Blog Archives

AT Diving Regulations (Jun 19)

The current document set for Adventuruous Training (AT) sub aqua diving is as follows:

The master versions of these documents are located on the Defence intranet but can also be downloaded at the link above (DCOP 22 is contained in the BRd zip file).

The following points should be noted:

  • BRd 2806(5) is a large zip file (approx 10.5 MB) that will require extracting onto a local machine
  • Many of the pdf annexes in BRd 2806(5) require Adobe Reader to be viewed properly so may not work in browsers such as Safari (apple devices) or Chrome (android devices) – see below for word versions
  • Despite a request for annexes to be in word the RN policy is that they should be in pdf format.
  • The diving slate in the zip has spelling and other errors.  The one at the link below should be used.

All diving supervisors (SADS) should have a copy of these documents in their possession, be familiar with the contents and comply with the regulations within.

On occasion we are asked for word versions of some of the Annexes:

Annual Branch Lab Tests

BRd 2806(5) mandates that all service operated compressors pass an annual laboratory test. It would appear that not all branches are aware that it is possible to demand a sample cylinder and have this test carried out using service resources.

The policy and standards for breathing gas testing are laid out in JSP 319 Pt2 Vol 1. This also provides the NSN of the Diving Gas Sample Cylinder which is 6830-99-172-2256.

Units who are struggling to demand the cylinder should take a copy of the relevant sections of BRd 2806(5) and JSP 319 to their chain of command to exlain that this is mandated policy. It this is unsuccessful, further advice and guidance can obtained from JSSADC.

Dates for New Diving Regulations Confirmed

At the Joint Service Diving Safety Conference, SOfD stated that he was going to request a delay to the implementation of DCOP 22 until later in the year.  This was after a request from stakeholders at the JSSADPAC to allow further work to be completed on the draft.

The publication of Diving Related Information (DRI) 7/17 has confirmed that the dates for the new AT diving documentation (DCOP 22) will be as follows:

  • Stakeholder meetings; 25-26 Apr and 10-11 May 17
  • DCOP 22 published 31 May 17
  • DCOP 22 come into effect on 1 Sep 17

It is also anticipated that there will be a minor revision to BRd 2806(5) to be published in the interim.

Overseas Recompression Chamber Dispensation

Following the recent publication of the 2016 version of BRd 2806(5), a number of expedition leaders have queried the wording in para 0219.  They have interpreted this as limiting diving to a maximum depth of 21m (30m with HRR presentation) for expeditions which occur outside UK territorial waters.

Superintendent of Diving has confirmed that this it is not intended to be read in this way.  The way it should be interpreted is that para 0219 is only applicable for expeditions that are not able to meet the stipulations laid down in para 0218 for access to a suitable recompression chamber.

Para 0219 is therefore a relaxation of the rules in the 2015 issue of BRd 2806(5).  It provides for diving in locations where chamber access is not possible or cannot be achieved with 6 hours.  It also allows limited diving to continue if a chamber becomes unavailable.   For these reasons it should be welcomed!

The next issue of BRd 2806(5) in 2017 will remove this ambiguity.




BSAC Safe Diving Re-issued Oct 15

BSAC Safe Diving provides an alphabetical guide to the safe practices of diving  and service divers of all grades should know what it recommends.  Along with BRd 2806(5) it forms a key element of the diving safety system used by Joint Service Adventurous Training (JSAT) divers.  It is particularly important that SADS and instructors maintain a good working knowledge of BSAC Safe Diving.

A new version has now been issued dated Oct 15 which can be downloaded off the BSAC website by clicking on this link.  Old versions should now be destroyed.

Of particular note is that there is now a specific section dealing with military JSAT divers.



SofD Update – Feb 15

Just received from the Superintendent of Diving (who always enjoys receiving postcards from expeds!):

Apologies this entry will be briefer than normal as I am submitting by Blackberry from the depths of Northern Scotland.

As the weather improves and we approach the start of the season proper there are a couple of key parish notices.

Firstly JSP 917 is dead, long live BRd 2806(5). Your all new Vol 5 is now available on the Defence Intranet. We have also classified it so that it can be downloaded to local team sites. Please get stuck in and enjoy. The good news is that all the feedback so far has been positive so fingers crossed we have managed to deliver something that will better serve the community. Twenty nine of the Joint Service instructors & incremental staff are currently giving it a thorough scrubbing on their Red Sea training camp (Dom tell’s me I can’t call it an Exped!). The BRd will be reviewed annually during the autumn term to incorporate lessons from the preceding season so please ensure you provide feedback through your association representatives.

For those of you planning Expeds this year please ensure you are aware of the gas regulations and the requirements for gas testing – details in BR5 2806(5). The good news is that we are now testing to an internationally recognised British standard and there is a new low pressure, flight safe, gas bottle available for transporting gas samples back to suitable labs for testing. The DST(AT) team will take the lead to ensure that gas testing for Military Approved Centress is up to date however, Exped sites will be the responsibility of the team leader and the diving officer – no clean gas test = no diving. Key message is to START PLANNING EARLY and engage with the DST(AT) team who will help guide you through the requirements.

The new AP16 O2 sensors remain on track. With the sensors having successfully cleared the 6 month point in their 2 year trial and having achieved the other mandated requirements, CCRs have now been cleared for use. JS team have brought their sets back on line and have taken some sets out to the Red Sea. Courses are available this year through JSSADC. Fancy a go? Contact Dom and his team for details.

The JS Diving Safety Conference will be held in Plymouth on the 18th Mar. This is your opportunity to get the latest updates, have your say and ask questions of the JSSADPAC. All are welcome and I’ll see those attending there.

 Some of you may have heard that there are questions over the future of diving in the Falkland Islands. The issue is access to a chamber in the event of an accident. Rest assured we are working with the FI branch and a myriad of other parties to identify the nearest suitable chamber and develop a realistic casualty evacuation plan. The aim is to develop a dispensation tailored to the FI in the same manner as we have for the Ascension Islands.

Enjoy the new season, those of you that have not divided for a while please ease yourself back in and to all Dive Safe.




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!

Message from the Superintendent of Diving

We’ve received the letter below from the new Superintendent of Diving, Cdr Mark Atkinson which is for dissemination to all those interested in AT diving.

Having recently taken up the role of Superintendent of Diving at the end of May from Cdr Chris Baldwin I just wanted to offer a few initial thoughts on the state of Sub Aqua Diving Adventurous Training (AT).

Whilst reading into the appointment before even stepping over the threshold of Bridge Building AT diving clearly stood out as one of the 3 top priorities that I would need to come to terms with very quickly on taking up the post. 7 weeks in the number of worry beads has grown however, my top 3 remain unaltered and are the ones I am working hardest on to come to terms with and move forward. The thing I have been most struck by to date is the dedication and motivation of all those involved in AT diving with whom I have come into contact. This will be critical in allowing us to come together and advance the AT diving case; there will be much to do. Before going into specifics I would just like to draw a distinction in roles between the diving standards team who do everything we can to ensure best and safest practice, whilst the (Captain Naval Physical Development) CNPD team provide the governance. Both organisations have and will continue to work very closely together to deliver you the best diving experience we can.

On the regulation side we effectively work to 3 documents. For diving we work under the rules of the National Governing Body – BSAC. Because the Health and Safety Executive have deemed that entitled personnel are diving at work when conducting AT diving we are bound by the Diving at Work Regulations (DWR). The final document that impacts on AT diving is JSP 917 which captures those elements of the HSE regulations that effect us (i.e. if you are compliant with the JSP you have met the remit of the DWR) along with knowledge learned the hard way since 2006 through understanding the causes of the numerous incidents that have occurred including sadly a number of fatalities – it would be remiss of us to make the same mistake twice. A recent investigation into the death of one of our members commented very positively on the regulation of AT diving but equally pointed out that there was a breakdown between the regulator and the AT diving community. It has become readily apparent that one of the running sores in the relationship has been the JSP 917. This is currently been re-written to incorporate all the outstanding DINs and the lessons identified from the previously mentioned SI.. Whilst I have no ability to change the regulations, we will work hard to try and make it a more user friendly document. The AT Diving Standards Team (DST) will be finished the rewrite by the end of this week, the remainder of the DST will then proof read and amend over and around summer leave with the aim of releasing it to the community for staffing early in September with the goal of signing it off at the next Joint Service Sub-Aqua Diving Policy Advisory Committee (JSSADPAC) in Oct. We are also aiming to bring the current JSP into the Military Diving Manual series as BRd 2806 Vol 5. This will nor affect the content but will reduce the number of JSPs, help move the various arms of diving into one body and achieve staffing and writing support through the Fleet Staff Authors group which will help improve penmanship and clarity
The future and development of AT diving lies with CNPD and the governance team. Without stealing all their pies the aim is to try and better develop the infrastructure of current diving facilities and funding to branches whilst opening up diving to mass participation. Much still needs to be done to bottom out all the details however the headlines are that their will be no change to the delivery of ESADS led AT diving expeditions. We will look to bolster the current AT facilities both in the UK and overseas, any remaining DST (AT) resource will be spent in auditing and providing as many overseas commercial sites as possible where expedition leaders can take teams and use the facilities of commercial forms to deliver AT diving. The DST(AT) team will be able to cover a total of 12 sites a year and we will work with the Temeraire team to develop a 2 year rolling programme of sites again for agreement at the Oct JSSADPAC. Much of the 2015 programme is already fixed by work conducted this year but the community will be engaged to look at the remaining opportunities and the 2016 programme. What we the community need to do is work together and build the mass of individuals participating in diving as an AT activity. If we are unable to stem the decline in numbers of entitled personnel and demonstrate that we are a mass participation AT activity then the future could well be grim.

And finally an update on Closed Circuit Re-breathers (CCR). Whilst getting to know some of the individuals involved in diving AT, I have come across something of a mixture of fear and mistrust of the
DST organisation. The CCR tail appears to capture how best practice by the teams diving the equipment and sensible actions to keep those diving it safe, appear to have grown into a doom laden story of near biblical proportions. Before going on I would like to emphasise that whilst the DST team have a role to fulfil in auditing the branches and organisations delivering AT diving they are there to help and assist, not to catch you out. If things are amiss yes they will be reported but the aim is to also enable the DST organisation to help resolve the problems; we are not here to act as judge, jury and executioner. If we uncover issues with equipment we will work to get them fixed, if we find issues with training we will go back to the delivery teams and amend the training where necessary and if it is an individual that has come up short (we are all only human after all and we all make mistakes) then provided it is not gross negligence (which would then be reported to an appropriate authority for investigation) then we will work with the individual and the training/support organisation to resolve whatever the issue was. The CCRs fall very clearly into the first group. JSSADC undertook an advanced diving expedition the Red Sea to conduct a series of dives using CCR equipment earlier this year. During the course of which they had 11 instances of equipment malfunction all leading back to failures of the O2 sensors. They correctly reported this using the incident reporting procedures. The outcome was that the team looked at the information provided and subsequently stopped diving on the set until the issue could be resolved; please note diving on a military set would have been similarly stopped, in fact diving on military CCRs has been stopped previously for a similar reasons. Trials on the O2 sensors proved that they were not performing to specification and study of communal social media sites soon identified that the issue was also occurring on a large scale within the wider sports diving community. Close engagement with the manufacturer has now led to the development of a replacement O2 sensor which has just started a 2 year trail at the cost of £5k. Provided we do not see an occurrence of the failures during testing the sensors will be cleared for use in Jan 15 ready for the start of the new season. So whilst there is a temporary suspension of CCR diving, a defective component was identified, a replacement developed and a rigorous trials programme started all of which should lead to a safer diving experience. I genuinely believe this is a good news story and shows how the system can work to help protect the diving community so please, please keep reporting in your incidents – your one off issue might be repeated as one offs in many branches and point to a bigger issue – you will never be wrong to report any issue or near miss. The Future of CCR diving will again be down to the community. Assuming the new sensors work, JSSADC will be re-starting CCR training next year and running a number of camps for those qualified. Dom and his team have been set the task of developing a 5 year programme to develop and grow an advanced technical 60M CCR AT diving capability. Its success or failure will lie with the community’s ability to deliver the milestones, if the will isn’t there than we will look to develop other elements of technical diving for the advanced cadre.

I have gone on a lot longer than intended but felt it worth putting out the stall and updating you on developments from this side of the hill. I will aim to try and submit to the majority of the bulletins to keep you abreast of issues. However, this is a 2 way flow so don’t be shy engaging with the team. Enjoy your diving, be safe and don’t forget the post cards to remind us just how much fun you’re having whilst we’re stuck in the office!

Cards to:
Superintendent of Diving
Fleet Diving Headquarters
Bridge Building
Horsea Island
United Kingdom (for those of you who make it overseas!)

Challenge is to fill one of my notice boards before I leave – over to you