We’ve tried to think of some of the most frequently asked questions – and more importantly took a stab at answering them. Have a look.
Is diving safe? Yes, it’s very safe – but like any sport you have to be sure to get the right training and stick to the rules of scuba diving. At CSAC, we train you in a non-pressurised environment, so you can learn at your own pace.
Is scuba diving expensive? Well here again, we’re not going to lie to you! Diving is not a cheap hobby! While training with Castlereagh Sub Aqua Club can be very inexpensive due to our trainers volunteering their time, the cost of the kit can mount up significantly. To gain your entry level qualification with CSAC should cost in the region of £400 for training and diving fees.
However, to buy the kit required to dive in UK waters can cost over £2,000 if everything is bought new. Keeping an eye out in the club for second-hand gear or buying on ebay or Gumtree can significantly reduce this cost. Most people build up their gear bit-by-bit over a number of years.
Once you’ve got the kit, though, it will last you for many dives, so the cost per dive will be much more manageable.
Is scuba diving difficult? Tricky to say really! Diving can be physically and mentally demanding so it’s best to be in good physical and mental health. However, almost every dive club has members who could do with losing a few pounds (sorry folks!). While some people will feel slightly tired after a dive, in most cases it is not physically strenuous. You need to be able to swim, be reasonably confident in the water and keep a clear head when faced with difficult situations, but past that, most people should be able to dive. If you have any doubt, pop down to the club and discuss your situation.
Do you need to be a strong swimmer? You don’t need to be a strong swimmer, but you do need to be able to swim and being confident in the water is a big help.
What is there see under the UK water? The UK has an amazing variety of sea life under the waves. From octopus to anemones, from starfish to sunfish, it’s all there. OK, it’s not the Red Sea, we’ll give you that, but there are some amazing creatures down there. Just have a look at our gallery page to see some examples.
Combine this with the rich maritime history that lies on the sea bed. All around the Northern Irish coast there are many wrecks of interest, and sea life is also attracted to wrecks – that’s where we see many interesting species.
Are there any dangerous creatures in UK waters? Not really. About the only thing in our area that you need to be careful of is one type of jellyfish – the Lions Mane Jellyfish. And even these will not seriously harm you, but they will give a nasty sting. Everything else is pretty benign really.
Do you need to already be a diver to Join CSAC? Nope! Training is a major part of what we do so we can take you from your first try dive through to a fully qualified diver at a pace that is comfortable for you. There is no experience at all required – apart from being able to swim!
What is the first Diving Qualification? The first qualification you can obtain from BSAC is Ocean Diver – this allows you to dive to a maximum depth of 20m in conditions that you’ve experienced during your initial training.
How much does it cost for Ocean Diver training? Ocean Diver training costs approximately £400. This consists of 12 months’ membership of CSAC, BSAC Membership, 3rd party insurance, the monthly Scuba magazine, and all training materials for Ocean Diver. Our trainers all give their time for free.
How long and what does it take to qualify for Ocean Diver? Ocean diver takes around 10-12 weeks to complete. The training consists of 6 lectures, 6 pool sessions, a multiple choice test and 6 ‘open water’ dives.
Is the training equipment provided? Training equipment for the pool sessions is provided. When you are ready to complete the open water dives, you will need a dry suit and undersuit. These can be purchased new from around £500 for entry level suits, but often you can find them available second hand for much less. Many trainees just rent out the equipment for their first open-water dives.
Where is the training carried out? All of the training takes place at the Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre in Belfast on Wednesday evenings. Sessions generally start at 8:00pm.
When does it start? We collect the names of people who are interested in learning to dive so we have a group of people to train. Once we’ve recorded your interest we will contact you with a start date. Training usually starts in October.
What can I do with the club when I’m qualified? The club organises many trips for qualified divers. The majority of these are local trips with our own boats, but we do organise weekends away and the occasional diving holiday abroad.
What if I have a medical condition – can I still dive? Yes you can. You may need to be examined and approved by a dive specialist doctor, and unless you have a serious medical condition, you are likely to be passed fit for diving. A number of our members have been approved by dive doctors and are fully active divers.
What is the minimum age to Learn to dive? The minimum age to take part in training is 12. Parents/guardians must be present at all times for those under 18 – but they can stay dry!
Do you teach non BSAC courses e.g. PADI, RAID & SSI etc? No sorry – we teach under the British Sub Aqua Club and only offer training from the BSAC Diver Training Programme.
If you are already qualified to a certain level with another agency you can still join our club. You’ll need to join BSAC and Castlereagh Sub Aqua Club to be able to dive with us. BSAC will award you with a qualification that is a similar level as your current agency. You can stay qualified with both agencies. No crossover training is required, but you may want to consider it to keep your skills honed. You can continue your training with BSAC.
I started my training with another BSAC club, can I complete my training with CSAC? Yes – although if appropriate we may contact your previous club.
Does CSAC organise any socal events? There are many social activities organised by our members, from quiz nights, summer BBQ’s, meals out and a host of fundraising activities. Check out our events on Facebook.