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Tuesday 7 October 2014

Who are Team Solent Aqua?

Team Solent Sub Aqua (or SUCS) is Southampton Solent University’s award winning scuba club. It is also one of the largest clubs on campus – being just over 90 members strong.

With a highly experienced instructor team, the club trains large numbers of students each year from entry level, right through to instructor & technical levels.  Once trained it’s all about going diving, so the club has a dive program that includes dives both in the UK and abroad suitable for every level. One of the team’s coaches tells us more:

Who can join the team?

Primarily students & alumni from Solent Uni, Warsash Academy and Southampton Uni, but we also take on Instructors and a limited number of non-students.

How do I join?

Come and see us in HCO31 any Tuesday at 6.30pm, go to Team Solent Sub-Aqua on Facebook, email on or can even ring the hotline 07500 732087.

Team Solent Sub-Aqua.

How much does it cost to join?

We have several categories as things like insurance can be 50% more for a non-student, but basic Solent student membership for this year is £140.

How often do you meet?

The club meets every Tuesday evening during term time for lectures and the pool, with the odd catchup session and Fastrack on Thursday & Friday. Open water training and diving tends to be on weekends.

What socials do you have?

This can be anytime, but the main social night for any organised party is Thursday, with pub meets after lectures on Tuesdays once the main pool training is completed. Other events revolve around diving trips and holidays, with plenty of opportunity for socialising.

I’m doing a Marine Biology course at NOC and I see you are Solent Uni, is that a problem?

No. We have a lot of students from Southampton University as members and find those doing Marine Biology and Archaeology type degrees are naturally very enthusiastic about diving. This allows us to promote more dive trips for all members, so it’s a win-win and why you are more than welcome.

Some of the Sub-Aqua team.

I want to go on scientific course dives, can you help?

Yes. Many course and expedition dives require a 2nd level grade minimum of Sport Diver and we can achieve this within 6 months or the Uni year (faster on Fastrack).

I want to go on a scientific expedition and need a CMAS 3* rating can you help?

Yes. This is quite a high level and will take a fair bit of work, it wont be done overnight. We can though look at a realistic timetable and you can then decide if it fits in with your plans.

I’m doing a film/tv degree, can I film/take pictures underwater?

At first we need to train you to be a competent diver as it’s easy to get distracted underwater. After that it’s down to permission from those you dive with, however as most have cameras themselves it would be rare to say no.

I’m doing Sports management/Coaching, is it worth doing scuba to support these courses?

Yes. A lot of what we do is about management, both of the dive and those taking part in it. Diver grades along with possible Instructor ones, show a level of both management and discipline that translate very well to other sports.

Some of the group out and about.

Can I get a recognised Scuba Diving and instructor qualifications with Team Solent Sub Aqua?

Yes! All our qualifications are Internationally recognised and we have an Instructor Training Programme should you want to reach this level.

I’ve heard there are many dive agencies, what is the difference?

Most agencies fall into two camps of a quick basic course which needs top-ups for specialist areas or those with the specialist bits included. We tend to do the latter as it gives student divers a better all-round education.

How long is my training going to take?

That depends entirely on you. We expect a committed student to gain up to two diver grades within the first Uni year from October to Easter. Some will opt for Fastrack and that can be achieved in a matter of weeks.

What is Fastrack?

We have a number of students from the Warsash Academy who go on job placements part-way through the Uni year. We also have some that have holidays or scientific projects lined up with a deadline. Fastrack is a sub-set of the main training regime that is often done outside of the normal club timetable and can speed up training dramatically.

Is Fastrack more expensive?

Yes and no. The training etc, is all the same and included as part of membership, however smaller groups suffer from the loss of economies of scale. This might mean less free places at inland sites or less to share transport costs on the way to sites. At worst, possibly marginally more expensive, but not by much.

Do I need insurance?

Yes, which is why 3rd party Insurance is included as part of membership.

I have a medical condition, can I still dive?

All members have to fill in a medical declaration and on that will be a list of possible issues related to diving. If you have a condition, this does not mean that you can’t dive, rather you go along to a medical referee (a diving doctor) who if all ok, will sign you off as fit to dive. In many cases this can be done over the phone.

Do I need to pay for the pool?

No. Other clubs charge a sub for the pool, but ours is included as part of membership.


The pool.

I’ve heard that dive kit is really expensive, do we have to buy it all before we start?

No. Solent is almost unique amongst uni dive clubs in that all kit is provided free as part of membership.

I understand that you provide kit, but do I have to hire or leave a deposit?

No. Many clubs charge a sub in the same way as the pool, but in Solent SAC it’s all part of membership.

Are Drysuits included in the free club kit?

Yes. The club has a large number of high-quality, both membrane and neoprene, Drysuits of every size and will even adapt to fit, with new neckseals and boots etc. if necessary. All dive kit is free and part of membership.

I’m a bit big/small and not sure a drysuit will fit me, do you have large/small sizes?

Yes. We start at XXS and go through to XXL.

How much do dives cost?

A simple shore dive can be as little as £10 for the day with shared transport. A shuttle to a deeper wreck £25 and a more serious day out on a hardboat with 2x dives on the same day as much as £60.

I really just want a basic certificate so I can go on holiday, is this ok?

Yes. You can join and do a basic course and that’s it or go on and do a lot more, the choice is yours, all are treated the same.

Team Solent Sub-Aqua exploration.

I’m already a qualified diver, but really just want to dive, can I still join?

Yes of course! We love qualified divers and have plenty of opportunities for you to get wet or if you prefer organise your own trips and get like minded divers to help.

I’m already qualified, but not that confident. What happens then?

We have very experienced Instructors that are happy to spend a bit of time going over what you’ve learned so far and gently introducing new skills while revisiting the old. You will never be asked to do anything outside of your comfort zone.

I’m already qualified and would like to do more training, what happens then?

We can continue diver education in whatever direction you want. That might mean simply extending a depth level, introducing different techniques or running on a parallel Instructor path. All options are open, and for many existing divers training is bespoke to the individuals wants.

I have a friend who is also a diver, If I join can he come diving as well?

Yes. Guest divers are welcome (and insured with certain conditions) however that is on the understanding that members always take priority for spaces on boats etc. After that as long as they are suitably qualified for the dive, (we will check) that’s ok.

I have a friend who doesn’t live close enough to train regularly, can he join?

Yes/No. We would look at each individual case and make an honest appraisal based on how likely it is that a decent diver grade can be attained within the timescale. The standard of training is paramount, so if distance affects continuity in training, sometimes it’s better to go elsewhere more local. That still doesn’t mean he/she can’t join as a guest diver.

Underwater training.

I understand you provide kit for standard diving, but do you have technical kit?

Yes. Solent SAC runs technical courses and has a range of kit to draw on. Such courses and the diving it generates tend to have a much lower number of divers involved and if necessary we can also draft in from other sources whatever is needed, all included as part of membership.

I have my own kit, but unable to store it, can the club help?

Yes. We supply large green lockable plastic crates that can go in the kit store for free as part of membership on the understanding that as this is not itemised it will not be included as part of any insurance, so this would part be the responsibility of the owner. Club kit is still available regardless.

Where do Solent SAC go diving?

Primary training sites are Andark Lake, Vobster Quay & Wraysbury, with Shore diving at Selsey, Swanage and Portland. Hardboat diving takes place at Langstone, Lymington, Poole, Swanage, Weymouth & Plymouth. Overseas, Lanzarote, Red Sea & Belgium.

I’m interested, but still not sure, what do I do now?

Come along and say hello. We don’t do a hard sell, just lay the facts out, give you all the details and allow you to make up your own mind, Our best ambassadors are the members themselves, so have a word with them on a club night to get the real picture.

If after reading that lot, you still have any questions, then please get in touch or the hotline on 07500 732087.

You can also ask questions on the Team Solent Sub-Aqua Facebook page.