When are Clubnights?

Our address

How to find us

Google Maps Interactive Map

what3words links

Streetmap Link

 

Do look us up on social media, follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 

When are Clubnights?

The club meets at the Clubhouse in Fort Widley every Monday and Thursday between 20:30hrs — 23:00hrs.

Clubhouse (2019)

With the events surrounding the current Coronavirus Pandemic:

The SSAC Committee is pleased to announce that the Club is now open for normal business. Whilst not mandatory, please remember to bring a face mask. The bar is open and it is great to get together and plan future dives with friends again!

At present, face-coverings are optional. Payments at the bar can be contactless or with cash.

Some shore diving is taking place, and a limited boat diving programme is now in operation. Check our Calendar and Facebook page for more information on our current activity.

 

Under normal conditions, we meet every week on Monday & Thursday nights between 20:30 and 23:00 hours, except for Bank Holidays and a few days around Christmas and New Year.

 

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Our Address is:

Southsea Sub Aqua Club
Fort Widley
Portsdown Hill Road
Purbrook
Portsmouth
Hants
PO6 3LS

 

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How to find us

Whilst a SatNav is useful, sometimes using just the postcode isn't enough. This information below may be of use for some people new to the area.

Entrance as seen from Portsdown Hill Road

The fort is situated along the B2177 with plenty of car parking in front. Entry to the club is via the fort's Eastern entrance. Please be aware that there is no lighting on the road at this point and there are no alternative lights at this junction. There are some lights outside the garages. Do be careful and extra vigilant when leaving as a number of cyclists and motorcyclists use the road at all times of the day.

The Club House itself is situated through the large green gate, round to the left, through the door next to the sign for the “Ladies Toilet” and the first door to the right.

Main entrance to Fort Widley

Please be aware that the large gate (shown in the open position above) at the entrance to the Fort is often locked at night. Please call one of the numbers on the Contact Us page and someone will open the gate for you. The gate needs to be kept closed to keep in any animals grazing around the fort and it is now locked at night.

 

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Google Maps Interactive Map

Note: If the google map above doesn't display, please update your browser or use a different one.

 

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what3words Links

what3words is a useful tool to find a spot anywhere on the planet using just 3 unique words for a 3m2 spot.

For the Clubhouse:  twin.soils.events

For parking, please use the car park in the area by the fencing/hedgerow:  reef.guides.pretty, then walk to the Clubhouse from there.

 

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Steetmap Link

Streetmap offers an alternative map (Streetmap) that some people prefer.

 

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SSAC has a presence on social media and uses it for a variety of tasks.

We use our website more for promoting the club and long-standing items, such as the projects we’ve run and a variety of news reports from over the years. The website hosts a number of images and documents for the club, as well as providing a portal to share some of our videos.

 

Our Facebook Page is used to promote more recent activities and we welcome those who wish to follow us there. This relatively new page is being used to promote recent news and events or upcoming items that may be of interest to both the members and the wider public.

Please do follow us on Facebook

 

The club’s Facebook Group is used to aid communication between members. This is open for the club's members. Through this group, we can discuss dives, training courses, social events and a variety of other activities that members may be interested in.

 

Our YouTube channel is used to host a variety of videos created by club members and has also some playlists to showcase other videos where our club and members have been involved elsewhere.

Please do subscribe to our YouTube Channel & click the bell You'll be kept up to date with many of our activities. It doesn't cost anything to subscribe or click the bell and you'll be notified when we upload new videos.

 

Our Instructors are also encouraged to join a closed WhatsApp group to discuss training requirements and other related items. For those who are not familiar, WhatsApp is primarily run on a smartphone, but it is also possible to link your WhatsApp account to a computer (Window 8 and later or Mac). See the download page here.

 

SSAC makes every effort to guarantee the accuracy of the information contained within this site, it accepts no liability for any inaccuracies and visitors who rely on this information do so at their own risk.

SSAC is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites within this site and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. Listing shall not be taken as endorsement of any kind.

To notify SSAC of broken/outdated links, please send us an email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

About SSAC

Formed in 1954, the Southsea Sub-Aqua Club is a branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC). Over the years Southsea SAC has hit the headlines for many good reasons. From the discovery of the Mary Rose to helping to get the Mulberry Harbours protected, our members have helped and continue to help preserve our maritime history.

Currently, we have between 80 and 100 members (based on figures between 2019 and early 2022). Our membership comprises of members with a wealth of knowledge and experience, from those who are just starting out in diving to those who dive with a lot of technical stuff.

We normally meet twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, at the clubhouse, with breaks for Bank Holiday weekends and Christmas and New Year. The clubhouse is located in Fort Widley.

Where and when we meet

Click for details of
Where and when we meet!

 

Within the club, we offer a range of diving and training to cover most things for the new diver right up to the experienced diver looking for something more challenging. This may include trips to the Selsey area to dive on the Mulberry Harbours, or trips to Portland on a variety of dive sites there, or perhaps a week’s trip to Scapa Flow or perhaps a trip on a liveaboard in Egypt or somewhere further afield.

Already a diver? We welcome people from any training agency. Any training within the club will be through the BSAC but many members have sought additional training elsewhere and continue to dive with us.

If you would like to find out more, why not pay us a visit? It’s always a good idea to call first as the gate to the Fort may be locked.

 

 

 

  1. Southsea Sub-Aqua Club (herein SSAC) is a branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (herein BSAC).
  2. Southsea Sub-Aqua Club is not registered with the Information Commissioners Office. The postal address for enquiries is: Southsea Sub Aqua Club, Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill Road, Purbrook, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO6 3LS.
  3. We collect personal information data to maintain a membership list, training records, respond to try dive and membership enquiries and to promote our club and its events.
  4. We obtain personal information from our contacts with you through membership applications; BSAC membership renewals; our Facebook page; and other on-line sources associated with the club; WhatsApp; diving records; email exchanges; and telephone enquiries.
  5. We have a legitimate interest in keeping and processing the data to maintain our membership database, training records and to be able to efficiently handle events we promote.
  6. All processing is undertaken within our organisation & the BSAC and used only for the purposes of promoting and administering the club and its activities. Personal data may be shared with selected organisations as Data Processors to enable us to perform these activities.
  7. You have the right to be removed from our data lists.
  8. We will remove your details on request by post to the above address, or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , unless there is a legal requirement to keep that information, we will delete it from our records.
  9. You have the right to know the information we hold about you by contacting us on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We may make further enquiries to confirm any such request is indeed from you.
  10. Our website does not use cookies ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_cookie ).
  11. We will correct any errors you alert us to.
  12. Except where you have specifically asked for removal we will keep data for as long as we have a relationship with you and in line with legal and regulatory requirements or guidance.
  13. Except where there is a legal requirement for us to provide the information we will refer any enquiry from anyone, asking for your personal information, to you when it is requested.
  14. You have a right to contact the British Sub-Aqua Club (https://www.bsac.com/this-is-bsac/bsac-rules-and-policies/gdpr/ & https://www.bsac.com/this-is-bsac/bsac-rules-and-policies/privacy-policy/ ).
  15. You have the right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

 

When sending to the above email addresses please replace “AT” with “@” and remove the spaces.

Version 0.03 16th December 2021

 

The Committee meets most months to discuss Club matters and the minutes of the meeting are available for all members to read – see Committee notice board. If you have any issues you wish the Committee to consider please speak to the Secretary or Chairman. Their contact details, along with the contact details of some of the other committee members, are on the Contact Us page.

Each year members are invited to stand for committee positions and when there is more than one person for a position; members at the AGM are invited to vote. Below are the current members of our committee.

  • Tom Templeton - Chairman
  • Description:

    also Safeguarding Officer

  • Stephen Blackburn - Secretary
  • Martin Davies - Diving Officer
  • Description:

    also Boats Officer

  • Doug Carter - Treasurer
  • Iain Jones - Training Officer
  • Nickie Tunnicliffe - Bar Officer
  • Rob Watkins - Equipment Officer
  • Alison Mayor - Membership Secretary
  • Pippa Hardistay - Social Seretary
  • General Member (Vacant)
  • General Member 2 (Vacant)

 

THE ORIGIN, DEVELOPMENT AND SPREAD OF 'OCTOPUSH' 1954 to 1974

by E John Towse

The considerable contribution of the early Southsea BSAC members, shown below, plus John Towse, John Bevan and the British Sub Aqua Club(BSAC) should never be underestimated.

In 1954 Jack Willis, Frank Lillicker and Alan Blake, after a pool training session, returned to Jack and Ena Willis's flat at No. 75 Victoria Road South, Southsea Portsmouth Hants England. Here, including Ena, they discussed and invented the breath-holding underwater game they called 'OCTOPUSH'.

Alan Blake took on the task of writing up the rules and informing the BSAC's national magazine 'NEPTUNE' of this exciting development.

Unfortunately, no original copy of the rules exist and much of the information of the early game comes from memories and recollection of those involved in the first year. It was certainly demonstrated at an early gala in the old Portsmouth City Baths (Just behind the Library and long since demolished.) in 1955.

Bournemouth BSAC were quick to adopt the game and introduce it to their members. Johnny Hoy of Bournemouth took part in some of the early Southsea games.

Johnny Graves, another founder member of Southsea BSAC, came up with bizarre descriptions of the first 'prodders' as being like small T shaped pieces that continually became caught up with each other.

This was incorrect as Frank Lillicker made the first set and Jack Willis made the first 'Squid' (Puck).

However, Johnny Graves did attempt to make a Squid with its own internal light! Swimming Pool visibility could sometimes resemble the open water Solent conditions. Nevertheless, Octopush continued to be played by Southsea in the old pool and later at the Royal Marine Baths(RMB), Eastney. It was played sporadically and with basic equipment and organisation. The early originators had now all departed to various parts of the world, Alan Blake to the Far East, Jack Willis to a variety of destinations around the America's and Frank Lillicker pursuing a professional diving career in Scapa Flow.

In1963, during a pool session when equipment and compressed air were unavailable, John Towse and John Powell re-introduced it to the Southsea BSAC training evenings. The following week John Towse made two sets of the then modern PUSHERS together with a solid lead SQUID with no more information to base these on than the information shown above. Obviously avoiding the snagging potential of the T shape suggestions.

In October 1964 a young and very enthusiastic John Bevan had joined Southsea BSAC from his home club in Llanelli, Wales. He rapidly became adept at OCTOPUSH and a consistent, skilful player in the pool sessions.

The game became increasingly popular with club members and was, in 1965, being played regularly on the first Tuesday of each month at the RMB. By 1967 OCTOPUSH alternated with conventional Aqualung training every other Tuesday at the RMB.

Details of the game were spreading rapidly and an increasing number of other clubs were playing in England and beyond.
On Saturday 20 May 1967 Southsea BSAC won a knock-out competition, in an open-water pool, organised by Aldershot Dolphins as part of a Gala Day. This first trophy tankard was kept in the C1ubhouse with the proviso that only the team members could use it to drink from during Club nights.

In 1968, following a vote by all Southsea members OCTOPUSH was played every Tuesday in the pool. This decision was not surprising as Southsea continued to have enthusiastic and successful Spearfishing teams who needed to improve or train their breath-holding abilities. Spearfishing, like OCTOPUSH, required only the most basic equipment of Fins, Mask and Snorkel (FMS). Also, the club had now obtained another training session every week in the new Anglesey Road swimming pool which was even better equipped for Aqualung training.

Holland could now produce a team from Europe and in 1969 England beat Holland in Amsterdam.

"The Time Of My Life" by Jack Willis, page 36 & 37
Published by the Daily Mail

NEPTUNE Vol. 1 No. 3 Page 10 November 1954

 

Note: The people involved with Octopush and Scuba Diving split from each other many years ago. Southsea Octopush can now be found here. The British Octopush Association can be found here.

Wikipedia Article on Octopush / Underwater Hockey

 

Club History

SOUTHSEA SUB-AQUA CLUB - BSAC BRANCH 009

Since its formation in 1954 Southsea SAC set out to make an impression on the diving world. In fact, we dented it!

  • We have been the winner of the prestigious Heinke Trophy, the trophy given to the most nationally improved club, no less than 3 times. 
  • Our founder, Alan Blake, invented the game of 'Octopush' at which we have been national winners too many times to mention. 
  • In what was, at the time, a very male-dominated sport we actively encouraged women to join us and start diving, in fact, we were the very first club within the BSAC to have a female Diving Officer in Barbara Anderson.
  • Club members Alex McKee and John Towse initiated 'Project Solent Ships'. It was this project which discovered the whereabouts of Henry VIII's flagship the Mary Rose. 
  • In the past Southsea SAC has represented Great Britain in international spear-fishing and produced national champions on more than one occasion.

The times they are a changing but of course, we are endeavouring to change with them. Some of our changes are obvious ones, others are less obvious, such as the changing attitudes towards diving and the ways we are trying to make the sport more accessible. In recent times we have returned to our roots of local wreck investigation and the best of British wreck diving. We have also invested in our facilities to provide our members with modern, accessible diving gases and promoting safer diving for all members.