With the events surrounding the current Coronovirus pandemic, 

The SSAC Committee is pleased to announce that the Club is reopening on Monday 17th at 2030. We’re still unclear regarding what restrictions will need to be followed; but, please remember to bring a face mask. The bar will be open and it’ll be great to get together and start planning future dives with friends again!

Maximum numbers in the Clubhouse have been reduced and members must sign in and use the hand cleaning facility on entry. Seating has been reduced and spread out, and social distancing maintained inside.  At present, face-coverings are optional.  Payments at the bar should be contactless.

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 firsPractising mask removalt step by signing up for a BSAC Try Dive with Southsea Sub-aqua Club.
A Try Dive is a BSAC event welcoming non-divers to the club. For just £25, 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 @ 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.

Breathing underwater for the first time is something you will never forget and the experience of learning with others is great fun. Your instructor is trained to look after you every step of the way. 

The Ocean Diver course is for beginners and provides essential knowledge and skills to prepare you for open water diving in Britain and overseas. The BSAC Ocean Diver takes place in the safety of a swimming pool or sheltered water and introduces you to 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 enroll 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. Lessons and theory assessment on the basic principles of scuba diving.
  2. Minimum of five confined water dives 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

You will be given a pack as part of your course which includes all the learning materials you need for the BSAC Ocean Diver course. The pack includes: The Diving Manual, BSAC Qualification Record Book, Qualification Card,  application and an A5 binder with your student diver notes.

Required Gear

Swimwear and towel. All other equipment will be supplied during your training.

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.

Welfare & Safeguarding

The safety and safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is of primary importance to Southsea SAC. The 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. This Club follows the BSAC Safeguarding Policy to promote and protect the welfare and safety of both children and adults. All SSAC instructors have had DBS checks in accordance with the BSAC Safeguarding policy.

Course Structure

The Ocean Diver Course consists of the following elements:

  • Six classroom 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
  • A theory assessment.
  • A basic swimming assessment.
  • 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 Cost

The price of the Ocean Diver course depends on what diving sites are able to use for the training. The following are included in the price:

  • Pool sessions – qualified instructor, SCUBA equipment, tanks/air, weights, BCD, fins, snorkel and mask during pool sessions. Entry into pool. Dry suit training (1 pool session).
  • Open water sessions – qualified instructor, SCUBA equipment, tanks/air, weights, BCD, fins, snorkel and mask, dry suit for open water dives. We will endeavour to supply hood/gloves but cannot guarantee your size will be available.
  • All theory sessions delivered by qualified instructors. Theory exam.
  • Training materials (Ocean Diver pack).
  • SSAC joining fee.

What's Not Included?

  • BSAC membership fee is additional based on the appropriate published rates.
  • Cost of transport, entry into diving centres or cost of 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 <link to SSAC membership rates page>.

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.

[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, all the Instructors are checked through the DBS checking process.

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

Some of our club's Instructors:

  • Martin Davies
  • Pete Dolphin
  • Jim Fuller
  • Tom Templeton
  • Jenny Watkins
  • Rob Watkins
  • Phil Hart
  • Ollie Meaden
  • James Soos


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 own clubhouse and training equipment means we can offer a wide range of training for beginners and more experienced divers. We host a number of 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.

Welfare and Safeguarding

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 have been DBS checked in accordance with the BSAC safeguarding policy.

Beginners (Ocean Diver Trainee)

If you have never tried scuba diving before, it's a good idea to arrange a ‘Try Dive’ before deciding whether to take up diving as a recreational sport/pastime. We arrange these periodically, and you should contact the Club to find out when our next Try Dive session is scheduled. The first stage of learning to dive within a BSAC Club environment involves a number of pool sessions to master basic skills. This early training will be in a local swimming pool hired specifically by the club for the purpose.  Unfortunately, we no longer have regular access to a suitable swimming pool, so beginners courses are only arranged periodically when there are suitable numbers to make the hire of a pool financially viable.  For beginners, training progresses at a pace that is suitable for the trainee. Everyone is different and there are no set timescales. Instruction is usually conducted on a 1:1 or 1:2 basis in the pool which makes for a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

After several pool sessions and an assessment, you will ready for the first open water dive. Theory training tends to be in slightly larger groups of 6+ so you can learn as a team and help each other along. 

The pool sessions are supplemented by lectures, student notebooks and practical exercises before you progress to sheltered 'open water' to complete the Ocean Diver course. Once you have reached the appropriate level of competence you can begin to dive in open water with other members of the Club. Training can continue within the club environment and you will hopefully reach a standard when you too can start down the road to becoming an instructor.

Autumn is the ideal time to come to learn to dive at SSAC, enabling new divers to train through the winter and make the most of the summer dive season but new members are welcome at any time of year. Read full details of the Ocean Diver course.

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.

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).



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!


17 March 2013

Southsea Sub Aqua Club hosted nineteen enthusiastic people who spent a chilly day learning how to rescue a seal, a dolphin and a pilot whale that had beached themselves on top of Portsdown Hill! As part of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), trainee Marine Mammal Medics learnt how to 'jump' a seal, move a dolphin and inflate a pontoon to support a whale.

SSAC diving instructors Jenny and Rob Watkins are also trained instructors in the skills and techniques required to deal with a marine mammal in distress. For more information visit the BDMLR website.

BDMLR Training Day BDMLR Training Day

3 April 2012

This month has been very busy with lots of training taking place in preparation for the 2012 summer dive season. Courses have been run every weekend this month covering oxygen administration for divers, compressor operation and gas blending skill development courses in addition to the normal pool training sessions.

The main focus was to give SSAC members training in compressor operation and supplementary bespoke training on the new air, nitrox and mixed gas (trimix) facilities which have been installed/updated in recent months. Thanks to all the instructors who gave up their weekends and in particular to Marg Baldwin and Jim Mills from the Midlands Instructor Team for running the gas blending course.

Trimix Training


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.