We’ve tried to think of some of the most frequently asked questions – and more importantly took a stab at answering them. Have a look.
Is diving safe?
Any activity where you enter an environment that you can’t naturally breathe in can never be 100% safe – and we won’t con you into believing it is. There are very real dangers associated with diving that only good kit and excellent training will equip you to cope with. Having said that, our sport enjoys a very good safety record and statistics show that scuba diving is safer than driving, horse riding, child birth and even marathon running. Take your kit, your training and your skills seriously and scuba diving can be very safe.
Is scuba diving expensive?
Well here again, we’re not going to lie to you! Diving is not a cheap hobby! While training with Chester Sub Aqua Club can be very inexpensive due to our trainers volunteering their time, the cost of the kit can mount up significantly. To gain your entry level qualification with CSAC should cost in the region of £200 for training and diving fees. However, to buy the kit required to dive in UK waters can cost over £2,000 if everything is bought new. Keeping an eye out in the club for 2nd hand gear or buying on ebay can reduce this cost, but it will still dent your bank account!
Is scuba diving difficult?
Tricky to say really! Diving can be physically and mentally demanding so it’s best to be in good physical and mental health. However, almost every dive club has members who could do with losing a few pounds (sorry folks!). While some people will feel slightly tired after a dive, in most cases it is not physically strenuous. You need to be able to swim, be reasonably confident in the water and keep a clear head when faced with difficult situations, but past that, most people should be able to dive. If you have any doubt, pop down to the club and discuss your situation.
Do I need to be a strong swimmer?
You don’t need to be a strong swimmer, but you do need to be able to swim and being confident in the water is a big help.
Surely there’s nothing to see in UK waters?!
Don’t you believe it!!! The UK has an amazing variety of sea life under the waves. From octopus to anemones, from starfish to sunfish, it’s all there. OK, it’s not the Red Sea, we’ll give you that, but there are some amazing creatures down there. Just have a look at our gallery page to see some examples.
Combine this with the rich UK maritime history that lies on the sea bed. Just within 2 hours drive of Chester we have the wreck of the worlds first working submarine (Resurgam), a wreck that went down with over £100m of gold (in todays value) and 495 souls (Royal Charter) and a royal yacht from 1675 (Mary) and many other interesting and important wrecks. In fact the club are quite well known for our wreck hunting abilities – we won this years NAS ‘adopt a wreck’ award, our honorary president has written several books on dive site in the area, and we are currently involved in identifying what looks like a wreck from medieval times.
Are there any dangerous creatures in UK waters?
Not really. About the only thing in our area that you need to be careful of is one type of jellyfish – the Lions Mane Jellyfish. And even these will not seriously harm you, but they will give a nasty sting. Everything else is pretty benign really.
Do I need to already be a diver to come to CSAC?
Nope! Training is a major part of what we do so we can take you from your first try dive through to a fully qualified diver at a pace that is comfortable for you. There is no experience at all required – apart from being able to swim!
What is the first diving qualification?
The first qualification you can obtain from BSAC is Ocean Diver – this allows you to dive to a maximum depth of 20m in conditions that you’ve experienced during your initial training.
How much does it cost to qualify as Ocean Diver?
Ocean Diver costs approximately £250. This consists of 12 months membership of CSAC and BSAC, 3rd party insurance, monthly Scuba magazine and all training materials for Ocean Diver.
How long does it take to qualify as Ocean Diver?
Ocean diver takes around 10-12 weeks to complete. The training consists of 6 lectures, 6 pool sessions, a multiple choice test and 6 ‘open water’ dives.
Is all the training equipment provided?
Training equipment for the pool sessions is provided. When you are ready to complete the open water dives, you will need a dry suit and undersuit. These can be purchased new from around £500 for entry level suits, but often you can find them available 2nd hand for much less.
Where is the training carried out?
All of the training takes place at the Chester City Baths in Chester on Wednesday evenings. Sessions generally start at 7:00pm.
When can I start?
We collect the names of people who are interested in learning to dive so we have a group of people to train. Once we’ve recorded your interest we will contact you with a start date.
What diving does the club do once I’m qualified?
The club organises many trips for qualified divers. The majority of these are local trips with our own boats, but we do organise weekends away and the occasional holiday abroad.
I want to know more! Where do I sign up!?
Pop down to the club on any Wednesday night – arrive about 8:45 and we’ll give you a short tour of the facilities before we move to the bar where we can answer any questions. Alternatively send us an e-mail through the contact us page of the web site and we’ll get back to you.
I have a medical condition or I’m on medication - can I still learn to dive?
In the first instance, contact BSAC (www.BSAC.com) for advice and guidance. If your condition isn’t excluded you will need a medical from a suitably qualified doctor.
What is the minimum age to learn to dive?
The minimum age to take part in training is 14. Parents/guardians must be present at all times for those under 18 – but they can stay dry!
Do you teach PADI speciality courses?
No. We are a branch of the British Sub Aqua Club and only offer training from the BSAC Diver Training Programme.
I started training with another BSAC Club - can I complete my training with CSAC?
Yes – although if appropriate we may contact your previous club.
I trained with PADI (or any other agency) is this a problem?
Not at all. You’ll need to join BSAC and the Chester Sub Aqua Club to be able to dive with us. BSAC will award you with a qualification that is a similar level as your current agency. You can stay qualified with both agencies. No crossover training is required, but you may want to consider it to keep your skills honed. You can continue your training with BSAC.
Does CSAC organise any social activities?
There are many social activities organised by our members, from cinema nights, summer BBQ’s, meals out and a host of fundraising activities. Check out our social page on this web site.
OK – so maybe you have a not-so-FAQ?
Pop down to the club to discuss it or contact us!