Why join East Lothian Divers
Beside the fact that we're a cracking bunch of people, we are the local branch of the Scottish Sub-Aqua Club for the area and nobody knows more about diving in and around Scotland than ScotSAC. The Scottish Sub-Aqua Club Prides itself on its safety record. It is geared towards diving in Scotland and therefore the old maxim applies:
'If you can dive here, you can dive anywhere...' Although this is a general statement, it does carry some weight. The diving in Scotland is very diverse and allows Scottish divers to gain experience in a wide variety of diving environments. One of the major causes of diving accidents in the UK is as a result of people gaining certification in a warmer climate and assuming that means they can dive anywhere in the world - WRONG. Whoever you train with, it only qualifies you to dive in the same conditions. So if you learn in the Gulf of Mexico, you're only really qualified to dive in temperate waters with exeptional visibility. Training in Scotland will give you the benefit of a wide variety of conditions, it also means that when you do go to better climates diving - you'll appreciate it more.
There is a myth that diving in Scotland is very dark and there's not much to see. In fact people come from all over the world to dive here. The marine reserve at St. Abbs is recognised worldwide as is the diving around St. Kilda, Scapa Flow and the Sound of Mull. Visibility in Scotland can be up to 20 meters or more in good conditions, but yes, in the worst conditions you won't be able to see very much at all.
It's worthwhile mentioning at this stage that, like some other sports, diving can be quite expensive to get started in, in terms of buying your own equipment. See the Costs section for details.
Diving as a sport is classed as being adventurous, and as such is deemed to carry certain risks over other sports, with respect to possible injury to persons. During your try-dive session, you will be using S.C.U.B.A. (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus), and as such, certain rules must be obeyed.
These rules are very simple:
Do not, at any time, hold your breath.
Make sure that you maintain a steady, continuous breathing rythm.
If you have a cold or any sinus or ear infections/inflammations, you should not use the apparatus.
Please pay close attention to the Instructors and reply to any signals that they give you while underwater.
Relax and enjoy yourself.
The ScotSAC training schedule is designed to allow all swimmers who are reasonably competent in the water to qualify to at least the basic Sport Diver level. By competent, we do not mean that you must be able to swim for miles, or even be a fast swimmer. All that is required is that you be comfortable with yourself whilst in the water. Initially, your first test is the basic swimming test which will take approximately 30-45 minutes, followed by basic snorkel training to allow you to get use to wearing fins and a mask. After the basic snorkel training, and prior to starting SCUBA training, the club requires that trainees take out membership of ScotSAC and complete a medical questionnaire, wchich is the standard UK Sport Diver Medical. All forms are provided to the new member on joining the club. Due to the fact that the winter months generally mean poor diving conditions on the East coast, we carry out all pool training from October to April. Thus when good weather arrives, we can concentrate on the diving itself. So anybody who would like to join the Club as a novice should please bear in mind that training can only be given between October and April.
During the SCUBA Training phase, you will undertake a series of exercises and tests, designed to acquaint you with the equipment and dive safety. You will simultaneously have a series of lectures on Diving Theory, culminating in a final exam.
Once the pool training is completed, you will then proceed to the Open Water Training Phase where you actually start diving and, on completion of basically the same exercises and tests as your Pool Training you will be a fully qualified Sport Diver, will able to dive anywhere in the world.
The learning process doesn't stop here. With diving experience and further training, progression can be made to Master Diver and even 1st Class Diver
Membership of the club means you will be involved with the club's diving activities which during the Summer months means at least 1 boat dive mid-week with additional diving at weekends. The club does not lay down a formal diary of events. It is up to club members to communicate with each other and see who wants to go diving. That's what being in a club is all about. Besides the members of our own branch, we have close links with other branches, not only on the East coast but also on the West, ensuring that there is a wide variety of diving on offer.
If you have, or during your membership obtained, a suitable Coxwain qualification with relevant experience, then you can also skipper the club boat. If you can drive it, then you are capable of arranging your own dive trips with other club members - to go and do the dive site of your choice.
Even without the suitable qualification, there are club members who will skipper the boat for you, should you wish to arrange your own dive trip.
These costs are to pay for the rental of the swimming pool facilities, and the additional costs for the air training are to pay for the cylinder filling and the equipment servicing.
Please remember that unlike some organisations, you do not pay for the actual training. Branch training personnel freely give their own time and are happy to train people who want to learn to dive.
To start basic pool training, you will need the following items:
Mask£26.00 - £40.00
Fins£30.00 - £100.00
Snorkel£5.00 - £25.00
Booties (for use with fins)£15.00 - £30.00
These will always come in handy for holiday snorkelling, if you decide against diving. There is no need to buy any other equipment immediately, however we must make you aware of the cost involved in buying the reminder of the equipment.
Drysuit (with hood & gloves£360.00 upwards
Knife£15.00 - £40.00
Dive computer£150.00 upwards
Regulator + gauge *£150.00 upwards
Stab Jacket *£150.00 upwards
Cylinder *£120.00 to £165.00
Items marked * can be hired from the branch during open water training.
The branch is adequately equipped with its own stock of equipment for use by trainees, both during pool nights and during open water training and diving (a hire charge is made for the use of branch equipment for open water training/diving). However, most divers tend to purchase their own equipment, allowing them to dive whenever they want. Divers will have to purchase their own drysuit for open water diving. Since these are all an individual fit, the club is unable to stock them.
To start training all you need is a mask, fins and snorkel. we suggest that you don't run straight out and buy these - talk to other club members. Remember, everybody's different, so it's far better to get a few people's opinions. We also have good relationships with quite a few of the large dive shops and, as some of us are continually buying new bits and bobs, somebody in the club will always have an idea where there are good deals.
In addition, there is also the option of second hand equipment which, from time to time, becomes available within the club and can be bought for a reasonable price. If you are unsure about the quality of any item then other more experienced members are always available for advice.
The ScotSAC membership fees are currently(2016)
Membership Type 1st Year Subscription Annual Subscription after 1st year
Ordinary £75.00 £55.00
Joint (cost for pair) £126.00 £86.00
Junior (14-17 yrs) £58.00 £38.00
Associate (non diving) £35.00 £35.00
Student* £62.00 £42.00
Family** £183.00 £103.00
Junior Snorkeler <14 £15.00 £15.00
** Family membership covers up to 4 people (children up to the age of 18 years only), for each additional person
please contact HQ.
* Students please enclose a copy of your matriculation card -
The maintenance of the branch boat and equipment is funded via an agreed annual membership fee set at the branch AGM. This year (2016) it is set at £100.00 (joint-£174, trainee-£90 (including air fills), non-diver-£27).This allows for servicing and upgrading to the club's property. All training is given free of charge by the instructors. All funds raised by East Lothian Divers, whether through fees, fund raising or other sources are used by the club to provide better services to the members, allowing a great variety of diving to be undertaken, for all members, of all standards.
How to join
All that you have to do to join East Lothian Divers is:
1. Register your interest with the Branch Secretary. (Paul Laycock - firstname.lastname@example.org).
2. Come along to the Aubigny Sports Centre in Haddington for a try dive in the pool on the nominated dates - usually the four Thursdays in October from 7:30pm onwards.
3. After weighing up the commitment and costs involved, decide if you'd like to be considered for the training place and let the Branch Secretary know your decision promptly. We will then consider your application and hopefully confirm you a place. Unfortunately we always have more requests than places.
4. Once you have been invited to join, attend our weekly training program, and before starting actual SCUBA training, join the Scottish Sub-Aqua Club. By joining ScotSAC you will receive your Logbook for recording your dives, yor Qualifications Record Book, third party indemnity insurance, a diving reference manual, and a subscription to 'Scottish Diver', which is the UK's longest running dive magazine.
There are, of course, other training organisations which are generally controlled from either England or the USA but as ScotSAC is the governing body of the sport in Scotland, we find that most Scottish divers do prefer to belong to a Scottish organisation.
We hope this has given you an insight into the opportunities for diving with East Lothian Divers and hope you will want to train and dive with us.
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