Is UK Diving Dying?

Is UK Diving Dying? I love UK diving. Probably over 95% of all my diving over the last 18 years has been done in UK waters and whenever a non diver or even a new diver asks me where the best place I have ever dived is I will honestly answer that it is the UK. Its the blank stare that I get back from them followed by questions like “but isn't it cold and dark?” or “but there isn't anything to see” that concern me. OK...UK diving isn't for everyone. Some divers are just not interested in diving here and will only dive whilst on holiday but what has lead them to this decision in the first place? Have these potential or new divers been put off thanks to TV documentaries dramatising the hazards, dive magazines showing clear colourful images of far off places or dark murky green images of UK diving, or was it bad training or early dive experiences in muddy training lakes that has put them off? I don't know the answer but I'd like to find out. The other perception that non divers seem to have picked up that concerns me is that UK diving is seen as technical diving. The idea that you must have a twinset or rebreather, stage decompression cylinders, back up everything, a drysuit (OK a drysuit is preferred but not essential), full face masks, go down to 70m and who knows what else to dive in the UK is obviously utter rubbish but this impression has come from somewhere. So what can we (all) do? There is no doubt that we face certain challenges when diving here (like the poor weather conditions during the last couple of seasons) but should the UK dive industry be actively promoting the good things, the benefits and experiences of UK recreational diving? Should regional recreational training facilities be improved? Should there be more organised diving events like DiveFest that allow divers outside of clubs to get together with like minded individuals and actually have fun and enjoy diving? What do you think of UK diving? Good, bad or indifferent let us know. What would you like to see the dive industry as a whole doing to help UK divers enjoy our own rich and diverse waters? Leave a comment and help everyone out.  

2 comments

  • I learned to dive with a BSAC club almost 12 years ago, along with my wife Debbie, intending to only dive on holidays, but the whole club scene was so welcoming we decided to stay with them and take an active part in club activities, including both becoming Instructors and Club Officers. We’ve probably done an average of 90-95 dives a year with probably 70-75 dives a year being in the UK. It would probably have been have been more, but we’ve had a number of dive weekends called off due to high winds over the past 2 or 3 years, so that’s the biggest challenge to UK diving, the weather!

    Gary Davis
  • i think it is hard to make the transition from Advanced Open Water diver structured course scenario (which may all be taught at an inland site) to regular sea diving. for one, the investment in ones own drysuit is substantial and people delay purchasing one until they are really hooked, for two, it is hard to put together boatloads of divers who are only at that “beginning” stage… many times a trip has been in the planning and then never happened due to lack of interest / people crying off at the last minute. and lastly, when beginners do join boats of more experienced people who are all armed with twinsets/stage bottles/rebreathers etc the impression is given rightly or wrongly that “thats the way you dive in the UK” and they all want to go deep and do deco stops etc and newer people are not easily guided to find groups / trips appropriate to their limited experience. so it becomes easier to just not bother and wait for a holiday and warm water diving. but i am not in a BSAC club so maybe things are different on the BSAC side with more frequent introductory UK diving experiences. i would like to see more facebook groups / websites with “open” trips where people can easily find somewhere to go on a weekend or maybe 1 month in advance. but i appreciate it is just difficult for clubs/groups to “open” their trips without knowing the experience level of a newbie diver and whether they are really appropriate for the planned dives. so it is a bit of a catch 22 situation.

    will

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