Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Branch Sub Aqua Diving Supervisor (BSADS)

When I first heard about the Branch SADS qualification I was quite sceptical and I suspect I wasn’t alone in this view.  It seemed to me that there wasn’t much point to the qualification as it was relatively restricted in what they could supervise.  I was also concerned that the Dive Leader qualification produced divers too junior to be given that level of responsibility.  Before arriving at JSSADC in July 13, I also hadn’t encountered a BSADS ‘in the wild’ so approached the first BSADS cse with a certain degree of trepidation.

Having spent 18 months in post, I’m now pleased to report that I’m now a complete convert to the idea of the BSADS qualification.  Not only do I believe that they offer a very viable solution to the long running shortage of SADS at club/branch level but they’re also starting to make their presence felt acting as deputy SADS on expeds.  Those of you who follow the various service diving groups on facebook will have seen plenty of evidence of both of these.


The first concern I had was over the actual utility of the qualification and what the BSADS could supervise.  The key to this is for clubs and branches to ensure they assemble and maintain a comprehensive branch site register which then allows the BSADS to supervise diving at any of those sites.  The rationale behind this is that the BSADS has either already dived the site themselves or is able to find other experienced divers in the club who can provide them with the necessary information.   BRd 2806(5) will offer a number of improvements to this process by aligning the date for branch site register update to that of SADS registration (1 Oct) and removing the 48hr limit.  It will also clarify the numbers of divers who can be supervised; those who are Advanced Diver BSADS will also be able to supervise greater numbers than those who are Dive Leaders BSADS.

An element of the BSADS qualification that I initially overlooked is that they are able to deputise for an ESADS on expeditions.  Given the usual difficulties of locating an Advanced Diver or second ESADS then this is a very useful capability and one that I have seen being regularly used.

My concern over whether a Dive Leader was capable of acting as a SADS is also one that I have had to revise.   At JSSADC, we see every BSADS who gains the qualification and they’re mentored by exactly the same SADS Assessors who examine ESADS candidates.  As you’d expect, the start level at the beginning of the course can be variable but by the end we’re very happy that they’re up to the level required.


Perhaps the key test of the BSADS qualification is how it would be perceived by service divers and whether it would be seen as worth having.  When it was introduced, another expected benefit was that it would lead more people to attempt the ESADS assessment.  In order to check on both of these we’ve been keeping track of the statistics which can be seen in the table above.  Although it is still early days , I’d say that things seem positive on both fronts with the reversal of the downward ESADS trend particularly welcome.

For anyone who is interested in attending a BSADS cse then you can find full details here.   Alternatively, those who attend the ESADS development course also gain the BSADS qualification.

SofD Update – Dec 14

May I first take the opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas from everyone in the Diving Standards Team.  Dom has again kindly offered me the opportunity to provide you with a quick round up of events so in no particular order:

Welcome to our new readers from the Cadet Forces who have now been included on the Bovi distribution to allow them to keep abreast of all the latest news and views.

O2 sensors for the CCR. The good news is that the AP16 sensors are continuing to perform well so providing there isn’t an unexpected hitch over the leave period we should be in a position to clear the CCRs for use at the start of January 15. Please note that the AP14 sensors that arrived after the defective AP12s did not perform to the required standard, if you come across an AP14 or one of the original AP12s please do not use it and let us know so that we can try and track down how it got into the system.

The AT team at HMS Temerraire are funding the procurement of a non explosive diver recall system. Once delivered, one will be provided to JSSADC to support training whilst the remainder will go to Biscester ready for EXPEDs to draw. An explosive recall system remains under test following further ballasting after the Mod 0 refused to sink – made life a bit more interesting for those in the boat!

Gas testing. The DST(AT) team continue to fight this one through and although it is like running through treacle the end is hopefully in sight. The key beneficiaries will be the JS sites on Cyprus and Ascension Island who will finally be able to ship their samples in a timely fashion by air.

JSP 917 is very nearly dead. BRd 2806(Vol 5) is at the Fleet Staff Authors and after a final proof read should be published in Jan 15 as planned. It incorporates all the latestchanges from gas testing to lessons identified from diving incidents to the very latest changes in the law following the release of the new HSE ACOP on the 8 Dec 14. Representatives from all walks of user were involved in the work and all parties agree it is a huge improvement so please take your time to get around it. It will be refreshed annually at the end of each year so please feel free to feed back comments through your association representatives.

Worry bead – there has been a sharp increase in the number of DCI’s in the last month; 4 in total. Fortunately all have been resolved without any apparent further complications. They appear to have been unrelated but act as a timely reminder to not force diving with sticky ears. Do not feel obliged to push to the envelope on no stop dives, dive deep then shallow even on relatively shallow dives and keep hydrated!

Finally a quick MAC update. Following feedback from the associations the MAC list for next year is currently:

  • JSSADC (Plymouth)
  • CJSATC (Cyprus)
  • Dive in (Cyprus)
  • Kembali (Cyprus)
  • Viking (Cyprus)
  • ASTDC Kiel
  • ATC Castlemartin
  • JPATU Gibraltar – (Exped only)
  • Ascension – (Exped only)
  • Aqua Venture (Kenya)
  • Dive Shack (Malta)
  • Deep Blue (Malta)
  • TBC (Bahrain)
  • TBC (Aqaba – Jordan)

(Note – the Army have withdrawn funding for the Bovington contract which will cease from Apr 15).

If possible we will look to clear Andark Diving as a UK commercial provider to provide continued training resource for the SCC. The list will continue to evolve so please check on the DST web-site for the latest listings.


Many thanks for all the cards received, it is good to know that the effort from the Ivory Tower is translating into fins on the ground. Offerings received include Gib (x2), Ascension, Malta, Oman, Egypt, the Philippines and North Korea (don’t ask!). Still lots of space on the board so keep them coming. When full you may even get a scubby ‘O’k rather than a military thumbs up.

For any of you that may be diving over the forthcoming break stay safe.

To all, have a great Christmas leave and all the best for the New Year.