Blast from the past: July 1974

I have slowly been prising old copies of the Club’s newsletter (‘Triton’ then ‘OK’) out of Uncle Al’s hands and now have a year’s worth of news, reviews and comment from years gone by which I plan to revisit each month to see what the hot topics of the day were. This month sees us re-visiting July 1974.

July’s issue began with an editorial which neatly sums up the highs and lows of UK diving:

‘The “north face of Hand Deeps’ has a chilly windswept sound to it – but on May 25th it was an aquatic cliff we slid down, weightless and suspended in clear still water. The sensation was hard to describe, but it summed up the excitement and pleasure of diving at its very best. At the very opposite end of the scale, a few weeks later, 15 ft. down, the visibility was 100% nil at the muddy bottom of Littleton Pit (where) Peter Ollwerenshaw was conducting an excellent series of ‘2nd Class Practicals’.

Sea life everywhere must have been quaking as twenty K&E divers took part in the annual ‘Hook and Handspear’ competition at Selsey on 2nd June while Brian Greaves had caught a 6 ¾ pound lobster – seen as a worthy contender for the Crawley Cup – on an earlier dive.

It was reported that the Committee had reviewed the diving experience qualifications for 3rd and 4th Class Divers and planned to introduce a new branch dive organiser grade called Senior Branch Diver.  As a comparison with today’s grades, A 3rd Class Diver needed to have completed five sea dives to various depths and types of site between 10-24 metres, three of which must have been from boats.

2nd Class Divers needed to have completed a further 20 sea dives, 15 of which must have been from boats, including at least two hard boat dives. The later dives should include several to depths below 24 metres. They also needed to gain experience in dive marshalling (assisting in the running of novice dives) and dive leading (taking down novices – anyone who had less than five sea dives).

Senior Branch Divers needed to complete a further twenty sea dives showing a variety of experience, several of which had to be below 30 metres. They had to organise at least two dives (under the supervision of a Senior Branch Officer) and hold a BSAC Boat-handling certificate or equivalent. If they held a Sub-Aqua bronze medallion and/or were a Branch/Club Instructor they would be ‘considered more favourably for this grade’.

Some things never change though, there was also a note saying that ‘pit dives and shallow sea dives at the same site’ would not count towards the next qualification and would have to be recorded separately.

July’s main article was ‘Essential nautical terms for novice divers’ by Gillian Jenkinson. This is reproduced below in full to assist those currently diving from boats who may wish to brush up their skills or for those planning to do some boat handling any time soon:

The two most common terms are ‘Port’ and ‘Starboard’.

Port: Facing the bow, Port is on your left. It is easy to remember as Port has 4 letters and Left has 4 letters. So Port is LEFT.

Starboard: Since there are only two sides to a boat and Port is one of them, it is obvious that the other side is left. So Starboard is RIGHT.

Other terms:

Amidships: The condition that exists when you are surrounded by boats.

Anchor: What you display when you are surrounded by boats.

Buoy: A buoy is a floating object that you always smash into when trying to avoid the submerged object that the buoy is there to warn you about.

Channel Marker: Tells you what station you are tuned into on your tranny.

Displacement: Accidental loss, e.g., when you dock your boat and later cannot find it, you have displaced it.

Dinghy: the sound of a ship’s bell, i.e. Dinghy, Dinghy, Dinghy.

Hitch: To thumb a lift. Don’t try this one unless you can tread water for a long time.

Launch: the meal eaten aboard a boat at midday.

Oar: When you have a choice, i.e. this oar that.

Porthole: A hole in the side of the wreck on the port side, or left, or is it right?

Quarter Deck: Insufficient flooring on a cheap boat.

Tide: Gets clothes whiter.

Super Structure: A structure that’s a lot better than the one of your boat.

Wake: What your friends attend when you have been careless diving.

Next month: August 1982 and more news about K&E’s new club-house.