An authorised dive by a BSAC branch is one carried out with the approval of the branch Diving Officer (DO), who appoints a properly qualified person to be the Dive Manager (DM) in charge of all diving activities for the duration of the dive or expedition.
A table summarising everyone’s responsibilities is available on the Diving Officer and diving member responsibilities page of this website.
BSAC promotes the benefits of diving activity being conducted under the supervision of the DM.
The DM is appointed by and derives their authority from the DO of a branch who in turn derives their authority from the National Diving Officer (NDO).
A DM should be trained and practiced in the role, as is a qualified BSAC Dive Leader or above. A DM can delegate some tasks or responsibilities to assistants. A central part of being DM is assessing the risks involved and mitigating them as necessary. You should do this after considering all relevant factors, including the qualifications and experience of the divers, the weather and tides, and the available dive sites. You should produce a dive plan that manages risk to those involved.
To provide evidence of having considered and mitigated the risks it is advisable to have a documented risk assessment covering the major factors that you have thought about and to use this as the basis for a dive briefing at the start of the day.
A DM should monitor the progress of diving activities until they are completed. This is so that you can take appropriate action if things don’t go to plan. For example the weather might change, or the boat might break down.
A DM or DM assistant, should complete a dive log to help monitor of diving activities. BSAC recommends that you record who is diving with whom, when they began their dive; and if appropriate, their expected maximum dive time. This information is important for checking that all divers have left the water safely, and for planning if a search may be necessary if they become overdue.
Sometimes the DM may need to specify a maximum dive time. This may be for safety reasons, such as increasing currents, or for logistical reasons, for example if you plan diving in two waves.
A DM should also consider recording planned maximum depth, gas mixes, gas pressures, cylinder sizes, remaining scrubber duration for rebreather divers, and any planned decompression stops.
After the dive a DM should make sure that everyone has left the water safely and is feeling fit and well. A DM or an assistant should record divers’ actual time and depth, decompression details, and whether there were any problems during the dive. You should consider recording divers’ final cylinder pressures, as this can be a way of identifying whether the divers encountered difficulties underwater.
When planning any dive the following factors should be considered - The divers’ experience and qualifications - Divers’ current fitness to dive - Divers’ depth limitations - A suitable dive platform (and suitably experienced skipper, when boat diving) - A safety backup plan for all aspects of the dive in case of an emergency
When boat dives are taking place, divers should make sure that a responsible person on shore has details of the dive plan and estimated time of return.
When diving in the UK, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) should be contacted by phone/radio to brief them of your intentions, and again after diving to confirm that you have returned to shore safely.
Accurate records of diver training, dives and expeditions should be kept at all times.
Additionally, planning for technical diving involves consideration of - The various combinations of gas mixtures to be used during the dive - The maximum operating depth (MOD) of the gases being used - The equivalent narcotic depth (END) of the gases being used - Scenarios involving the loss of gas mixes during the dive - Manufacturers’ equipment-specific depth limit recommendations
Safe Diving is founded on the processes of risk assessment, which is inherent throughout diver training, dive planning and dive management. More information on risk assessments can be found on the risk assessment pages of this website.
Having dedicated surface cover means that an incident is more likely to be spotted quickly, and help may be quicker to arrive. However, in some circumstances it may not be practical to provide dedicated surface cover.
If you are the DM, you should think carefully about whether you need surface cover or not, and if so, what form it should take.