part of the gas requirements sorted. They're in the club, mounted to the wall. Just sorting out payment to the club member who was 'going it alone'. Booster pump (driven off cylinder bank) & Trimix added to the club facilities.

    Cylinder Marking & gas analysis procedure being introduced. Club cylinders are now being filled, analysed and marked up correctly. With the hope that 'setting a good example' will trickle down to general membership, but really you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

    DBS checking our instructors - simple case of dotting i's and crossing t's.

    Talks arranged with Badger & @timmyg (Thank you again!). Hopefully should raise awareness of technical diving, or at least an opportunity to see what else is accessible to them?

    Is there anybody on here who's part of a club which has a lot of dives being organised? What's your secret formula?

    In my club, it seems that there are 2 pairs who're organising the diving. A couple who are putting on some interesting diving (UK liveaboards - Jersey & Shetlands this year, Norway & North Rona next with a couple of weekends away in Isle of May & Norfolk using one of the club RIBs). And a pair of mates (both on the committee) who've taken it upon themselves to organise a weekend a month using the club RIB doing 'local' diving out of Anglesey.

    My long weekend down to Swanage was met with zero interest - which is fair enough. I guess it's not the diving the general membership is interested in and also I'm quite new to the club.

    And a recent trip which went unfilled - advertisement was posted here. Given it was originally organised as a club trip, and there were only 3 members of the club who actually went... Something stinks!

    I think you've hit the nail on the head - times have changed and the old model doesn't fit anymore. Adapt or die?
     
  20. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Also, there's the issue of being tied to a club. Kind of like the idea of being able to flit around a bit and not feel tied to doing certain dives all the time.

    I'm fortunate to live close to the south coast, so if I joined a local club I'd probably have to make the effort of diving with them off the club rib. But with the increase in kit I lug around, this is getting less and less attractive when there's plenty of well-equipped hard boats with lifts and tea making facilities on board. Also they don't mind doing long dive times; RIB wallahs tend to do short non-deco dives.

    The other thing I've found is that there's not that many people in the clubs I've come in contact with who are willing to do a 350 mile round-trip in a day to dive in a quarry to improve their skills. For some reason we do this on here... Are we the mad ones?
     

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