On an uncharacteristically warm day in late October of 2021, five members of the Southsea Sub Aqua Club ventured to the furthest reaches of Somerset to complete their Drysuit training.



Having already completed their theory session, Nicky, Steve and Dylon arrived at Vobster Quay, perhaps a little apprehensively, ready to dive using a Drysuit for the first time. After a short briefing, the three students started their preparation for their first dive and the watchful eyes of Instructors Robyn Peel and Jim Fuller. Despite the usual unexpected problems(1), we were all soon ready to venture into the sheltered water pen. The students quickly realised that drysuits, unlike, say T-shirts and shorts, considerably restrict your movements.

The first session involved getting weighting correct, and this is completely different to wetsuit weighting as we all know. This important step out of the way we then moved on to the stuck inflator and inversion drills, both on the surface and on the very convenient two-meter platform. Having completed those important skills we moved onto the all-important CBLs, first in the pen, and then from the six-meter platform.

The morning dives completed, we took stock (and tea/coffee and a burger), ready for the afternoon's experience dive. By then the fair and warm weather had given way to duller, and wetter weather. Some of us then enjoyed an hour exploring Vobster, including the top of the crushing works and a very scenic wall dive.

Vobster_Drysuit_Course_2 Vobster_Drysuit_Course_3This involved an exploratory experience dive, where we were able to visit some of the attractions that Vobster Quay has to offer. After a bimble around the ledge at twelve meters, taking in the car and plane, we returned to our exit point, a new walkway adjoined to the pergola was our kitting bench and base for the day.

The diving complete, we packed up and set off for the long trek home, battling the traffic off the afternoon rush hour.

Overall a successful day, with three club members now trained and experienced in operating what is often an under-rated piece of active diving equipment, and now ready to dive year-round in the less than tropical South coat.



 (1) Oxymoron intended.


Self-portrait of the author, Jim Fuller


The safety and safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is of primary importance to SSAC. This club is committed to providing an environment where young people can learn and participate in the sport of scuba diving free from harassment and abuse. All club members working with children have a moral and social responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare and safety of children and vulnerable adults. The club follows the BSAC Safeguarding Policy to promote and protect the welfare and safety of both children and adults. All SSAC instructors who work with young people (under 18) or vulnerable adults have been DBS checked in accordance with the BSAC safeguarding policy.

BSAC Child Safe Guarding Policy

BSAC Adult Safe Guarding Policy




Should you wish to discuss this, please feel free to speak with one of our instructors. If you have an issue, you should contact Tom Templeton, who is our Safeguarding Officer ( email: welfare at southseasubaqua.org.uk ). The contact details for BSAC head office are in the links above.

Club Pool Sessions

In order to facilitate Gear testing; Ocean Diver training; Try dives and skills improvement, Southsea Sub-Aqua club has now secured a regular, monthly 2 hour session at Brune Park School in Gosport.

Brune Park Community School Swimming Pool

2nd Saturday of each month

The sessions are on the 2nd Saturday each month from 14.00 to 16.00 (Except October). Booked from October throughout the winter to May 2022.

The pool was recently refurbished; it’s lovely and warm with a maximum depth of 2.6m

Try dives will be done during the first hour, but club members will still be able to use the pool for this time. Try dives are proving very popular and we have a waiting list currently. Volunteers to help are always welcome.

Available to all club members at a cost of £9 per session. A booking-in system might be needed, just to ensure that if we get the correct number of rescue swimmers on the side.

Volunteers to act as rescue swimmers are always welcome.

Dates for your diary are: -

9th October 16.00-18.00hrs

13th November, 11th December, 8th January, 12th February, 12th March, 9th April & 14th May, all 14.00 to 16.00hrs

We have also put this year's date's on the club's Google Calendar. The rest will be added later.

For directions, please see this page: Brune Park Community School Directions

Brune Park Community School is located off Military Road, Gosport.


Brune Park Community School

Military Road



PO12 3BU

Main Entrance

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Swimmers & people doing a Try Dive

The building in which the swimming pool is located has a main entrance that is suitable for normal access. The changing rooms are to the right, then down the corridor and on the left, beside the viewing gallery to the swimming pool.

Main Entrance to the building

To get to the swimming pool, enter through the main gate and turn right after the island and right again. The entrance to the large car park is here. From here you can walk to the main entrance (see map below).

© OpenStreetMap Contributers

Entrance to the main car park (left) and exit to Military Road

People with Scuba Gear

For those with Scuba gear, we are allowed to use the side entrance, which will be opened in time for us to get it all poolside. Please do not wear outdoor footwear on the poolside.

Pool Building - Side Entrance

To get to the swimming pool, enter through the main gate and turn right after the island. Drive along the road, passing the large car park to your right. The side entrance to the pool is beside the gravel sports ground. See map above.

Please unload your heavy dive gear here and park your car in the main car park.

Further BSAC Training for Divers from Other Agencies

Many of our members and instructors began their diving careers with other agencies and have chosen to join SSAC to meet and dive with other people with a passion for UK diving. We are also able to help people who have completed training with other training agencies to transfer and continue training under the BSAC guidelines. There are some slight differences in the content of training courses delivered by other agencies to that of the standard BSAC grades and this can be easily enhanced through a 'cross-over' training course which is designed to cover the differences. If you are already qualified by another agency and wish to continue to develop your skills and knowledge then please speak to the Training Officer or Diving Officer about what additional training you would like to do.

 Information on the BSAC Website on crossing over to a BSAC Club

Refresher Couse

If you've had a break from diving and would like to refresh your skills, we can offer a short session to do this with you. This could be completed in a sheltered environment or at a local dive site.

For more information on the course, please see BSAC's page here.

Further Training

As mentioned above, many of our members have previously completed their diver training with other agencies. What we can offer you is the ability to progress your diver training from the equivalent diver grade of where you are now and take you to the next BSAC diver grade, with the exception of BSAC First Class Diver which is run at a national level. All the other diver grades can be run within the SSAC branch.


Qualification Equivalent To Can Start Training For

PADI Open Water Diver

PADI Advanced Open Water Diver

SAA Open Water Diver

SSI Open Water Diver

SSI Advanced Open Water Diver

BSAC Ocean Diver BSAC Sports Diver

PADI Rescue Diver

SAA Club Diver

SSI Advanced Open Water Diver with ‘Stress & Rescue’

BSAC Sports Diver BSAC Dive Leader

PADI Divemaster

SAA Dive Leader

SSI Dive Control Specialist

BSAC Dive Leader BSAC Advanced Diver




For a comprehensive list of equivalent diver qualifications, please click here (BSAC page).



Ever wondered what it is like to swim underwater and explore the underwater world? Have you ever thought about learning to dive but were unsure how or where to start? Now is your chance to take that first step by signing up for a BSAC Try Dive with Southsea Sub-aqua Club.

Practising mask removal A Try Dive is a BSAC event welcoming non-divers to the club. For just £35, non-divers can take part in an introductory session and discover the benefits of diving with Southsea Sub-Aqua Club.

Almost anyone, from the age of 12 can learn to dive with SSAC and to help them get started, participants of a Try Dive will be offered a session with a BSAC Instructor, BSAC Dive Leader or a Dive Master, which includes a pool-side briefing on some essential diving skills and equipment, followed by scuba diving in the pool. Under 18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.
For information and to register for this unique opportunity call Iain on 07957 585698, email: trydive @ southseasubaqua.org.uk or pop in and see us on a club night Mondays and Thursdays from 8.30pm.
A BSAC Try Dive is the perfect introduction to scuba diving so if you have always wanted to learn, want to give a special gift, would like to test out the water before you go on holiday or are just curious then a Try Dive at Southsea Sub-Aqua Club is for you.
Your Try Dive will include: pool entry, all scuba diving equipment, qualified diving instructor/BSAC Dive Leader/a Dive Master and a Try Dive certificate, and a  BSAC ‘Come Diving’ DVD and information pack on how to learn more and go diving.
To book your try dive you will need to come along to one of the regular club meetings where an instructor will agree a time/date for your Try Dive and complete the necessary paperwork etc. You will then need to be fitted for the right size of SCUBA equipment and your instructor will confirm the arrangements and explain what will happen on the Try Dive itself. You will need to be relatively healthy and confident in the water. For the Try Dive, itself you’ll need swimwear/towel etc and it is also recommended that you wear an old T-shirt in the pool to stop the equipment chaffing on your skin. After the Try Dive, we normally pop over to the pub near the swimming pool to have a drink and chat about your experience of the Try Dive.
Following on from a Try Dive experience, participants can take the BSAC Ocean Diver course which includes four open water dives. The BSAC Ocean Diver qualification is the stepping stone to a lifelong diving adventure, with the waters of the UK and around the world just waiting to be explored. The cost of your Try Dive with Southsea Sub-Aqua Club is deducted from the cost of your Ocean Diver course if, within 3 months of the Try Dive you decide to join SSAC.

Learning to dive is a life-changing experience for many people.

Ocean Diver Pack
     BSAC Ocean Diver Pack

The Ocean Diver course is for beginners and provides essential knowledge and skills to prepare you for open water diving in Britain and overseas. You will learn: -

  • How to safely use basic dive gear, including your mask and snorkel
  • Control your buoyancy and underwater movements
  • Understand your basic scuba diving safety skills – you’ll find out the importance of time, depth and gas
  • Discover how to plan and manage your diving

The BSAC Ocean Diver starts in the safety of a swimming pool or sheltered water and progresses to the open water in a controlled, safe manner. You will gain experience and confidence under the guidance of a qualified instructor. The course operates at a maximum depth of 20m.



To enrol on the BSAC Ocean Diver course with Southsea Sub-Aqua Club, you must be 12 years or older and be considered "fit to dive"[1]. A basic level of comfort in the water is important and you will have to demonstrate that you can swim 200m in swimwear.

What You'll Learn

The BSAC Ocean Diver course has three main stages:

  1. On line course, learning at your own pace, including theory assessments on the basic principles of scuba diving. This element is payable directly to BSAC
  2. Minimum of five confined water lessons to learn the basics in the water (usually in a swimming pool) plus an optional dry suit dive
  3. Minimum of four open water dives to further develop your scuba diving skills

Qualification: What That Means

A BSAC Ocean Diver is defined as a diver who is competent to conduct dives:

  • To a maximum depth of 20m
  • With another BSAC Ocean Diver or with a BSAC Sports Diver, within the restrictions of the conditions already encountered during training
  • With a Dive Leader or higher grade, to expand experience beyond the conditions encountered during training, under the supervision of a Dive Manager
  • Not requiring mandatory decompression stops
  • Under the on-site supervision of a Dive Manager with respect to site selection, conditions and dive plan
  • Using enriched air (Nitrox)[2]as part of your diving within certain constraints

Learning Materials for e-learning element

This is payable directly to BSAC, the cost is not included in the SSAC training package. All the learning materials you need for the BSAC Ocean Diver course which includes

  • Downloadable student guide and qualification record page
  • Access to the BSAC 'The Diving Manual' for extra reading and knowledge
  • BSAC 88 Decompression Tables
  • Qualification card upon completion

Each course is taught using a student guide flipbook which consists of text, videos, and PowerPoint presentations with voiceovers.

At the end of each module, there are quizzes which need to be completed and passed. If the student passes each module with four out of five correct answers, the module will be signed off and they will be able to download a theory certificate for that module.

Required Gear

Swimwear and towel. All other equipment will be supplied during your training, except dry suit or wet suit.

Recommended Gear

Although the diving equipment is provided, Ocean Diver trainees may wish to buy their own mask and snorkel. You may also wish to use a wet suit or t-shirt for added comfort during the pool lessons.

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Course Structure

The Ocean Diver Course consists of the following elements:Ocean Diver course (2021)

  • e-Learning online lessons covering the following subjects:
    1. Adapting to the underwater world
    2. The body and effects of diving
    3. Going diving
    4. Dive planning
    5. What happens if...?
    6. Enjoying your diving
  • Theory assessments contained in the course.
  • Two revision lessons to reinforce your learning.
  • Five sheltered water lessons (swimming pool), plus an optional additional pool lesson on how to dive in a dry suit. In the pool, you will get the opportunity to learn about how to achieve neutral buoyancy and the key practical skills required to dive. There are also a number of rescue procedures that are taught at this stage. Each student normally takes 5 to 10 pool sessions to successfully learn and demonstrate the skills required to progress to the open water dives.
  • Four open water lessons, normally in the sea or a freshwater lake depending on weather conditions. The open water lessons build on diving and rescue skills developed in the swimming pool.

Course Costs

The price of the Ocean Diver course is in three elements:

  1. BSAC membership
  2. BSAC e-learning pack
  3. SSAC course -  £300

Items 1 & 2 are payable directly to BSAC.

The SSAC cost includes:

  • Pool sessions – qualified instructor, SCUBA equipment, tanks/air, weights, BCD, fins, snorkel and mask during pool sessions. Entry into the pool. Drysuit training (1 sheltered water session)
  • Open water sessions – qualified instructor, SCUBA equipment, tanks/air, weights, BCD, fins, snorkel and mask. We will endeavour to supply hood/gloves but cannot guarantee your size will be available
  • SSAC joining fee
  • Revision lessons to reinforce e-learning

What's Not Included?

  • Use of a dry suit or wet suit for open water dives, these are the student's responsibility
  • Cost of transport, entry into diving centres or cost of the boat for open water dives
  • Additional open water sessions will be at extra cost
  • SSAC membership is additional, based on current rates and payable monthly. Click here to view our current membership fees.

Meeting the Standards for Ocean Diver

All SSAC instructors have met the standard of instruction required by BSAC. They will do their best to teach you the skills required to pass the course. Every student is different and will be treated accordingly. There is no maximum time set for the student to achieve the skills required to pass the course however instructors will not sign off the particular session or skill unless the student has been able to demonstrate competence in the task. Payment for the course is not a guarantee that the student will pass and qualify as an Ocean Diver.

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[1] "Fit to dive" is assumed on the basis of a completed Self Certification Medical Form or a Certificate To Dive issued by an approved Medical Referee.
[2] Nitrox is a breathing gas containing more than 21% oxygen which is known to be beneficial in reducing the risk and symptoms of decompression illness.

Southsea Sub-Aqua Club has a number of members who are qualified Instructors. To help ensure that our club fully complies with the BSAC's Safeguarding Policy, we ask all the Instructors to complete the DBS checking process through the BSAC. For more information about the club's Welfare and Safeguarding Policy, please click here.

Instructor group photo (2021)
Instructors at Southsea Sub-Aqua Club (October 2021)


The BSAC has a number of Instructor qualifications. Each course is run on a national basis to international standards.

Snorkel Instructor Course

  1. Snorkel Instructor
  2. Advanced Snorkel Instructor
  3. Snorkel Instructor Trainer

Scuba Instructor Courses

  1. Instructor Foundation Course (Assistant Diving Instructor)
  2. Theory Instructor
  3. Practical Instructor
  4. Open Water Instructor
  5. Advanced Instructor
  6. National Instructor
  7. Technical Instructor
  8. Diving For All programme

There are some older instructor qualifications that are still valid but are not issued anymore, such as Club Instructor. There are paths within BSAC to upgrade these to a currently issued instructor grade.

Already a Diving Instructor?

For Qualified Diving Instructors from other agencies, the BSAC run regional courses to allow you to switch to BSAC as an Instructor. The process requires you to join a BSAC Club, such as SSAC, or a BSAC Diving Centre and participate in an Instructor Crossover Course.

For more information, click here.

Some of our club's Instructors:

  • Martin Davies
  • Pete Dolphin
  • Jim Fuller, OWI
  • Tom Templeton
  • Jenny Watkins
  • Rob Watkins
  • Phil Hart
  • Ollie Meaden
  • James Soos
  • Rob Dawson, OWI
  • Iain Jones, OWI


At Southsea Sub Aqua Club we offer training to internationally recognised standards with the British Sub Aqua Club. Training is offered free of charge as part of your membership of SSAC and is conducted by club members who are qualified BSAC instructors. We deliver training at all levels: BSAC Ocean Diver, Sports Diver, Dive Leader and Advanced Diver. Having our clubhouse and training equipment means we can offer a wide range of training for beginners and more experienced divers. We host several BSAC regional Skills Development Courses (SDCs) such as Diver First Aid and can also arrange specialist courses such as RYA/Boat handling if there is sufficient interest. Please discuss your training requirements with the Training Officer or Diving Officer.


About BSAC (and where SSAC fits in)

BSACThe British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) is the national governing body for Scuba diving and snorkelling in the UK. As well as at home BSAC has a network of clubs (branches) and centres overseas with the same core values of excellence in training, safety and growing the sport.

Southsea Sub-Aqua Club is a branch of BSAC and can offer training courses created by BSAC. Some of our instructors are also able to offer other courses.

These courses are provided by nationally qualified instructors and meet international standards for diver training. Trainee divers are nurtured to become self-reliant excellent scuba divers.

Try Dive

Whilst not strictly a training session, a "Try Dive" is intended to provide someone with a simple experience of swimming with an aqualung in a sheltered environment as a taster session. Typically this is in a swimming pool. If you are unsure whether you would enjoy diving, why not give this a go?

More on Try Dives

BSAC Diver Qualification Structure

Within Southsea Sub-Aqua Club we can teach people to dive from the beginner level (BSAC Ocean Diver) to the BSAC Advanced Diver. The final diver grade is only taught nationally. The skills provided at each level build upon those skills taught in previous courses to expand the knowledge and skill set of the diver.

We are also able to take divers who have learned through another agency and increase their diver knowledge.

  1. Ocean Diver – Beginners course that provides essential knowledge and skills to prepare you for diving in Britain and overseas. Dive to a maximum depth of 20m (BSAC Website)
  2. Sports Diver – Dive to a maximum depth of 35m, further rescue skills along with the introduction of decompression stop diving (BSAC Website)
  3. Dive Leader – Dive to a maximum depth of 50m, further dive leadership, improved rescue skills and plan club dives (BSAC Website)
  4. Advanced Diver - Furthering the skills and knowledge required to plan club dives and expeditions to new sites (BSAC Website)
  5. First Class Diver - A nationally run course for those who wish to push their knowledge and skillset to the pinnacle of recreational diving (BSAC Website)

Courses for additional skills

Whether you are looking to improve your diving skills or your knowledge of diving, through both the instructors within the club and the BSAC regional coaching scheme, we can offer our members the ability to attend the range of BSAC Diver training and Skill Development Courses (SDCs).

Skill Development Courses allow a diver to progress their training in a direction that may be of special interest to them. Such courses include photography, marine life appreciation, first aid for divers, diver coxswain and much more. SSAC runs many of the courses for its members. Some courses are run as a regional event. At the same time, members are welcome to attend regional events elsewhere.

In most cases, to be able to attend a BSAC Course, you should be a member of BSAC.

If you are interested in furthering your knowledge, please speak with our Training Officer.

List of BSAC Courses

BSAC also host a number of Webinars (online lectures) which members can join live or watch at a later date. Past topics have included various wrecks, archaeology, disability and diving, diving equipment, expeditions run by different clubs, marine life, medical topics for divers, international BSAC clubs and diving in various counties of interest.

Programme of Webinars

Divers from Other Agencies

BSACMany of our members and instructors began their diving careers with other agencies and have chosen to join SSAC to meet and dive with other people with a passion for UK diving. If you would like to join us, then we are ready to welcome you.

You don't even have to retrain to dive with us. So long as your existing qualifications are suitable for the dive/s, then as a member of the club, we would welcome you. Once a member of the club, should you wish to improve your training, we would be able to offer a suitable BSAC course.

Already a Diver? Why not see what SSAC can offer?

Already a Diving Instructor?

For Qualified Diving Instructors from other agencies, the BSAC run regional courses to allow you to switch to BSAC as an Instructor. The process requires you to join a BSAC Club, such as SSAC, or a BSAC Diving Centre and participate in an Instructor Crossover Course.

For more information, click here.

Where and how we do training

SSAC makes use of a variety of resources to train members. These include:

At our Clubhouse, we have the space to host a number of people for a course, as well as refreshments. Nearby there are some burger vans for those courses run on a weekend. I the clubhouse we have an overhead projector that is connected to the club’s computer and can also be connected to a laptop to help present a lecture.

We also have Resusci Anne manikins to help with teaching CPR and access to other equipment as required.

Recently the BSAC has introduced e-learning. This allows students to complete some lectures online in the comfort of their own homes.

We also have the use of a local swimming pool at Brune Park Community School, Gosport. This is a good place for us to run the Try Dives and Ocean Diver Course. If required, we can book a session at other local pools.

For open water training dives, we normally use one of the inland dive sites. These can include Vobster, NDAC, Andark Lake and Stoney Cove. Of course, weather permitting, we can also do a shore dive somewhere such as Selsey or take the club’s RIB and go somewhere more adventurous.

21 March 2013

It's spring 2013 and SSAC's clubhouse is hosting first aid training for divers. On Thursday, there is a practical rescue and first aid refresher for club members with a talk by a British Heart Foundation instructor. On Monday a rescue skills refresher takes place in the club training pool.

Saturday sees the Oxygen Administration course for the Southern Region. After a day packed with essential theory and hands-on practical sessions, eleven divers successfully demonstrated the skills required and are now able to administer oxygen to divers suffering from decompression illness (DCI). A team of SSAC instructors comprised of Dave Purvis, Dave Sawdon, Jenny and Rob Watkins were joined by BSAC Southern Region Coach Clive Puddifoot to deliver the course to students from across the Southern Region and beyond.

Well done to all those who passed the course!



As a branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club with our own clubhouse, we are in a great position to offer training courses at Fort Widley, as well as at a variety of different diving locations. Depending on the requirements of the members, a course may be run more frequently than others. Details of courses being run are posted on the club's noticeboard in the clubhouse. They may also mentioned in the club's year planner or calendar.

Some of our members are also members of other groups related to diving, such as the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and we have been able to host their training courses too at the clubhouse.

During the past few years our club's Instructors have been busy teaching members, old and new, more skills. The video below includes much of both the club's diving activity and training.

 The articles below give a flavour of some of the courses we have run or hosted.