Calne Divers carries out the vast majority of their training in-house, with our own dedicated instructors. As a volunteer organisation, everyone offers their time free of charge which keeps the training costs to an absolute minimum. Within the club, all training is included in the monthly costs, and there are no hidden extras.
As divers progress further through their training they may want to take more adventurous or difficult courses such as Boat Handling or Rescue Diver. These do incur an additional cost, but it's still non-profit and is only enough to cover expenses of the regional instructors that may have to travel to site.
Please find below some details around the courses offered within the club. Full details are available on request from any instructor at the club.
Pool training begins as soon as you join the club. There is a short fitness test that a new student diver will need to complete prior to this however. It's currently 8 lengths (200m), followed by retrieving an object from the bottom of the pool three times.
As soon as the fitness test has been passed, we move straight on to the training. This often happens in the same pool session as the test if we have the time remaining. Over the course of a number of weeks you will learn to clear water from inside your mask, take the regulator out of your mouth and even recover an unconscious diver. There are a number of other skills, each being designed to make you familiar with your equipment before you use it fully in open water.
As you complete your pool training, you will also be attending a series of lectures designed to help you understand the physics, biology and practical matters around diving. They're not boring, and there is certainly no reason anybody should worry about them. These lectures actually form the basis for your first qualification, Elementary Diver.
Elementary Diver is the first qualification you'll obtain after joining the club. It's a big milestone and will be well earned. As you run through the pool training, you'll also be attending the ED lectures. There's 10 of them but some are quite short. Calne Divers instructors are very relaxed about when you attend the lectures, and missing some isn't an issue. If you're training with other divers then we will just come back and do them again. If you're training alone, then we will just pick up where we left off next time you're available. Lectures can be done on the pool night, 8-9pm or on thursdays, 8.30-9.30pm at the White Hart Hotel. Additionally, if time is short and you might miss an open water dive, instructors have regularly visited homes to do the final lectures, and would also welcome you to theirs.
For your ED qualification, you get to enter the water for the first time. Two dives are required, and a demonstration of some simple skills that you will have learned in the pool. The atmosphere is very different, however. Often darker, colder and with far more worn in the way of insulation. That said, if you haven't dived before, the feelings of excitement and nervousness will be remembered for a very long time!
Once qualified as an ED, you will be able to attend most open water dives, whether this is in a quarry or out at sea. There will obviously be the occasional one that is outside of your qualification limits, but where that's the case something else will be arranged for you.
Open Water Diver
After a further 10 lectures and 4 dives, you will qualify as an Open Water Diver. To attain this standard you will have demonstrated further skills during your dives, and also gained further experience of at least 5 different dive sites.
At this stage, you are able to dive with non-instructors, although this will be limited to our senior divers, of grade Dive Leader or above.
Only 4 more lectures and 10 more dives gain you the title of Club Diver. If you don't want any additional training, this is the point at which you can comfortably stop training and continue at this grade. You can now dive with other divers of the same grade or above, and your depth limit has increased to an amount that would cover almost every UK dive site available to us.
By this point in your training you will be far more comfortable with the routine of diving, and will be at a stage where you are confident in your ability to rescue a diver, look after yourself if you have issues and generally just enjoy the diving.
If you don't want to stop your training, then it's time to move on to Dive Leader. More lectures and more open water dives are required, of course, but at this stage the training moves onto how to lead the dive. Up until now, you will probably have followed around a more experienced diver on each dive. That's got huge advantages, in that you can enjoy the dive, see the sights and be confident in the knowledge that you'll surface at the correct time, in the right place, and with the right amount of remaining gas.
At DL though, all of this becomes your problem. Not only that, but you also need to ensure the same thing happens with the person you are leading! The training here concentrates on your ability to bring divers with problems to the surface, as well as how to lead a dive in general. It's a nerve-wracking moment when you take your first junior diver in and realise that you're not entirely certain where you are!
Finally, you've reached the point at which you are comfortable leading dives, taking in new divers and often even manage to finish the dive in the right place. What's next?
A lot more dives, and a lot more experience in a variety of dive sites will bring you naturally to the point when you are not only comfortable leading another diver around, but you're also ready to lead entire dive trips. This section of the training revolves around what it takes to bring the club to a site, have everything you need, and to organise the entire day's activities.
Risk assessment, logging of activities and even making sure the right people are on the boat at the right time comes down to you. It might sound like a challenge, but getting to this point will provide you with a great deal of experience, and you will be more than ready for it.
This is the only diver grade not to be assessed within the club. Indeed it's so difficult that there are very few in the country. This qualification pushes you to even greater heights. A national written exam tests you on everything you've learned up until now, as well as a fair amount more. Your knowledge is expected to be second to none, and your experience even greater.
For this grade, you not only learn how to organise a large number of divers for a days diving, but also how to organise them into a multi-day expedition with the purpose of undertaking significant underwater tasks.
As you gain more experience and progress up the diving grades, you can also become an instructor. Unlike some organisations, this runs alongside the diver grades and not after it. For instance once you get to Dive Leader, you can become an instructor. You don't need to progress to Dive Supervisor unless you want to.
Club Instructors are able to take people in the pool for their initial training, and also give lectures up to (and including) the grade of diver they are at personally. However, once a student progresses to open water, then they will need to be passed on to an Open Water Instructor.
In order to become a club instructor, you have to attend a national course and be assessed by a regional instructor. This course is not about diving though, it's about teaching. It's still a good experience, and of course there's still a dive involved even if it's in a pool!
Open Water Instructor
OWI's are the backbone of the club. These are the people every new diver will have to have their first outside dive with, and they probably even trained you in the pool before that. They give up their time and even money to come with you to the training sites we use and generally love every minute.
One final open water assessment by a regional instructor is needed for this. They will watch you lead a dive and teach a particular skill. After that, you'll suddenly realise just how much effort your instructors have put in to train you, and now it's your turn to return the favour.
If training club members isn't enough for you, and you want to help other clubs reach the heights we have, then this is the course for you. You'll need to become an instructor in at least two different specialist national courses such as Rescue Diver or O2/EDFA (Oxygen Administration and Elementary Diver First Aid).
This is a qualification for those with a lot of spare time on their hands. Organising national courses is much harder, and requires more time and effort. That said, you will become rather famous among your fellow divers from other clubs!
This is the one qualification that can't be done by passing tests. In order to become an NI you need to be a regional instructor and to have carried out a piece of work for the SAA (Sub-Aqua Association) at a national level. This can be writing a new course, researching decompression or other such large-scale tasks. Needless to say there are very few of these around.
As you continue to dive, there are a number of additional skills courses you can take up. Some can be taught in club, but most are national. A list of some of them are below, and are fairly obvious from their titles. For any further information, or an application form, just talk to an instructor.
- O2/EDFA - Oxygen Administration/Elementary Diver First Aid
- Rescue Diver
- Boat Handling
- Chartwork and Navigation
- Self-reliant Diver