PSAC Boat Diving Rules During Covid-19 Pandemic

Following the green light from BSAC on resuming boat diving, PSAC Committee met via ZOOM on Monday 6 July 2020 to discuss returning to RIB diving and how that should be carried out in accordance with BSAC guidelines.

BSAC guidance on small boat diving state social distancing to remain at 2m unless that is not possible to maintain at all times, where safe distance can be reduced to 1m providing additional precautions are taken to reduce the risk. For those members wishing to resume boat diving, we ask that you read this guidance in full at BSAC website >>

We have created a shortened version for PSAC members, entitled PSAC: Returning to Boat Diving. This does not replace any official BSAC or Government documents. You must agree to comply with any current BSAC guidance and adhere to current safe diving practices. Guidance reduces the risk of Covid-19 transmission but does not eliminate it.

PSAC: Returning to Boat Diving

The club Committee agreed on 06/07/20 that club RIB diving can resume, under the following rules:

  • Maximum of 5 persons onboard the RIB (see diagram at bottom of page).
    Even with limiting the number to 5 there is no way of maintaining a 2m distance, therefore…
  • All onboard must provide and wear a PPE or suitable face-covering (scarf, snood etc).
    Your face covering must be worn at all times from arriving at the slipway until the end of the day.
  • All onboard must bring their own alcohol gel.
    You must use this after any contact with the boat, trailer and other diver’s kit.
  • All of your personal belongings must remain in your bag.
    Ensure you bring a suitable waterproof bag for all of your personal belongings, including any food or drinks. Do not leave anything loose in the storage area above the bottle rack. Do not share food or drinks.

Members must be aware that there will be many situations where distancing is not possible such as zipping up drysuits, helping other divers, getting in the boat post dive etc. and of course emergencies. If you are not comfortable with this level of risk do not attempt to attend or dive. Remember you are accepting a level of personal risk by attending and diving; no-one can make this decision for you and you should not judge others on their decision to dive or not dive.

You must adhere to the following…

Fit to dive:
You must be fit to dive and have no Covid-19 symptoms. If you or anyone else on the dive trip experience Covid-19 symptoms (persistent cough, loss of smell/taste or fever) within 7 days of the dive it is your duty to inform those you met on the day of the dive to arrange self-isolation as per current Government guidance. If anyone does experience symptoms or has tested positive at any point they will have to see a diving doctor before resuming diving.

Boat tower:
The tower must wear suitable hand coverings at all times or bring along soap solution and spray on all surfaces that you are in contact with, including jockey wheel handle and mounting cup. The tower should also wash or gel their hands after handling the trailer.

When returning the boat to it’s place of storage, please ensure the key parts of the boat and vehicle are wiped down with appropriate wipes – we will keep some packs of wipes in the boat storage pocket and in the club vehicle. Wiping down should include:

  • Vehicle: steering wheel, gear lever, keys, and anything else the tower may have touched.
  • RIB: steering wheel, throttle lever, bottle rack, keys, and anything else which may have been touched.
  • Trailer: jockey wheel, hitch, keys, and anything else which may have been touched.

At the slipway:
Unless other divers are of the same household then avoid touching or handling other divers equipment or bags unnecessarily. All divers should carry and stow their own kit. If you touch another diver’s kit you should immediately clean your hands with your own alcohol gel.

On the boat:
Maintain your distance as much as possible. Ensure your personal position on boat is discussed during pre-dive brief to maintain distance during transit; be aware that when the boat is moving, if you are downwind of another person you risk being in the slip stream of your that person’s breath – droplets may travel a longer distance. It is therefore vital to maintain distancing and wear a PPE mask or face-covering (scarf, snood etc).

When it is time to prepare/kit up, leave your face covering on until your regs goes in to your mouth. Divers should endeavour to handle and kit-up without help from others unless they are from the same household. It is accepted that help will be needed zipping up drysuits. Do not spit in your dive mask, use commercial antifog/soap/toothpaste and rinse in the sea. Stow the face covering in your bag. Post-dive best practice is to clip your kit on to the boat, get back onboard and load your kit back into the boat yourself (this is the preferred option but not mandatory). If you are unable to do this there is no change to previous process except you must leave your regulator mouthpiece in until the last second. Once onboard you must replace your face covering ASAP.

Returning to the slipway:
If help with the trailer and recovering the boat onto the trailer is needed, maintain distance, wear your face covering and wear gloves. Unload your own kit from the boat and into your car.

Club RIB: Max 5 onboard