As a working Dive Professional here in the UK you have to be aware of so much more than your agencies training standards, we are bound by the rules and regulations of other bodies such as Swim England and Health and Safety.
The Health and Safety – Diving at Work Regulations 1997, approved Code of Practise and Guidance. This document covers both the instruction and guiding of people diving for recreational purposes where at least one person taking part is at work, for example as an instructor
This regulation applies to all recreational diving projects within the 12-mile limit of territorial waters adjacent to Great Britain.
One of the rules is about the size of the dive team, so today we thought we would look at one of those specific roles – Surface Support or Surface Cover
What do the Regulations Say?
The regulations states that the absolute minimum team size for a dive using recreational techniques is three, one person on the surface and two in the water, so if you are working and do not have this then you AND the Diving Contractor are working outside of HSE.
The Diving Contractor is the Dive Centre OR the independent working instructor.
The Diving supervisor is an individual or individual(s) appointed by the Diving Contractor and should be in writing and covering that they are responsible for including but not limited to: -
What is the definition of Surface Support?
The definition of Surface Support is A person who does not have to be diver but should be familiar with the Dive plan and the arrangements for obtaining assistance in the event of an emergency
Your Surface Support should be present throughout the time that an instructional team is in the water and ready and able to raise the alarm, if required OR assist with managing any dive incident.
This means they should be
How about making your students’ lives easier and provide some good quality customer care and have them assist your divers with
Q - I am not paid so therefore these rules do not cover me?
This is a common response when professionals are questioned about not having surface support. Even as a volunteer, if anyone is being paid by the student then you are 'at work' and HSE rules apply
Q- We do not need Surface Support because we are working at our local quarry?
Yes, you do, our inland quarries generally supply an emergency evacuation process for divers within their quarries but that is NOT surface support, and they are not obliged to offer an emergency service.
What does Surface Support look like at Dive Rutland?
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE