BSAC's Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be hosted online on 25th July at 10:00am this year due to the complications of the coronavirus pandemic. We hope to see you there!

There will be a brief Q&A session during the webinar, and we’ve also added the opportunity to ask questions in advance. If you have any questions for BSAC Council ahead of the AGM, please use the form below. Questions and answers will be posted online.

The first BSAC virtual AGM has now reached capacity - 250 attendees are expected. Apologies if you haven't had a chance to register. The meeting will be recorded and released the following, as well as an update on the blog on Monday.

In the 2019 Group Income Statement, as published in the May 2020 edition of SCUBA, there is an income of £12,000 listed under 'Sponsorship & Grant funding'. An equal amount was expended under 'Sponsorship & Grant funding utilised'. 

1. Who were the sponsors or granting bodies?
2. On what were the monies expended?

The sponsor was Malta Tourism. They wanted to sponsor Ocean Diver training, and so we included a Malta promotional booklet in the Ocean Diver training packs and provided some advertising in SCUBA magazine.

The removal of a club magazine is an odd article of association change. Please detail why we should lose it? 

I would like to ask why we are changing the rules to remove the requirement to publish a magazine.  We have long had a magazine and most people I have spoken to don't find it easy to see the digital version.  In fact, many of us don't read digital magazines at all and advertisers are generally not enthusiastic either.  I am surprised that such an important change as this is hidden away in a rule change.

The recent decision to suspend publication of a printed magazine was a direct consequence of COVID-19 and lockdown. It is a temporary measure, and we plan to return to a printed magazine soon.

We fully understand the importance of SCUBA magazine to the members. When we stopped distributing the physical magazine, we contacted every member in advance to inform them of the plan, and we received many emails in response that, while understanding our reasons, regretted the absence of a physical magazine. This is also backed-up by the results of the latest membership survey, which told us that SCUBA magazine is highly valued by our membership. Returning to a physical magazine as soon as is practicable is a high priority for us.

This section of the Articles dates back to a time prior to emails, when sending a physical magazine, and publishing a physical diving manual, were the only means to keep members updated with the latest developments. It now seems anachronistic to mention the need to publish a magazine, but not to mention the need to have a website or social media presence.

So while we fully intend to return to a physical magazine as soon as is practicable (hopefully in a matter of months), we believe that Articles of Association are not the place for this sort of detail.

Please can BSAC enable payments using PayPal for courses and materials on the BSAC website?  Is there any issue preventing enabling PayPal payments on BSAC's website?

We have considered using PayPal for courses and materials. However PayPal charges significantly more than other bank cards, and while it is sometimes a little more inconvenient, overall we believe it is better value for members if we do not offer this option.

Is it not time BSAC shared training materials electronically rather than relying on expensive printed materials?

Many of us prefer online materials, and this would increase membership learning at no cost to BSAC.

We have been working hard behind the scenes, and have some new eLearning materials ready for launch. Watch this space! eLearning is not free, however, as there are set-up costs and ongoing IT support costs.

How does BSAC, and the Council, in particular, intend to improve its services and communications for snorkelling and snorkellers and in particular youngsters ie junior snorkellers and snorkel clubs?

Over the years since incorporating the NSC, the services for snorkellers has been very poor and appear to have been generally overlooked!

We have made some good progress in this area.  In particular, the Snorkel Diver program has recently been updated, as has the Snorkel Instructor Training Course & Assessment. Snorkel Dive Manager has also been released as well as a review of the Snorkel Life Saver and Advanced Snorkel Life Saver. We are now looking at the Advanced Snorkel Instructor Training Course & Assessment.

Snorkelling instructors are further supported with a monthly email by Marg Baldwin, and historic Safety Talks can be found via the Safety Articles link on the BSAC website. SCUBA magazine is also available online to snorkelling members.

We welcome feedback from all our members and want to engage with as many people as possible.  If there are specific areas you feel could be improved, please do send us your suggestions.

What are the plans to encourage less-abled divers to participate in scuba diving?

BSAC’s Diving for All (DFA) programme provides divers, clubs and centres with the knowledge and skills to help everyone enjoy the underwater world. The DFA Instructor course focuses on encouraging instructors to be flexible and adaptable in how they approach teaching of divers with disabilities. 

This is complemented by a DFA Dive Managers and Buddies course, which focuses on how club members come together to support each other in their diving activities.  During lockdown, we have taken the initiative to deliver the DFA Dive Managers and Buddies course via webinar, and around 250 members have completed this course.  We are now exploring how we can deliver an upgrade path for the instructors who completed the Dive Managers and Buddies course.

We have had a lot of positive feedback on the DFA programme and it’s something we are very proud of.  We welcome any other ideas on how we can be more inclusive.

Suspension of a member may be delegated to a committee. Why is there no time limit put on the length of suspension as a member could find him or herself in limbo for an indefinite period and effectively at the mercy of a subcommittee of Council?

We understand the concern.  Suspending a member is a serious matter, and should not be taken lightly, although fortunately, these cases are very rare. The terms of reference for the committee will provide clear guidance on this and will require a monthly update on the status of any suspension.  It is important that any suspension is resolved as quickly as practicable, however, there are circumstances, such as ongoing criminal proceedings, where it is not easy to know when the issue that led to the suspension will be resolved.

Do you intend supporting the Overseas BSAC Schools or are we still left to swim uphill on our own ???

BSAC is keen to work with overseas and UK centres. The last few months have shown how BSAC can work in a more effective and efficient way with technology and this will enable us to support overseas centres in the future.  Online webinars and video meetings are now a tool which BSAC are using in a very proactive manner, and we plan to use this to increase communications with centres.  The centres told us that you want e-Learning and we have listened and developed an e-Learning solution for Ocean Diver and Discovery Diver. We hope this will help you to support your customers more easily.  We are in the final stages of clarification and pricing and will then be launching this offering. We will be contacting you again soon to explain how this will be made available, and to explore how else we can support you.

What support is there going to be for uni clubs based on the pandemic and the fact we're not going to have a normal fresher week?

Freshers’ fairs are a critical time for Uni Branches, and every year we work together to put on some great events that attract lots of new members.  We too are worried that we will not be able to run any physical events this year.  Every Uni Club is different, and so we are speaking to them individually about how they are dealing with their Freshers’ week. A plan is being put together to support Uni Clubs either via online platforms, zoom meetings, and webinars.  Sport is an important part of university life, and we are working with University Sports Unions and also BUCS to understand how they intend to deliver sport to the universities and how we can help them fulfil their roles.

I am quite astonished to note that, presuming BSAC strive to be gender non-specific (apologies if wrong term used), that "he" is used some 34 times in the proposed document - with I think only 2 being "he or she"s.

You are right.  We should have taken the opportunity of revising the Articles to correct this historic anomaly.  We are now looking at whether it is possible to amend the Special Resolution at the AGM, to make the necessary changes.

We know that diving clubs do not represent the diversity of society, and we are keen to change this.  We have started some work on inclusivity and, whilst the Articles are a small part of this, using gender-neutral language would help send a signal to wider membership that we are an inclusive organisation.  If we are unable to make the changes this year, then we will propose a motion making the changes next year.

Can the BSAC brethren have a categorical assurance that the SCUBA magazine will be returning to a printed hardcopy format when the worst of Covid-19 is over?

The printing and posting of the magazine is subsidised by advertising, and the decision to go digital-only was in response to a dramatic reduction in advertising revenue as a result of Covid-19. We know that many of our members prefer to receive a printed magazine, and we hope to return to this. We are initiating a tender process to establish a long-term contract for the magazine, and the requirements will include a printed magazine as well as exploring options to make more digital content available, which has also been requested by members. However, it would be irresponsible of us to offer any categorical assurance without understanding the financial implications, especially in these difficult times. We will consult with members during this process. 

Have the anomalies I have raised with Council in the proposed revised Articles of Association 2020 been addressed (these relate to gender)? This question may be ignored if the AGM accepts the concept of an "Ordinary Resolution to amend the Special Resolution"

Unfortunately, we received your feedback after the Special Resolution had been put to members for a vote, and the legal advice is that we cannot propose further amendments to the Articles by an Ordinary Resolution at the AGM. We attempted to get members feedback on the proposed Articles changes by publishing the draft changes on the website in February and highlighting this in BSAC Talk in advance of voting. We only received feedback from one member, which was disappointing. We will explore how we can encourage more active member review at the draft stage in future.

If the situation with diving activities blocked due to the Covid-19 continues do we have to pay the full BSAC Membership?

Should we pay nothing or a reduced subscription with full justification if diving continues to be disallowed? 

Due to the current situation in regards to the impact that the lockdown had on scuba diving activities, could BSAC consider to discount membership to reflect this?

We understand that members have been unable to dive and fully enjoy the sport that we all love, through circumstances beyond all of our control. Thankfully we have seen restrictions being gradually lifted in recent weeks, and many members have now returned to diving. 

We have adapted to offer additional services such as online training during lockdown, as well as creating detailed guidance for the safe return to diving, but we know this isn’t a substitute for being in the water. 

Almost all of BSAC’s income comes from members, through subscriptions, training packs and attendance on courses. As you might expect we have had very few new members, no courses income and minimal sales of training packs during the last 3 months, and this has had a significant impact on our finances. Whilst we have managed to reduce some of our costs during this period, other costs such as insurance have increased because of market conditions.  This means that we are not in a position to offer reduced fees or a payment holiday. 

Everyone’s personal circumstances are different, and we understand if members decide that they cannot afford to continue their membership in these difficult times, but we hope that they will return when we the situation improves. Thankfully most members have continued to renew their membership, which is much appreciated, and this is allowing us to keep going.

In light of the Coronavirus situation and the worrying articles that have appeared in the diving press from diving experts such as Phil Bryson and Chris Edge, that indicate that even those divers who have suffered mild symptoms or no symptoms at all... (question cut off)

What are the specific recommendations for divers to adhere to before returning to diving after a Covid-19 infection? Also, are the recommendations the same for asymptomatic people who may not even have had a test?

BSAC, along with the SAA and ScotSAC, are advised on medical matters by UKDMC.

Currently, UKDMC has provided the following explanation on the potential concerns following Covid-19 infection.

Divers need to be aware that this condition can result in significant heart, lung, kidney and clotting problems. As this is a new condition we do not yet know the full extent of these problems and the likelihood of any resolution. It is likely that the more severely ill patient will have significant problems even when recovered from the initial infection. It is known, however, that some totally asymptomatic individuals who are not even aware they have had COVID-19 can have organ damage that could be potentially fatal when diving. The UKDMC has guidance on this, which is to be updated as more is known about this condition. Any diver who is concerned, even if they are not aware of having had COVID-19, can discuss the implications with a UKDMC Medical Referee so a risk assessment can be made and the diver make a more informed decision about how to proceed.

Additionally, in order to help divers evaluate their own risk factors in relation to Covid-19, UKDMC have produced a scorecard.

 

 Last updated Friday 24 July 2020 

This document will be updated every few days with any new questions received.

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