While many lockdown rules are being relaxed and things begin to seem as though they are heading back to 'normal', Safety and Development Manager Jim Watson reminds us to be respectful and dive defensively.
The pandemic of Covid-19 is still ongoing; it has not disappeared and nor have the risks. The differences in the rate of relaxation throughout the UK is testament to this. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands have managed to more or less get rid of the virus... for now. However, Scotland and Wales are taking a much more cautious route out of lockdown, and England is already considering reinstating lockdown measures for certain communities.
Most disconcerting are some of the images and news stories at beaches and illegal drinking parties, which most would consider irresponsible behaviour...
We all have a part to play
The pandemic has placed significant pressures on everyone to a lesser or greater extent. Being prevented from engaging in the leisure activities the many of us use to recover from the stresses and strains of normal daily life are understandably frustrating and are behind the steady relaxation of the lockdown to help each of us cope. We must not, however, lose sight of why the lockdown was necessary in the first place and not act in any way that risks either ourselves or those around us.
The government(s), both the UK and the devolved administrations, are making decisions for the best interests of the respective areas. Some decisions may not release our preferred activity in an order of priority in which we think it should in relation to others. Examples might include the opening of swimming pools and the guidance for boating.
Whilst we may not agree with any delay, there are ways and means in which to address such matters. BSAC is actively working with other sporting bodies and partners to advise and influence the relevant government departments to resolve the situation. What may minimise the effectiveness of such discussions would be to disregard or ignore government guidance. Positive action is more effective in influencing, for example, you can actively contribute to #OpenOurPools campaign. Find out how here.
Major incidents can inevitably draw the attention of the media which again can reflect badly on an activity. The recent good weather and the draw of open water has, for example, led to significant media coverage of tombstoning and open water swimming incidents.
Last month, we drew attention to the normal advice for the start of the season - to build up slowly towards your previous level of diving (i.e. don’t jump straight into a deep dive with extensive deco). In this time of continuing uncertainty and high demands on the emergency services and NHS, the advice is to exercise a more conservative approach to diving by remaining shallow, avoiding dives that require decompression stops, avoid currents etc. The Incident Report illustrates that incidents can occur in even the most benign circumstances. The advice on defensive diving remains highly relevant.
Stay safe - dive safe
BSAC Safety and Development Manager