Bristol Channel Divers
Dive Planning Guide
Planning A Dive Trip
The information on this page is aimed at helping club members plan trips. Hopefully
this information will make the task easier and encourage more people to plan
club diving activities. So, how about organising a trip? The information here
should help you. If you'd like to organise something at short notice, check
out the last minute spaces on the Divernet
Remember: there are always people in the club willing to give guidance and
advice about planning a trip.
You will need to think about any trip some time in advance and talk to club
members to get a feel for the level of interest in what you are proposing. Bear
in mind that a lot of members have other commitments so it's wise to begin this
process as soon as you can. If you're not sure about where to go diving, have
a chat with members who have planned trips before. Click here
for a list of charter companies.
If you feel your trip is feasible, you will need to either speak to a potential
dive operator in your target area or think about what boats will be needed (club
boat, hired RIB(s), chartered hardboat). If you're planning shore diving, this
is obviously not an issue.
Clear what you wish to do with the Diving Officer. He will want to know what
you plan to do, what experience level is required to do the diving and who is
planning to go.
Check out the BSAC
Dive Planning Page (sorry, this link is broken and I haven't
found the new page yet) for a whole bunch of information, spreadsheets
and documents on planning dives.
- Try and make sure all club members are aware of the trip and what experience
level is required. Remember not all members have access to email. Contact
the Treasurer to obtain the current list of members' email addresses (if
you are not a current member this information will NOT be released).
- Make sure you're not clashing with another club trip or course (unless there
is enough interest in addition to whatever diving is already planned).
- Consult tide tables to see what will be going on during your diving. This
will affect your choice of dive times and sites. Some dives are affected greatly
by tides and others not at all. If you are hiring a boat, the skipper will
be interested in this and may suggest alternative sites bearing in mind the
- Remember Respect Our Wrecks. You need to find
out if any of your proposed dive sites fall within existing guidelines
and club rules regarding
diving on "sensitive sites". You may need to brief all your
divers on their responsibilities!
Before The trip
- Expect people to pester you for details. This is natural, they're going
diving and they will want to know about it. More experienced members will
be willing to help if you ask or just take a back seat and wait to be told
where to be on the day!
- Find someone who is willing to be Dive Marshal (consider doing this yourself!)
- Double check the list of intended divers with the DO. He will want to check
that all divers are qualified, paid-up members of BSAC and qualified to do
the diving you propose.
- Ensure all divers have the necessary kit and arrange for them to borrow
club kit if necessary
- Double check with the skipper that all is still on and what time to turn
- Brief all divers on what they need to bring (food, spare bottles etc), the
availability of air fills (Nitrox users will be interested in the availability
of gas or the cleanliness of any compressor - speak to someone if you're not
sure what this means).
- Tell people exactly where and when they need to assemble on the day. Provide
maps for those unsure about the location which should make it obvious where
these places are.
- Think about alternative sites in the local area in case the weather is poor.
The skipper will be able to help with this.
- Give out a contact number for people who may be running late on the day.
- You may want to consider booking a restaurant or pub for an evening meal.
A dozen divers descending on the local Egon Ronay may not be appreciated without
prior notice. This can be important during peak season at some of the popular
holiday resorts like Weymouth or Falmouth.
- Try and give people an estimate of how much the trip will cost although
no one expects you to be spot on to the penny or will refuse to pay any more
than your initial estimate. Everyone knows this is difficult. However, try
and take into account major expenses such as boat hire, accommodation (or
leave this to the individual), transportation etc.
- Suggest places people might stay. We have a small list
of places club members have stayed in before and who are used to divers (whatever
- Consider putting together a web page to go on the club site if you wish.
Here's an example for a trip to Sharm-el-Sheik.
- Check weather
forecasts in the days before the planned trip to build up a picture of
what the weather is likely to be like.
- Try and speak to everyone just before the trip to check everything is OK.
- You'll need to record diving activities on a Club Log sheet like
- Print out this page and take it with you :-)
On The Day
- Get the latest
weather forecast and look at the Inshore
Waters Forecast as well
- Check with the skipper that the weather is OK.
- Find out from the skipper exactly how he wants people to use the boat i.e.
where kit is to be stored.
- Chat with the skipper about the intended dive sites and whether they're
still OK considering weather, tides etc.
- Brief all divers on the dive sites, depths, likely conditions and highlights
to look out for.
- Speak to the coastguard if necessary.
- Check all divers have turned up.
- Ensure Dive Marshal takes over diving operations.
- Check the O2 kit is working.
- Enjoy the diving.
After The Diving
Hopefully by this stage, everyone will have had a good time. You will be surprised
at how everyone works together to make sure the trip is a success. After all
everyone wants to dive, they're not here to test your organisational skills!
You still have a few things left to do though.
- Tot up any outstanding costs and collect the money from all divers (preferably
before they go home!).
- Settle up with the skipper and thank him for his help. You may wish to consider
chatting with the skipper about a return visit and maybe other sites you could
dive next time. Some boats can be booked over a year in advance!
- Collate all the dive logs the Marshal recorded during the diving and return
to the DO
- Check everyone had a good time, that all kit has been claimed and that everyone
can get home.
- Consider writing a trip report about the diving and maybe even about your
planning experiences. Here's an example
of a trip report
Hopefully you'll have an enjoyable trip having planned it yourself. Yes, there's
a bit more work than just turning up on a dive someone else has organised but
it's very satisfying to feel that you organised the trip and that everyone enjoyed
Respect Our Wrecks!