20 Plus members of Merseyside Sub Aqua Club Branch 5 got the chance to spend a couple of hours with the North West Emergency Training Team at their Centre in Birkenhead. Members firstly received a very informative presentation from Dave about the effects diving and Decompression Illness (DCI) can have on the body and what we can do as responsible divers to try and limit our chances of ever ending up in their chamber for real.
After the presentation we all had the chance to get into the chamber and experience a dry dive down to 40 metres. We took some puzzles with us to see how our brain reacts to the effects of Nitrogen Narcosis and took in some balloons so see how our lungs cope with the pressure and how our voice changes at depth.
It was a fantastic day out for Merseydivers and everyone who attended highly recommended every diver should take the opportunity to attend.
A great day was had by all today at Eccy Delph for the ADM practice for the SD trainees. Also we had some OD training taking place. Weather wasn’t always on our side but everyone agreed that it was loads of fun and everyone took something from the day.
Well done to all the SD trainees.
Thank you to all the instructors and trainee instructors for your time and patience. Fabulous as always. We can’t do this without you
Well done to George and Adam for completing your first Open Water dives, you both did really well.
Congratulations to Gary for passing into the ranks of Ocean Diver after successfully completing his final dives
And finally huge thanks to Terry Maloney for putting on such a fun and informative day for everyone…a great time had by all.
This is a presentation for all diver grades but primarily aimed at prospective Dive Leaders and Advanced Divers to give them an insight into what is required to plan and execute a successful dive expedition.
Booking: To register, please add your name and number to the sheet on the club notice board
Alistair Reynolds will be running part two of the in-house training course for instructors on Saturday 26th March. Details of the day will be supplied nearer the date.
Part two of the course will cover planning, preparing and presenting pool lessons.
This is an in house course intended for those who have completed an instructor training course and would like a refresher, The course is also open to anyone who is interested in going forward to the BSAC Instructor Foundation Course but would like an introduction into what’s involved or is not sure if their skills are at the right level yet.
Anyone interested should fill their Name and Email Address below and hit submit to send to the training team
The branch finally managed to complete another one of the outstanding Skill Development Courses that had been postponed due to the Covid pandemic. So on February 13th, a group of eager students and instructors gathered at Eccleston Delph Dive Centre to get the course underway. The weather forecast for the day was persistent rain, heavy at times but thankfully, the weather Gods smiled upon us and the whole day stayed dry apart from the final half hour or so.
We all met around 8.30am and new member registrations and renewals were completed before assembling in the café for a welcome and brief discussion about the day’s proceedings. This was followed by a discussion on various types of incidents that we as divers might encounter during our days out whether it might be on land or at sea. The emphasis of the discussion was on the possible dangers and keeping safe during a rescue. This led into the introduction of the Dive Managers role and the problems that they might face. With this all fresh in the student’s minds, they split up into three small groups each having both a lead and assistant instructor to teach them.
The plan for the morning was for these three small groups to work their way through a couple of scenarios, working at a slow deliberate speed with the instructors guiding them through the process of carrying out a rescue and teaching the methods that might be required as well as encouraging the students and correcting any poor techniques.
Also included in the morning session was a spot of rope throwing to a potential casualty. The rope throwing practice always brings an element of fun and laughter to the session. It can actually become quite competitive as well with everyone trying to outdo each other. Thankfully no ropes were lost on this session as everyone remembered to keep hold of one end of their rope. I’ll say no more about that!
This brought the morning session to a close and all the teams assembled at the café for lunch and an informal chat about what they had been doing during the morning. There were plenty of laughs emanating from the group so it seemed that they were all enjoying the course so far.
The plan for after the lunch hour was for the three small groups to merge into two larger groups where the scenarios would be managed by the teams with the instructors mainly observing but coaching and prompting whenever necessary. So during the lunch break, the instructors for the two groups assembled and decided what scenarios that they were going to allocate to their respective groups. Each group would complete a minimum of two scenarios so that all members of the team would be able to complete the various roles such as Dive Manager, rescuer, casualty etc.
The weather was holding up so the group briefings took place at the waterside. The instructors gave the group members an outline of what the scenario would be then the groups decided on their roles and responsibilities. The group that I observed which was led by Steve McElroy, Alan Jones and assisted by Stuart Langley had a lost diver reported for their first scenario so obviously that consisted of an underwater search and rescue by some group members followed by full life saving procedures encompassing the use of a defibrillator and Oxygen administration. Due again to the Covid guidelines, no rescue breaths were performed but the reasons for this were re-emphasised to the students. At the point when life support was required, the actual casualty was replaced with a resuscitation mannequin.
Their second scenario had a twist in the tail. The group were told that it was two divers on the surface with one of them in a distressed condition and being towed in by their buddy. The twist was that they didn’t know that the diver conducting the towing was going to suffer a suspected heart attack. Well this really did kick the team into action as they now had two casualties and really had to start to think about their priorities!
After each scenario, the groups were debriefed by their instructor team. Particular attention was given to their input into the discussion, giving their thoughts on what went well and what they could do to improve their performances going forward. The other group which was led by Michele Woodward, Alistair Reynolds and assisted by Steve Mills covered scenarios were on the first, two divers surface close to their cover boat but with one of them clearly distressed. The distressed diver then sinks back to the sea bed so a search and recovery was initiated. Thankfully the outcome was a good one as they had the second wave of divers already kitted up waiting to go in once the first pair had returned.
Their second scenario was where a pair of divers on a club dive out to a shallow wreck overrun their agreed dive time. Divers where sent in to search for them. They found the pair of divers but one of them was tangled in fishing line, starting to panic and running low on air. Not a nice situation to ever find yourself in! The importance of carrying your own personal cutting tool became evident in this scenario.
Just like the other group, the instructors debriefed the team, drawing out their thoughts on what went well, what if anything they would do differently. The students were encouraged to become proactive and consider the ‘what iff’s’.
With the afternoon scenarios completed, the groups went back to the car park area for a short debrief before heading off for home or the White Lion pub. Invariably, the topic of conversation in the pub centered around the course. It appeared that the students enjoyed the day. What it did do was got everyone involved thinking about what they could do to make their diving safer and thereby more enjoyable which I would personally take as a sign of a successful course!
I would like to express my thanks to the students for taking part so enthusiastically and putting themselves in the hands of the instructor team. They were in no particular order, Chris Mills, Kate Mills, Andreea Gamulea, Andy Parsons, Dave Barlow, Kelly Bird, Katie Condron, Nigel Thomas, Phil Bradley & Viki Walsh.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the instructor team for giving their time to teach on the course. They were Alistair Reynolds, Steve McElroy, Alan Jones, Michele Woodward, Garry Bolland, Steve Mills & Stuart Langley. A special thanks to Garry Bolland who assisted me greatly when my printer died a death. And thanks to Ray Cramer for the loan of some ropes. A big thanks also to the lads at Eccleston Delph Dive Centre in particular Andy Godber who was so very helpful whenever a favour was requested!
The Major will be running a Chartwork and Position Fixing course over the weekend of the 22nd/23rd January 2021. The Saturday being classroom based on theoretical navigation. The Sunday, (weather permitting) will be with the boats out in the Mersey. looking at both conventional and GPS navigation.
The costs will be £32.50 which is required for the BSAC course materials and unique reference number needed for course completion. There will also be fuel and boat levy costs for the river session.
Numbers will be limited to the first 10 and those interested should put their names down on the form on the club notice board.
What do you do at the weekend? Maybe go shopping, go for a walk or in our case scuba diving. Yet one weekend in October we decided to take on the 2 day Boat Handling course.
No sleep in on a Saturday morning. Up and out and down the club with a cup of steaming coffee and the chatter of questioning what the day will hold.
For the day we did theory work in the lecture room with the words of wisdom from the experienced instructors of the Major (Alan), Alistair, Tony F, and training instructor Martin.
With the day planned out we listened to a number of lectures from explaining the ribs, how they work, what is best to carry on board for safety, signals, buoys, owner and driver responsibilities, and many other detailed areas.
After the lectures we went into the boat house to familiarise ourselves with the ribs and put the knowledge we had learnt to good use. We then had a demonstration on knots and what is best to use for different situations. Then it was our turn to try, which took a while yet going through step by step process we got the hang of it. We then had a break for lunch.
Once we had lunch we were back into it yet this time learning chartwork. This included plotting and using chartwork tools on the big maps of the coastline. This gave many the thirst to learn more on Chartwork and have resulted in a Chartwork Course in January 2022.
At end of the day we had to prepare and check the ribs were ready for next day to go on Mersey River.
Day 2: Mersey and Ribs
Yes, Finally! After information overload the day has come to go out on the ribs.
Of course you have to be sensible and responsible yet I will admit it is a thrill to push the throttle and ride the waves down the Mersey. It was such a beautiful sight, we had a sunny dry day, it felt like I was in a film. Some sort of bond film yet less classy looking as kitted out in my dry suit with a life jacket on too. As safety comes first.
The day started by collecting the ribs from the boat house and another check over. Then we made our way to New Brighton to launch the ribs. We were putting all the theory work into practise.
On my rib it was myself, Belinda, Paul and our instructor Alistair. On the river we had the pleasure to have front row seats to see the Queen Elizabeth Cunard Vessel moored at the cruise terminal in Liverpool. It was massive compared to us in the rib and towered over us. Throughout the day we took it in turns to complete the tasks Alistair taught us and requested us to complete. We learnt: controlling the rib taking into account the current pushing/pulling, manoeuvring the ribs, collecting divers (a buoy was used which we called Bob to make it feel real), using a anchor and many more skills.
The day was amazing we even had lunch on the rib what a beautiful spot to chill and each my lunch.
Time was against us though as the tide was coming in and we had to get back to the launch site before the cars were swept away. Once we arrived, we had to control the rib and get it hitched up to the trailer. The waves made it difficult yet finally got it on and out. Unfortunately we did have a bit of bother and started panicking as the Major’s car was stuck in the sand. We had an audience watching and the tide was coming in so felt the pressure. Yet all cars and ribs were eventually accounted for and out.
The ribs were filled with fuel and then taken back to the club, where they got a good scrub and wash down. We made sure the ribs were clean and tidy ready for the next use.
The cost of course is for the training packs and the cost of the fuel used in the ribs.
Honestly, if you haven’t done the course, I recommend it.
Please register your interest with the instructors and we will keep you informed when the next one is arranged and keep an eye out on our notice board, Facebook and our website.
Katie Condron Assistant Instructor and Communications Officer
Alistair Reynolds is looking to run an in-house training course in the near future for instructors who have completed an instructor training course and would like a refresher.
The course will also be open to anyone who is interested in going forward to the BSAC Instructor Foundation Course but would like an introduction into what’s involved or is not sure if their skills are at the right level yet.
Anyone interested should fill in the form below and hit submit to send to the training team
Last week our very own Ray Cramer added a very interesting lecture on Bathymetry to the ongoing series of lockdown lectures presented by BSAC.
For those of you that don’t know, bathymetry is the measurement of the depth of water in lakes, rivers or seas. Ray’s lecture covered how this information is collected, used and how it can be of use to divers.
Ray went on to show where to access some of the latest survey data and which software to use to get the best out of it. A sample image here showing the wreck of the Mongolian.
The whole lecture, along with many others are available to watch via the special interest section of the BSAC online learning hub. The website lists up and coming sessions along with a library of past lectures and training sessions.
With the club being shutdown at present because of Covid 19 our training team have taken to the internet to provide lectures via Zoom video conferencing for all who are interested. So far they have successfully run through all the Ocean Diver and Sports Diver lectures as well as Practical Rescue Management and Accelerated Decompression SDC’s with the Twin Set SDC in progress. Boat Handling will be next with other SDC’s are being assessed to see if they can be delivered via zoom.
The club has also been holding weekly zoom club nights and plans are underway for some diving talks and a quiz night.
Anyone wanting further information on club training sessions or talks should check out the club Facebook page or contact the Training Officer.
Other online resources to checkout during lockdown.
Click here to access the BSAC Online Training Hub which has a wide variety of online training and special interest webinars. Pay special attention to Thursday 25th June when our very own Ray Cramer will be giving a session on Bathymetry.
Click here for a series of excellent webinars organised by Diver Medic.
Alistair Reynolds ran another excellent, and well attended Gas Blending SDC last weekend, helped by Steve McElroy, Terry Maloney and Alan Jones.
The course started on Saturday morning with a series of lectures given by the team on the principles of blending Nitrox and Mixed Gases as well how to use the club blending equipment and safety precautions.
This was followed in the afternoon by a demonstration of Nitrox blending and a number of practical sessions to ensure everyone knew how to use the blending tables, applications and could safely mix different Nitrox blends.
Some of the students were only interested in blending Nitrox at present so chose to finish the course on the Saturday evening. The rest of us were split into two groups to return for one of two sessions on the Sunday.
On Sunday we were given a masterclass in blending Trimix by Steve then given a series of blends to try to mix ourselves working from the blending Trimix tables. A tricky and time consuming process.
Steve got to demonstrate an example of gas layering when adding helium to an existing mix, with a blend of 6/84 showing on the analyser after mixing! After rolling the cylinder on the floor for a minute this changed to a more expected 18/45.
Anyway, after an interesting couple of hours with hands on the equipment everyone seemed comfortable with the process and now ready to get out there and use it to dive….. when we’ve saved up enough for the Helium.
A big thanks to Steve, Terry, Alan and especially Alistair for giving up another of their weekends to pass on their knowledge. It is really appreciated.
This club night Chris Woods again ran the excellent AED course for first timers and as a refresher for those members who had done it before. This is a course with lots of practicals and plenty of opportunity for everyone to use the clubs training equipment and dummies to practice this life saving skill.
AEDs are getting to be more and more common and can be found in many public places. They are a valuable add-on to BLS/CPR and this course teaches their use and promotes the confidence to potentially save a life!