A handy guide to positions within BSAC clubs and how we all play a part in safety and discipline during diving training, trips and expeditions.

As members of BSAC, we all have our own role to play in the safety and discipline on diving expeditions, depending on our position within the structure and so a trainee or Ocean Diver should understand they need to dive under the authority of a Dive Manager and to dive within the limits of their training and Safe Diving.

All BSAC members are members of the same club. That membership is not something that can be switched on and off and so we are all constrained to act in a responsible manner and “…shall observe all the rules and recommendations of BSAC…” (Article 80 “Duties of Members” of the Articles of Association).

We are all ultimately accountable to the National Diving Officer (NDO), who likewise is responsible for all diving and training within BSAC. Clearly, the NDO cannot be everywhere and supervise every occasion of diving and training and so they delegate their authority to branch Diving Officers (DO and other relevant members of BSAC (see Article 87 (B)). This authority can be further delegated to a Dive Manager/Expedition Leader/Instructor “To secure safety and discipline on diving expeditions…” (see Article 87 (C)).

Diving Officer (DO)

A Diving Officer is elected by the branch members to fulfil the role but then carries the delegated authority of the NDO. A DO should have the necessary skills to make dive management decisions themselves in order to effectively appoint appropriate Dive Managers (DM) for any particular diving activity. Once appointed they should then be able to trust the DM to carry out their responsibility as the DM then has the same delegated authority from the NDO.

The responsibility should not be an onerous one but a DO should be able to trust branch members to keep him informed of any diving activity in the club and not have to deal with self-appointed Dive Managers or Expedition Leaders who do not keep them informed. The Diving Officer role is to promote diving and training within the club and not restrict it unnecessarily.

BSAC Buddies photoshoot - female divers seated on shore talking with instructor

Dive Manager (DM)

A DM needs to have the necessary skills and experience to manage the dive(s) being undertaken. Advanced Divers are clearly well trained in dive management and able to organise trips to unfamiliar locations but they may still need support in organising trips to more extreme locations or activities.

Dive Leader has a more limited skill set for managing dives to a known location or with a charter boat skipper who is responsible for site location, briefing etc. In either instance as a minimum should discuss their plans with their Diving Officer so that the DO is aware (and may even wish to go along).


The primary focus for an Instructor is often for training their students and occasionally in our enthusiasm to help we forget the line of responsibility but the Diving Officer should be aware of all training being undertaken as they are responsible for “all diving and training” in the club.

If the DO is not an Instructor they should delegate their responsibility to an Instructor in the club who should still keep the DO informed.

Think SAFE – Dive SAFE

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