SofD Update – Sept 14

We’ve had another update from the Superintendent of Diving, Cdr Mark Atkinson, which you can read below.  It covers a large number of topics including the JSP 917 rewrite, CCR update and medicals so is well worth a detailed read.

Perhaps most crucially though, you’ll note that he hasn’t received a single post card yet from a diving expedition!  Come on, surely we can do better than that??  His address is

Cdr Mark Atkinson RN, Superintendent of Diving, Bridge Building, Horsea Island, Corsham, PORTSMOUTH PO6 4TT, Hants, UK


Bonjour tout plongeurs
Apologies for the French intro just got back from the South of France looking at the NATO Submarine Rescue System – that is a truly enormous regulation issue and makes me realise how lucky we are compared to some of the domains that the team up here have to wrestle with.

As promised in the last issue I aim to submit a quick round up of life from this end of the telescope in each issue. Hopefully this one will be shorter than the last epistle. So what’s new?

In no particular order:

The good news.

  • The AP16 O2 sensors have been on test now for nearly 3 months and remain within tolerance. Although the trial will run for a total of 2 years provided the sensors remain on track then we should be able to start diving the CCR at the start of next year. Those wishing to take part in this branch of tech diving will now need to lean into ensuring that all the other admin is updated before the end of the year (safety case will be the key one). Although DST(AT) will not be able to lead on this activity (we aren’t allowed to subsequently mark our own homework) we will help wherever possible to review any documentation.
  • After 8 versions the JSP 917 (planned to become BRd 2806(5)) re-write is nearly finished. It was lined by lined on the 10 Sep and the final touches are now being added to the final draft. Distribution to CMPD, JSSADC and INM for a final external sanity check is underway before distributing out to the JSSADPAC membership (aim to achieve this no later than the 19 Sep) for comment and dissemination to their respective Kirks. Thereafter the intention is to line by line with the membership of the JSSADPAC on completion of the Oct meeting – we are allowing a full day for this. Whilst the key tenets of the JSP 917 will remain, the document has been significantly reduced, duplication removed, discrepancies resolved and grey areas nailed down. I believe you will find it a much more user friendly document. Once the JSSADPAC has agreed the document it will be cleared through the HSE and DSEA upper echelons before being lodged along with the other volumes of BRd 2806 in the HSE. My aim is to have jumped through all these hoops by the end of the year ready for the start of next season.
  • Diving Expeds and training. Following our most recent loss, the ensuing SI and meetings with the DSEA and HSE we have achieved buy in for how we demonstrate the necessary due diligence in order to continue to deliver sub-aqua AT in the future. Firstly there will be no change to the delivery of actual ESADS led expeditions anywhere in the World as long as they meet the requirements of JSP 917/BRd 2806(5). On the training front we will provide the necessary assurance so that people are able to undertake a variety of sub-aqua AT training at what will be known as MoD Approved Centres (MAC). Training can be undertaken by individuals or groups at a MAC using the organic staff but without the need for an ESADS. DST(AT) will be required to assure each site on a 12 monthly basis. Seven of these sites already have MOD links – JSSADC (Plymouth), CJSATC (Cyprus), JPDU (Gibraltar), ASCi (Ascension Island), KTC (Germany), Castlemartin (Pembroke) and Bovington (Dorset) (please note that for now ASCi and JPDU remain as Exped Centres which will still require ESADS to utilise the facility). The other 5 will be delivered through commercial centres. For the 2015 season the team have already cleared Aqua Ventures (Watamu Beach, Kenya) and Dive In (Cyprus – delivery of ELC training). The current intention is to clear a centre in Malta early in the New Year (to help meet a Cadet Force requirement but thereafter open to all) other possible suggestions are Dubai, Red Sea (Jordan), Belize and Oman. Please note however, the capacity of my team to approve centres is limited to 12 however when KTC closes (2016) there will be a natural opportunity to develop another overseas centre. The choice of centres will be down to you the community and will be agreed on a rolling 2 year basis at the autumn meeting of the JSSADPAC so start lobbying your representatives now for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

The not so good news.

  • Hopefully you will have all seen the recent DIN (2014DIN01-176) regarding the reduction of diving medical officers from 2 to one against a requirement of 3 following the recall of the US officer. This will NOT affect the delivery of routine diving medicals however; it will mean that AT referrals to INM will not now be processed until the 2nd DMO is restored. Hopefully this could be as early as Jul 15.

Parish notice.

  • Next meeting of the JSSADPAC is scheduled for the 20-21 Oct so get any points you may have to your reps.
  • Still not had any post cards – including from my own DSEA-DST Exped to Gib (No brownie points for Mick!)

As always our door is open, any questions please fire them into the team – they’re not half bad once you get to know them and they are on your side – I should know, they keep badgering me all the time on your behalf!

Dominic Robinson is a BSAC Advanced Diver, Advanced Instructor and has been an Expedition Sub Aqua Diving Supervisor (ESADS) since 1994. Qualified on both open and closed circuit, he has led diving expeditions worldwide including Jamaica, South Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Corsica, Gibraltar and throughout the UK.

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