Naiad and the Sport England Story

A year ago, Debbie White, who was the current snorkel officer together with John Waterhouse, now the club's regional snorkel advisor and another couple of members, decided to further develop snorkelling within the branch, for existing and new members by expanding our instructor base and improving our open water snorkelling capabilities.

Once we had looked at our existing members, what qualifications they had and where they wanted to go in the future, we contacted local community groups and held try-snorkel evenings for over 35 sea scouts.

Chris Watkins, Sea Scout leader said "Every scout that took part really enjoyed their time in the water. I have been pleasantly surprised how everyone managed to pick-up the basics and been quite proficient after just one hour, probably down to the stepped approach and patience of all the instructors."

In February, Oxford BSAC hosted a Snorkel Instructor weekend organised by BSAC headquarters and Sport England where three members from Oxford BSAC qualified as Snorkel instructors, along with around 40 other snorkel divers from the South of England.

During March the club took part in the BSAC Try Snorkel 2010 campaign, successfully introducing more members of the public to this fascinating underwater sport.

After all this early enthusiasm, we came to a halt - without going out into open water, the members were reaching Snorkel Diver level then losing interest.

So the club decided to apply for a grant from Sport England for £10,000 to purchase a five metre RIB capable of carrying eight snorkel divers into shallow open water. Not only would this allow us to move away from the pool environment, but it opens up many chances to discover the amazing sights the British coastline has to offer.

In June we had the fantastic news that the club had been awarded the full £10,000 from Sport England.

The new RIB will enable the club to train current members to the next grade, Open Water Snorkel Diver, and hopefully encourage new members as well as inspire the club's family members who don’t scuba dive to join in the fun.

All this means sustainability for Oxford BSAC.

It is important that we can capture the enthusiasm and maintain these snorkel members, especially the children and young adults, as these will be our divers of the future, our potential committee members and our up-and-coming instructors who will allow us to continue Oxford BSAC for the next 60 years.

After our successful grant application with Sport England, we encourage other branches to consider applying. With these types of grants, the accessible and affordable sport of snorkelling will have a future.

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