Snorkel Instructor Trainer Marg Baldwin demystifies who can do what and where in terms of snorkel instruction. If there is any doubt in your mind it is always good to ask! 

Some recent questions from a Branch indicated there could be some confusion as to what is meant by a Nationally Qualified Instructor particularly in relation to Snorkel Instructor and what their qualification permits them to do in terms of open water snorkelling.  The current Snorkel Diver training programme and its associated Snorkel Instructor qualification were developed and designed to permit the training of snorkellers in pool and pool like, sheltered watered conditions.  Our Snorkel Diver Training programme can be delivered worldwide and not everyone has access to a pool including some of the Scottish islands.  By using the sheltered water definition snorkel training and general snorkelling enjoyment is available to all.

- Marg Baldwin, Snorkel Instructor Trainer

Confirming definitions

What do we mean by NQI

Nationally Qualified Instructor (NQI) is any instructor who has successfully completed a national organised instructor assessment / examination for example, a Snorkel Instructor has achieved a nationally organised assessment and is therefore a Nationally Qualified Instructor. (A clue to the status is that student records need to be signed off by someone with an Instructor number and so assistant instructors would not meet this requirement)

What is the definition of Sheltered water?

Sheltered water - a well-maintained swimming pool, or water which provides similar conditions, i.e. is generally less than 4m deep, with a stepped or gently shelving open bottom of firm composition, has adequate visibility (minimum 5m), and is free from significant water movement from either waves or currents. Within sheltered water, depths are defined as follows:

  • Standing depth - water that is between waist and chest deep allowing students to either stand comfortably, or to kneel and be fully submerged.
  • Deeper water - water that is from approximately 2m to 4m in depth

If there is any doubt as to whether your local conditions meet these requirements the firstly the level of doubt will be an indication they are not but for clarity/confirmation contact the Diving Resources Team.

These two definitions mean that BSAC Snorkel Instructors can teach and lead Snorkel Divers in pools and sheltered calm sea or fresh water areas. Venturing into sheltered open water areas calls for good Snorkel Diver Management. HQ is about to release the revised Snorkel Dive Management programme – more on this next month…….

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