1. General
  2. Membership
  3. Medical Requirements for diving
  4. Divers from other Diving Agencies
  5. Diving with SSAC, a Branch of the British Sub-aqua Club
  6. Costs
  7. Training - New Diver
  8. Training - Qualified Diver
  9. Facilities and Equipment



Q -    Where does Southsea Sub-Aqua Club meet?

A -    SSAC meets in the Tudor Sailing club facility just off Portsmouth Eastern road. Our address is:

Southsea Sub Aqua Club
at Tudor Sailing Club
Eastern Rd,


Q -    When is the Club open?

A -    From 19:30 to 23:00 on Thursday evenings. The Club generally does not open on a bank holiday. Most people tend to arrive after 21:00 and tends to be more social with planning for diving at the weekend.


Q -    How do I get there?

A -    SAT NAV – PO3 5LY - Leaving the A27 at the Portsmouth (E) / Southsea junction, follow the Eastern Road towards Southsea. At the first set of traffic lights turn left and follow the turning to the right signposted "Watersports Centre Portsmouth". Tudor Sailing Clubhouse is the first building on the left before the Sports Centre.


For more detailed information on where we are and how to find us, Click Here!


Q -    What does SSAC stand for?

A -    Southsea Sub-Aqua Club. Branch 009 of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).


Q -    Do you have use of a swimming pool?

A -    Currently we are using the swimming pool at Brune Park Community School in Gosport once a month.


Q -    Can members use the pool to check out their dive gear or practise skills?

A -    Provided that there is available space, yes. Please check with the Training Officer first. There is also a small fee to pay and you should also have someone buddying up with you.


Q -    Can my family or I use the pool to go swimming?

A -    Previously this was the case and we'll update the membership when this changes.


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Q -    How many members do you have?

A -     Membership levels fluctuate but on average between 90 and 100 members (2023-24 figures). We have both full diving and social members.


Q -    How do I apply for membership?

A -   SSAC accepts members all year round. To join, simply visit the club on a Monday or Thursday evening, complete some paperwork and pay the appropriate fee(s). We have easy payment terms for SSAC membership fee.   If you are already qualified divers please remember to bring along your qualification details and logbook.


Q -    What do I get with BSAC membership – what are the benefits?

A -    12 months membership to the BSAC, which gives you access to internationally recognised diver and instructor training courses. Also 3rd Party Limited Public Liability Insurance to £10 million and 12 monthly issues of SCUBA Magazine. Plus many more benefits. Click here for more information.


Q -    What Insurance do I get with my membership?


 Third-Party Liability Insurance


 Any member for the time being of any branch of The British Sub Aqua Club to which the Policy applies.


 Legal Liability arising from or in connection with the sport diving activities, including social events, of any branch of The British Sub Aqua Club.


Q -    What is abated or joint membership?

A -     Abated membership is when you have two members living at the same address. The second member can take out the reduced Abated membership which does not include the SCUBA magazine as this will be sent to the full member they are abated to.


Q -    When does my BSAC membership start and expire?

A -     Out club has a Common Renewal Date of 1 March each year for BSAC membership. This means that if you join part way through the year the cost of your BSAC membership is calculated based on a pro-rata basis. For example, if you join in June your membership will be calculated as 8 months of the normal annual membership fee. Subsequent years will be a full year due on 1 March. Your membership is taken from the first day of the month in which you have joined for example if you join on the 15th June 2024 your membership will start from the 1st June 2024.  


Q -    I don’t wish to dive with the club but can I still be a social member?

A -    Yes, we have a social membership category for those not wishing to take part in diving activities, such as spouses/family members of those former divers who have ‘hung up their fins’.


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Medical Requirements for diving

Q -    I am fairly fit and healthy - Do I need to have a medical to dive?

A -    There is an option to complete a BSAC ‘Self Certified’ medical declaration form and providing you have can answer all the questions about your medical history and whether you have had certain medical conditions as ‘No’ you can dive with the Club. If you have any doubts it is always wise to seek the advice of a medical referee who can give specific advice about diving and medical conditions. We can provide details of BSAC approved medical referees if required.  

A copy of the medical certification form and guidance about medical matters generally is available at Medical Matters


Q -    I have a medical history of (Heart/Lung/Blood/Nervous system… etc) problems –Can I still learn to dive?

A -    Possibly but you may need to see a medical doctor (referee) who specialises in the medical/physical aspects of diving on the body. There is some general advice available on the BSAC website entitled "Medical Matters" about different types of medical conditions which may help but generally it is a requirement to undergo a medical assessment by a referee. If you pass your medical, there are a couple of forms that the doctor will complete after your medical. We can provide details of some local doctors who are recognised by BSAC who can assess your ability to dive safely.


Q -    How long does my self-declaration medical last?

A -    A BSAC self-declaration medical must be completed annually. Ask the membership secretary for a new one if yours has expired.


Q -    Does BSAC set the UK's Medical Guidelines for Diving

A -    No, the UK Diving Medical Committee provides advice for recreational diving within the UK. The BSAC, SAA, SSAC and PADI all refer to their advice. In turn, they approve a number of specialist doctors who are based around the UK for referrals.


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Divers from other Diving Agencies

Q -    I am a diver with another diving agency (PADI/INTD/TDI/SAA/CMAS/PSAI) – can I still join your BSAC club?

A -    Yes, many of our members learned to dive with other agencies but have subsequently joined the club and BSAC and enjoy the club diving environment. We have some information on our own pages on this topic which links to a further page here. There is more information about the options available to divers from other Agencies on the BSAC website: Switch to BSAC.

Whilst you should join BSAC it is not mandatory, but you will need to be a member of BSAC if you wish to attend any of the BSAC courses that we run or are run through the regional coaching scheme.

You will be required to have 3rd Party liability insurance in order to dive with us and use Club equipment. One of the benefits of being a member of the BSAC is that you are automatically covered by 3rd party liability insurance. Alternatively, insurance can be arranged through various companies including Dive Master Insurance, DAN Europe, insure4sport and DiveAssure. This list is not comprehensive.


Q -    What’s the difference between PADI and BSAC?

A -    There are several differences; the main difference is that BSAC is a diving club, run by volunteers in a network of branches throughout the UK and abroad. Diver training is geared to UK recreational diving generally and with the support of members within a branch.


Q -    What is the BSAC equivalent grade for my qualification?

A -    We have a list showing the BSAC dive grades on our Training page. As a branch of BSAC, we can offer a suitable course to the next equivalent diver grade within BSAC. There is a more comprehensive list available on the BSAC website showing which diver grades are equivalent to a BSAC diver grade: Equivalent BSAC Qualifications. There you will also find a downloadable table for both dive grades and speciality courses.


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Diving with SSAC a Branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club

Q -    I’ve never dived before but I’d like to give it a try - can this be arranged?

A -    Yes we can arrange a ‘Try Dive’ - providing you are relatively fit and well. The Try dive is a great way to see if you like the experience of diving underwater and breathing from scuba equipment. The Try Dive is advertised on the club's website. Please do get in touch for more details. Try dives can be arranged for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. Try dives cost £50 (a contribution to pool/equipment hire and insurance) but this is refundable if you subsequently join SSAC. Simply contact the club, or pop in to see us and we can book you onto a session.


Q -    What sort of diving does the Club do?

A -    We have a varied diving programme designed to cater for all levels and interests. From local shore diving to UK and Overseas trips, and from technical diving to photography, historical/archaeological projects and marine conservation projects. We enjoy diving here along the South Coast and have a good knowledge of local shipwrecks.


Q -    How do I book on a dive?

A -    Once the Diving Officer has approved a dive it can be advertised. A Dive Planning sheet is put up on the noticeboard at the clubhouse for members to add their names to the list and a post will be made on the club's Facebook Group. Where appropriate, a deposit may be payable to secure your spot on the dive.


Q -    What is there to see when you go diving in the UK/Solent area? - Surely it’s too dark/poor visibility?

A -    It’s true that conditions can be challenging when diving in the Solent area but the area is rich in wrecks and the marine life that inhabits them. The variety and quantity of wrecks, marine habitat and life make the area a great place to go diving. Our training is designed to cope with sometimes poor visibility/conditions, and, if suitably equipped, divers can still enjoy diving in the area most of the year-round.    


Q -    What temperature is the water around here – Is it cold?

A -    The sea temperature in the Solent ranges from 5 or 6 °C in the winter to a balmy 18+°C in August. To get the most out of the diving season most divers wear a drysuit but it is possible to dive in the summer months using a good wetsuit.

For more information, please see: Club Diving


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Q -    How much does it cost to join the club?

A -    The actual costs will depend on several factors such as whether you are a trained diver, your age and other factors. There are 3 elements to the cost of joining Southsea Sub-Aqua Club (a branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club);

  1. The BSAC membership fee
  2. The Southsea Sub-Aqua Club joining fee or Ocean Diver Course fee
  3. The Southsea Sub-Aqua Club membership fee

For details of current membership fees, see the membership fees section of our website: Membership fees


Q -    Can I pay my SSAC membership fee monthly?

A -    Yes, you can elect to pay monthly by Direct Debit with your bank for members who make Southsea their main BSAC club. However for members for whom Subsea are not their main club, contact the membership secretary for a Standing Order form, complete it with your bank details and return it to the membership secretary for processing. Unfortunately, the joining fee and BSAC fee are not included in this arrangement and must be paid when joining (unless you are already a BSAC member).


Q -    How much does it cost to fill a cylinder with air or Nitrox?

A -    Filling your diving cylinder with air is free as the cost of the air compressor is covered by an element of the SSAC membership fee. There is a small charge for use of the Nitrox compressor, based on the minutes used to cover the cost of maintenance and electricity etc. Generally, the cost is less than half of what you would expect to pay at a dive shop/centre. Technical diving gasses (Oxygen and Helium) are available at the club based on a price per litre. Please ask the Diving Officer for more details.


Q -    How much is it to hire equipment?

A -    Equipment during Ocean Diver training is included within the cost of your membership fee. Once your training has finished you may still hire out equipment but there will be a small charge depending on what equipment you need to borrow. Hire fees are intended to cover equipment servicing and are significantly cheaper than hiring from local dive shops. Details of current fees are available from the Equipment Officer.


Q -    How much does diving equipment cost?

A -    There is no getting away from the fact that diving equipment is on the expensive side. A dry suit can cost from ~£400 upwards, regulators ~£250 and BCD a similar £200 – there’s also fins, mask, torch, etc., so as a rough guide you can expect to pay i.r.o. £1,000 to £1500 for basic equipment but you can pay more to get kitted out with all new equipment. Generally, diving equipment is well-engineered and robust and that comes with a cost. In particular regulators and BCDs are life-saving equipment and therefore have to undergo stringent testing so in some respects it is not always the case that cheapest is best and if possible you should research the various equipment options to find out what suits you and your pocket. You don’t have to buy all the kit upfront as the club can loan some equipment during training. Club members will be very willing to provide advice/experience though there can be a degree of personal choice. If you opt to buy 2nd hand equipment (there are lots on eBay) it is strongly recommended that you get things serviced before use.


Q -    How much does a typical days’ diving cost?

A -    It could be as little as £0 – for a local shore dive! Typically a day’s diving on a local charter hard boat costs in the region of £50 to £75 per day for 2 dives. Diving from our own boat is £5 per dive plus a share of fuel and other direct costs (eg towing/launch fees). For local dives, typically diving off the Club's RIB can typically cost between £10-£30.


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Training - New diver

Q -    How old do you have to be to learn to dive with SSAC?

A -    SSAC can train people from the age of 12. Our instructors have passed a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks in respect of their involvement in training young and vulnerable people. We adhere to the BSAC's Safeguarding policy.


Q -    Am I too old to learn to dive?

A -    There is no upper limit providing you are fit and healthy. A medical examination by a diving doctor/medical referee may be required in certain circumstances.


Q -    Will I get a recognised diving qualification at the end of my training?

A -    All BSAC training is carried out by suitably qualified instructors to internationally recognised standards. Your qualification will be recognised by most dive operators abroad in the event you wish to dive on holiday etc.


Q -    How long will it take me to learn to dive?

A -    There is no set time limit and it will depend on several factors – your own confidence and ability, you and your instructor availability, access to a pool and sheltered water sites, and ultimately the time of year and weather when finishing your training in the sea. BSAC training is more progressive than other agencies and covers, even at the basic Ocean Diver level subjects such as diving using Nitrox, rescue training and use of a dry suit. All this additional training is designed to prepare divers for UK diving within a club environment.


For more information on the initial course we offer for new divers, please Click Here!


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Training - Qualified Divers

Q -    What level can you train to?

A -    Current levels of instructors within the club means that we can train to BSAC Advanced Diver level within the Branch. The next level, First Class Diver, is taught on a national level.


Q -    What training facilities do you have?

A -    We have our own clubhouse which provides an excellent venue for theory training. For larger training groups we are equipped with a projector and screen, whiteboards, and also a pc with a large widescreen monitor which can be used for smaller groups. We have some resusci Annie and O2 kits for first aid/practical training and plenty of other equipment which can be used to support training delivery. Our RHIB can also be used for practical training.


Q -    Do you run Skill Development Courses (SDC) in-house?

A -    We frequently run SDCs for our own branch and also host SDCs for the BSAC Southern Region.


Q -    I’m a qualified (PADI/SAA/CMAS) diver/instructor – how do I qualify as a BSAC diver/instructor?

A -    If you wish to continue developing your teaching skills and learning new skills you can ‘crossover’ to a BSAC instructor grade. There are several options available – as set out on the BSAC website or you can come along and chat it over with our Diving Officer or Training Officer. Switch to BSAC


Click for information for divers or Instructors qualified with another agency who wish to cross over to BSAC


For information on diver courses SSAC can offer, Click Here!


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Facilities and Equipment

Q -    Does SSAC own a boat?

A -    Yes, the club has a very capable 6.3m Humber Ocean Pro (RHIB) called ‘Southsea Explorer’. It has a 175hp engine and can comfortably take 8 divers (plus coxswain and crew) dependent on the nature of the diving planned. The RHIB is equipped with GPS, echo sounder, side-scan sonar and VHF/DSC radio along with safety equipment such as radar reflector, lifejackets, first aid kit and a supply of Oxygen.


Q -    What qualification do I need to be able to helm the RHIB?

A -    Either, a BSAC Diver Coxswain, Boat Handler, RYA level 2 Powerboat or recognised equivalent - Plus 3rd Party liability insurance (included in BSAC membership).


Q -    Does SSAC have the facility to fill diving cylinders?

A -    SSAC owns 2 compressors – an Alkin Air compressor and a Coltri-Sub Nitrox (membrane) compressor. Subject to the appropriate training and qualifications, members can gain access to the compressors 24/7 to fill their diving cylinders. The air compressor is capable of filling to a pressure of 300 bar. A mixed gas/Tri-Mix facility is also available including a booster pump for those qualified in technical diving.

For more information, Click Here!


Q -    I don’t have any equipment – Does SSAC have diving equipment that I can hire?

A -    Yes, we have several sets of scuba equipment (BCD, regulators, fins, mask, snorkel, weights etc) that is available to trainees or full diving members. Unfortunately, we are unable to supply wetsuits or drysuits though these can be hired or purchased from several local dive shops and or from some of the facilities we use for open water training. The hire of diving suits normally needs to be arranged in advance.

Note: With issues surrounding Coronavirus, some places have currently stopped renting drysuits. Please check prior to any diving what their current situation is.


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