Want to join a dive club? In this series, we take a look at grassroots diving and find out what’s happening on the club scene in the UK and around the world…
What is the name of your club?
Where is your club based?
We are based in Ipswich, Suffolk.
Club affiliations (i.e. BSAC, PADI, SAA, etc.)
Where and when do you meet?
We meet at the Public Swimming Pool, Fore Street, Ipswich IP4 1JZ every Thursday evening from 7.30pm to 9.00pm and after that we can be found in the neighbouring Lord Nelson pub.
How do you respond to the challenge of recruiting new members?
We run regular try-dives for those that want to have a go at scuba and use the notice board at the pool, some local PR, Facebook and our website to publicise the club’s activities. This has brought a steady stream of new members, both novices and already qualified individuals returning to the sport or crossing over from other organisations.
What facilities and resources does the club use/have?
iDive has two RIBs that can take 6 divers each and a small inflatable boat that is used for dive cover on shore dives. The boats are kitted out with navigation electronics and all the safety equipment you would expect to find on a dive boat such as O2, first aid kit and AED. We try to make as much use as possible of the club boats with some regular weeks and long weekends away around the UK, particularly the south coast, throughout the diving season.
The club has a broad range of experience and is lucky to have three 1st Class divers and a national instructor along with a good mix of novices through to advanced and technical divers. We have a wide selection of equipment for student divers to use in their early stages of training including 10 full sets of regs, cylinders and BCDs.
What sort of diving do you do, and where?
There is a very wide range of diving undertaken by the club. There are technical members diving on mixed gasses and rebreathers pushing to greater depths and then the full range from inland sites, shallow shore dives to club boat dives around the UK and charter boat dives. We dive off the Suffolk and Norfolk coast when conditions allow and reasonable visibility is possible.
There are a lot of shipwrecks off this coast to explore. We run annual week-long trips to Cornwall and Dorset taking the club RIBs and organise charter boat diving in mixed locations including places such as Scotland, The Farne Isles, Swanage, the North Sea off the Dutch coast and The Channel amongst others.
Do you organise any club trips abroad, and if so, where?
We do organise diving trips abroad; recent destinations have included the Red Sea, Spain, Malta, Lanzarote, Sardinia and Mexico.
Does your club have any special interests such as conservation, special projects, etc?
We have a wide range of interests within the club. There are keen photographers, a number of members with an interest in marine archaeology and maritime history, along with those who like to monitor and appreciate marine wildlife.
Does your club have any claims to fame or any particularly interesting stories… or members?
We are a long established BSAC club having been running for 62 years now. With such a long history there have been several characters over the years and some of the earlier members have some hair-raising stories of homebuilt kit and practices that we wouldn’t dream of these days. Although the club branch 0032 is 62 years old we are unusual in having merged with another local club just 5 years ago.
We try to get involved in local actions to keep our environment clean with beach cleans and clearing rivers in areas with particular issues of dumping rubbish of all sorts. More recently we supported our council run pool celebrating 120 year since it was built by running free mini try dives over a weekend where anyone could just turn up and have a go with sub-aqua equipment in the pool.
What are the club’s plans for the future?
Like most clubs, new members are the lifeblood of the club’s future but there is also a need for a good mix of experience. Without the right mix novices can’t progress and instructors have too much to do so getting the mix right is our focus in the short term. We are developing experience so there are enough instructors and assistant instructors to take on training from older members. Ideally, we’d like to get our membership up to around 100 but of course the other key aim is to have as many of these members as active as possible whatever their experience and dive preferences.
Where can people find out more about your club?
Finally… if you could sum up your club in just one sentence, what would it be?
A friendly club that welcomes members whatever type of diving they enjoy.