A BSAC club responsible for inspiring generations of diving enthusiasts in South Wales is celebrating 60 years of underwater adventure.
Newport Sub-Aqua Club was formed in 1956 – the same year Elvis made his first national TV appearance and released ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ – and was the very first club to be launched by BSAC in South Wales.
To celebrate six decades of history, the club has released a gallery of historic photos from an anniversary exhibition depicting its diving adventures then and now.
Over the years, the club’s members have travelled across the globe. Exploits have included taking an active role in research projects on historic wrecks and helping recover a sunken boat at Llandegfedd reservoir.
The club has in the past assisted the Severn Area Rescue Association in providing marshalling and safety boat cover for Newport’s waterfront festivals. Members have taken part in countless diving expeditions to the Red Sea, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, The Canaries and Malta to name but a few.
Former members have also recalled memories of the club’s early diving exploration when divers were tasked with making their own wetsuits and the closest thing to a drysuit was a wartime submarine escape suit.
Among those to feature in the anniversary celebrations was former member and renowned author, treasure hunter and wreck diver, George Edmunds. As one of Newport SAC’s earliest members, George has fond memories of its inaugural underwater explorations which he credits for sparking a lifelong passion for wreck diving and coastal history.
“When I joined the club in the late fifties they still called us frogmen, it was a throwback to the war years,” said the 75-year-old retired engineer, who grew up in Newport and ran a vehicle electrics business there.
“We had to make our own suits in those days. You couldn’t buy diving suits, you had to make your own suit out of a sheet of neoprene. You cut it out like a tailor suit.
“The only drysuits were submarine escape suits in bright orange. I paid 15 shillings in old money for one which is about 75p.
“Our first boat was a 10ft Avon dinghy with a 15 horsepower engine. It was very small and rudimentary but we went out in all weathers and didn’t worry about the currents or tides at that time.
“They were great days when I think back. There was lots of sea life to see. We used to go out from a cove in Martin’s Haven where we’d collect scallops and sea urchins. In later years, we would go further afield.”
Newport SAC trains at Dyffryn Comprehensive School’s pool for shallow training, and for deeper diving they use Monmouth Pool and the National Diving Centre in Chepstow and other dive sites across West Wales. Members are keen to encourage young divers into the sport and promote marine conservation to help the younger generation gain respect for their environment.
The club’s current Diving Officer, diving instructor Dave Summers, has been a member for more than 35 years after joining in early 1980s as a 28-year-old.
“There are still a lot of people who learn to dive and want to belong to a club,” said the 68-year-old retired quantity surveyor, “I would recommend anyone giving it a try.
“Diving is one of those sports which you just have to do. And once you start, whenever you see water you just want to be on it or under it. It’s so enthralling, you can’t think about anything else. It’s a completely new world, a serene environment, and everyday life vanishes.”
The diving instructor said the club was proud of its history and was firmly focused on securing its presence for another 60 years.
“It’s a great achievement to reach 60 years. We were the only club in South Wales at one point and kicked off diving in South Wales. Our history is the history of diving itself in South Wales.”
Mary Tetley, chief executive of BSAC said: “Newport SAC is among the oldest in the UK and so it’s a huge achievement to celebrate 60 years of diving.
“It’s been wonderful to hear some of the stories from the club’s history and the exhibition photographs offer a lovely insight into diving through six decades.
“We wish all the members the best for the future and hope they will continue to inspire future generations of divers to join the BSAC family.”
Newport Sub-Aqua Club is always keen to sign up more members. For more information visit www.newportbsac.com.
WIN a Beuchat Air Light Bag!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away an Air Light Bag!
The Air Light Bag from Beuchat is a practical travel bag that takes up minimum storage space.
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In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Philippines have been recognised as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 27th World Travel Awards. In the article it states how many islands make up the Philippines… how many are there?
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Quick Scuba Tips #1: How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving (Watch Video)
How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving. Can’t I just take my new mask diving straight out of the box? Well, actually, no. It needs a little work to make it dive ready.
In this, the first in our new scuba diving quick hints and tips series, I’m going to show you how to prepare a new mask for scuba diving with three quick techniques, all aimed at stopping your scuba mask from fogging.
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Yes, this link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Dive safe, dive often!
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