Photo credit: Simon Rogerson
BSAC Chair Edward Haynes shares his New Year reflections and the outlook for the BSAC community in 2024.
Happy New year to you all!
It was wonderful to see how much diving and training took place in 2023, our 70th year, with so many club trips both in the UK and overseas.
SCUBA magazine celebrated BSAC’s 70 years with some wonderful photos and stories, with a special issue out on our birthday month of October.
It’s been a good year. Thank you
None of the diving and training we all enjoy would happen without our thousands of volunteers. So, from all of us at BSAC a big thank you to you!
2023 was our second year of working in our new strategy. Our vision remains, which is for “everyone to enjoy and respect the underwater world”.
One of the key goals in 2023 was to ensure membership growth. I’m pleased to report 2023 was a good year for new member recruitment and the total number of members in our community grew gently over the year.
BSAC saw growth in training participation too and the MyBSAC app saw more than 60,000 lessons signed off by nearly 1,000 instructors in 2023.
Challenging times remain
Although the community has grown, I’m acutely aware that challenges in the outside world remain with the cost of living increasing for us all. BSAC Council will continue to do our very best to keep diving with BSAC the best value possible, while retaining the benefits you want and need.
Clubs may also be facing continuing challenges as some pools close or increase costs, you don’t have enough active instructors and other difficulties.
Please do reach out to us if you need support. We can help facilitate pool sharing, advise on grants and help in other ways such as with fast-track training for new recruits if you don’t have the instructor capacity.
For support (members or clubs) please email firstname.lastname@example.org and your message will be forwarded to the most suitable contact at head office, to help.
Working for you in 2024
Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, BSAC Council will continue to focus on the work that needs to be done to ensure our bright future. Our ultimate task remains, to transform BSAC into an organisation that is both agile and responsive to a broader community, delivering better diving and training experiences for all.
In 2024 we will be focusing on:
A key area of focus this year (and ongoing) will be improving BSAC’s technology and processes. We’re looking to harness technology much more effectively to improve efficiency, deliver a better service (for members, clubs and centres) and manage data more effectively.
Our aim will be to make processes easier for all of us – members, clubs, training centres and staff. A key project to achieve this will be implementing a new Association Management System (AMS). News on this will be shared with members soon.
Diving and training
To reach broader audiences and grow, BSAC needs to diversify our offering and become more accessible (make it easier for people to participate). In 2024 we will:
- Work to support and grow the all-important volunteer instructor network.
- Review BSAC’s snorkelling courses and programme enabling growth in the more accessible part of our sport.
- Develop a fast-track training option for people that have limited time to learn.
We will continue this year in our work to safeguard the UK's precious waters and marine life for divers, including:
- Working collaboratively with conservation organisations such as Project Seagrass, Seawilding and the Marine Conservation Society.
- Develop our own home-grown environment projects including BSAC’s Operation Oyster.
We know great things happen when our community gets together. That’s why we are looking to run a BSAC conference in the autumn this year. Date coming soon!
Other work that will take place to support and grow our community will include:
- A focus on support to clubs, to grow member satisfaction and facilitate easier access to diving and training for all.
- Work to attract (and keep) more young people, specifically 18-35-year-olds.
Our university clubs have been particularly impressive over the past year, and it has been great to see how well they have done with their freshers and new recruits. We look forward to supporting and working further with them in 2024 and of course linking them in with our strategy project for young people.
As Chair I am particularly interested in our organisation’s governance. As part of a wider modernisation of our governance we’re looking to:
- Recruit a Non-Executive Director to the BSAC Board to apply best practice and in order to progressively meet the requirements of the Sports and Recreation Alliance (SRA).
- Review how the Instructor Training Scheme is managed to help support the growth in active instructors and improve member satisfaction.
- Recruit new faces to the Board as part of the 2024 elections.
If you fancy giving us a hand and want to give something back to the sport we all love, why not stand in the elections for the Board? The deadline for standing for election is 31st January 2024. If you are interested let me know at email@example.com.
Keep in touch
Please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to give feedback on anything.
In the meantime, I wish you all a happy and healthy year ahead with plenty of fabulous diving and snorkelling. I hope to see you at the Go Diving Show in March!