Chairman’s Letter May 2022

Hi Folks,

Diving season is well and truly upon us, we’ve had trips to the bay, the Isle of Man and Anglesey, and there are trips planned to Malta, Bridlington, Pembroke and Cyprus, plus many quarry weekends. So let’s all be safe. If you’d like to organise a trip anywhere and you’re not sure how, just ask and we will help you sort it out. We’ve had to cancel the summer bash as there wasn’t enough interest, but Vince is organising a curry night at the club – date to be arranged. 

I’d like to wish Katie and Paul a speedy recovery, and thank Katie for all her hard work as the Communications Officer: you’ve done a fantastic job. Also thanks to Bel for all her hard work behind the bar. I’d also like to welcome Angie Coggins to the Committee as the new Communications Officer. 

Other news: we are getting the new compressor fitted this week. Chris Mills is sorting that out – thanks Chris. We have also reviewed the Towing Levy because of the price of fuel, and have increased it to 50p per mile, to be reviewed in 3-4 months. Also, we have a levy for boat courses which is £25 – that’s the levy and the fuel. We have to have a levy to cover oil and maintenance on the boats.

Thanks for all your support.  

Dave Edwards
Chairman, BSAC Branch 5

Chairman’s Letter February 2022

Hello folks, 

That’s Christmas and New Year done, and hopefully now we’re getting back to normal. Just a quick update on things In the club. 

We have a lot of training going on, and all our instructing team do this voluntarily and at their own cost, so if you put your name down to do a lecture, pool session or to go to the quarry, please don’t let them down. They put a massive amount of time and effort into organising and preparing these courses. 

We have a shiny new boat so let’s start organising trips and get back into the water. Remember anyone can organise a trip and get it signed off. 

We have also ordered a new compressor. The old and new committees have been working tirelessly to sort all this out over the last year, so now we need all your support to raise money to replenish our club finances. Try and get down the club, and please come to any functions that are coming up. Just get involved in whatever we have going on. Remember, it’s your club. 

Vince Clegg is putting on a summer party at Birkenhead Rugby Club on May 28th, details to follow. There are also a few dives coming up, so get involved. If you’re still a trainee, you can still go on any dive weekend, just to see how it all works, but obviously, if the boat is full, you’d have to sort out your own entertainment for while the dives are taking place. 

We appreciate all your support, it’s what keeps the club going.

Safe and happy diving,

Dave Edwards

Chairman, BSAC Branch 5

Chairman’s Christmas Letter 2021

Well folks, Christmas is nearly upon us and we are looking forward to safe and happy diving in the new year. First and foremost, I’d like to once again thank the Committee members that have kept the Club going through Covid-19, and I’d like to say a special thanks to Alan Jones (aka the Major) for steering us through the last four really difficult years. Now it’s time for the new Committee to guide the Club to our next chapter, but we can’t do it without the help of all the members. We require all of you to help, in training, trips, club events and just making everyone, new and old, feel welcome. 

Remember folks, anyone, regardless of diving grade, can organise trips – just ask another member and they will help you, or point you in the direction of someone who can. Also, you can do most boat courses regardless of grade: you just need to be enthusiastic. We are looking at taking the boats out (when the weather is a bit better) for members who are not qualified, to give people a feel of how to launch, handle and retrieve the RHIBs, and have a play on the river. Info will be on the board and Facebook ASAP. 

Also, on Thursday 23rd December, Bel is organising a Raffle and Karaoke Night in the Clubhouse, so try and get down to show your support – all proceeds going to the new boat and compressor fund.  

From myself and all the Committee, we wish you all a merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year. Let’s go diving!

Dave Edwards

Chairman’s Letter October 2021

The Chairman’s Last Post

Hello everybody……….Well the time has almost come for me to slope off into the sunset having performed the role of Chairman for 8 out of the last 10 years.  It would be remiss of me not say that is has been an extraordinary privilege to serve the club and with your help and that of the committee in supporting me in steering ‘the ship’ through some choppy waters.  It would be good to claim that the club is now in a better shape than at the outset of our journey, but I guess that is for you to decide.  

One thing I would mention is that we have finally reached an agreement with the Council over a new ten year lease for the club and for the first time this will include the boatshed, albeit they will retain the right to review the tenure of the boatshed at any time after the five year point.  This is highly unlikely, but comes about because the boatshed is actually part of the leisure centre complex and could be subject of redeveloped in the future. 

The actual hand over of the current committee will take place at the club’s Annual General Meeting, commencing promptly at 9.0pm on Thursday, 18th. November 2021.  It would be great to see a full club house and remember this is your turn to bring the current committee to task as well as hear the outline plans for the forthcoming year from the new committee.   This is your opportunity to make your feelings known and make a difference.

With the diving season coming to an end this is an ideal opportunity to finish off your training and develop new skills at the quarries, the instructors are there virtually every week, so it is only up to you to attend.  In addition, I will be running a Chartwork and Position Fixing SDC over the weekend of the 22/23rd. January at the clubhouse.

Turning to the social side of things, the club’s annual dinner dance was a rip roaring event and attended by just over 100 members and their wives.  Would you believe we raised £1,507 for the club after expenses, which is by far the largest sum we have ever achieved.  Our thanks go out to Dave Edwards for organising the show as well as his band of helpers, which included Graeme Cooper for providing the place cards and Belinda with the ladies for sorting out the raffle.

I am also reliably informed that Belinda and Katie Condron intend running a social event at the clubhouse during the run up to Christmas, so watch this space for details.

Finally, The Major’s Late, Late Christmas Bash has been organised at the Irby Mill for Saturday, 18th. December.  In effect, we take over the entire restaurant area, but numbers are limited to 50 places, so first come first served.  The list will be on the notice board this coming Thursday and I would suggest that you book your place ‘pdq’ to avoid disappointment.

That’s it folks, once again my appreciation goes out for all you help and support over the last decade. Take care and safe diving.

Alan Jones

Chairman’s Letter September 2021

Hello everybody…………….Just a quick note following last week’s committee meeting.  Firstly, it was resolved to reduce the towing levy from 50p to 40p across the board and will come in effect after the current crop of planned trips.  The committee is also considering lowering the boat levy which currently stands at £15 per day, but no ‘white smoke’ is yet to be seen.  

The club’s Facebook page is a great tool for passing on information, but unfortunately there has been another incident of an inappropriate photograph appearing on the club’s Facebook page.  Let me remind everybody that the club does a have a strict policy which will be enforced resulting in censure and eventual removal from our Facebook page for anybody who continues to flout the rules.  So please be sensible folks and be nice to each other!  

The River Swim as part of the Festival of the River took place on Sunday, 19th. September was a great success with the club providing 3 safety boats amongst a flotilla of other small craft from other clubs to cover the 159 swimmers taking part.  We have been promised a donation, which last year was £250, so hope the powers that be are equally generous this year.  

Dave Edwards ran an Anglesey trip last weekend (25/26th. September), which due to the inclement weather turned out to be more of a glee club outing than a diving adventure, but at least everybody enjoyed ‘the crack’ in the pub.  He also asks me to remind you of the Dinner Dance on the 30th. October and that he is now collecting in the money (£40 pp).  

As the autumnal gales have arrived Geoff Oldfield has had to cancel the planned ‘Assistant Dive Manager ‘training this weekend on Anglesey.  Currently I do not have an alternative date, but knowing Geoff he will have some cunning plan in train.  On the other hand the Boat Handling Course planned for the 9th/10th. October is full steam ahead with the course packs having arrived in the last few days.  

Looking forward to next year, I have been in touch with Dive/Tec Wise based at St Julian’s Bay, Malta and have a provisional date of Saturday, 4th. June 2022 for a week’s adventure in the sun.  The way it normally works is that I circulate my flight and hotel details together with a list of hotels and apartments and you make your own arrangements.  This means that you have considerable flexibility over flights/dates, times and accommodation to suit individual needs, but that we arrive and depart with a day or so of each other.  A ‘flyer’ will appear on the club notice board the week for those seriously interested in taking part.  

The new Suzuki engine is working extremely well, but requires running in over the next 7 hours.  The manual states ‘Safe operating conditions permitting. Operate the engine at desired speed.  You may occasionally use the engine at full throttle however do not operate continuously at full throttle for more than 5 minutes.  

Notice – Running continuously at full throttle for more than 5 minutes at a time during the 7 hours of break-in operation may cause severe engine damage such a seizure.  

During the last 7 hours of break-in operations do not operate at wide open throttle for more than 5 minutes at a time.’  

Out intrepid Equipment Officer Chris Mills has put a log sheet in the new boat which should be completed after every trip up to the 20 hour point after which the engine must be serviced.  Bear in mind that the engine is compatible with E10 fuel and as it is a four-stroke design does not need a separate oil supply. The oil is contained in the sump just like a normal car engine and this should be checked before every trip via the dip stick located under the engine cover. Suzuki recommend SAE 10W-40 or 10W – 30 marine 4 cycle engine oil.  

That’s it folks take care and safe diving. 
Alan Jones

Chairman’s Letter August 2021

Hello everybody…………………..It only seems like yesterday that I was talking about the beginning of the diving season and here we are drawing towards the end.  August, in particular, was an extremely busy months with diving expeditions to Scapa Flow, Pembroke, Anglesey and Plymouth.  For whatever reason the underwater viz has been a bit below what you would reasonably expect at this time of the year, but has certainly not stopped nor really detracted from the level of enjoyment.

We have now taken possession of the new boat which has been professionally fitted out and now start to run in the engine which takes 10 hours.  However, this should have been achieved by the end of September and additionally, the repair to the Tornado will be completed well before then.

Thanks to the good offices of Martin Campbell in proving a skip, the club has been able to clear and dispose of most of the junk that had accumulated over the previous year.  My thanks also go out to all the people who assisted in clearing not only the club and boatshed, but also the surround area.  Very well done!. Moreover, most of the bottles which had been stored there have been reclaimed by their owners, albeit about six remain.  These will now be tested by the club and taken into use.  Should an owner appear then we would expect then to pay for the test and make a donation to the club for the inconvenience.  

There are a number of diving/training and SDC opportunities on the horizon.  These include:-

25/26th. September – Dave Edwards is running a diving weekend on Anglesey, so if you are interested you need to contact him.

2/3rd October – Assistant Dive Manager Training, Anglesey – This event is being run by Geoff Oldfield and is part of the revised Dive Leader sylabus, though I don’t have any further information to hand.

9/10th. October – Boat Handling SDC – This event is now full with the following people having signed up to take part, Sean Madigan, Belinda Condron, Dave Edwards, Kate Condron, Paul Berry, Andy Parsons, Graeme Cooper, Shaun Williams, Hannah Williams and Mark Williams.

The cost of the training package has gone up to £49.50 and you will now need to forward the cash to me soonest (cheques or bank transfer also fine) so that I may order the materials.  No money means you cannot attend on a promise of future payment.

Finally, can I remind that the club dinner has been arranged for Saturday, 30th. October at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club at a cost of £40 per person.  The numbers are limited to just over 100 and when I last checked the list was starting to look rather full.  Those interested need to contact Dave Edwards direct to avoid disappointment.  

Alan Jones


Chairman’s Letter July 2021

Hello everybody……………Well D Day (19th. July 2021) arrived last Monday which means that the club house can now resume as normal, so it will be good to see you all again and, of course, we do need your support.  The big news is that our new boat was collected from Hull last Tuesday and will be on display outside the boat shed this evening (Thursday, 22nd July).  It really is something to behold, so our thanks go out to everybody who has supported the purchase of this large capital item.  It will now go to Conway Marina to be fitted outer with the electronics, (GPS, radio etc) before returning for sea trials closer to home.  

Diving – During the last month successful diving trips have been run to Pembroke  and Cornwall, so our thanks goes out to Chris Mills and Geoff Oldfield for organising these events.  There was, unfortunately, one nasty incident involving Stuart Mathews who besides obeying all diving protocols sustained a spinal bend and had to spend a period of days in and out of a recompression chamber, albeit it he is likely to make a full recovery and is now progressing well.  Just pausing for a moment on trips, you must understand that if you put your name down for a trip and then are unable to attend then it is normal that your deposit is forfeit; moreover, you also remain liable for any additional charges incurred by your non-attendance (such as towing).  The truth is that we are ultimately tied in with people’s livelihoods and quite naturally they want the full amount agreed with the expedition leader not half the money.  If you want to avoid liability you need to find a replacement.

Club House – Part of the recovery process from lockdown will be to put the club house, boat shed and classroom back in use.  What is evident is that the club has been used as a dumping ground for rubbish and this now needs to be sorted out by working parties.  To that end Martin Campbell will be supplying a skip and anything resembling ‘junk’ will be disposed of at the tip.  Moreover, a plethora of diving bottles appears to be growing almost on a weekly basis.  You now have a month to remove your bottles after which out of test cylinders will be disposed of or retested by the club and taken into use as their own.

Training Matters – It is hoped that we will receive further direction from the staff of Guinea Gap Baths with regard to swimmer numbers, reopening the changing room, use of showers etc.  This means that Thursday Training Nights will receive fresh impetus and really get going again.  We expect quite a few people putting themselves forward for Try Dives, so there will be a need for volunteers to assist, remember Dive Leaders can take Try Dives into the pool.  Whilst it is true that we are extremely lucky in having a National Instructor and something like six advanced instructors within our ranks, when you drill down further we have very few Open Water Instructors and a group of Assistant Instructors who have not continued with their training.  It follows that we are now looking for people to attend the Instructor Foundation Course and become involved in training. In my view, this is probably the best BSAC course on offer, it weighs in at £157 for the weekend, however, the committee has agreed to reimburse £57 to everybody taking part.

Skill Development Course – These will shortly recommence with Assistant Dive Manager (2/3rd.October), Boat Handling (9/10th. October), Diver/Cox Assessment, Practical Rescue Management. The last two have no dates at present, but with regard to SDC’s like Boat Handling you will need to buy the pack (£47) from HQ before undertaking the course.  There can be no exceptions to this.  Keep an eye on Facebook or the Notice board in the club for further information.

That’s it folks, take care and safe diving.

Alan Jones

Chairman’s Letter June 2021

Hello everybody……………..The Covid virus is still taking its toll on diving opportunities, particularly in respect of foreign travel.  However, whilst we remain in uncertain times it is great to report that the diving season is well under way with successful trips to Anglesey, Plymouth and currently Cornwall in the last few weeks.  Then there is Liverpool Bay diving, and I can tell you that the viz is returning, with 5/6 meters experienced on the City of Brussels last Saturday   Further adventures are planned over the coming weeks to Pembroke, Scapa Flow (postponed from last year) and Plymouth.

The new Humber RIB is now scheduled to arrive at the beginning of July and it will then be taken down to Conway Marina to be professionally kitted out with VHF radio, GPS and Echo sounder.  Our old Viking has now been purchased by a member and it is good to see that it will being staying within the club.

Speaking of the club boats, I think it is important that those leading trips should touch base with Chris Mills, the Club Equipment Officer both before and after a trip, initially to establish if any of the equipment needs attention or renewal and post trip to discover if anything has been damaged or lost.  If this protocol is followed it should remove all the anxiety and any uncertainty surrounding the kit.  After all the Equipment Officer (which is a thankless job) cannot be expected to affect repairs if he is unaware of their existence.  Moreover, I would ask you all to ensure that any damage or loss is reported immediately rather than just walk away to avoid possible embarrassment.  Let’s be right we are all guilty of careless on occasions.

As you are aware the club and pool have been open since the end of May, however, with the current restrictions still in place we are not able to offer our full range of services with numbers being limited to 20 people in the club and 12 in the pool.  Hopefully after the 19th. July we will be able to return to something resembling normality.  The training team are aware that several SDC’s need to be commenced/concluded which include boat handling and twin set training.  So watch this space and if you have any quires do not hesitate to get in touch with your training team of Dr. Chris Wood, Steve Mills and Terry Maloney.  Incidentally, our congratulations go out to Chris who recently qualified as a GP, well done mate.

The Club Annual Dinner has now been booked by Dave Edwards for Saturday, 30th. October 2021 at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club.  This really is great news considering that last year’s event was lost to the Covid virus.  Dave is really trying to make this a memorable event and tickets will shortly be available from behind the bar at a cost of £40 pp.  The format will be similar to previous years and we are currently exploring the prospect of having both a DJ and a singer.

That’s it folks… diving.

Chairman’s Letter April 2021

Hello everybody……………The big news of the day is that the club has recently received a second government grant for just over £10,000 to help us restart our activities.  Obviously, this is most welcome considering our expenditure of 38K on a new RIB.  Speaking of which, our latest understanding from Humber is that it will arrive around the middle of May after which the old Viking disposed of.

Our thanks go out to Dave Edwards and Vince Clegg for putting on the recent BBQ on the lawn outside the club.  The great news is that we took around £600 over the bars, but above all it was wonderful to see so many of our members after so long, your support was much appreciated.

Bay diving has now recommenced with a group venturing out to the Alarm a week last Sunday.  In truth, the viz was a moderate 4/5 meters and the water somewhat grainy however, it was sunny and it was just great to be back in the water.  There is a second trip out to some of the further wrecks this coming weekend, but due to their slightly increased depth is limited to Dive Leaders and above.  I would mention that there now seems to be a dearth of available vehicles capable of towing the club boats and this needs to improve if disappointment is not to follow i.e. ‘restricted diving days through lack of towers’.

On the training front, no date has been set for the reopening of swimming/diving groups and classes, though I understand that there is a notice in the staff room at Guinea Gap Baths which states that things will be back to normal by June.  It goes without saying that I will continue to make the enquiry on your behalf.  As far as the club house is concerned, this will reopen on Thursday 20th.May, social distancing will appy.

Review of Club Policies (Bullying, Social Media and Discrimination) – Following an ‘unofficial complaint’ by a member that the club is institutionally sexist in everything that it does, the club’s Welfare Officer, Monty Smith,  formed a sub-committee that has conducted a thorough review of all our policies to ensure that they are still relevant and fit for purpose in 2021.  These will now be posted on the club’s Facebook page and also sent to every member vie email in PDF format.  We would ask that you take a few minutes to examine these documents so that you may not only gain an understanding of their content, but also the club’s position on these subjects.  Most importantly, if you are aware of any sexist or discriminatory behavior that have not been brought to the attention of the committee and dealt with previously, do let Monty or I know.  An early response would be much appreciated.

That’s it folks, keep well and safe diving……………..AJ 

Policies Updated April 2021

Anti Bullying Policy

Equality and Diversity Policy

Social Media Policy

Chairman’s Letter February 2021

Hello everybody……………Following last night’s committee meeting I thought I would give you a quick update over the reopening of the club.  Following the announcement of Boris last Monday we think the order of events will be as follows, though do bear in mind that these dates may be subject to change:

Monday, 29th. March…………….Groups of 6 will be allowed to meet outdoors which means that the boats could be taken out into Liverpool Bay, bearing in mind that currently the Welsh and Scots governments currently ban tourist travel.  To that end arrangements have already been made to have the boats and engines serviced ready for the new season.  It is also worth mentioning that Capernwray and Eccleston Delph are both likely to open in time for the Easter break, which does offer the prospect of some limited training tasking place.

Thursday, 15th. April…………….From this date the pool may reopen and therefore training could resume.  However, we are in the hands of the local authority from who we are seeking clarification.  As soon as the pool reopens then the clubhouse will follow suit, though the bar will remain shut for the time being.

Thursday, 20th. May……………..The clubhouse bar will reopen.

Covid 19 and Diving Medicals …….It also emerged last night from Doctor Chris Wood our Training Officer that anybody who has been infected by Covid 19 will need to be cleared for diving by a medical practitioner. He says this should be possible over the telephone in most cases without a physical examination.  Now, I am uncertain whether this has to involve the Diving Medical Referee, Doctor Tim Fitzsimons, so I guess the best bet is to speak to Chris Wood in the first instance.

On Thursday, 4th. March we are planning to have a quiz and virtual club night as a precursor to reopening the club later in the month (commencing at 8.0pm).  It is hoped that as many as possible of the committee will also attend to answer your queries, but above all it would be good to see you all again after being ‘hunkered down’ for so long.  It is fair to say that we can now definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel and with that comes the prospect of resuming diving and something resembling normality.  As soon as we are able Dave Edwards will be setting a date for the annual dinner dance (and the AGM) while I will put in train another ‘Late, Late Easter Bash’ at the Irby Mill.

Stay safe and keep well folks, we are nearly there now and the summer beckons.

Best regards…………AJ.

News Letter April 2020

Chairman’s Letter April 2020

Hello everybody as we are about to enter our second week of Corona isolation.   I know that many of you, including me, are jut itching to get wet but without trying to sugar coat events it is clear that this is going to be a long haul.  Just how long is uncertain at the moment and I think it will be 2 to 4 weeks before we can assess the trajectory of the virus in the UK.  Then, of course, it would be a mistake to think that things will return to normal over night, but rather the roll back from lock-down will take several weeks.  So what does this mean to the club, well for sure, the club will remain closed throughout April, by which time the picture should be much clearer.  There will also be a Committee Meeting via Zoom conferencing on Monday, 20th. April, when with a fair wind we may be able to start to plan for the future.  In the short term this means that the Boat Handling SDC, the Anglesey weekend at the begging of May and the Pembroke trip at the end of May are all postponed as well as anything in-between.  Actually, truth to told, I recently bought a set of electric hair clippers last week and if you saw the state of my head you would quickly realise how necessary it is for the club to remain shut!

The summer bash at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club is set for the Saturday, 20th. June and at the very least Dave Edwards and I are hoping to use this event to relaunch the life of the club.  Should this prove to be the case then I can imagine it turning into one ‘bad arse’ night.  So if it’s any consolation you will be getting wet again just as the viz improves.

Turning to other matters, can I thank everybody for their best wishes following Val’s operation for breast cancer.  Last Friday she received the all clear from the surgeon and her progress is such that she requires no further treatment.  On the down side, one of our brethren, Peter Cheesewright, is now waiting to go into hospital for an operation on his pancreas.  He knows that your thoughts and prayers are with him as he waits for a bed and I will let you how he progresses.

As I am writing this letter, I have just heard on the radio that the Government are now speaking of a 12/13 weeks self isolation period depending on how well we keep away from each other.  This is indeed a rather grim prospect which for some may prove difficult to handle, although I am aware of a number of video conferencing groups springing up which will provide some relief.  We are all in this together folks and the club is here to support you if needs be and that help is only a telephone call away. Do feel free to ring me anytime.

In terms of those currently undergoing training then I can tell you that your Training Officers that is Chris Wood, Steve Mills and Terry Maloney are currently investigating the prospect of delivering theory session on line. Watch this space.

That it folks for the moment and I will keep you updated at this dreadful situation develops.

Alan Jones

News Letter March 2020

Chairman’s Letter – March 2020



Here we are almost at the beginning of March and the foul weather shows no sign of abating.  However, since I last wrote to you we have been busy putting everything to rights in preparation for the diving season, whenever that might arrive.  Both boats have now been serviced and made ready for the sea, which included in one case as replacement heavy duty battery and cables.  In addition, the compressor was serviced last week while the bank storage bottles were put back in test at the beginning of the year.  So with the boat electronics (GPS/radio etc) also having been tested, I think it fair to say that we are just about ready for the off.

There is now quite a wide range of training opportunities coming up shortly, which you will forgive me for reminding you of, as somebody will always claim they knew nothing about an event, here we go:

Skill Development Courses

Rescue Management SDC – Theory session Thursday, 19th. March at the club to be followed by the practical session on Sunday, 5th. April 2020 at Eccleston Delph.  NOTE – this was originally planned for Saturday the 21st. March but had to be put back for a variety of reasons, not least of which to accommodate the LFC fixture list.  This really is a must for those wishing to become Dive Leaders and Advanced Divers.  Incidentally, your help would be very much appreciated in acting as stooges to make the whole thing as realistic as possible, such as passersby and standby divers etc.

Mixed Gas Blending Course – This is recent addition to our SDC schedule thanks to the good offices of Alistair Reynolds and will be run at the club house over the weekend of the 14/15th. March 2020.  I am sure there will be a charge, not least for the gas, which you will be find out via Alistair. Update: £60 required by Alistair ASAP.

Boat Handling SDC – Over the weekend of the 25/26th. April 2020, the Saturday being a theory day at the club, followed by the practical session the following morning.

Diver/Cox Assessment – Saturday, 16th. May 2020 for those wishing to prove they really can handle the club boats, but be aware that this is an assessment and not a training session.

Speaking of cost, none of the above are free as the club has to purchase course packs from BSAC HQ, for example the boat handling SDC is £48, but bear in mind that if you do the same course at Safewater down by New Brighton slip you’ll be paying about £250 for the same experience.

Contact your Committee – Recently we have introduced a new e-mail address as a means of getting in touch with either myself or a particular member of the committee, that is and comes through to me.  I guess the idea is to assist anybody who has not had an opportunity to raise a concern or is now away from home.

There really is so much going, so here are just a few more dates for you to digest which you haven’t had previously:

28/29th. March……………….Geoff Oldfield’s Menai Boat Run in aid of the RNLI.

11/12th. April………………..Alan Jones is looking to run out into Liverpool Bay Diving, but nothing firmed up as we speak, so watch this space.

29th. May – 1st. June……..Chris Mills will be running a trip to Pembroke.

Saturday, 20th. June 2020 will be the Club Summer Gala day at Birkenhead Park RFC.  This will be a similar format as last year and will cost £35 perr ticket, albeit that includes a substantial buffet and entertainment.

That’s it folks for the moment and as ever safe diving.

Alan Jones    

News Letter January 2020

Chairman’s Letter – January 2020

Here we are again at the beginning of yet another diving year, which in my case is gathering pace towards the 50 year mark.  This letter is really to signpost some of the events and diving holidays that are now firmly on the horizon.  Whilst I may have mentioned some of the forthcoming Skill Development Courses, please be aware that I did not keep a note of the people who responded, thus no places have been reserved.

Skill Development Courses

Rescue Management SDC – Theory session Thursday, 19th March at the club to be followed by the practical session on Saturday, 21st March 2020 at Capernwray.  This really is a must for those wishing to become Dive Leaders and Advanced Divers.

Boat Handling SDC – Over the weekend of the 25/26th April 2020, the Saturday being a theory day at the club, followed by the practical session the following morning.

Diver/Cox Assessment – Saturday, 16th May 2020  for those wishing to prove they really can handle the club boats, but be aware that this is an assessment and not a training session.

Diving Trips – Just as a ‘taster’ these are just some of the away trips that I am involved with:-

19th March 2020 – For your information I am going with Blue 02 on a week’s live aboard to dive the far South of the Red Sea down towards The Sudan, which will include such delights as St John’s, Fury Shoals and the Elphenstone, all of which are renowned for the big fish.  The cost is £1,000 or there abouts and anybody is welcome to join myself and a mate.

Commencing on Saturday, 28th June 2020 for three consecutive weeks Tony Fitzpatrick is planning to take over Fleet Divers at Rosas on the Costa Brava.  At the time of writing there are only a few places remaining on the first and third weeks.  I must say, this is a must for anybody who wants a cheap diving holiday in the sun as it comes in at £300 for diving, accommodation and transfers.  Bottle fills and boat fuel are extras as are the flights to Gerona.

Scapa Flow – As most of you are aware, the club has charted a live aboard for two consecutive weeks commencing on the 5th and 12th September 2020.  This trip is fully booked, however, if you would like to be a ‘reserve’ do let me know.  In addition, there will be a meeting of all runners and riders at the club house at 9.0pm on Thursday, 23rd January 2020 to sort out transport and discuss the general logistics of the trip.

Late, Late Diving Bash Malta 2020 – I am planning on running a long weekend diving with Divewise/Techwise departing Wednesday evening 30th September and returning Monday lunchtime the 5th October.  While five of the Techie boys have expressed interest, this is not limited to the ‘Darkside’ as there will be plenty of recreational diving available for those of Ocean Diver status and above.  The important thing is to have four great days diving and plenty of ‘crack’ at the end of what should be an exciting year.

Returning to more mundane matters, but following a recent incident, can I remind everybody yet again that the club’s Facebook site is provided as a forum for the exchange of information, not as a mechanism for ‘slagging’ people off.  You should be aware that the committee will take punitive action and remove such posts and suspend the individual involved from the group.

In passing, following on from the AGM Vince Clegg and Monty Smith are currently working on revising the Club Constitution to make it more fit for purpose to meet our current needs. Moreover, with regard to the refurbishment of the club house Nigel Thomas and I have got a meeting with the Council later this week and as soon as there are any definite developments I will let you know.

Finally, can I take this opportunity to wish all our members a very happy (and safe diving) New Year.  Remember folks, dive fitness does not begin in June so do get your slippery backsides up to the quarries and hone those skills.

Best regards
Alan Jones

News Letter September 2019

Chairman’s Letter – September 2019

Here we are folks approaching the end of another diving season and for sure the time has flown, probably because there has been so much going on down the club.  It would be remiss not to mention the recent highly successful Scout ‘Jamboree’ Try Dive session, which has received nothing but plaudits and certainly helped to raise the profile of the club.  Thanks to everybody who participated in the event, in particular John Rice, Chris Woods and Geoff Oldfield stand out for orchestrating and making the whole thing work.

Morrison’s -The next event on the calendar is Geoff Oldfield’s RNLI fund raising event at Morrison’s, New Brighton over the weekend of the 12/13th October 2019.  The tides are bad that weekend so I know you will all chip in and support Geoff for this is a vital maritime rescue service upon which we all rely.  Moreover, the spinoff is that we normally generate quite a few punters for Try Dives some of whom go on to form the next generation of the club.

Dinner Dance – The65th. Club’s Annual Dinner Dance is fast approaching and will take place on Saturday, 26th. October 2019 at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club, Park Road North, Birkenhead.  Tickets are priced at £40 per head and will take a similar format as the last two years, albeit we always are looking for a fresh twist.  As with last year, the ‘Forty Thieves’ will be making a return visit by popular demand to provide the entertainment.  Also the brand new Steve Palmer Diver of the Year Memorial Trophy will be presented for the first time.  Tickets are available from Dave and Robbie Edwards and I can tell you that they are flying out of the door.  

AGM – The Club’s Annual General Meeting will take place at the Club House at 9.0pm prompt on Thursday 14th November 2019.  Amongst the positions up for grabs this year are Honorary Treasurer, Equipment Officer and Welfare Officer, but remember no committee post is for life and everybody is encouraged to put themselves forward for any post.  One thing that you should be aware of is that the club Diving Officer, Tony Fitzpatrick has completed his three year term of office, however, a motion will be put forward at the AGM to extend Article 3 (b) of the Club Constitution from three to four years for the officers of the club (Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Diving Officer).  The other committee posts are not affected by this rule.  In the event of the extension of tenure not being approved by the AGM the role of Diving Officer will be taken over by the Assistant Diving Officer, Robbie Edwards, who will appoint an ‘Acting’ assistant at his discretion.

Refurbishment of the Club – I know what you are going to say as this is starting to feel like ‘watching paint dry’, however, I can now tell you that we, the club, have now provided everything that Wirral Council have asked for and are now eagerly awaiting their response.  Now it may well be that Nigel and I will have to make a guest appearance at a Council meeting to present our case for obtaining a rent free period from them.  After that it will be ‘full ahead’ to make a modern open space club house to replace the rather cramped slightly jaded facilities that we have at present.

Training – I am aware that a fair few members are currently waiting for Rescue Management Training to complete their Advanced Diver tickets. It is hoped that we can sort something out during October, which should mean that you will receive your certificate at the Dinner Dance.  In addition, it is hoped that there will be several catch up sessions for those who missed the practical part of recent Skill Development Courses (Accelerated Decompression and Navigation), after which we can start looking forward to planning further SDC’s for next year.

Scapa Flow 2020 – Events for next year are rapidly coming into focus and, of course, we have the long standing Scapa Flow trip to look forward to in Septembers 2020.  You will recall that the uptake was such that we have hired the charter boat for the first two weeks in September.  Who goes on which week has yet to be sorted out, however, I do now need the second part of your deposit which is £80 per person and will be collected during October.

That’s it folks…….safe diving and I look forward to seeing you all at the Dinner Dance.

Alan Jones

News Letter July 2019

Chairman’s Letter

Hello Again Folks……….News just off the press is that the Club Annual Dinner will be on Saturday, 26th. October 2019 at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club.  Now this is a fortnight earlier than usual, but it was the nearest date on offer from the rugby club and a change of venue at this late stage would have caused problems in terms of catering etc.  Also I am very pleased to announce that our friends Alan and Vivienne from Divewise on Malta will be attending as guests of the club. I am not sure what the cost of tickets will be, but I suspect they won’t be less that £38 a pop.  The summer bash at the beginning of June apparently was a resounding success and managed to raise about £500 for the club’s coffers.  Thanks go out to Dave Edwards and his band of helpers for making it a great night out.

Enlargement/Refurbishment of the Club House – Last Thursday, 4th. July 2019 Nigel Thomas and I had a meeting with council officials in relation to this project and I am happy to say that while progress may be slow, the council certainly appear to be warming to the idea.  Essentially, we now have to submit a report not only outlining the work, but specifically highlighting the benefits to the club, the community and the council itself.  It is hoped that a rent free period of years can be negotiated that will go a considerable way towards meeting the overall cost. I think approval is unlikely before the autumn, however, in the mean time your views and concerns would be much appreciated.

The Major’s Late, Late Diving Bash – Robbie Edwards and I are going out to Malta on Thursday, 3rd. October and returning to Manchester on the following Monday, 7th. October to do some technical diving (with Divewise/Techwise) and we thought it might be a neat idea to invite the club to join us.  This venue caters for all diving grades hence there is no bar as to who can attend.  Moreover, I have just done a quick check and flights at that time of year are as little as £68 return; okay, I know, you will need to pay for diving equipment which is normally about £40 return for standard kit.  Accommodation on Malta can be as cheap or expensive as you like, certainly Robbie and I paid £124 for an entire week including breakfast earlier in the year.  So if you are interested in a cheeky long weekend’s diving in warm blue water just get in touch with me.   

The use of Facebook – I am sure many of you will be aware that the Club’s Facebook page has recently been used as a platform to air minor grievances over damage to club equipment.  In my view there is a real danger that members become ‘keyboard warriors’ and end up criticising or sniping at individuals in a more forthright manner than they would ever do in a face to face situation.  At a time when so much good work is being achieved by the club this can be very corrosive and counterproductive, hence I will be asking the Facebook administrators to be more robust in removing anything potentially hurtful.  Speaking of club equipment, the committee accept that accidents do occur, so please do let us know in a timely manner if anything gets bashed and we will endeavor to put it right.

Outstanding SDC’s – I am aware that not everybody completed the recent practical sessions for both the Accelerated Decompression and Chartwork SDC’s.  If you let me know (or put it on the Notice board) I will sort out the necessary sessions, albeit they are likely to be in the autumn.

Best regards and safe diving……………Alan Jones, Chairman

News Letter May 2019

Chairman’s Letter

Hello Again Folks…..Let me move straight on with further ado to the most pressing matter that is Dave Edward’s ‘Summer Bash’at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club, on Saturday, 8th.  June 2019.  Whilst the price of £38 per head may seem steep the doors open 3pm and children are welcome for a mere £7 per person, albeit that they should be off the premises by 9pm.  There are various entertainments all afternoon including a bouncy castle for the kids.  The evening ‘scoff’ is a full self service buffet, the theme being food from places around the world the club has dived.  We are assured this is a real banquet and should not be missed.  In addition, Dave has obtained the services of a singer for your entertainment.  Now the point is while many members have put their name down for the event you have also been painfully slow in ‘coughing up’ the cash.  So please do pay Dave in the next week or so.  Moreover, numbers have to be finalised by week commencing the 2nd. June, therefore you need to act now to avoid the disappointment of missing a great night.

Speaking of things coming up at short order, it is the Festival of the River on Sunday, 2nd. June 2019 and we should have another tug-of-war contest at New Brighton.  My understanding is that the event is likely to take place about 2.30pm. Two boats are going to promote the Club and Try Dives and collect for the RNLI so we would like volunteers to help from about 11.30am. We will put one boat at the entrance to the car park near the Fort and launch the other into the marine lake.  The tides are bad that weekend so why not lend your support to our team and raise a ‘few bob’ for the RNLI at the same time.  Also, while not certain, I am fairly sure there is a food and drink fair at the back of Morrison’s that same weekend.

Another thing on the horizon which I meant to mention last night is the prospect of Thursday evening diving, such as this coming week.  The tides really are excellent for an afternoon dip if you can free yourself from work or retired like me.  So for example, on Thursday next the meeting time would be 1.0pm on the beach, diving about 4.0pm and back to the club for 7pm.

Looking at the club in general, I am very pleased to tell you that the membership of the club (currently 120+) continues to grow slowly thanks to the efforts of the training team and our Communications Officer, John Rice, who certainly know how to pack them in, particularly amongst those who either fell out of diving or belong to other agencies. When you think that it was only a few years ago that the membership fell to around the 70 mark, so this really is a real achievement, well done.

Finally, turning to the Refurbishment/enlargement of the interior club space there is no real progress to report, in that we have done everything asked of us by the council with regards to plans and calculations, but it seems that we might be at the very bottom of their undoubted busy agenda.  At the recent committee meeting it was agreed that we should review our position at the July committee meeting.

Finally, with the diving season now upon us make sure have a great year and don’t forget to complete the Nitrox log in the boat shed when you are filling your bottles.  Safe diving!  

Best regards
Alan Jones

Newsletter January 2019

Chairman’s Letter

Happy New Year everybody and welcome to the start of yet another year of diving with Branch 5; could be as rasper!  We are barely two weeks into the New Year, but already the pace is picking up with the Annual Tug-o-War against the Lifeboat crew on New Year’s Day.  This led to our inevitable defeat though managed to raise something just short of £500 (for the RNLI) and certainly served to raise the profile of the club.  Since then there have been a welter of quarry dives as members train and prepare themselves for the sea.  Obviously, the Dive Calendar is not yet complete but the following provide a snapshot of what will be on offer and is by no means complete, here goes:

  • 19/20th. January 2019 – Stoney Cove, Sports Diver transition dives to 35 meters
  • 10/17th. May 2019 – Malta with Divewise/Techwise
  • 8/9th. June 2019 – Liverpool Bay
  • 14/17th.Jube 2019 – Pembroke with Archaeological Nautical Society diving the Abbercastle
  • 29th. June – 6th. July 2019 – Rosas, Spain with Fleet Divers.
  • 12/14th. July 2019 – Farnes
  • 26/27th. July 2019 – Anglesey (diving SS Durbant)
  • 24/31st. August 2019 – Red Sea
  • 20/22nd. September 2019 – Oban

And just too wet you appetite even further, I am looking to run a full trip to Scapa Flow in  2020 and for those with deep pockets Truk Lagoon in 2021….watch this space.

Turning to equipment, the club has just purchased three Apex training DV’s complete with ‘octo’ regulators.  Towards the back end of last year we also bought a new Lawrence Chart Plotter/Sonar combo to replace the one on the Viking which was found to be full of water.  As a matter of some urgency both boats and the club compressor will be serviced in readiness for the new season.

Training needs continue, specifically Skill Development Courses (Accelerated Decompression Procedure, Chart work) have featured quite heavily in the last three months and will be followed by Compressor Operations, Mixed Gas Blending, Boat Handling and Rescue Management during the coming months.

On the social front I am looking to arrange ‘The Major’s Late, Late Easter Bash’ on Saturday,27th. April 2019.  At the moment I have neither decided on a venue or whether to run it in combination with something else, such as a clay pigeon shoot, go-karting or ‘Ghetto’ Golf at the old Cain’s Brewery in Liverpool.  In addition, I can tell you that Dave and Robbie Edwards are hoping to run a full blown BBQ at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club during the summer and are presently liaising with the caterers.  Also by popular demand this year’s annual dinner will be a similar format at the same venue as last year.  Again we are negotiating over the date, although it is bound to be sometime around mid-November. Just to let you know the annual dinner raised £900 and the Late, Later Xmas Bash £260 for the club, thanks for your support.

One of the things to come out of the club’s AGM in November was an agreement between you the committee that we would put forward a submission for the Heinke Trophy (BSAC’s prestigious award for the most outstanding Branch).  Now the application is retrospective, in other words for the current year, so it is important that we all work towards this goal, which means collecting photographs and short reports and forwarding them to our co-ordinator John Rice.  He has recently taken on the mantle of Communications Officer and is very aware of the need to raise our profile, particularly through community engagement.  One of the things he has organised through Facebook is a ‘Try Dive Bang’ which will be ‘splashed’ across the ether and entice punters to a Try Dive event at Guinea Gap on the 31st. January 2019.  I am sure you will appreciate that this may well attract a bevy of new members and also, most importantly, some great publicity. This could then be extremely helpful and used to support any future application for Sports Council money etc.

As you are probably aware the ‘bold’ Chris Mills has taken over the responsibilities for developing our website and he now sends you the following missive:

          ‘Over the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to tidy up the existing website, updating out of date details as well as trying to get details of recent events published. Mainly to show visitors that the club is active as well as to pass on details to club members who may have missed them.

 I have now installed an events calendar on the site with links to most of the up and coming events I can find details for. I really need help with this going forward if it’s going to be useful. If anyone plans an event; diving, training, social or anything else could they please send me some details. Ideally a few words on the event, dates, organiser details and if possible, a photo or two relating to the event. (Basically, the details that would normally go on the sheets that are put on the notice boards) I will add this to the events list and calendar on the site. If this could be followed up with a very short report following the event, again with a photo or two this would also be appreciated.

I’m more than happy to take any updates for the site in any format; paper, disk, memory stick etc but have also set up an email address for anyone who wishes to send them electronically. The address is

Going forward I’m looking at updating the look and feel of the site. This is a spare time project so is likely to take a few weeks to complete. During this time there is likely to periods, hopefully short ones, where the site will be offline or not work as it should. Apologies in advance for this and many thanks for any help you can give with content for the site’.

That’s it folks and not before time I hear you say, but there is really a good deal going on which I wouldn’t like you to miss.  Safe diving.

Alan Jones

Newsletter October 2018


Chairman’s Letter

Just tell me folks where has this year gone and here I am yet another year younger! So, what is on the Agenda? Well firstly there is the AGM on Thursdays, 22th. November 2018, which is a week later than usual due to the Dinner Dance having been put back a week. Our Equipment Officer, John Dunne is standing down this time round and there is also a new position of ‘Communication Officer’ up for grabs which will be advertised together with a job description within the next week. With regard to Tony Fitzpatrick, he has completed three years as Diving Officer and would normally stand down, however, due to the 2016 AGM being delayed until the February and meant he did not get a full year, he is now able to serve an extra year (Article 3 (b) of our Constitution). Of course, you should not forget that anybody can ‘throw their hat in the ring’ and challenge the present incumbents.’ up for grabs which will be advertised together with a job description within the next week. With regard to Tony Fitzpatrick, he has completed three years as Diving Officer and would normally stand down, however, due to the 2016 AGM being delayed until the February and meant he did not get a full year, he is now able to serve an extra year (Article 3 (b) of our Constitution). Of course, you should not forget that anybody can ‘throw their hat in the ring’ and challenge the present incumbents.

Speaking of the annual Dinner Dance, this is being held on Saturday, 17th. November 2018, at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club. So, what we have is the same venue and a similar format to last year, however, this year you will be dancing to ‘The Forty Thieves’ which is a fourpiece band that plays all usual the disco anthems that everybody gets up to and comes highly recommended. The down side is that we have had to raise the price from £38 to £40, but in fairness this is the first increase in quite a few years and you are getting a band. All the usual forms can be found on the club Notice board and tickets purchased from behind the bar.

As you are aware, the club has been looking to extend its footprint out into the rear car park, albeit that the Council are less than happy with our proposals. Accordingly, the committee has agreed to ‘Plan B’ and extend just the interior of the club, specifically knocking through into what used to be the kit store and redeveloping the bar area. I would hope that by the time of the AGM we will be able to present a detailed overview of the plans and a definite timetable for the work.

During the winter period we will be taking stock of all the club equipment and preparing a schedule for repair/replacement, testing and servicing. In fact, recently several of the club bottles have failed pressure testing, while some of the training regulators have seen better days. Accordingly, if anybody has any ‘gash’ kit they would like to donate to the club we can offer it a good home. Also, has anybody got any small pool fins they no longer use and where have all the weights gone from behind the bar? Can we have them back please?

Regarding training, Chris Woods and Steve Mills have already set in motion a series of lectures for up and coming Dive Leaders and Advanced Divers (they begin on Thursday, 4th. October 2018, usual place, usual time). In addition, ‘Stevie Mac’ is currently running, arguably the most important SDC you will ever do, namely buoyancy and trim. This will be followed over the weekend of the 3rd./4th. November with an Accelerated Decompression course run by Alistair Reynolds. We had also hoped to do include a Chartwork SDC in the current programme, however, with so much going on this will have to wait until the New Year.

That’s it folks, safe diving and I do hope to see you all in the near future.

Alan Jones