Safety and Development Manager Jim Watson provides four clear steps to managing group activity for scuba diving and snorkelling.
As already identified, scuba diving, snorkelling and training involve group activities with potentially more than six people, both indoors and outdoors. Providing the activity is properly managed, organised events are allowed under the current easing of restrictions but it requires the appropriate guidance to be followed.
The guidance applies equally to clubs, centres, regional and national events. The only significant difference between each sector is the requirements for keeping contact information for all participants for the purpose of providing contact tracing information in the event of anyone testing positive or experiencing symptoms post-event.
- When using a facility, such as a swimming pool, then the facility is likely to have a requirement to hold that contact information.
- For clubs and centres, it is important to have a single appointed contact for NHS track and trace purposes of whom everyone is made aware.
- For regional and nationally organised events managed through BSAC HQ, the point of contact will be HQ itself but as a consequence it essential that attendance is reported by the event team as soon as possible after the event.
There are four simple steps to effective event management to ensure Covid-safe activity. The starting point is the nomination or appointment of a single person who is responsible for the overall safe conduct of the event. This will normally be the lead instructor, who can delegate some of the responsibilities but remains overall accountable for the safe conduct of the event.
Step 1: Covid safety plan
Identify what the activity involves (e.g. diving, snorkelling and/or training), who the participants are, and where it will take place.
Prepare a written risk assessment (RA) for the event based on:
- Venue requirements to ensure you work within their own site restrictions and procedures
- BSAC guidance
- Current local restrictions
Step 2: Communication
Communicate to all participants in advance — as part of the joining information — the relevant risk assessment guidance specific for the event so they can arrive prepared. This should highlight the importance of not attending should they experience any symptoms or test positive for Covid in the days and weeks leading up to the event.
On the day of the event, a clear briefing and reminder of Covid-safe procedures should be provided.
Step 3: Management
Throughout the event, the event manager should oversee and remind participants about Covid-safe procedures. This is essential because, when engaged in an activity, participants' and instructors' attention will be focused on the activity. Having someone available for a reminder will help keep everyone safe.
Step 4: Post-event
Review the event and the risk assessment afterwards and make any adjustments necessary for future events.
Maintain contact details in case they are required for track and trace requirements. Any such records should be held securely and for a period of three weeks. For nationally organised events, ensure attendance reports are completed accurately and returned to HQ immediately after the event.
BSAC has released guidance to help members and the wider diving community prepare for a safe return to the water. Check it out.