The SAA, our national affiliating body, lays down a set of guidelines and standards which the club must follow in training and certifying members. The reason for this is to be in a position to assure of a certain level of quality of that training. Also, to ensure a minimum level of expertise and safety is attained by all divers new to the activity, Arun Divers trains novices to Club Diver level as a matter of course. It is then up to the individual to decide how much further to take their training.

We have qualified instructors offering training to suit all levels of experience, from the absolute beginner just wishing to learn how to snorkel, to those with some prior diving experience now seeking a higher level of qualification such as Dive Leader & Dive Supervisor.

Divers who join us from other organizations may have had varying styles of tuition, but as long as their training is in line with SAA standards their programme of previous experience will be accepted by Arun Divers. All diving qualifications are issued at the discretion of the Diving Officer which means that there is some element of flexibility when crossing over divers who have received training with other organizations. The Diving Officer may take into account several factors such as training, experience and individual ability when undertaking this process.

Those trained by other organizations wishing to consolidate or extend their diving expertise will be taught following SAA guidelines. Training is generally carried out at an instructor/student ratio of one to one for pool work and as part of a small class for theory lectures, as we tend to find that this is the method that best serves the student. The cost of most training is included as part of our annual club membership fee. Where any additional cost is likely, members will always be advised as such before they undertake the training.

Diving qualifications gained are recognized throughout the world (see the comparison chart below). As a guideline, lectures and pool training generally run in conjunction with each other. Lectures start with basic equipment, physiology, safety, decompression calculations etc. and lead on to the more in depth subject matter, with a review & short exams after each section i.e. Snorkeling, Elementary Diver, Club Diver etc.

Diver Qualification Comparison Chart
Elementary Diver SCUBA Diver Basic SCUBA
Open Water Diver Advanced SCUBA Diver Open Water & Advanced Open Water Diver Ocean Diver 1 Star
Club Diver Sports Diver Rescue Diver & Master SCUBA Diver Sport Diver 2 Star
Dive Leader Dive Master Dive Master Dive Leader 2 Star
Dive Supervisor Advanced Diver & above 3 Star
National Diver 4 Star

Similarly, pool training commences with basics such as finning and snorkelling and then progresses to the use of full SCUBA. It is recommended that trainees buy their own mask fins and snorkel at the earliest opportunity and before moving on to SCUBA training. After completing pool training, a simulated dive, a dive in open water (i.e. the sea!) and a short exam, the student is qualified as an ELEMENTARY DIVER. Four additional dives and some practical open water tests will qualify them as an OPEN WATER DIVER. Ten more dives are then required before qualifying as a CLUB DIVER. This is the minimum requirement for you to dive in open water without a dive leader as your buddy.

It is in members best interests and most ceratainly maximizes enjoyment of the activity to get as much experience as possible in different diving situations/conditions. Open water training dives will be organized when qualified instructors/divers are available to accompany trainees, and the weather and tides are suitable. Please do bear in mind though, that Arun Divers unfortunately has no control over the tides and weather! (as yet!).

Dives are arranged to fit peoples schedules wherever possible, but if students try to make themselves available as often as is convenient, then that of course will increase the chance of getting out on dives as part of your training or as a trainer. Dives are organized for most weekends in the summer, weather permitting, but if for any reason you would like to get out diving on any specific date, then please just ask. There is no need to wait to be asked!

SAA regional training courses

The SAA is divided into regions and Arun Divers is in the South-East region. Additional courses run on a regional basis, often through the winter months when there is less diving activity, and include:

Nitrox Diver Oxygen Administration & Emergency Diver First Aid (EDFA) Basic Boat Handling (RYA Level 2) Rescue Diver
Chartwork & Navigation Diver Coxwain VHF Radio Examination and Certification Club Instructor
Gas Blender Open Water Instructor Self Reliant Diver

Most of these courses require a minimum qualification of Club Diver as pre-requisite. If you would like to attend a course then please first check the SAA course schedule & then ask the club Training Officer or appropriate SAA representative for further details. The cost of these courses is borne by The SAA and is therefore in addition to club membership fees, but is usually kept to the minimum practicable in order to cover costs.