From the D.O.
Most of you know me – for the few who don’t, I’ve been a branch member since 1991 and have been on the committee for all but 3 of those years, starting off as Social Secretary in 1993 and in between serving terms as Boats Officer, Equipment Officer, Diving Officer for 4 years between 1997 and 2000 and Chairman for 3 years between 2002 and 2004, a year off then back to Social Sec and now I’m back as your D.O. again!
Out of all the posts I have served, the role I enjoyed most was that of D.O. – which is why, when, in early September Brian Deluce asked me if I would consider taking over from him, I felt really honored and it only took a days consideration before agreeing.
We all owe Brian a massive vote of thanks, he’s done a great job, if you see him at the bar then please consider buying him a beer to show your appreciation. I intend to carry on in the same way Brian has, there aren’t going to be any great changes.
When I joined the club I was 35 years old – I’m bloody 52 now!!! – it’s frightening the way time creeps up on you it really is – I haven’t noticed it because I’ve been too busy enjoying myself – I don’t feel any different, I just don’t think about it, though some of my mates don’t stop reminding me! – I’m not going to stop doing anything different, I still love diving, skiing, football, curries, parties, etc etc – I’m going to stay the same till the day I die, (and I hope that is a very long time away!)
When I first took the reigns as D.O. back in 1997 the branch diving situation left a lot to be desired! Most of the dives were organized by only 2 or 3 people – and you couldn’t get on the dives unless you were their drinking buddies! – that was the main reason I decided to stand. It is well documented that with much hard work and excellent support from fellow committee members that this was changed. Within two years (it was a hard slog), branch diving was back on track and we have never looked back since. We now have more dive organisers and more dives than ever before! – and all branch dives are open to everyone (qualifications permitting). Therefore my second stint as D.O. looks like it will be considerably easier in that respect. Of course, since those days a lot has changed, most of it for the good involving safety etc – but there is a lot more paperwork……
On that note, please can I take this opportunity to remind all dive organisers/managers to notify me of all planned branch dives as soon as they have fixed them, so that I can add them to a wall chart year calendar that I will pin on the club noticeboard. Please check this calendar before you fix any dates, so that you can avoid big trips that might affect filling boats etc. Whilst most weekends two hardboat weekends and a rib trip etc should easily be do-able, please do take note of what trips are already booked or planned and speak to the other organiser – we don’t want too many trips on the same weekend and therefore someone having difficulty filling their trip, try to utilize free weeks – check the calendar and check the Dive Itinery that I will compile on the newsletter website and will regularly update. Likewise with holidays, if you are planning a dive holiday then speak to the other organisers who are planning holidays to avoid clashing.
Before embarking on the trip you will need to either e-mail or give/post me a completed “Dive Notification” form – which notes all the details of your proposed diving and a list of the divers with their qualifications. If there are any incidents, however small, then you will need to inform me as soon as practicably possible.
After the trip, as soon as practicably possible, you will need to give (or e-mail) me the following completed forms:
1. DIVE LOG SHEET/S
2. RISK ASSESSMENT DECLARATION FORM/NEXT OF KIN FORM
3. RISK ASSESSMENT FORM
I can’t stress enough the importance that I get all this information – don’t forget to take the forms on the trip. I have a supply of hard copies of all these forms – however it would be appreciated if you could download your own copies from the (old) website, under forms, please click on the link below and you will be directed there:
In due course, I will see if it is possible for us to move the forms facility over to our Newsletter site (eventually we hope that we might be able to move everything over from the old site)
Throughout the year, for those of you that have completed all the required skills/modules in your books and want me to “sign off” your qualification and stamp your logbook accordingly – you will need to give me both your qualification book and logbook before I go into a Committee meeting – I will read and check through your books beforehand and (hopefully!) recommend to the committee that I sign you off. I will be liasing very closely with the Training Officer in the coming year, please give Rob your fullest support.
Committee meeting dates for 2008 will be announced and communicated to the membership as soon as they have been fixed in the coming weeks.
In Brian’s footsteps, I will continue to tally up all your dive minutes, so that the trophy can be awarded to the busiest diver next November – who will it be next year? If you go abroad on dive holidays then don’t forget to give me a copy of your logged dives as they will count towards your total.
If you have any branch dive related issue to discuss, then please feel free to get in touch, at any time – conversations will always be conducted privately and confidentially.
Please support our Dive organisers and Instructors – we have a group of people who put in a hell of a lot of their hard earned time for the benefit of the branch. Please make sure you pay your deposits and balances for dive trips and holidays on time – actively seek out the organiser rather than let them chase you up. Those of you who haven’t organised any trips or holidays have no idea how frustrating it is having to chase people up. Please check your diary before you commit to a dive or holiday – you’d be surpised how many people “forget” to make a note of what they’ve booked on, and they suddenly find they’ve “double booked” or can’t get the time off or just simply drop out..…..Just a reminder, if you drop out of anything then it is your responsibility to find a suitable replacement, not the organisers.
Don’t forget that Diving is about FUN! – these day’s there is a tendancy for a lot of divers to want to whizz through their training and get all their skills and modules signed off and get to the next level and the next and the next as soon as possible. Of course it is entirely up to the individual, and everyone is different, however, all I can say is that, in my opinion there is no substitute for experience.
I am waiting for delivery of the wall chart dive calendar – when I pin this up, please can I ask that nobody write their own dives on it? – please notify me of your dive and I will add the details to the calendar. This saves confusion, however do please remember to officially notify me of your planned trips.
As some of you will know, I recently changed career path and am mid-way through a 10 week training course before I go on shift – and I won’t get my 2008 shift rota until the end of December – therefore I can’t finalise any of my dive weekends until I get my rota – so please bear with me.
What I can say, there is already lots of diving planned for 2008 – (starting very early with Jo’s early January “Ice Diving” weekend in Portland… brrrrr! and you will have seen Dave’s recent email listing all the possible dates for r.i.b. trips – very encouraging – my two holidays to the Red Sea Brother Islands and the Medas trip, the Cyprus trip, the Farnes trip, a trip to Ireland – and of course the Club Plymouth weekend on the late May Bank Holiday is going ahead and a list will be going up in the new year for that (we will have two hardboats in
Plymouth as per last year) – and I’ve a weekend in Salcombe and also Lyme Regis to book when I get my rota – I am also looking at organising a long weekend to Whitby (which has excellent diving – but it’s a long way and its difficult finding a boat). I’m going to blow out Gildenburgh, which has always been our early season training/kit try out/shakedown weekend in April – the venue is so run down……I’m looking for a replacement venue, currently considering two or three options and will advise in due course. Didn’t get down to Littleton Pit much this year, hasn’t been the demand – for those of you who don’t know though, we do have membership to the “Pit”. It’s 6 meters max and
there are plenty of routes roped out and theres a good training platform etc. If any newly qualified trainee wants to go down there any afternoon that I’m not on duty and I’m available then I’ll always be up for it – whether you need to practice any drill/skill or just try out new kit. The only proviso is that it’s when we have lighter afternoons and you have the de-brief in the pub with me and Mark (East), who lives next to the Pit, afterwards!
Gibraltar was an excellent holiday this year, very different and so, looking forward to 2009 I’m definitely going to arrange a return trip there – certainly some of those on this years trip have said they want to come.
Lastly, I’m joining “Blueline Divers” the Surrey Police branch of the BSAC
No, I’m not leaving Kingston! – as I now work for Surrey Police, and am a member of the Surrey Police Sports Association I am entitled to free membership to their branch of the BSAC. So I may as well join them for free – they even have their own r.i.b moored down at Littlehampton – make some new dive buddies and steal some of their ideas along the way – it might even help with filling some spaces on branch trips if we are short of divers.
All that remains is for me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and safe & enjoyable diving in 2008