Organising the first dives of the season

Advice to diving pros

At some point, UK diving will open up properly again, but there are things you need to prepare before then, and you should start on some of them now.
  1. Ensure you and your staff follow the personal preparation steps outlined on the BDSG website.
  2. Conduct a risk assessment, allowing for the fact that divers may have had a long layoff since their last dive
  3. Use the 2020 Medical for screening divers undergoing training/supervision (replaced the previous RSTC Medical). The 2020 Medical questions will detect clients who may have contracted COVID-19. In case doctor appointments may be necessary, try to do this well in advance.
  4. In case you or your staff need to renew your HSE Medicals, allow plenty of time to arrange this.
  5. Check your insurance is valid and your teaching status is valid; read any training advice issued by your training agency since you last ran a course.
  6. Ensure your Emergency Action Plans are up to date.
  7. Check your staff’s first aid training certifications are still valid.
  8. Check your oxygen kit is usable and the personnel trained to operate it are current.
  9. Consider arranging a training or refresher session for your staff before you arrange the first dive with clients.
  10. Be conservative in your initial water sessions; don’t try to do too much.

COVID-19 Restrictions

APSTO Advisory: Interpretation of the latest government restrictions regarding the national lockdown

The government has recently published information about the national lockdown. 

At present, there are virtually no scenarios whereby a diving instructor can abide by both the HSE Diving at Work 1997 Regulations (DWR) and the current COVID-19 Restrictions.

Therefore, APSTO advise that as a general principle, the training of divers according to HSE DWR cannot take place at this time.

APSTO is reviewing the situation on a constant basis and will provide further advice as the situation evolves.

COVID-19 Restrictions

23 December 2020

APSTO Advisory: Interpretation of the latest government restrictions for England for Tier 4

The most recent government advice for England includes information about the new Tier 4 restrictions, and they can be viewed in full here. (See separate guidance for Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland).

The restrictions include several specific points that must be adhered to that have a direct impact on diving professionals including:

  • If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (e.g. for work or education purposes).
  • You must stay at home and not leave your Tier 4 area, other than for legally permitted reasons.
  • Indoor gyms and sports facilities will close. Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges, riding centres and playgrounds can remain open for individual exercise, and for people to use with others within your household, support bubble, or with one person from another household.
  • Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor riding centres, and indoor climbing walls must close.
  • Outdoor recreation or exercise is permitted. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your Tier 4 area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space).

APSTO will continue to monitor the advice being provided by the government and will update our advisories as required.

COVID-19 Restrictions

16 December 2020

APSTO Advisory: Interpretation of the latest government restrictions for England

This advisory includes a further amendment to the advice in the advisory dated 11 December 2020 concerning the use of swimming pools in Tier 3 regions.

APSTO supports a return to diving and to assist diving businesses with interpreting the rules to achieve safe diving education. Our interpretation of the current guidelines is as follows:

Diving instructors are at work and therefore able to travel. Diving students may find themselves limited by the location and home tier level. Travel from a tier 3 to tier 2 area for diving education is riskier than from a tier 2 to tier 2. It is hard to classify diving education as essential. APSTO recognises that travel by students from tier 3 to tier 2 should be avoided.

Travel by instructors from tier 2 to tier 3 should be avoided. Note that training and diving inside a tier 3 is also acceptable.

All briefings and education should be socially distanced at 2m. Any surface work prior to water entry wearing scuba requiring closer proximity than 2m should be controlled by wearing face masks at all times.

The use of swimming pools for teaching scuba is acceptable in tiers 1 and 2 (although subject to any additional measures individual leisure centres or swimming pools choose to implement). Government guidance currently includes a statement that group activities cannot be conducted indoors in tier 3 areas (with some exemptions). We advise you to follow your local authority’s/swimming pool’s policy in this respect, but if in any doubt, we advise that teaching recreational diving classes in swimming pools in tier 3 areas should suspended.

Diving instructors should refer to the guidance given by their training organisation for specific COVID-19 teaching practises, with risk assessment undertaken to ensure control of the training process. Please refer to your training organisation for further details if required.

COVID-19 Restrictions

11 December 2020

APSTO Advisory: Interpretation of the latest government restrictions for England

This advisory includes amended advice from the advisory dated 27 November 2020 concerning the use of swimming pools in Tier 3 regions .

APSTO supports a return to diving and to assist diving businesses with interpreting the rules to achieve safe diving education. Our interpretation of the current guidelines is as follows:

Diving instructors are at work and therefore able to travel. Diving students may find themselves limited by the location and home tier level. Travel from a tier 3 to tier 2 area for diving education is riskier than from a tier 2 to tier 2. It is hard to classify diving education as essential. APSTO recognises that travel by students from tier 3 to tier 2 should be avoided.

Travel by instructors from tier 2 to tier 3 should be avoided. Note that training and diving inside a tier 3 is also acceptable.

All briefings and education should be socially distanced at 2m. Any surface work prior to water entry wearing scuba requiring closer proximity than 2m should be controlled by wearing face masks at all times.

The use of swimming pools for teaching scuba is acceptable in tiers 1 and 2 (although subject to any additional measures individual leisure centres or swimming pools choose to implement). Government guidance currently includes a statement that group activities cannot be conducted indoors in tier 3 areas (with some exemptions). Whilst this is in place, we advise that teaching recreational diving classes in swimming pools in tier 3 areas should suspended. Professional level training, which is classified differently, may proceed at this time.

Diving instructors should refer to the guidance given by their training organisation for specific COVID-19 teaching practises, with risk assessment undertaken to ensure control of the training process. Please refer to your training organisation for further details if required.

COVID 19 Restrictions

27 November 2020

APSTO Advisory: Interpretation of the latest government restrictions for England

APSTO supports a return to diving and to assist diving businesses with interpreting the rules to achieve safe diving education. Our interpretation of the current guidelines is as follows:

Diving instructors are at work and therefore able to travel. Diving students may find themselves limited by the location and home tier level. Travel from a tier 3 to tier 2 area for diving education is riskier than from a tier 2 to tier 2. It is hard to classify diving education as essential. APSTO recognises that travel by students from tier 3 to tier 2 should be avoided.

Travel by instructors from tier 2 to tier 3 should be avoided. Note that training and diving inside a tier 3 is also acceptable.

All briefings and education should be socially distanced at 2m. Any surface work prior to water entry wearing scuba requiring closer proximity than 2m should be controlled by wearing face masks at all times.

The use of swimming pools for teaching scuba is acceptable in all tiers (although subject to any additional measures individual leisure centres or swimming pools choose to implement).

Diving instructors should refer to the guidance given by their training organisation for specific COVID-19 teaching practises, with risk assessment undertaken to ensure control of the training process. Please refer to your training organisation for further details if required.