SSI Sea Survival Course Initiative

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SSI pleased to support the RNLI and BDSG (British Divers Safety Group) in the Sea Survival Course initiative.

SSI launched their program with a Train The Trainer event and a combined Diver / Lifeboat training exercise at the RNLI College in Poole on the 13th June 2018. SSI want this course to be something more than just another teaching specialty rating that instructors hold but never use; they want them to get their students out diving and introduce them to some of the great coastal locations that they have here in the UK.

This event was designed to give SSI Trainers and Instructors a greater insight into what is involved in ensuring the best possible outcome in different diver emergency situations. As well as being presented with the course outline and teaching materials, candidates participated in workshops on effective teaching techniques for the practical elements of the program. They were also given valuable information from the RNLI and MCA (Marine Coastguard Agency) staff who were involved and participated on the day. They can now share this knowledge and experience with their own students and when co-teaching new SSI Sea Survival Instructors. The SSI Sea Survival program although initiated in the UK will be available to SSI instructors worldwide.

Train the trainer day with Scuba Schools International and hosted by the RNLI at headquarters in Poole. The day involved a diver search and recovery exercise with the Swanage Shannon and D-class lifeboats, as well as the poole Atlantic 85 and D-class inshore lifeboats. Community Safety, prevention, Respect the Water.

The main aim of the program is to provide the student with the information and skills required to enjoy and dive safely in UK costal conditions. It is ideally suited to those making their first UK sea dives and divers who have learnt whilst on holiday overseas who would like to get involved in UK costal diving. The course covers dive planning including predicting tides and weather to make sure you have the best dive opportunities, the equipment required for UK costal diving an optional confined water session and two dives that include skills review and new skills that could save your life if you should end up needing to be assisted by the RNLI or other rescue services.

The training exercises completed on the day, as well as providing experience for the dive professionals, were a big learning opportunity for the crews of the Swanage and Poole Lifeboats. They highlighted some of the difficulties and challenges of extracting a kitted conscious and unconscious diver from the water into the different vessels used. Whilst de-kitting and exiting in to a small rib may be common place for divers, for some of the crewmembers a real situation may be the first time they have encountered dive equipment. We would recommend all dive centres and clubs work closely with their local RNLI stations to offer joint training opportunities, many of those involved in the day are already liaising with their local stations to run lifeboat crew training exercises alongside their Sea Survival programs.


SSI would like to acknowledge Swanage Boat Charters and Bryan for the use of the charter boat Viper for the practical exercises.

All images by: Nathan Williams RNLI

For more information about SSI please visit their website by clicking here.

For more information about the RNLI please visit their website by clicking here.

Team Scubaverse

Team Scubaverse

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One Reply to “SSI Sea Survival Course Initiative”

  1. I should point out that it’s not just the RNLI who train regularly with divers and dive agencies. St Abbs Independent Lifeboat train regularly for this Scenario as St Abbs is one of the most dived areas of the U.K.
    We have 5 qualified divers on the crew, plus a rebreather instructor. We regularly update our crew on new dive kit coming on the market, and the correct procedures for its removal.
    Not only do we regularly practice recovery of divers and de-kitting, we also tailor medical exercises to include diver-based pre hospital care.
    This include the use of a defibrillator as St Abbs Independent Lifeboat is one of the few lifeboats to routinely carry one at all times.
    Few, if any, lifeboat crews have more training or experince in aiding divers in distress, and their subsequent pre hospital medical care.

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