Safety and Development Manager Jim Watson reminds us of the importance of compromise as we slowly return to a new normal in diving.

2020 should become the year when we learnt the art of compromise. The impact of Covid-19 continues to impact heavily on every aspect of everyone’s lives throughout the world.

As we continue the slow return to normal activity, including diving, following the Covid-19 pandemic we must accept the need to make changes and compromises. It is unrealistic to expect everything to remain the same and it is essential that whatever activity we engage in we accept and welcome the necessary compromises to protect ourselves, the wider community and the emergency services (not least the NHS).

Continued cautious diving

We have already emphasised the need to recognise any significant period away from the activity and to return to activity cautiously. The important reminder to ‘Dive Defensively’ both to account for the period of inactivity and to minimise even further the risks of having to deal with the consequences of an incident. Indications from media coverage of crowded beaches and high profile incidents of jumping from height are that the general public seem intent on carrying on as normal, or even being reckless? Whilst there is no immediate evidence of a similar approach by divers only time will tell. However, it remains appropriate that we approach all diving with more caution throughout this period, reducing maximum depths, dive durations, amount of decompression stops and pay continued attention to our buoyancy control, which underlies many a diving incident.

Avoiding the crowds

It used to be that diving was very much about getting away from the crowds and enjoying the seclusion of the coast. Many divers I have spoken to recently have commented that previously deserted beaches and rocky coves have become crowded and difficult to navigate. A suitable compromise to such a situation might be to arrive earlier, enjoy the dive and depart before the masses arrive rather than select even more remote and inaccessible locations that might increase risk of injury and delay an emergency response. A little more patience when trying to launch and load boats on crowded slips and pontoons may also be an appropriate compromise?


The ‘Diving holiday’ is an important part of many a diver's life. Approaching such a holiday now needs much wider consideration not just of how much risk we are prepared to accept in travelling with other passengers on an airline for hours but we must also now consider the potential of being faced with the need to quarantine on return.

Are you ready to compromise?

Think SAFE - dive SAFE

Jim Watson
Safety and Development Manager


BSAC has released guidance to help members and the wider diving community prepare for a safe return to the water. Check it out.

Covid-19 Safe Diving guidance

BSAC has produced extensive guidance to help members and the wider diving community stay safe while diving, snorkelling and training during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Find out more

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