The initial diver grade is Ocean Diver. The qualifications are progressive and are designed so that each grade builds upon the skills of the previous grade by continuing to practice skills already known and by introducing new skills. This enables divers, whether beginners or more advanced, to progress their training at their own pace.
The BSAC Instructor Training Programme (ITP) operates in parallel to the Diver Training Programme and divers can start training towards instructor qualifications once they achieve a minimum grade of Sports Diver.
Specialist Skill Development Courses (SDC) are also available and many of these support the training programmes and club diving.
BSAC Diver Grades
Ocean Diver (Max: 20m depth. Basic diving skills & basic rescue skills)
Your instructor will start by getting you comfortable breathing underwater in a pool or sheltered water and then develop your skills so that you are competent to dive safely in open water. After that you’ll head out for a series of at least four dives to develop your skills and confidence in open water.
You’ll learn how to use basic dive gear, control your buoyancy and move about underwater. You’ll also learn some basic safety skills and how to plan and manage your diving.
Sports Diver (Max: 35m depth. decompression diving, rescue skills & basic life support)
You’ll learn how to spot if something is wrong and what to do in an emergency including self-rescue, recovery of unresponsive divers, and basic life support – these are among the most valuable skills any diver can learn. Once you have qualified, you can progressively extend your depth to 35m.
Dive Leader (Max: 50m depth, enhanced rescue skills, dive planning & management)
Core to Dive Leader training is extending your personal diving to depths of up to 50m so you can plan and lead more adventurous dives needing detailed planning for gas and decompression requirements. Other skills introduced include using ‘lift and shift’ techniques to recover underwater objects.
You’ll also gain the expertise to plan dives for groups of divers, manage dives, and manage a rescue situation in an emergency, including carrying out casualty assessment and administering basic life support with oxygen. Once you have qualified, you can complete your depth progression to 50m.
Advanced Diver (Enhanced skills in dive planning & dive management, wide skill set)
During Advanced Diver training you can extend your diving knowledge to include techniques and emerging technologies involved in underwater search techniques, diving involving no clear surface (either cavern, wreck penetration or ice diving), open-circuit or closed-circuit mixed gas diving, advanced decompression diving and finding & diving an unknown site.
You will further your skills in rescue management and seamanship – using small boats as diving platforms, doing your own chartwork and navigation – and developing your leadership qualities and dive organisation skills.
First Class Diver
The highest diver grade, First Class Diver, is a challenging award to attain. This grade is not run at club level, however we will support your leaning. This diver grade is overseen by BSAC Instructors at Regional & National level. It takes significant dedication, experience and training to get there – but the view from the top is worth it!
There are many reasons why divers want to achieve First Class Diver success, the main one often being the pure personal achievement of earning your place at the very top of the BSAC diving community. You will have demonstrated to BSAC’s most experienced instructors that you can lead safe but challenging national and international diving expeditions.
Also, if you want to progress from Advanced Instructor to National Instructor you will need to be a First Class Diver.
To enrol in First Class Diver training you must have successfully completed an Advanced Diver course. You will also need to have completed 100 dives in a range of conditions since qualifying, at least 20 of which must show experience of diving to depths greater than 30m.
You must also have successfully completed the following Skill Development Courses: