Expedition Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a BSAC Expedition?
- What is a BSAC Branch Expedition?
- What is a BSAC Regional Expeditionary Diving Scheme (REDS) Expedition?
- What is a BSAC National Expedition?
- Who organises a BSAC Diving Expedition?
- Who appoints the Expedition Leader?
- How much does an expedition cost?
- Can expeditions be organised abroad?
- Can Expedition Leaders choose who they want to take on a BSAC Expedition?
By this definition almost any BSAC dive is an expedition, but most divers would probably agree that they are usually a little bit more special than just another diving holiday. They have traditionally been classified as a Branch, Regional or National Expedition.
Many branches organise their own diving expeditions. The participants of these tend to be all members of the same branch, although quite frequently members of more than one branch may join forces. The branch officers handbook lists the following expedition ideas as well as giving advice on their organisation. Click here for advice in the Branch Officers Handbook. The Branch Diving Officer appoints the Expedition Leader.
This is very similar to a BSAC Branch Expedition but organized by the Regional Coaching Team. BSAC members from clubs from within the Region would normally be given priority for spaces. However, BSAC members from clubs outside the region would also be welcomed if there are spaces.
The latest BSAC Instructor Manual First Class Diver training section defines REDS in the following way:
These are adventurous diving expeditions and exploration at a regional level. They are typically inter-branch activities and may complement branch diving expeditions by promoting expeditions which benefit from the experience of others. Such expeditions are particularly valuable for the development of potential First Class Divers as they enable candidates to be exposed to a wide range of techniques and attitudes.
Your Regional Coach will endorse a REDS Expedition Leader. There are no set rules on what type of diving is to be carried although they should provide more 'adventurous and challenging diving'.
Clearly what is adventurous and challenging will depend on the purpose of the expedition and who it is aimed at. An expedition aimed at sports divers and dive leaders may not be adventurous and challenging for advanced divers. However such an expedition would still be valuable experience for potential First Class Divers in terms of their building their expedition leadership skills.
On the other hand an expedition aimed at Advanced Divers may not be suitable for Sports Divers and Dive Leaders. However, such an expedition could be useful in extending a potential First Class Diver's own diving envelope.
Expedition Leaders can apply to the BSAC Expedition Officer for approval of their planned expedition. BSAC Advanced Divers working towards their First Class Diver would make ideal candidates for these expeditions, particularly if they have the support of a First Class Diver mentor.
Expedition Leaders with relevant levels of qualification and experience are selected to run BSAC expeditions. The nature of the expedition will dictate what combination of qualifications and experience is required. The definitions of Dive Leader, Advanced Diver and First Class Diver qualifications give clues to the nature of expeditions that they may organise. The Expedition Leader's experience in organising expeditions is also important. As with any aspect of diving, they expedition leaders should build up their expedition leading experience progressively.
A BSAC First Class Diver is defined as a diver who:
- has a high level of practical diving skills and knowledge
- can organise groups of divers to achieve specific aims or objectives
- can organise and lead major diving expeditions
- has the skill to contribute to BSAC developments at a national, regional and branch level
First Class Divers would therefore be expected to lead National and Regional Expeditions and act as Mentors to up-and-coming expedition leaders by participating in their expeditions.
A BSAC Advanced Diver is defined as a diver who:
Is comprehensively trained, experienced and responsible and can manage and supervise a wide range of adventurous and challenging diving. This will include organising diving expeditions to explore unknown locations and branch activities including dives utilising developing technology and techniques. Advanced divers would therefore be expected not only to lead branch expeditions but also start to build experience organising BSAC Regional Expeditions and even National Expeditions under the guidance of a First Class Diver mentor.
A BSAC Dive Leader is defined as a diver who:
Can plan and lead a range of dives including those requiring detailed dive, air and decompression requirements planning. They have the skill and level of knowledge to progressively extend both their own and other's experience. Dive Leaders are competent to marshal and supervise branch dives to locations well known to the Branch or using experienced charter boat skippers, or in conditions not normally described as 'challenging'. Dive Leaders would therefore be expected to lead certain branch expeditions subject to the approval of the Branch Diving Officer.
Clearly, BSAC Expedition Leaders must be appropriately qualified and have sufficient experience for the Expedition or type of Expeditions they wish to lead.
For BSAC Regional, BSAC REDS and BSAC National Expeditions it is the role of the BSAC Expeditions Officer to formally approve the choice of Expedition Leaders on behalf of the National Diving Officer.
Each Expedition Leader requires a referee.
For Regional and REDS Expedition Leaders, the Regional Coach is responsible for the identification of suitable Expedition Leaders and recommends the Expedition Leader to the BSAC Expedition Officer for approval by acting as their referee.
For BSAC National Expeditions led by a BSAC First Class Diver, the referee should be another senior diver with expedition experience, or if a BSAC Advanced Diver is leading then it should be a First Class Diver mentor.
Written approval of the Expedition Leader is required from the BSAC Expeditions Officer before a BSAC Regional, BSAC REDS or BSAC National Expedition can proceed and be recognised as a BSAC Expedition. For further details see Expedition Leader Approval Form.
For a BSAC Branch Expedition, the Branch Diving Officer is ultimately responsible for the selection of the Expedition Leader.
Guidance on who is suitable to lead expeditions is given in 'Who organises a BSAC expedition' above.
This depends on the Expedition! The more remote or exotic the destination, the more expensive an expedition is likely to be. The cost of the expedition is shared between all participants in the expedition including the Expedition Leader, otherwise the Expedition Leader could be deemed as diving for hire or reward and therefore subject to HSE Diving at Work Regulations (1997).
There are BSAC branches worldwide so BSAC expeditions occur worldwide. There are many examples of expeditions organised outside an Expedition Leaders country of origin. BSAC members from cold water areas are particularly keen to explore clear, warm water elsewhere! Expeditions abroad require extra care during planning to ensure that the expedition:
- Does not break local laws or the laws where the expedition was organised
- Has detailed and robust evacuation plans in case of emergency
- Is appropriately insured for all stages of the expedition.
See BSAC travel insurance guidance.