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Regional Expedition Diving Scheme

Why have a Regional Expedition Diving Scheme?

While BSAC trains Advanced Divers, and introduces many new skills such as chartwork, position fixing, dive planning & marshalling, and practical diving techniques, often these skills are not utilised again. It is recognised that BSAC offers excellent training but subsequently poor opportunity to practice the more advanced diving techniques learned. Adventurous divers are having to look elsewhere in their hunt for challenges.

In addition, past Advanced Diver, there is currently no formal avenue through which to gain the practical skills required to attempt the First Class Practical Preparation. It is true that First Class Divers develop over time, and one cannot train to be one in a single weekend, but the lack of opportunities to hone advanced skills make the job of becoming a First Class Diver even more difficult. 

The Proposed Solution 

The BSAC Expedition Scheme is well established, and has now been expanded to provide Regional Expedition Diving Schemes (REDS). These will be led by Regional Co-ordinators, who have been tasked to organise adventurous expeditions and interesting projects. 

The intention is to provide locally organised projects which will be open to Advanced Divers (and above).

These might be a series of dives with a specific objective, perhaps to achieve an ambitious task. Tasks or projects may even be of benefit to the whole diving community or the general public. 

Aims and Objectives 

While led regionally, it is hoped that REDS will develop co-operatively. Liaising with local expertise, gathering advice, and listening to proposals will be a major part of the co-ordinators job. Those members interested in the scheme will work together in the selection and planning process in order to organise the projects and expeditions that will make up the scheme. 

Members will learn from each other, experience good diving practices, improve their leadership, planning and marshalling skills, develop their own diving skills and, for some, it will provide an incentive to complete their Advanced Diver training. The scheme does have some specifically focused objectives:

  • Use the skills learned by the participating BSAC Advanced Divers
  • Provide projects and expeditions to develop and enhance First Class Diver skills
  • Provide a training ground for prospective First Class Divers or National Instructors
  • Set up progressive training programmes when required to achieve specific projects

It is important that the scheme communicates openly and regularly with its member branches. It is hoped that this can be via branch meetings, and the regional and national web sites and magazines.

The BSAC Expeditions Scheme

REDS is complimentary to the BSAC Expeditions Scheme. The Expeditions Scheme generally caters for more extended periods of time, from 7 to 10 days, at more distant locations such as The Scillies, St Kilda, and other areas in North-West Scotland. Most expeditions also offer the opportunity to take some of the more advanced SDC’s onboard, such as Advanced Diving Techniques, Dive Planning and Marshalling, Chartwork and Position Fixing and a Combined Nitrox Course as part of the trip. A few expeditions are restricted to Advanced Divers, but many are open to Sports Divers and Dive Leaders.

Find out more by contacting Jenny Smith-Hughes at BSAC HQ on 0151 350 6259.

Notes of Caution

REDS will be “open”, and ALL Advanced divers are invited to join and participate. REDS will be non-profit making, but all participants will be expected to cover diving costs incurred.

REDS is not designed to replace Branch diving, but to provide opportunities for Advanced Divers and First Class candidates to develop their skills when this cannot be easily achieved within their branches.

Expeditions organised under REDS will adhere to the current BSAC recommendations and safe diving practices. Those participating will require current BSAC diving membership and a valid medical. The use of rebreathers and other specialist technical equipment will follow current BSAC recommendations.

Each REDS group will have an agreed policy on conservation. The laws regarding the recovery of wreck will be followed, and all recovered wreck will be reported to the Receiver of Wreck.

REDS is a Diving Scheme, not an Instructional Scheme and, as such, Instructor qualifications are not necessary. However, advanced or first class divers who are also advanced instructors are particularly welcome on the scheme, and it is hoped that they can pass on some of their hard-earned knowledge and experience to other members. Open Water instructors who are considering the Advanced Instructor examination may obtain benefit by participating in order to fine-tune their own diving skills.

Diving is an adventure sport and like all adventure sports its participants require differing levels of enjoyment and challenge. At one extreme we have the equivalent of the Himalayan mountaineer who, in peak condition accepts the challenge of new routes and exploration. At the other extreme we have the equivalent of the weekend summer climber who potters around on popular well-climbed rock faces. What is safe diving for the former may well be very perilous for the latter. Dives organised will therefore be very mindful of the experience levels of all participants.

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So what sort of diving will REDS provide? The objectives for the scheme have been clearly outlined, and so to achieve them we must provide interesting and adventurous diving for advanced divers and potential first class divers.

We teach our Club Divers that “adventurous diving” includes deeper diving, wreck diving, drift diving, and night diving, amongst others, and it would be realistic to arrange dives in these categories that are both challenging and achievable for advanced divers.

We also wish to develop the skills of the advanced diver, and provide practice for the prospective first class candidate. As such, exercises in wreck or marine life surveying, searches and recoveries, lifting and dropping, erecting training platforms, or laying navigation practice courses, may all prove to be appropriate objectives.

It is not our intention to merely organise a series of dives of the type that are normally, and regularly, put on by branches within the region. If your branch frequently arranges deep wreck dives, then you don’t need a regional scheme to do that for you as well. However, if your branch doesn’t, and you want to do this sort of diving on a regular basis, it may be that we can use REDS as a sort of clearing-house to put divers in contact with organisers, either other branches or commercial skippers, of such dives where spare places may be available.

REDS does not aim to replace either the BSAC Expedition scheme, or overseas holidays that your branches may organise. REDS outings are most likely to take place within the region, a day at a time, or at diving locations within a sensible travelling distance for standard or long weekends. Some skill development exercises may be appropriately undertaken in sheltered water or inland sites.

REDS has no diving resources of its own, so we will inevitably use commercial hardboats sometimes, and (hopefully) the club RIBs of participating members at other times.

Interested ?

At this point, I'm not looking to fill any trips, just finding people who would like to get involved with organising or participating in the events.  You don't have to have organised expeditions before; we'll give you all the help you'll need. I promise you, each dive will have a purpose, be 'project' based, good fun, and a learning experience to boot!

If you're interested, then please send me the following information, by mail or email, and I will contact you with details of our initial meetings.

  • Name,
  • Address,
  • Telephone,
  • Fax,
  • Email
  • Age,
  • Highest Diving and Instructional Qualifications,
  • Number of years diving,
  • Number of dives done

I look forward to hearing from you.

This page was last updated on : 01 Jun 2011

Dave Culver
REDS Co-ordinator

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