Introduction to BSAC's Safe Diving guide

Diving is a potentially dangerous sport with a good safety record. It is impossible to remove the risk completely but proper equipment, training, being “dived-up”, experience, self-awareness, and a safety-conscious attitude all reduce the risk of a serious incident. 

Diving is, for many, an adventure sport and like all adventure sports its participants enjoy different levels of adventure. At one extreme we have the equivalent of the high-altitude mountaineer who accepts the challenge and unavoidable risks of new routes and exploration in remote places. At the other extreme, we have the equivalent of the rambler who strolls along well-marked country paths in good weather. 

Safe Diving contains recommendations and guidance to help divers reduce the risks. These recommendations are not a set of rigid rules, but can be amended depending on the circumstances of the dive and the skills and experience of the divers involved. 

Most BSAC members are not paid to dive. However we hope that this document improves the safety of all divers, whether paid or unpaid. Divers working for hire or reward in the UK will also need to consider the Diving at Work regulations and relevant Approved Code of Practice issued by the HSE.

Many of the risks addressed by these recommendations relate to how to avoid potential personal injury or death. However even with the best preparation accidents can occur, consequently divers may face the risk that their actions may lead to them facing civil or criminal legal action. Facing legal action of any kind can be a deeply distressing experience, and can lead to devastating financial and personal consequences for those involved. For this reason this document includes recommendations about legislation, insurance, dive organisation, and taking responsibility for others. 

The Diver’s Code of Conduct is provided at the end of this document. It contains sensible advice on the responsible conduct of all dives, and is complementary to the guidance given here. See the summary table showing the responsibilities of the Diving Officer, Dive Manager, and divers on a trip.

How to use the online Safe Diving guide

  • click the A – Z expandable categories in the directory below
  • or you can use the search option below by entering in the 'specific term' you are looking for


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