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BSAC Fast Track

Divecrew are a BSAC Fast Track Centre with an area covering the South East of England. So what is BSAC Fast Track? Divecrew have crossed instructors over to BSAC. So it means any club in the South East of England can refer a diver to Divecrew. Divecrew takes that student diver and progresses them through their chosen course, for example Ocean Diver. As Divecrew trains every week and has full time paid instructors the course goes ahead on agree dates regardless. Working on Fast Track the student could finish the theory and confined on two consecutive weekends. The open water element then being completed in one weekend. So three weeks, qualified. This removes the months of training within the club itself.

Once the diver is certified, Divecrew puts the diver back with the club. They then can go an dive, rather than being in training for months. This takes pressure of the BSAC Club Instructors. However, the Fast Track divers are going to need to gain experience. They are raw new divers. Certainly to be signed off, their buoyancy will be acceptable as will their mastery of the skills.

Divecrew have committed to the BSAC Fast Track programme and will deliver divers back to the respective clubs. Divecrew instructors are in the water every weekend teaching. However, Fast Track is not for everyone. Some students need a slower pace of learning and mastering skills. In which case they need to be trained by their club.

The Fast Track programme is in its infancy. However, Divecrew already have circa 20 students wanting fast Track.

A major coup was the Imperial College London who want Divecrew to Fast Track a group of Ocean Divers and Sport Divers.

So what about the PADI versus BSAC stand off? Well our Director of Instruction is a Master Instructor of  three different agencies and an Instructor of BSAC. Add to this being an Instructor Trainer for Adaptive Teaching, Martin has a powerful set of tools available to him.

Martin stated, ‘Every agency thinks they have it right and everyone else is wrong and therefore inferior. I have met good PADI divers and really poor PADI divers. Ditto SSI, ditto RAID, ditto BSAC. No one agency has it right 100%. Being mutli-agency I steal great techniques from each agency, add adaptive teaching where needed and make the techniques my own. This truly benefits the student on any course I run. As an instructor, I sometimes cannot get my head around the sheer arrogance of pompous instructors who know it all and know best. I would love to make it mandatory for every instructor to teach up to 16 school children and teach a triple amputee. No agency in its IDC makes enough effort about thinking outside the box. A number of the main agencies are too focused on liability and standards that must be met. Example. We work with veterans, troops who have suffered life changing injuries. A social media picture of a diver with no legs completing a course (open water) was met with some idiot instructor stating he should not be qualified as he cannot perform a giant stride. Unbelievable? I have come across this a number of times. Not just with a diver with no legs. I had it once with an autistic group where the diver refused to do a giant stride. She opted for a roll in to deep water. Job done. Check the standards! Divecrew are constantly developing its pro team and challenge agency standards as to their validity and interpretation. Divecrew will always be a high profile industry leader, not a follower. We are really pleased to be approached to be the South East BSAC Fast Track Centre. We are looking forward to breaking the past divides of PADI v BSAC. In Divecrew’s eyes – a diver is a diver regardless of the training agency’.

If you are interested in becoming a BSAC Fast Track Diver contact Divecrew. If you would like to become a Partner Club to Divecrew Fast Track Centre contact Divecrew.

Lord of the Rings

Martin has been dubbed “Lord of the Rings”. He currently has 100% success record of finding and retrieving lost rings even in zero visibility.

How does this come to Divecrew?

Normally Divecrew gets a telephone call, can we help retrieve rings, mobile phones even a boat cover. It really helps when the client knows roughly where the item was lost.

On arrival at site, the conditions are checked including boat traffic, current, weather, water movement, bottom composition, depth of water. It is also important to establish the best entry and exit. The Grand Union Canal job proved tricky getting in and out due to steep piled banks. Once a search area has been determined a few methods are tried. Can you see underwater? On the River Thames job there was no visibility whatsoever. No torch would work. The bottom was silt and blanket weed. Depth was about two metres. The hardest thing in the Thames was orientation. So easy to go off the search area. The location position was achieved by coming to the surface, getting a point of orientation and dropping again. Obviously, great care is needed that your fins are not burying the actual object you are looking for. It is important to have the current wash away from the search site any disturbed silt.

Searching needs to be methodical, slow and precise when you cannot see anything. We use a “pin pointer”. It is a small underwater metal detector. Not only does it have bright LED’s (could not see them in the Thames), it vibrates when it detects metal. The bigger the metal, the stronger the vibration. The Thames search took around 50 minutes. Once the pin pointer alerted Martin to the metal, it is a case of carefully fur tilling around in the silt and weed. Bingo, a ring was found.

Finding a lost ring is a bit needle in an underwater haystack. One has to be methodical and patient.

In the Grand Union Canal job, the challenges were different. The client knew roughly where the ring entered the water. It was close to a lock sluice. The fast moving water could have pushed the ring down stream? Getting in was a challenge. Once in swimming against the current was difficult. Eventually getting to the place of the search, due to fast moving water, a john line was attached to keep Martin in place. The water was around one metre deep. However, the fast moving water had a bonus, the visibility was good. After checking with Ben (the owner of the ring) where to start the search, the rain stopped and the sun came out. As Martin descended he immediately saw a glint. The ring was being vibrated by the strong current and the sun was catching the edges of the ring. No pin pointer needed. Underwater search, less than one minute.

In previous searches, a lost iphone took 40 minutes to find when a paddle boarder dropped it in the lake. Another iphone with sensitive information on it? Took about 20 minutes to locate. A boat cover took less than a minute to locate.

Divecrew will attempt to recovery lost items. However, we make it very clear there is no guarantee of recovery. So much can affect the chances of the find. Wrong search area. Boat movement. Strong current. Zero visibility.

If you have something precious be it in value or sentimental value and you have run out of options, call Divecrew. 01344 771113

We do charge for the search regardless of whether we find the item or not. This is all explained honestly on the booking.

Should I Own My Own Dive Kit Or Just Hire?

This is a question that Divecrew often gets asked.  Some customers come into our shop and say “it’s cheaper to just hire”.

Do you know that initially they are right it is cheaper, but is that the only measure that you are working on?

Benefits of hiring dive kit

You have more room in your luggage.  If you are travelling long haul, most airlines give you ample luggage room, but some shorter haul destinations are a bit miserly.  But did you know if you say you are a diver some airlines give you extra free luggage allowance.  You also avoid any servicing charges on regulators. To keep your regulators in tip top form you do need to ensure they are fully serviced in line with manufacturers requirements.  In my opinion those are the key benefits for hiring kit.

 

Benefits of Purchasing your own kit

The most significant is the fact that your kit will fit you correctly, it’s always better to visit your local dive store to seek professional advice while trying equipment on.

All too often we see people who have purchased products which are inexpensive, ill-fitting, not fit for purpose online and have had to deal with the hassle of trying to re-coup costs, time and effort sending something back overseas.

Once you have your own kit you become familiar with it and instinctively know how to use it. Adjustment settings on regulators, location of octos, clips and gauges, subtle additions of air into your BCD and finally correct weighting with your equipment.

Another major benefit of taking your own, is that you cannot guarantee the quality of the kit you are going to hire overseas. We often we hear stories of poorly serviced hire kit causing divers an issue. Or they don’t have the size you need, so you must compromise.  Most certainly they will only have unisex kit. Female BCDS will fit women better in the right places, and hire centres are unlikely to be able to offer you these.

Examples of kit defects we have seen about include:

  • Rust from the inside of 15l cylinders being drawn into the regulators causing a rust deposit being produced inside, and probably in the lungs too.
  • A cracked first stage.
  • Burst high pressure hoses.
  • Leaking bladders in the BCD.
  • Faulty regs that are not allowing sufficient air at depth.
  • Spiders crawling out of a regulator Second stage because they are not stored properly
  • And of course you now have the issue of Covid. Do you really want to share a set of regulators that 10’s of people have had in their mouth prior to yours!!!

These are but a few of the issues we have heard of or physically seen.  Some of our clients would never hire again.

If you are a travel diver there is light weight kit out there, travel BCD, travel regulators, travel fins meaning that your weight limit with these gems in your luggage is kept to a minimum.

There are also amazing colours, so everything can match and blend- an important requirement particularly for us ladies.

Ultimately you are using life support kit.  You need to be 100% comfortable with the kit you are using, in what is an alien environment to us, can you guarantee this when you are using a 3rd parties equipment?

Our recommendation is purchase your own.  You will be surprised at some of the costs associated.  With some rentals it only takes 2-3 hires to have purchased the cost of a new set of dive kit.

We would also recommmend purchasing DIN regulators rather than relyiong on a compression fit of an o’ring of a Yoke or A Clamp. I have seen diver spend ages trying to find an insert on holiday with a descent o’ring and I have witnessed an o’ring blowing on a dive when over 10 metres down.

Have peace of mind and dive safe- Get your own.

Have a look at some of the Divecrew Packages available in store today.

https://shop.divecrew.co.uk/shop/divecrew-2012/en/

 

Psychology and Scuba

At Divecrew we try not to teach divers as a homogenous group. Everyone is different. So how did we get to the this point? Well first thing is we challenge some agencies as they tend to turn our “sheep” instructors. Instructors being professional should use a range of skills and techniques so that every diver student can be taught in comfort and safety. Working with Deptherapy and injured troops heightened our senses to the individual needs of the divers. The “sheep” mentality is challenged as to what is a technique and what is a standard. For example many instructors talk of a giant stride as a deep water entry. So what is the best entry for a student? The easiest! Simple. The standards state a deep water entry not a giant stride.

When working with the troops, some of whom have missing limbs, it is seen so often that instructors know best. Normally the instructors do not have limbs missing. Therefore, one cannot put themselves in that students place. Sometimes the instructor has to state the output and ask the student how they think they can best achieve it.

Divecrew have been fortunate to work with an autistic group. Many wrote the group off stating scuba was just too much for them. Wrong! The students completed their open water but a miraculous change happened. At the beginning the students were withdrawn. We struggled to get them to participate. Eventually the barriers went down. By the end of the training, the students were laughing and joking with the team. Their confidence went through the roof.

So do we deploy different tactics. Yes we do. Divecrew are multi-agency and believe no one agency has it completely right. PADI, SSI, RAID and BSAC. So what our senior instructors do is work with the agencies standards then add value to the course by supplementing skills and training techniques. Our speciality courses are enhanced giving any diver more value, more skills, more understanding. Once the senior team agree on a skill, the skill and technique is cascaded down through professional master classes. These free classes for Divecrew professionals teach skills, techniques and control. We discuss the psychology of scuba and students. Everything possible is undertaken to ensure our students re well trained and at all times feel safe. We undertake our own Quality Assurance through the senior professionals. So regardless of the course being taught, a Master Instructors may show up to observe. When we have new instructors, they must go through an internship. Unfortunately too many instructors believe once they have the ticket they have the right to teach. Some lapse into bad habits. Some become complacent. Some out of date and out of touch. Unlike some other sports, scuba instructors do not have to have annual assessments to ensure they are up to date and technically correct.

Divecrew believe agencies should do more to teach instructors adaptive methods and how to treat divers as individuals. The psychology of scuba should be a pivotal component in the instructor candidates development. Blindly following a set powerpoint and or a slate, is not conducive to teaching professionally. It makes a mockery of being “Professional Educators”.

So our advice. If your chosen dive centre do not treat you with respect and as an individual, find another dive centre.

BSAC Fast Track Centre

We may have been locked down but Divecrew have not stopped innovating. The country’s first commercial BSAC Fast Track Centre is Divecrew. Working closely with BSAC, you can complete you Ocean Diver with Divecrew and return to the BSAC fold trained to dive. Divecrew are used to delivering courses through paid instructors. A typical open water student takes three weekends to complete. This includes theory, confined water and open water. So cutting the time does this mean cutting the quality. No. In short we operate small groups of student divers. We operate with senior instructors. Divecrew is the UK’s only Gold Star IDC Centre. Quality is our ethos our mantle our reputation. We do not take it lightly.

To find out more contact Divecrew working in partnership with BSAC.

A Small Business and Corona Virus

So how has the lock down been affecting Divecrew.?

I guess the response to that is pretty much like every other small business.
This is financially the toughest time our business has had in the 7 years we have owned it. In January and February we had a fantastic start to the year, our busiest so far and then Kapow.!! Its like the lights went out. Divecrew doors closed.

After about 24 hours of feeling sorry for ourselves, we decided to take some positive action. We had loads of projects that we had wanted to achieve, but time has always been tricky- so now was the time- no more excuses.
Divecrew revamp, has included:-

Painting some of the shop
Taking up the old carpet that was in a third of the shop and cleaning and staining the floor to match
Painting the classroom, and fixing the floor and door
Put a new roof on the classroom to stop the water dribbling in
Staining all the exterior woodwork
That was just for starters- we are also hoping to paint the container and de rust it, but waiting for the special paint to arrive, and give the outside of the building a lick of paint

Having listened to a few webinars we decided to get more active on our Facebook site – as I am sure many of you have seen.
In times of crisis like this it is important to make sure people still know you are there and ready to open your doors. We want to be ready and waiting and primed for opening- But alas, we are still not sure when that will happen yet and if we can resume training but its important to remain positive, and comment that “If ever there was a time to support your local, small independent businesses, it is NOW and when the doors open again.

I fear some businesses will not make it, so spread the positive news about Divecrew. We are hear and we will come out better and stronger.

Thank you

Part 3: Sarah Richard

Part 2: Cat Cushenan

Time for change

Gas Guzzler Course

Are you bit of an air hog? Do you end others dives early? Getting your self stressed? Well this a course for you. Divecrew have mustered years of experience into helping divers with bit of an air problem. 14th March 2020, our Master Instructor is applying all his knowledge and skills to help divers. The […]