Heading for this RNLI-sponsored course, I expected lots of safety tips on personal locator beacons and looking after your health as I know these are hot topics at the moment. I had no idea what the practical side of the workshop would offer.

I really enjoyed the theory sessions, including the thought provoking ‘what is where’ on your boat, and I did learn a lot about the different electronic devices. I particularly liked the dive planning, for the insight into what can be obtained from a chart, how to identify hazards, and of course using other sources of information including the internet. Safety through good planning was the message and, of course, keeping to BSAC Safe Diving guidelines.

I have taken the ‘what is where’ session back to my branch. It’s too easy to overlook this, on the assumption that everyone knows what equipment does what on the boat and when to use it.

The surface skills session at the end of each dive was excellent, particularly putting up a flag, which I’d never done before, attaching a weight to the DSMB, using electronic devices and creating a giant glow stick by placing a torch underneath the DSMB when inflated.

These in-water skills refreshers would be of most benefit to an Ocean Diver. Overall I would recommend the workshop to any diver: there was plenty to pick up in the theory lessons that isn’t covered in great depth in the early BSAC diver grades; the use of torches with DSMBs and the use of a flags to attract attention was something new, and the use of charts for safe planning was excellent. I will definitely be delivering the workshop in-branch.

- Dave Hackman, Diving Officer, Droylsden SAC

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