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To enrol on the BSAC Sports Diver course with Southsea Sub-Aqua Club, you must be 14 years or older, be a current full diving member of both the BSAC and Southsea Sub-Aqua Club and be considered "fit to dive"[1] and have competed the Ocean Diver course or equivalent.

BSAC Equivalence Chart

Note: the BSAC Ocean Diver course includes the initial training for Nitrox. If you are coming from a different training agency and do not have a Nitrox qualification, we can offer a short workshop to provide this qualification.

Typically we would be looking for a qualified diver to have most of their dive gear, but understand that this will not always be the case. With this in mind, the club does have some equipment that can be hired at a reasonable rate. This includes dSMBs and reels. We don’t have diving suits available for hire, so you should have a suitable dive suit (i.e. Drysuit or wetsuit). We can offer the additional Drysuit Diver workshop if required.


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Qualification: What that means

In addition to being able to conduct dives with divers of lesser qualifications in accordance with their restrictions, a BSAC Sports Diver is defined as a diver who is competent to conduct dives:

  • to a maximum depth of 35m, with a qualified Sports Diver or better, within the restrictions of the conditions already encountered during training, under the supervision of a Dive Manager
  • with a Dive Leader or higher grade, to expand experience beyond the conditions encountered during training, under the supervision of a Dive Manager
  • can do planned dive with mandatory decompression stops
  • under the on-site supervision of a Dive Manager with respect to site selection, conditions and dive plan
  • using Nitrox[2]as part of your diving, using either the BSAC 88 Nitrox Tables or a Dive Computer set to Nitrox mode


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Required Gear

Diver on the surface with a dSMB ©John Bohea 2021
Diver on the surface with a dSMB
©John Bohea 2021

Whilst someone may have just passed their initial Scuba diver course, it would be expected that the student would now be acquiring their own Scuba gear. Some items may be available to hire from the club, but in time most club members will have built upon the basics they had purchased during their initial course.

Full Scuba gear, including: mask; fins; snorkel; buoyancy compensator; regulator set (equipped with a main demand valve, alternative supply demand valve and contents gauge); depth gauge & timer/watch or dive computer; diving suit, weights and weight belt/integrated weight system; knife or line cutter; copy of the BSAC 88 Nitrox Tables or Dive Computer; a torch; and a suitable diving cylinder for the planned dives (i.e. 12 or 15 litre) or two.

A dSMB and reel and a compass are also required for the course. If the student doesn’t have these, it may be possible to hire them from the club at a reasonable rate. This should be discussed prior to training.


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Recommended Gear

To allow members to dive all year round, most club members use a Drysuit, but a few do wear semi-dry or wetsuits during the summer months. If you have not completed suitable training for the Drysuit, we can offer a Drysuit Workshop which consists of a couple of lectures and an open water session.

Almost all members dive with a Dive computer and one that supports Nitrox would definitely be a better choice. Whilst all new Dive Computers support Nitrox, it is possible to purchase Air only dive computers from second-hand sources.

Gloves and a suitable hood are also good to keep the diver warm in UK waters. Many would consider these essential. A knife or line cutter would be an essential part of any UK diver’s gear. Add to this a reel and dSMB and compass too.

If you are unsure about what would be best for you, please feel free to chat with one of our Instructors on a club night.


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Course Structure

The Sports Diver (SD) course comprises the following elements:

  • Six Lectures that can be completed either online, using the BSAC e-learning facilities, or with one of our instructors at the clubhouse who can provide the lectures in person
  • Practical session, typically held at the clubhouse, where you are taught Basic Life Support skills
  • The option of a refresher open water dive, aimed at those who have had a break from diving before starting this course. This is also an opportunity to ensure that the student is correctly weighted
  • A sheltered water session (i.e. swimming pool)
  • Four open water dives where the following skills are taught:
    • Surface Marker Buoy (SMB)
    • Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (dSMB)
    • Compass
    • Rescue skills
    • Mandatory Decompression Stop
    • Dive leading
  • Practical session at a dive site (Assistant Dive Marshal)
  • Theory test with a pass mark of 80%
  • Three Depth Progression dives to 25m, 30m and 35m, respectively

For all the open water dives, the student should demonstrate control of their buoyancy to within ½m of the required depth. If you have previously completed the BSAC Advanced Ocean Diver course, then credit will be given to those lessons that are included in that course. During one of the dives you will also need to demonstrate some “basic” diving skills (i.e. mask clearing)


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Course Costs

The course costs comprise of the following elements and will vary over time. For a better understanding of the current estimated costs, please speak with one of our instructors:

  1. SD Student Pack (available either as an electronic pack (e-Pack) or as a hard copy
  2. Open water dives
    1. Transport to/from the dive site
    2. Entry to dive site or Cost of diving from a dive boat
  3. Instructor “out of pocket” costs
    1. Transport to/from the dive site
    2. Entry to dive site or Cost of diving from a dive boat

At the time of writing, the e-Learning pack is £40. For the current prices for the SD pack, please check with the Training Officer. If you have completed the Advanced Ocean Diver Course, the pack is reduced.

By way of an example, at the time of writing (February 2022), the entry fee to Vobster Quay, an inland dive site we often use, is £23 for non-members and £17 for members. Vobster Quay is around 85 miles and about a 2 hour trip from the Clubhouse. Diving from the Club’s RIB in the Selsey area would be about £20-£30 per dive. Selsey’s public slipway is 22 miles or 30 minutes from the clubhouse. There is a daily parking charge of £1.70 (East Beach, Selsey - correct as of February 2022).

Depending on the weather, Instructor availability and how well someone does, the open water dives could be completed over two days, with the depth progression dives completed on the third and fourth days.

Dependent upon the diving conditions, the lessons may be taught with one or two students. In some cases, this may be increased up to 6 students per instructor. For safety, it would be anticipated that one-to-one would be more likely, with some cases of two-to-one.

If you would like to speak to our Training Officer about starting this course, please speak to them on a club night or send them an email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can read more about this course on the BSAC Website.


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[1] "Fit to dive" is assumed on the basis of a completed Self Certification Medical Form or a Certificate to Dive issued by an approved Medical Referee.

[2] Nitrox is a breathing gas containing more than 21% oxygen which is known to be beneficial in reducing the risk and symptoms of decompression illness. BSAC includes up to Nitrox 36 (36% oxygen) within their diver qualifications. For richer mixes, there are additional Skill Development Courses, such as ADP.