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Guidelines on writing trip reports

BSAC TRAVEL CLUB
TRIP REPORTS

GUIDELINES ON WRITING TRIP REPORTS

This guide has been prepared to assist those writing trip reports for publication on the BSAC Travel Club website. We hope these notes will encourage you, give you some ideas and provide the basic structure required so we can achieve a high standard and present a uniform quality and format for the reader.

OBJECTIVE
Our prime objective is to generate a wealth of reports describing dive locations around the United Kingdom and everywhere else in the world. However, we are not looking for just another "me too" report about individual experiences or your latest "fun for all" club holiday. What we would really appreciate is useful information about what it is really like to visit various locations and to dive around the world, and what it takes to plan such a trip. We hope that by publishing this information we will encourage others to follow in your footsteps and make appropriate decisions about travelling to the places you have visited.

BASIC FORMAT
We need a fairly detailed report on your trip, whether it is in UK or further afield. It should be two or more pages of text in length, preferably supported by photographs. You may find it easiest if you try to tell the story of what happened on your trip. You may find it useful to look at the reports already on the website at Trip Reports Some of these reports are quite detailed, but this will not be necessary for every destination. Please just send us your thoughts and impressions gained as a result of your experiences, together with the basic facts and contact details.

Ideally your report should be in Microsoft Word or any other suitable word processor that allows you to save it as a .doc, .rtf or (ideally) a .txt file. You should give it a suitable title and headings for individual sections. Do not worry too much about the layout, we will do that. In fact, avoid any special formatting of the text or paragraph styles. Do not embed hyperlinks in a Word file - always spell them out in full.

STYLE
Try to keep your report light and informative. Give details of what you actually did and experienced, so other divers know what to expect. Humour is fine, but we are mainly interested in facts. We would like to hear about dive locations, warts and all. Essentially, we want others to know genuinely what to expect. You might think of things as "If only I had known that before I went".

LENGTH
Two/three pages of text would be greatly appreciated. Though shorter or longer reports will not be rejected.

CONTENT
Here's a list of some of the important areas you might cover:

  • Where exactly did you go?
  • How did you get there?
  • What was the transport like and how good are communications there?
  • Why did you choose where you went?
  • When did you go?
  • Is there a particularly good reason for going at that time?
  • Is the location seasonal and when is it best to go?
  • Who went on the trip? What was their level of experience and was the location suitable?
  • What was the diving like? Explain the major features?
  • Were there any difficulties or local hazards to note?
  • Where did you stay? What was the accommodation like? Lodgings and food?
  • What diving facilities were available and did you use (boats, equipment, gases etc)?
  • Were those in charge competent and safe? Were they supportive?
  • What were the Divemasters like?
  • Did you do anything special whilst there? Are there special attractions there?
  • Are safety standards good? (Boat handling, radios, decompression facilities, O2 etc)
  • What was the weather like? Is that typical?
  • How does this location compare with others to which you have been?
  • How much did the trip cost? Have you got any cost saving tips?
  • At the end of the report please give full details of any contact names of tour operators, advisers, accommodation, dive centres, etc.
  • Please also give your own contact details, such as an e-mail address, and your dive qualification or experience
  • Ensure you date the report

PHOTOGRAPHY
We would love to see photographs to support and illustrate your report. However, please be selective, we don't want literally dozens of them! Ten or so would be sufficient. Ideally, they should illustrate the location - accommodation, facilities, locality, dive centre, and dive boat just as much as marine life. They do not have to be your own photographs, but they should be taken during your trip. We will give full credit to the photographer in the report and copyright to the photographs will remain with the photographer. However, it is understood that BSAC is granted a lifetime licence to use the photographs on the website.
Please scan photographs and send them as JPEGs (files that end in document suffix ".jpg"). They should not be either too small or too large; ideally at least 400 pixels wide. Please identify and rename them distinctively, as it can become difficult to manage many different reports each containing pictures called "photo 1.jpg" etc. Please avoid using capital letters or spaces in file names (beachinfrontofdivingcentre.jpg is perfectly acceptable).
Do not compress them or "optimize for the web", it's best that we have them in their original condition so that we can ensure the best result. Please do not include photographs in MS Word files as this does not give acceptable quality results.

EDITING
Although we hope to avoid editing reports as far as possible, some "adjustments" may be inevitable. This is especially the case when it comes to legal aspects of any article. Obviously comments that are libellous or defamatory are not acceptable and will be removed before publication. If there was a problem with some aspect of your trip, then we do want to know about it. However, please ensure that you are strictly factual about what happened. Don't worry about the actual layout of the article, we will adapt it to our standard report format.

SUBMITTING REPORTS
You should preferably submit reports and photographs electronically as attachments to an email. Please remember when submitting your written report and photographs to rename files and individually identify each photograph. The names of the report writer and photographer should be clearly identified along with your contact details, please.

Please submit reports to: Travel Club Editor . If this is not possible, written reports and photographs can be submitted by post to: Chris Horan, BSAC HQ, Telford's Quay, Ellesmere Port, South Wirral, Cheshire CH65 4FY. Preferably these should be on floppy disc or CD, although typed/hand-written reports and un-scanned photographs and 35mm slides can also be sent in.

If you have any queries please raise them with Eddie Clamp, BSAC Travel Club Editor. He can be contacted at: Travel Club Editor Eddie is happy to give further guidance and assistance to any report writer who wants it. He is also a moderator of the 'Dive Travel Overseas' and 'Dive Trips in the UK' forums in the BSAC Scuba Diving internet forum and is always pleased to see interim reports there

Finally, many thanks in advance for your interesting and informative report.

Eddie Clamp

BSAC Travel Club Editor