The British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) has just published its Annual Diving Incident Report for 2015. This year’s report records a total of 226 incidents, which is an increase of 10 over last year. The good news, however, is that diving fatalities were the lowest in twenty years at 9.

The BSAC has monitored and reported on diving incidents since 1964, and their report contains details of diving incidents in British waters involving divers of all affiliations and nationalities, and also includes incidents occurring world-wide involving BSAC members.

Some highlights of the 2015 report include:

  • The lowest recorded figure for UK fatalities for over 20 years
  • A trend of correlation between age and medical conditions being a factor continues
  • Incidents of decompression illness continues to fall
  • There was an unusual pattern of reported incidents in spring and early summer

Brian Cumming, the BSAC Diving Incidents Advisor, commented “Most of the incidents reported within this document could have been avoided had those involved followed a few basic principles of safe diving practice.”

He hopes divers will learn from others’ mistakes. “They have had the courage and generosity to record their experiences for publication, the least that we can do is to use this information to avoid similar problems.”

The 2015 ‘Incident Year’ ran from 1st October 2014 to 30th September 2015. Nine people died in diving incidents, of which only three were BSAC members. All were over 43 years old.

To read the 2015 Diving Incidents Report, please click here.

USA Comparison

By comparison, there were 48 dive-related fatalities in the United States in 2013, 56 in 2012, and 74 in 2011 (as reported by the Divers Alert Network annual report). There are between 2.7 to 3.5 million active scuba divers in the US, according to DEMA. Based on 3 million divers and 48 fatalities, diving in the U.S. would have a fatality rate of 0.00159%.

About the BSAC

The British Sub-Aqua Club or BSAC has been recognized since 1954 by the Sports Council as the national governing body of recreational diving in the United Kingdom. The club was founded in 1953 and at its peak in the mid-1990s had over 50,000 members,  declining to over 30,000 in 2009. It operates through its associated network of around 1,100 local, independent diving clubs and around 400 diving schools worldwide.

BSAC is unusual for a diver training agency in that most BSAC instructors are volunteers, giving up their spare time to train others, unlike many other agencies, in which instructors are paid employees, or self-employed.

Given that UK waters are relatively cold and have restricted visibility, BSAC training is regarded by its members as more comprehensive than most in the U.S. The current President of BSAC is the Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. His grandfather, Philip, father, Charles, and his brother, Harry all trained with BSAC.