As the National Governing Body for Scuba diving in the UK BSAC has been working with PADI, SAA (and other diving agencies) to negotiate on behalf of all divers and diver training agencies with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). 

They want to make clear the interpretation of the legal requirements for divers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA).

New guidelines for divers in England

After lengthy consultation, a set of guidelines for all divers diving in English waters has now been agreed. These guidelines enable divers to go about their standard normal diving and training activities without a requirement for a licence and divers can use the guidelines to ensure that they remain within the law.

The following document (authored by the MMO) applies to all of the activities mentioned in the bullet points below.
Document to download: Marine Licensing – Guidance for Recreational Divers.

Activities that do not require a licence include:

  • Deploying and recovering temporary shot lines for divers
  • Using delayed or permanently inflated SMBs
  • Using a lifting bag to recover items which have been underwater for less than 12 months
  • Conducting surveys of shipwrecks by hand
  • Using lifting bags for underwater litter picks

For other certain activities, the MMO still requires either prior notification or an application for a licence; the MMO can be consulted for guidance in these cases. Similar guidance will be available in due course for Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish waters.

Document to download: Best Practice Guidance for the Recovery of Abandoned, Lost or Discarded Fishing Gear.

All diver-training agencies active in England endorse these guidelines and actively encourage their instructors, members and divers to abide by them.

For queries of questions regarding the new guidelines please contact the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) direct - phone 0300 123 1032 or email.

This update has been issued by:

  • British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC)
  • Global Underwater Explorers (GUE)
  • Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)
  • Professional Scuba Association International (PSAI)
  • Scuba Schools International (SSI)
  • Sub Aqua Association (SAA)
  • Scuba Diving International; Technical Diving International (TDI, SDI)

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