Sub-Aqua Association

Last updated
Sub-Aqua Association
Formation1976 (1976)
Type NGO
PurposeDiver training, services and advocacy.
Headquarters United Kingdom
  • Sefton Lane , Maghull, Liverpool, L31 8BX
Region served
United Kingdom
Affiliations CMAS [1]
CMAS Europe [2]

The Sub-Aqua Association or SAA is a diver training organization for scubadivers in the United Kingdom. The association and some other UK-based diving groups have traditionally used a club-based system with unpaid instructors, while the other principal training agency, PADI, organises most of its training programs through professional instructors and dive shops. The other major dive associations in the UK are the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and the Scottish Sub Aqua Club. [3] [4]

Diver training Processes by which people develop the skills and knowledge to dive safely underwater

Diver training is the set of processes through which a person learns the necessary and desirable skills to safely dive underwater within the scope of the diver training standard relevant to the specific training programme. Most diver training follows procedures and schedules laid down in the associated training standard, in a formal training programme, and includes relevant foundational knowledge of the underlying theory, including some basic physics, physiology and environmental information, practical skills training in the selection and safe use of the associated equipment in the specified underwater environment, and assessment of the required skills and knowledge deemed necessary by the certification agency to allow the newly certified diver to dive within the specified range of conditions at an acceptable level of risk. Recognition of prior learning is allowed in some training standards.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

British Sub-Aqua Club Recreational diving club, training and certification agency based in the UK

The British Sub-Aqua Club or BSAC has been recognised since 1954 by the Sports Council as the national governing body of recreational diving in the United Kingdom.



The Sub-Aqua Association was created in 1976 to represent diving clubs outside of the BSAC branch structure. Its training structure is based on the BSAC levels and offers a full range of diving qualifications. [5] The association is made up of independent clubs, while the BSAC is a single club with many branches. [6]


Sub-Aqua Association member clubs maintain their independence and individual clubs organize diving programs and instruction according to the national standards of the association. [7] The association provides regional and national support for these activities. The SAA is one of two UK affiliates to World Underwater Federation (CMAS), the international umbrella organisation for diver training organizations, and has voting rights for both CMAS Technical and Scientific Committees. [8] Application for CMAS cards (qualification or "C-cards") for divers in Great Britain is done via the SAA and its qualifications are accepted worldwide through the CMAS affiliation.

The association's training focuses on preparedness for the relatively cold and often visibility restricted waters around the UK. The SAA training also aims to be as comprehensive as possible, emphasizing rescue training very early in the programme. [9] The association exercises regulation of its membership and has disqualified divers found guilty of breaches of its safety rules. [10]

Diver rescue Rescue of a distressed or incapacitated diver

Diver rescue, following an accident, is the process of avoiding or limiting further exposure to diving hazards and bringing a diver to a place of safety. A safe place is often a place where the diver cannot drown, such as a boat or dry land, where first aid can be administered and from which professional medical treatment can be sought. In the context of surface supplied diving, the place of safety for a diver with a decompression obligation is often the diving bell.

The SAA is a member of the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG), [11] CMAS Europe. [12] and the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee (JNAPC). [13] It also collaborates with other external organisations, such as the Marine Conservation Society, Seasearch, [14] and other environmental groups, [15] the media, [16] and examination boards to provide advice and expertise. [17]

CMAS Europe is an organisation created expressly to represent the interests of Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) within the European Union and in other parts of Europe by European national diving federations affiliated to CMAS.

Marine Conservation Society marine environment, not-for-profit organisation based in UK

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK's leading marine environment, not-for-profit organisation. It works for the increased protection of the seas around the United Kingdom, via the creation of well managed marine protected areas. It works with fishermen and industry to find more sustainable ways of fishing and with retailers and consumers to buy and choose more sustainable seafood. It involves volunteers to carry out hundreds of beach cleans and surveys annually whilst also working with water companies and local communities to ensure UK bathing waters are of an excellent standard.

The SAA also acts as an advocate for amateur divers in the UK, representing their views to government agencies and similar bodies. [18]

See also

Related Research Articles

A Divemaster (DM) is a recreational diving role which includes organising and leading recreational dives, particularly in a professional capacity, and is a qualification used throughout most of the world in recreational scuba diving for a diver who has supervisory responsibility for a group of divers and as a dive guide. As well as being a generic term, Divemaster is the title of the first professional rating of many training agencies, such as PADI, SSI, SDI, NASE, except NAUI, which rates a NAUI Divemaster just under an Instructor but above an Assistant Instructor. The Divemaster certification is generally equivalent to the requirements of international Standard ISO 24801-3 Dive Leader.

Recreational diving Diving for the purpose of leisure and enjoyment, usually when using scuba equipment

Recreational diving or sport diving is diving for the purpose of leisure and enjoyment, usually when using scuba equipment. The term "recreational diving" may also be used in contradistinction to "technical diving", a more demanding aspect of recreational diving which requires greater levels of training, experience and equipment to compensate for the more hazardous conditions associated with the disciplines. Breath-hold diving for recreation also fits into the broader scope of the term, but this article covers the commonly used meaning of scuba diving for recreational purposes, where the diver is not constrained from making a direct near-vertical ascent to the surface at any point during the dive.

Professional diving Underwater diving where divers are paid for their work

Professional diving is diving where the divers are paid for their work. The procedures are often regulated by legislation and codes of practice as it is an inherently hazardous occupation and the diver works as a member of a team. Due to the dangerous nature of some professional diving operations, specialized equipment such as an on-site hyperbaric chamber and diver-to-surface communication system is often required by law, and the mode of diving for some applications may be regulated.

Scuba diving Using bottled air to swim underwater

Scuba diving is a mode of underwater diving where the diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba), which is completely independent of surface supply, to breathe underwater. Scuba divers carry their own source of breathing gas, usually compressed air, allowing them greater independence and freedom of movement than surface-supplied divers, and longer underwater endurance than breath-hold divers. Although the use of compressed air is common, a new mixture called enriched air (Nitrox) has been gaining popularity due to its benefit of reduced nitrogen intake during repetitive dives. Open circuit scuba systems discharge the breathing gas into the environment as it is exhaled, and consist of one or more diving cylinders containing breathing gas at high pressure which is supplied to the diver through a regulator. They may include additional cylinders for range extension, decompression gas or emergency breathing gas. Closed-circuit or semi-closed circuit rebreather scuba systems allow recycling of exhaled gases. The volume of gas used is reduced compared to that of open circuit, so a smaller cylinder or cylinders may be used for an equivalent dive duration. Rebreathers extend the time spent underwater compared to open circuit for the same gas consumption; they produce fewer bubbles and less noise than open circuit scuba which makes them attractive to covert military divers to avoid detection, scientific divers to avoid disturbing marine animals, and media divers to avoid bubble interference.

Solo diving Recreational diving without a dive buddy

Solo diving is the practice of underwater diving without a "dive buddy", particularly with reference to scuba diving, but the term is also applied to freediving. Surface supplied diving and atmospheric suit diving are single diver underwater activities but are accompanied by an on-surface support team dedicated to the safety of the diver, and not considered solo diving in its truest sense.

Advanced Open Water Diver Recreational scuba diving certification slightly above minimum entry level

Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD) is a recreational scuba diving certification level provided by several diver training agencies. Agencies offering this level of training under this title include Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), and Scuba Schools International (SSI). Other agencies offer similar training under different titles. Advanced Open Water Diver is one step up from entry level certification as a beginner autonomous scuba diver to the ISO24901-2 standard. A major difference between Autonomous diver equivalent Open Water Diver (OWD) certification and AOWD is that the depth limit is increased from 18 to 30 metres.

Scottish Sub Aqua Club Scottish recreational diver training and certification agency

The Scottish Sub Aqua Club (ScotSAC) was founded in Glasgow in 1953. Today it is a company limited by guarantee with nearly 70 branches and 1200 members. ScotSAC instructors provide scuba diving training to branch members on an amateur basis. It is recognised by sportscotland as the National Governing Body for Sub Aqua in Scotland.

CMAS one-star scuba diver is the entry-level diving certification for recreational scuba diving issued by the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS).

The World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) was founded in 1999 and is dedicated to creating minimum recreational diving training standards for the various scuba diving certification agencies across the world. The WRSTC restricts its membership to national or regional councils. These councils consist of individual training organizations who collectively represent at least 50% of the annual diver certifications in the member council's country or region. A national council is referred to as a RSTC.

European Underwater Federation Ubrella organisation representing scuba diver training organisations in Europe

The European Underwater Federation (EUF) is an umbrella organisation representing the interests of scuba diver training organisations operating in both the not for profit and for profit sectors within Europe.

Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques International organisation for underwater activities in sport and science, and recreational diver training and certification

Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) is an international federation that represents underwater activities in underwater sport and underwater sciences, and oversees an international system of recreational snorkel and scuba diver training and recognition. It is also known by its English name, the World Underwater Federation, and its Spanish name, Confederacion Mundial De Actividades Subacuaticas. Its foundation in Monaco during January 1959 makes it one of the world's oldest underwater diving organisations.

Open Water Diver An entry-level autonomous diver certification for recreational scuba diving

Open Water Diver (OWD) is an entry-level autonomous diver certification for recreational scuba diving. Although different agencies use different names, similar entry-level courses are offered by all recreational diving agencies and consist of a combination of knowledge development (theory), confined water dives and open water dives (experience) suitable to allow the diver to dive on open circuit scuba, in open water to a limited depth and in conditions similar to those in which the diver has been trained or later gained appropriate experience, to an acceptable level of safety.

BSAC London Branch Original British Sub-Aqua Club branch

The BSAC London Branch is the original branch No.1 of the British Sub-Aqua Club. The branch continues as an active, member driven club to train and undertake scuba diving within the UK and around the world. The branch is currently located in the basement of the Seymour Leisure Centre in Marylebone, central London. The branch meets weekly at 7pm on Tuesdays and retires to the Harcourt Arms nearby after training or playing Octopush in the swimming pool.

Diving instructor Person who trains and assesses underwater divers

A diving instructor is a person who trains underwater divers. This includes free-divers, recreational divers including the subcategory technical divers, and professional divers which includes military, commercial, public safety and scientific divers.

British Underwater Sports Association (BUSA) is the British affiliate of the Sports Committee of Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS).

Comhairle Fo-Thuinn, also known as Irish Underwater Council, is the national governing body for recreational diving and underwater sports in Ireland.

Outline of underwater diving Hierarchical outline list of articles related to underwater diving

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to underwater diving:

Diver organisations are membership based organisations where the membership is wholly, or at least in large part, underwater divers, and the organisation is intended to further a mutual interest related to underwater diving or the aquatic environment as it affects divers or diving activity. Some organisations have more than one focus of interest.


  1. "Federations, Sub-Aqua Association". CMAS. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  2. "Members". CMAS Europe. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  3. Times article on the UK Sport Diving Medical Committee and the agencies it advises
  4. "Follow your dream: Rockbottom". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  5. "Sub-Aqua Association". Diver magazine. October 2001. Retrieved 2008-11-21.[ dead link ]
  6. Intute: Social Sciences: Sub Aqua Association
  7. SAA Website - Qualifications Archived 2008-04-06 at the Wayback Machine
  8. CMAS List of Affiliated Organisations
  9. "C.M.A.S. Diver Training Program" (PDF). Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques. 2005-01-18. pp. 4, 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2009-09-23.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help) 1 T 10 and 1 P 6 cover rescue.
  10. "Diving club members banned". British Broadcasting Corporation. 20 January 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  11. British Diving Safety Group website
  12. "CMAS Europe Articles of Association, 25 June 2005" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2012.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. "(JNAPC) Membership". Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  14. "Project Partners". Seasearch. 5 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  15. "Concern over sea dredging licence". British Broadcasting Corporation. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  16. "Underwater gnome threat 'returns'". British Broadcasting Corporation. 14 February 2005. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  17. Roberts (October 2004). "AS/A2 Physical Education (Units 2564 & 2567) - Outdoor and Adventurous Activities: Sub Aqua Diving" (PDF). Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 17, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-21.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  18. "House of Commons - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Written Evidence". United Kingdom Parliament. March 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-21.