Archive for Diving Officer Column

A new Surrey Aquanauts’ year

Now that we’re into 2012, plans for the dive programme are set and published so please start thinking about those weekend dates that you’re available for and get your dives booked early to avoid disappointment.
We’ve continued last season’s strategy of trying to allow a single day’s diving to give people the choice of either doing one day or travelling on both days to try and keep the costs down rather than have to book accommodation as well.
As well as the tried and trusted destinations of Poole and Weymouth, this season we’re trying a new boat, the Emma Jane, out of Chichester.
There is also a full RIB programme so please get yourself on the RIB, particularly you new Ocean/Sport divers.  The Farnes trip on the Jubilee weekend is one to look forward to, great diving and lots of seals – bring those cameras.
On the training front, Steve and I are looking at running O2 and Boat Handling courses in the next couple of months – both excellent skills to acquire and the more of us that know how to use this essential equipment and drive the boat the better for all of us.  Bonz is manfully continuing his crusade to get everyone into Vobster, either training or being trained.
Since my last article, we’ve had a couple of new members; David and Ash who are Ocean Divers getting their qualifications up to Sport for their DoE award.
There are also two or three who have been for try dives and are thinking of joining so we may have a few more by my next article.
I’m looking forward to seeing some of our senior divers come through their instructor training this year to take the pressure off the few that we have at the moment.  (Almost) finally, get yourselves down to the pool on 23rd February.
It’s games night and Chris Knights has devised some fiendishly clever games to test your skills.  It’s great fun so make sure you’re there.
Finally, as I said in my last article (and will say in my next) we will need a new DO in October so all you Advanced Divers out there, put yourself forward, please don’t leave it to the same old guard to fill the post.
It’s not that much of a burden and there are enough senior,  experienced members who will always help in a very constructive manner.
Keep up the training and start getting yourselves diving fit, there are only two months to go before the first scheduled RIB dive.
Nick G.

Training Success

There are only two weeks to our AGM, the “start” of Surrey Aquanauts’ year.  I still have to write my DO’s annual report and the event is close enough that I can feel panic nibbling at me.  On top of that, Hajo wants another update for the newsletter!  Doesn’t that boy know there are only so many words a DO can use?  From a purely selfish perspective we’ve had a good year; no major incidents (although we still have to get through Scapa, please be good guys) and for reasons that no-one can genuinely understand, lots of new members.  As we move into the autumn we have two new Ocean divers who have just started their lectures and pool sessions – welcome to Kerry McNamara and Mark Willott.  We have Ben and Andy getting their Sport open water dives in with the aim to be fully qualified by Christmas.  With Keith, Sonja, Phil and Darryl also well into their training that’s eight new members to get onto boats next season.  Speaking of next season, our Expedition Officers are awaiting confirmation from the various skippers on availability before the schedule is published.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before they’re able to.
I have no doubt that our Chair will raise this but I will as well.  We’re looking for Committee members for the coming year, it would be good if we could get some new branch members putting themselves forward.  My thanks again to all those who have given so much of their time this season to dive trip planning, diver training, coxing and maintaining the RIB, dive managing etc and whose efforts have generally made my responsibilities as DO a fairly painless experience.  The bad news is that I’m standing for DO again next year to complete my allowed 3 year term and at the moment am standing unopposed.  This time next year we’ll be looking for a new DO so all you senior divers out there, start contemplating putting yourselves forward.
Nick

Rubbish summer but a lot of Qualifications

Summer seems to be behind us as I write this; it’s grey, wet and windy and feels more like late November than early September.  The diving season is starting to wind down when at times it never felt as if it took off properly, so poor has the weather been this year.  If the diving has been poor then the effort that has been put into training for quite a large number of new members has been exemplary.  Looking at the logs for the year there are a lot more dives in places like Wraysbury, Vobster and Swanage than usual.  We’ve had quite a few new members join us this year which has made serious demands on the small group of instructors in the club.  I know I’ve raised this before but I’m going to do so again – please would all those who are partially qualified, get their training finished so that we have a wider pool of instructors to call on.  Some of you had your course paid for by the club and have a moral obligation to either return the money to the club and keep enjoying your diving or to complete the training and start helping the instructors out; lecture over.
In August we almost had a full house of new qualifications; congratulations to Lizzie (Ocean Diver), James (Sport Diver) and Christian (Dive Leader).  In July we also had what we believe is our fastest Ocean Diver qualification; Phil who completed his qualification in 6 weeks, before going diving in Cuba.  I’d also like to welcome Darryl  who’s working towards Sport Diver; Keith and Sonja who should have Ocean Diver under their belts soon and Andy  and Ben who’ve joined us with just their Sport open water dives to qualify so we have six potential Sport divers to get ready for next season.
The dive programme for next year has been drafted and Paul & Brian are waiting for responses from the skippers on weekend availability.  The single day dives seem to have been popular this year so we’re going for more of those next year.  As well as our tried and trusted boats out of Weymouth, Brighton and Poole, we’re trying a new boat out of Selsey and looking at a long weekend trip to the Farnes as we haven’t done that for many years.  If you like seals, that’s the place to go.
My thanks to all those who have given so much of their time this season to dive trip planning, diver training, coxing and maintaining the RIB, dive managing etc and whose efforts have generally made my responsibilities as DO a fairly painless experience.  Here’s to an autumn and winter of training and hopefully a few more instructors for next year (OK, I lied about the lecture being over).
Nick

A curious year for diving

Hi all,

This has been a curious year for diving; for me, I won’t get into the Channel until August because all previously booked weekends have been blown out. By August we should all be dive fit and relaxed in the water but the weather has limited opportunities for many of us. I make this point because it’s easy to get on a boat this month in a spell of bright weather and forget that a first dive in August is just as challenging as one in April or May. However benign the weather it’s still UK water and we need to be prepared to deal with difficulties.

We’ve a lot of new members going through varying stages of training and I’d really like to thank all the instructors for all the work they’ve put into this. I’d also like to ask the assistant and club instructors to make an effort to get fully qualified and take the pressure off the small group who always take the responsibility of training.

Hopefully we’ll get clear enough weather for the next couple of months so we can get in the water more regularly. While I’m on that theme can I ask all dive managers to get the logs into me please, I know there are several weekends outstanding and I don’t want to be faced with a mountain of dive sheets to input to my spreadsheet all at once.

Regards,

Nick

 

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