Instructor and Branch Officer update - BSAC Diver Training Programme

The Diver Training Programme (DTP) has been undergoing a refresh and the first elements, Ocean Diver, were released in 2017.

The 'Introduction' to Sports Diver has now also been updated and the review of this will continue, we will keep you up to date with progress. The remaining diver grades – Dive Leader and Advanced Diver – will following suit in due course. However, our National Diving Officer, Dai Atkins, has agreed to move the review programme to one of continual review and update. 

The Ocean Diver review’s implementation has introduced a new, more flexible structure to BSAC’s diver training whilst making the DTP easier to deliver. Dai Atkins says,

One of our key strategic goals is to grow the number of people participating in BSAC training and this review has identified key ways to improve flexibility and delivery in our DTP. The updates will make our training even more accessible by catering for the diver’s individual needs while ensuring core skills and safety remain at the heart of the programme.

One of the most significant updates to the DTP will be a modularised format which will allow divers more flexibility to tailor their training to meet their own interests and local requirements.

This modular approach will also place the emphasis on skills rather than lessons, bringing together theory, practical, sheltered/open water sessions and theory assessment in a more effective, student-focused way.

This new modular format will continue with other grades in due course to include significant improvements in support resources for instructors and student training materials.

How the review makes DTP delivery easier for clubs and instructors

The DTP refresh aims to support instructors by providing:

  • Clearer guidance on the required performance standards for each grade.
  • Clearer guidance on how training can be delivered.
  • Smaller packages to allow easier delivery over a period of time.
  • Ability to assemble modules to make larger courses if desired.
  • The ability to deliver training tailored for skills relevant to a club’s particular local diving conditions and typical diving.
  • Modules that are skills based and don’t have to be completed in a set number of dives, rather when skills can be performed to the required standard.
  • Updated Qualification Record Book (QRB) that will allow recording of module components rather than lessons, enabling easier record keeping if a whole module isn’t completed in one go.

 And for students...

  •  Allows members – from Sports Diver and above - to follow their own interests.
  •  Opportunity to learn skills/gain knowledge as they want/need them.
  •  Less daunting module based theory assessments rather than large course based theory assessments.

Making the transition

There was a two year transition period set for Ocean Diver in 2017. During this transition period, students who had already started courses from the previous (2007) syllabus can complete the grade they are working on. This transition period ended at the end of August 2019 and following that point all students should follow the 2017 Ocean Diver syllabus. The Instructor resources for the previous (2007) syllabus will be removed from the website at that time.

With the introduction of the new updated Ocean Diver, it is important that clubs and centres carefully plan their course offering for Ocean Divers and use the optimum training pack. The Ocean Diver qualification is the same regardless of which version course is followed.

You can order your Ocean Diver training packs from the BSAC Shop.

Ongoing - Sports Diver

In continuing the review the NDO, Dai Atkins, has emphasised the need that consideration must be given to the position of SD within the BSAC Diver Training provision.

  • To provide logical progression beyond Ocean Diver 
  • Maintain the infrastructure for integration with ISO standards (bridge between Autonomous Diver and Dive Leader)
  • Maintain incorporation of Nitrox element of ISO standard.
  • To provide the foundation for further progression including:
    • Onward to Dive Leader
    • Start instructor training via attendance on  Instructor Foundation Course (IFC)
    • Prerequisite for majority of SDC’s
    • Meet entry requirement for ADP
    • Entry level (with ADP) to Technical Courses
    • Maintain the relevance of existing Sports Diver qualified BSAC Divers 


A review of the content of the current Sports Diver has identified that no amendment of  the overall structure and content is necessary at this time and so work is focusing on bringing the content up to the standard of Ocean Diver and building the modular structure. As content is available for release to instructors the existing instructor resources will be replaced and it will notified to all instructors to ensure they are fully aware of the changes in content.

There will be a continual progressive roll out of the remaining diver grades and further appropriate updates will be provided to all instructors and BSAC members in due course.

In the meantime, you can read DTP review FAQs

The DTP review team are interested in your feedback or any further questions you may have on the Diver Training Programme updates

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