WE ARE

Whether you are already an experienced diver looking to continue diving while at university or you've never dived before then this is the place for you!

We are affiliated with the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and offer training as well as dive trips for all experience levels.

Have a look around our website, find us on Facebook, view our Instagram or contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions. Hopefully, we’ll see you out on a dive trip soon!

Michael McDonnell
SUSAC President 2020 - 2021

Divers on an expedition to Pembrokeshire

about us

We are a BSAC club run by students, for students.

The club is a diverse mix of students with all kinds of diving backgrounds; from complete novices to instructors and from a range of training agencies including BSAC, PADI, SSI, and the French Underwater Federation. We welcome people from any background though, including non-studens and alumni.

We run scheduled courses and regular trips. Our trips can be inland sites, shore dives, hard boat dives or even dives from our very own boat. We've explored the length and breadth of both the UK and many other countries and you can come with us.

As a club member, you can also use our large stock of high-quality and professionally serviced equipment for extremely low prices. Items such as regulators, BCDs and even drysuits can be used from just £5/day.

We're not just a group of divers though, we're also a group of friends. We have a broad range of socials and meetups that take place throughout the year.

So, what are you waiting for? Come and join us!

Meet the committee

The committee are elected by the members at an AGM every year. The committee are entirely volunteers who manage every aspect of the clubs day to day functions and are there to make sure you get the most out of SUSAC. The committee are passionate about diving and about the club and strive to make the club the best it can be. We'd love to hear from you and we'd love you to get involved. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to contact the committee at any time.

Michael Mcdonnell

president

The president is responsible for the overall running and direction of the club. Alongside managing the rest of the committee they are also responsible for interacting with external parties such as BSAC, the University, the student’s union and other clubs.

Michael is in the second year of a PhD in physics having studied for a masters degree in the same subject at Southampton. He has been diving since he was 10 and an instructor since he was 18, originally qualifying in Egypt.

alex willmott

secretary

Alex is a third-year aerospace engineering student, who learnt to dive in Australia to see the great barrier reef and has since spent most of their time diving in quarries.

The secretary is considered the formal contact point for communication to and from the Branch and is therefore also responsible for Public Relations. They are responsible for ensuring an efficient level of communication between Branch Committee and membership; and between the Branch and BSAC Headquarters. They have responsibility for organising, in consultation with the President, Committee Meetings and the Branch’s General Meetings, taking minutes at these meetings and for publishing and circulating them to appropriate members.

libby watton

treasurer

The Treasurer oversees and maintains the finances of the club. They are responsible for setting budgets, administering payments, providing financial advice and ensuring the future finanical health of the club.

Libby is a 2nd year Marine Biologist who joined SUSAC in her first year as a novice but has now progressed to Sports Diver.

James Mudge

diving officer & boat officer

James' responsibility as Diving Officer includes overseeing the safety of all diving in the club as well as awarding qualifications. Despite the emphasis on safety, the Diving Officer also exists to promote diving within the club and ensure that a diverse range of dives are being organised for all divers. As Boat Officer, James is responsible for ensuring the boat is maintained both mechnically and electronically, with most work being completed in house.

James is also a member of the BSAC Council, a name for the board of directors, who oversee the complete management and organisation of the British Sub-Aqua Club (The National Governing Body for Recreational Scuba Diving in England). He has a strong emphasis on university clubs and would always like to hear from university club members. Email James.

laura fantuzzi

membership and other agencies officer

Laura is a second year student in Marine Biology and Oceanography. She learnt to dive in Malta in 2017-2018 and joined SUSAC at the beginning of her first year, before becoming the Membership and Other Agencies Officer. She always tries to go diving as much as she can and has found the learning from the other more experienced members in SUSAC to be very beneficial. Laura is in charge of all membership records and other diving related record keeping. Her role also includes introducing people to BSAC who may have qualified and be members of other agencies.

phoebe hudson

training officer

Phoebe has just finished her MSci in Oceanography at Southampton and is about to start her PhD. She's been diving since she was 10 and is almost more at home underwater than on land. Whilst Phoebe isn't an instructor yet, she has been a divemaster for 2 years and has been helping instruct for 3 years. She'll be responsible for organising all of the clubs training this coming year. So whether you're just learning to dive and doing our Ocean Diver course or trying to expand your knowledge with one of our Skill Development Courses, you'll no doubt see her around.

Tim holgate

equipment officer

Tim is a third-year Oceanographer, whose real passion lies with diving. Preferring sidemount diving, he is never happier than when he's literally in over his head. In his spare time, he can be found trying to spend the least amount of time in the equipment shed as possible. Tim is responsible for making sure all the club equipment is serviced and maintained to the highest possible standards. You can be sure that any equipment you borrow from SUSAC will be in top shape!

rhianna wheatley

expedition officer

Rhianna is a 4th year Marine Biology student, who has been with the club since her first year. From then, she has advanced to Sports Diver and is currently training to become a Dive Leader. She is also an assistant diving instructor, and enjoys taking lots of videos on dives.

As Expedition Officer, I have the role of organising Easter and summer field trips, including finding a fun location, method of travel and the accommodation we will be staying at. This involves working with the treasurer in order to calculate finances, along with the equipment officer to decide how much club gear will be borrowed by participants. I also help to organise local trips throughout the year, at both inland and ocean locations.

Jack wells

social secretary

The social secretaries are responsible for making sure everyone stays connected and has a great time doing everything in the club that isn't diving. Aside from regular pub meets, the social secretaries aim to provide a wide diversity of activities including activities such as paintballing, go-karting, bowling and more.

Jack is a second-year marine biology student who learn to dive with SUSAC in his first year of university.

lucy cumming

social secretary

Hello my name is Lucy and I am a second year student nurse. Learning to dive with SUSAC has been so supportive and fun I wanted to be more involved and learn to do even more diving! I can’t wait to plan lots of socials with Jack and make sure that we have lots of fun as a club and get to know each other well.

Dive With Us

We welcome people of all experience to SUSAC. Whether you're a seasoned UK diver, only ever dived in warm water, or if you've never even tried diving at all, we have something to offer you.

As well as a huge range of trips, we offer comprehensive training following the syllabuses provided by the British Sub-Aqua Club who are the National Governing Body for Scuba Diving and Snorkelling in the UK. The first of these is called Ocean Diver and is a safe, thorough, highly-regarded and fun qualification.

You'll learn in the club with our own instructors and, since BSAC is a voluntary organisation, you'll receive all your training for an unbeatable price.

Furthermore we can offer training through to Dive Leader, the equivalent of PADI Divemaster. We also run a broad range of skill development courses to keep you up to date and learning.

So what are you waiting for? Click the buttons below to find out more about diving with us.

learn to dive

ocean diver

Our introductory course is called Ocean Diver and upon completion will qualify you to dive with another Ocean Diver or above to a maximum of 20m both inland or in the sea, all around the world. This is a highly regarded and internationally recognised qualification that you can gain right here at university!

To enroll, you’ll just need to demonstrate that you can comfortably swim 200m in a pool, and the only kit you’ll need is a swimsuit and towel.

Your instructor will start by getting you comfortable breathing underwater in a pool or sheltered water and then develop your skills so that you are competent to dive safely in open water. After that you’ll head out for a series of at least four dives to develop your skills and confidence in open water.

The Ocean Diver course also includes several elements at no extra cost that are not found in most introductory courses. We will teach and qualify you to safely use drysuits and nitrox gas mixtures. Commercially, both of these would cost you around £150 each on top of the standard course fees!

As a bonus, due to the voluntary structure of BSAC, we can offer all this at a price far below any commercial training centres. So, how much does it cost?

how much does it cost?

To enrol in the Ocean Diver course, you'll first need to make sure you've paid for certain things.

Firstly, you'll need to be a member of both SUSAC and BSAC. SUSAC membership options can be viewed here and currently stand at £45 for a years worth of membership. BSAC membership can be viewed here and currently stands at £31.50 for students for a year.

After this we'll give you your course pack. This pack contains all the materials you'll need to become an Ocean Diver. This includes a qualification record book, a book called the Diving Manual and a workbook to help you with your theory.

Finally, there are costs for using the swimming pool and for two days of open water training.

In total, we can offer all this for only £250.

And that's it! You'll become a fully qualified diver and you'll even have the shiny card to prove it! Commercially, you would expect to pay around £500 - £700 for an equivalent course plus an investment in basic kit.

We can offer this because all our instructors are volunteers. They are highly trained and qualified but do not charge for their time. SUSAC is a non-profit organisation.

how do i join?

Our courses run in scheduled sessions.

Our Ocean Diver courses are typically advertised in September and begin in October. Our main point of advertising is through the 'Bunfight' also known and the Clubs and Societies Fair. Here, all the university clubs and societies will have stalls and representatives to introduce you to the club.

As you have already found our website though, we suggest that if you are keen to join an Ocean Diver course that you contact us. We can then introduce you to the club, show you the training schedule and we can direct you to signing up to our next Ocean Diver course.

Prior to the commencement of a course, we'll update this page with all the relevant information about the upcoming year. We still recommend you contact us though if you are keen to enrol so you'll be the first to hear all about it!

progress your diving

sports diver, diver leader and skill development courses

We don't just offer introductory courses, we can also offer advanced diver training courses including Sports Diver, Dive Leader and a vast array of Skill Development Courses (SDC's).

If you're familiar with the PADI system, Sports Diver is considered equivalent to Rescue Diver and Dive Leader to Divemaster. After qualifying, Sports Divers can also dive to 35m and Dive Leaders to 50m with full training given in decompression.

We can offer courses such as drysuit training, nitrox workshops, Practical Rescue Management, Dive Planning and Mangement, Oxygen Administration, the RNLI Sea Survival Workshop, wreck diving and more.

We also have club members who are experienced in using twinsets, stages and sidemount diving configurations so no matter your equipment or your qualification, you should feel right at home in SUSAC.

If you're interested in any of the above or have anything else you would like know, please contact us.

Trips and expeditions

SUSAC have members with experience of diving worldwide. We have members who know where to book the perfect holiday in the sun and those who know where to find the best wrecks around the UK coastline.

Every Easter we go on holiday. We suggest locations and ask our members for their budget and their preferences on where to go. We find the perfect mix of affordable and fun so that you can experience the best diving for the best value.

We also run regular trips in the UK. Being on the south coast priovides the perfect base to run regular trips to places such as Portland, Cornwall and many other highly-regarded dive sites around the UK. We have our own boat enabling us to reach almost any site we want and there is a wealth of knowledgeable charter boats in the south for larger trips or more complex sites.

Want to go somewhere but you've not planned an trip before? No problem! We'll teach you all about dive planning and management leaving you confident to run trips to almost anywhere!

To see the trips we run, check out our photos here on our website, or on Instagram @sotonunisac. You could also view our calendar to see where we're going in the future.

If you cannot read this calendar, please try rotating your device

FAQs

Can I try it out before I join?
We run a try-dive session every year during Fresher’s Week in the pool of the Jubilee Sports Center on Highfield campus. Here you can meet the instructors, get a feel of breathing and swimming underwater, and find out if diving is the sport for you.

We charge around £5 for the try-dive, but if you decide to join us afterwards, this will be waived from your membership costs.

I’m not a student, can I join?
Anybody is welcome to join our club, including students, staff and those just living locally. Our only requirement is that you are fit to dive. This involves being able to sign a medical self-declaration form, and the ability to confidently swim a short distance.

How do I join SUSAC?
If you are interested in joining, send us an email or a message on Facebook so we can help you sort everything out.

When and where do you meet?
We organise frequent diverse socials such as bowling, go-karting or just going to the pub. We publish any upcoming events on our Facebook group. Regularly, you'll most likely find us on Highfield Campus or in the Crown Inn Pub, but if you'd like to meet us then we suggest you contact us and we'll let you know where we'll be next.

I trained with another agency (e.g. PADI, SSI), Can I join?
Certainly! SUSAC welcomes divers from all training backgrounds and many club divers have trained with other agencies. No matter what your qualification, you can come diving with us You'll still need the same memberships for insurance purposes, but that's all!

You can also continue your training with us and importantly, you won’t lose your current qualifications or be unable to do further training with them. You simply gain access to a different agency’s training. So, you never lose, only gain! If you have any questions about the BSAC system or qualifications, please contact us.

How much does it cost?
To join the club you will need both SUSAC membership and BSAC membership. SUSAC membership options can be viewed here. BSAC membership can be viewed here. BSAC membership provides third party insurance, members savings and discounts as well as access to the magazine SCUBA.

The cost of UK diving is kept at cost price of fuel, air, food, slip fees, parking, boat charter costs etc. The club does not make any profit and all income is reinvested into the club. Expect to pay around £50 for a typical coastal boat charter day and £15-30 for a typical inland site day.

Is UK diving worth it?
Although diving in the UK is undeniably colder and more challenging than in the tropics, it’s well worthwhile! With our strong naval history, the country is now the home of many amazing wrecks. For those more interested in the life beneath the waves, our seas host a wide array of animals, from tiny nudibranchs, to the seals of the Farnes Islands and the Isles of Scilly, up to the massive basking sharks that can be found off Cornwall. If that hasn't tempted you check out what BSAC have to say and see some amazing photos!

What if I haven’t got any equipment?
The club maintains an extensive supply of high-quality scuba equipment which is available for use on all dives. This includes a large selection of top-of-the-range and very new drysuits, regulators, BCD's, cylinders (including ponies and O2 Clean Nitrox cylinders), computers, weights and more. We even have a compressor at the National Oceanography Centre. The cost of equipment hire is kept to an absolute minimum at £10 per day for full kit hire. Kit hire is capped for the year at £50. Trainees do not have to pay to use our equipment for training in the UK.

It is possible to dive entirely using club kit as we can supply every required item. We do however recommend that all of our members invest in basic gear, including a mask, fins, boots, gloves and a hood for maximum enjoyment as all divers will tell you that there's nothing like having your own kit! We are all happy to provide suggestions on particular pieces of kit, as well as arranging trips to local dive shops.

More questions? Contact us!

Photos

To keep up to date, follow us on Instagram @sotonunisac

Contact

Any questions? Let us know! We'd love to hear from you no matter what your question is. Drop us a message and we'll do out best to help you with whatever questions you have.

Thank you

A member of the committee will be in touch with you ASAP. We aim to respond to all enquiries within 24 hours.

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freja azzopardi

expeditions officer

Freja learnt to dive with PADI in Malta in 2016. She progressed to do her divemaster and instructor course in 2018 and then went on to work for the season in Malta. She has experience with taking all sorts of people diving and dives to see the Marine life with the UK seas being fantastic for that. She loves sharks and octopuses in particular and if you dive with Freja you'll notice she will be looking in all the nooks and crannies for creatures and will tell you about them after the dive! Freja says she's "Always up for a pint, a dive or both" (pint after diving of course!)