This week on Captain-s Corner Dan Pitchford takes us through the Sub Aqua club here at the University of Sheffield.
Describe what sub-aqua is for us.
DP: Sub-aqua, or scuba diving, is an underwater sport involving the use of an air cylinder, regulator, mask and fins. It’s a relaxing non-competitive sport with a focus on enjoying your time underwater, spotting wildlife and exploring wrecks.
Are there a wide range of skill levels?
DP: There’s a big focus on training and development both for beginners taking up the sport for the first time and getting comfortable in the water and experienced divers progressing their skills.
How did you get into it?
DP: Before uni I was a keen swimmer and enjoyed a lot of water sports including fin swimming and underwater hockey. I had always wanted to have a go at diving but had struggled to find opportunities. I had no equipment and had no qualifications to try go diving on my own. The uni sub-aqua club let me join as a beginner and borrow equipment to get started.
Is there any element of competition? If so do you compete in BUCS?
DP: No, there’s no competitive side to sub-aqua. The sport is done at a steady relaxing pace with a focus on taking in the sights. There are no goals to be scored, no points to be won or any finish lines to be crossed.
What is the society like?
DP: The society has a big mix of diving levels from beginners having taken up the sport for the first time to advanced divers with 20+ years’ experience. The club is very welcoming and friendly, our members come from a wide range of nationalities and backgrounds.
What type of equipment do you use?
DP: Scuba diving has a lot of equipment that may be daunting to use at first and would be very expensive to buy for yourself. Fortunately, the club has a supply of high quality kit to borrow including regulators, buoyancy wings and tanks. The main kit cost for a student would be buying your own dry suit, which is around £400-£500.
How can people get involved?
DP: The intake for the year is in September, with the ‘Give it a Go’ try dives being a great chance to see if the sport is for you. The September intake is the only chance for the year unfortunately, but this is to allow all beginner divers to progress together. We make sure that nobody gets left behind in training and wouldn’t want someone to join part way through term and feel excluded.