Safety guidelines

The ANUSC is a keen proponent of safe diving and boating. We actively encourage all members to read and abide by the following (common-sense) practices.

Dive practices

  • Recognise the inherent risks of diving, and that this risk is accepted by each individual diver.
  • Dive to your ability, training and experience taking into account actual diving and weather conditions as well as underwater visibility and currents.
  • Dive in buddy pairs.
  • Don’t engage in dives requiring decompression unless trained and/or experienced.
  • Closely monitor air consumption and remaining air and plan to return from all dives with at least 50 bar of air in your tank.
  • Always carry a safety sausage and whistle when diving. (Club BCs have these as standard.)
  • Ascend slowly (more slowly than the smallest bubbles), and finish all dives with a safety stop (either 3 minutes at 3 metres in calm waters, or 5 minutes at 5 metres if it’s rough).
  • “Call” a dive at any time, for any reason.

This Safety Hints and Tips has good information on situations such as blue water (free) ascents, losing the anchor and omitted decompression stops.

New/inexperienced divers

  • New divers, in particular, should take great care not to exceed their level of training and experience. Ignoring this can put not just you at risk, but also your dive buddy and others around you.
  • The club is not organised and run along the same lines as the commercial operators, and you alone are entirely responsible for your own decision making.
  • New members first dives with the Club should be undertaken during daylight hours, under calm conditions, preferably a shore dive, and with a buddy agreed upon before enrolling for the dive.
  • Individual divers are responsible for ensuring they have adequate briefing of the dive site before leaving the beach, and buddy pairs should be arranged before enrolling for a dive.

More generally

Speak up. Speak up on matters of safety. When a passenger, feel free to say “please slow down” or “I think you’re too close to those rocks”. Voice your concerns. Ask questions, lots of them. If you don’t know, are unsure, or simply baffled by something, ask. You get to learn and it forces more experienced members to justify and/or re-evaluate their (largely correct) practices. Suggest alternatives to current practices. The traditional way has usually been arrived at through iteration but sometimes lateral thinking is called for. Everything is open for discussion.

Spread the knowledge. If you know, teach. Routinely urge the least experienced boat driver to take control. Don’t let others slide into roles of reliance. If you witness, experience or cause an incident or near-miss, let us know. It will become part of the recorded club history (warts and all), and hopefully help to avoid similar incidents in future. Read other member’s contributed stories.

Get (re)trained. Take a first aid course, read a boating manual, learn how to use the club oxygen kit, consider signing up with the Diver’s Alert Network, do (or better yet, organise) a “Stress and Rescue” course.

Excessive speed is dangerous. Actual diving is relatively safe; we are more likely to suffer a car accident driving to the coast or a boating accident in getting to the dive site. Speed is a factor. When towing (at a very minimum) observe the speed limit. Slow down on rough roads or in poor conditions. Be gentle. Don’t tailgate. Check your load. On the water, keep the speed down. Strive to make the trip comfortable for all unless safety dictates otherwise, e.g., crossing a bar. Five minutes saved getting to and from a dive site isn’t worth the concomitant discomfort of other passengers. This doesn’t preclude a good “hoon” under glassy surface conditions.

Incident / near-miss reporting

We care about your safety and would like to know of any incidents or near-miss that happens during a club activity so that we can prevent them from happening in future. Please see the incidents page for more details including stories of past incidents.

The ANUSC Safety Management System (SMS)

NSW Legislative requirements state suggest the ANUSC should implement a Safety Management System (“SMS”). See the SMS page for more details.

Remember, safety is your responsibility.