2021 Incident Report

Links to the most recent BSAC Incident Report can now be found here. Valuable insights into what can lead up to a diving incident for any diving professionals.

Next year’s 2022 Incident Report presentation for the Diving Industry will take place on 6 December 2023 via webinar.

Emergency Action Plan Considerations for Remote Inland Sites

The closure of NDAC has removed a well-managed inland site with excellent Emergency Action Plan (EAP ) support from UK technical diver training. Inland alternatives offering suitable depth are also often in remote locations. These locations can have additional challenges for evacuating casualties. Good examples of these sites are Dorothea and Wast water, but Scottish sea lochs and Cambrian mines can also provide similar challenging scenarios for casualty management. 

A new document has been added to this website that aims to assist diving instructors with planning dives at these locations. Various points are illustrated with reference to Dorothea.

Coronavirus controls for recreational scuba instruction

The COVID 19 lockdowns during 2020 have made 2021 a very important year for diving businesses to recover revenue, fulfil postponed demand for diver training and build resilience to face possible disruption in the future. During the period of covid controls and social distancing, many dive schools were diligent in implementing measures and this certainly helped diving recover.

Although formal covid control measures may have been removed, it is still possible to contract covid and suffer varying severity of infection. It is also possible to carry and spread covid after vaccination. The new omicron variant is now spreading, with headlines about rapid infection rates. 

This creates a need for diving professionals to continue some precautions against covid infection among their teams or customers. Either could cause personal consequences or further disruption to businesses hoping to maximise the end of the 2021 dive season or the start of 2022.

Continuing to guard against covid impact during recreational diving instruction also helps representative bodies (such as APSTO) present an evidence-based case for diving to continue in any future waves, or periods of pandemic restriction. This case for exemption from closure is also strengthened by acknowledged mental health benefits, widespread vaccination and boosters, diving being a mainly outside activity and the now well-documented absence of transmission in well run, covid-aware outdoor diving operations. APSTO is intending to present this case should lockdowns be discussed – backup in the form of visible good practice from dive schools will help greatly.

Previously APSTO has simply emphasised the clear-cut government advice. The situation is now different, with the clear advice having been replaced by individual responsibility for companies and individuals to choose their own covid controls. 

Assessment of risks in diving operations, including surface infection risks, is the responsibility of each diving business. However, since the original lockdown, there are now more tools available for dive schools to use in their risk assessment, meaning that measures can be proportionate, targeted and responsive to changing circumstances.APSTO has been discussing the usefulness of various measures to assist dive schools in formulating their own risk assessments and measures to ensure both staff and student safety, plus minimising impacts on diving businesses.

The full advice document can be accessed from this link.

Thank you and best seasonal wishes,


UK Diving Reopening

The UK government published information on 22nd February 2021 outlining its roadmap out of lockdown.

If this goes according to plan, on 29th March, outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will be allowed to reopen, and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sports. (Para 102 of the government guidance).

Diving professionals running diver training activities can consider themselves to fall under the category of “formally organised outdoor sports”, and in this sense, they are a business activity. 

Based on previously issued government guidance, adults can take part in outdoor organised sport and licensed physical outdoor activity in groups of more than six, provided it is organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity; and/or involve someone who has received an official license to use equipment relevant to the activity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance or risk getting a fine. 

More detailed advice concerning organised diving events has been produced by the National Governing Body.

APSTO Advisory: working in the EU post-Brexit

Since the Brexit transition period ended on 31st December, freedom of movement for living and working between the UK and EU has ended. This means that any UK national wishing to carry out work in the EU is likely to require a work visa.

Each country has different requirements or concessions with regard to work, so you should consult the gov.uk website for information about your particular country of interest and also allow plenty of time for the visa application process to be completed prior to their departure from the UK. You should also check that your insurance coverage is still valid for the country you intend to work in. 

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.

APSTO member of Sport & Recreation Alliance

APSTO has now been approved as a member of the Sport & Recreation Alliance

The Sport & Recreation Alliance brings together the sport and recreation sector and supports its members to tackle the challenges and take advantage of opportunities. It is the voice of the sector with Government, policymakers and the media. It aims to help get the nation active at the grassroots by providing advice, support and guidance.

APSTO is now listed on the Sport & Recreation Alliance website here.

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.

New Member Organisation for APSTO

As the BSAC has a significant number of BSAC Centres who operate as businesses in the UK, the BSAC has joined APSTO to represent their interests. We are pleased to have their input as we try to represent the best interests of UK diving industry professionals.

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.