There are many organisations that offer diver training, both in UK waters and abroad. Many people choose to learn to dive with one of the commercial diving operations, such as PADI. Other people’s first experiences of diving will be on holiday, where they have tried a number of dives in clear tropical waters. We already have a large number of members who have done their initial training in this way and are now active members of the Club.
Join the Club
If you’re fairly new to diving there are a lot of advantages to joining a local club. We are a friendly crowd and welcome new people to come along and meet us. We meet regularly throughout the winter on a Wednesday evening and in the summer months we go diving. We have two boats, with permanent moorings in Brighton Marina and this is where most of our dives are based from. The boats are both fast RIBs and have an operating range of up to 15 nautical miles from the Marina entrance. After the dive you will often find us in the bar of the West Quay.
As we are a club, not a commercial operation, we do not have equipment for hire. You will need to supply your own full set of equipment starting with drysuit, BCD jacket, regulators and cylinders, as well as other safety items such as a DSMB and torch.
For your first year, membership of Sussex Diving Club is £200, £20 payable on joining and the remainder (£180) you can either pay by standing order at £15 a month or in one lump sum.
You will also need annual membership to BSAC which is £54 (or less, higher qualified divers and Instructors pay a reduced rate), this is payable by Direct Debit to BSAC, the Direct Debit mandate is part of the membership form which we will ask you to complete and sign.
The cost of diving from our RIBs which are permanently moored in Brighton Marina is around £10 for inshore/reef dives and £10 to £20 for an offshore/wreck dive.
Qualifications and Skills
If you are recently qualified, and still new to diving, you may need some refresher training in the pool. You may also need to build experience with your new equipment in sheltered water with our qualified instructors, before taking to UK waters. We run our pool sessions and training over the winter from November to March. We also offer two days of skills development in a sheltered water environment, before starting the dive season in the Spring.
Divers qualified with other agencies, such as PADI, are welcome to dive in a BSAC club. The Diving Officer will advise you of what your qualification is equivalent to, and which skills development training you may need to be ready to dive with the club. Experienced divers with their own equipment may only need a shake-down dive to get started.
Diving from Brighton
So what sort of diving can you expect to do? Brighton has an awful lot to offer to suit a wide range of interests. There are a number of inshore reefs, all with a wide variety of marine life. Over the past few years we have been working with the Sussex Seasearch project to survey and record all the different species of fish, crustacea, echinods, molluscs and the like, together with the habitat details. If you’re interested in underwater conservation then take a look at the Seasearch web site.
Tides off Brighton run at about 1 knot. This is fast enough to make for interesting drift dives, but slow enough to be manageable if you want to stop and look at something interesting.
But what Brighton is really good for is the wrecks. The English Channel offers some of the best wreck diving in the world, with hundreds of large shipwrecks in diveable depths. Off Brighton alone there are over 50 shipwrecks within 15 miles of the marina entrance. Apart from the thrill of diving the wrecks themselves, they also form huge artificial reefs which are havens for a wide variety of marine life.
Our Expeditions Officer arranges diving trips to some of the best sites in the UK and around the world. In previous years we have chartered a live-aboard dive boat from Oban on the West Coast to Firth of Forth on the East coast. We had an expedition to Norway and then later in the same year an expedition to Northern France. Last year we went to Cuba, and Egypt. We have been to Grenada and look forward to diving in Dubrovnik.
The Club holiday is usually arranged some time over the summer months. In recent years we have visited Devon, Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, Dorset, the Farne Islands and St Abbs.