All About SISAC

Welcome to the St Ives Sub Aqua Club (Cambridgeshire) SISAC Members Forum

St Ives Sub Aqua Club (SISAC) is  part of the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC).  BSAC is recognised across the world for providing high quality diver training with the emphasis on safety, up-to-date training and on-going training all within a friendly club environment.  BSAC has something to offer beginners or experienced divers of any level.

To learn more about BSAC and BSAC training, please visit the link below:

The St Ives Sub Aqua Club (SISAC) is a nationally recognised Cambridgeshire based branch of the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC).  SISAC has been training and organising trips for local divers for over 30 years, while BSAC has been at the forefront of British diving since the early 1950s.

In 2015, SISAC celebrated its 40th anniversary.

SISAC promotional brochure (requires a pdf reader) – Want more information?  Go to the SISAC Forum

Please click on the links below to expand more information about SISAC.

What is SISAC?

SISAC has been active in the region for 40 years, and currently has around 50 members of all ages, dive grades/abilities, and varying interests in the underwater world.

The club meets every week on Sunday evenings at the Ivo Leisure Centre, St Ives, Cambs, from about 7pm. St Ives Leisure Centre.  The pool is always available for an hour from 8.15pm for club members to hone their dive skills, engage in pool activities, or have a swim.  The club also organises family fun nights throughout the year.  As a member you can use the pool to train, test your equipment or simply go for a swim.  The use of the pool is included in the membership fee.

What does if cost? This is probably the most common question.  Diving is not cheap.  If you are going to dive in the UK you will need your own equipment.  This includes a drysuit to protect you from the cold.  That said, diving in the UK can be fantastic.

Learning to dive with SISAC (through BSAC) compares favourably with other commercial diving organisations.  However, where you will benefit will be when you done your initial training and then want to do more advanced courses.

Once you have joined BSAC and SISAC all you pay for is your training materials.  The total cost for new trainees is (£238.50).  This includes the cost of joining, training and all equipment hire.  The cost for a new member who is already a diver is (£70 for those who are a current BSAC) or  £131.50 to join both BSAC and SISAC).  This fee is due annually.  BSAC offer a small discount for additional family members.  It is important to note that all members of the club are expected to be members of BSAC.

Once joined and qualified,  more advanced courses cost as little at £35 for the materials.   Hire of equipment (excluding a drysuit) is included in your first course but is charged thereafter.  Most divers prefer to buy their own equipment once qualified.  You can get advice from members of the club on buying new and second hand equipment to get you into the water.

What are the advantages of club diving over commercial organisations?  There are other advantages to joining BSAC.  You will automatically be covered by third party BSAC insurance when diving within the limits of your qualification with the club.  You will also have access to experienced divers who will help you improve your skills and diving knowledge.  More importantly, you will have access to a network of like minded people and be able to go on trips to explore the underwater world.

How long does training take?  This depends on the individual.  There are a number of classroom lessons, pool sessions and open water training.  There is also an exam.  Other commercial organisations are not as rigorous.  Divers are sometimes rushed through training under the pressure of time and finances.  Also, many other organisations no longer test diver knowledge in examination conditions.  Divers can use open book to pass at a basic level.  Very few fail!  With BSAC, divers will not gain qualifications unless they are safe, have the right depth of knowledge and ready to dive.  In BSAC you earn the qualification you cannot buy them!  The BSAC philosophy is to ensure that we train divers to cope with any conditions of circumstances they might face, this includes self-rescue and the ability to assist others.  With BSAC these skills are taught from the start, with other organisations you have to pay for them (PADI Rescue Diver).

How long does training take?  Training safely does take time.  Classroom lessons run concurrently with pool sessions and finally open water.  Realistically, the practical sessions are going to take around 10 hours (one hour equating to one session).  Students would/could expect to complete one or two sessions over a weekend.  In between time, instructors will ask students to reflect then apply what they have learnt.  Skills are repeated in each session so that they are committed to memory for when you might need them.  Learning quickly has been shown to lead to superficial not deep routed knowledge and understanding.  In other words, you forget what you were taught almost straight away.

If you are interested in learning to dive quickly for a holiday and have no interest in diving in the UK then SISAC is probably not the best way to learn to dive.  Learning to dive takes time, dedication and commitment.  Also, diving with a club will keep your dive skills sharp and up-to-date.  There is nothing worse than spending half of your holiday re-learning how to dive.!

SISAC has a minimum age limit for divers.  The club will only train divers over the age of 14 if the diver is accompanied in the water by a legal guardian or parent.  This is for safety reasons.

SISAC is a very welcoming and open club, and both already-qualified and novice divers are invited to come along and see what we can offer. Whether it’s like-minded people to enjoy an exciting sport with, for those divers already qualified; or somewhere you can safely learn new skills to take your first jump into the underwater realms, SISAC members are very happy to meet all those who share their enthusiasm and love of the watery world.

What Does SISAC Do?

SISAC is an active dive club with around 25 regular dive members.   Despite being somewhat land-locked it offers all levels of training as well as regular dive trips for divers of all levels and ability.

SISAC have over 20 fully qualified instructors to provide training for both novice and already-qualified divers looking to progress their skills and experience.  SISAC can also offer conversion courses for divers who have qualified with other agencies.

Why would dive with BSAC?  BSAC offers divers something completely different. BSAC and SISAC are no commercial organisations.  All instructors  in BSAC are volunteers.  They train club members free of charge.   Also, the cost of on-going training for club members is very competitive compared to commercial organisations.  Club members are only required to pay for BSAC training materials and their entry fees to dive sites.  The instruction is free!

BSAC also provide high quality training from the outset.  All divers are taught self sufficiency and diver rescue.  This is not the case with other organisations.  This is what makes BSAC training so respected world wide.  Divers are given the skills to be independent competent and safe in the water.

As part of the club you will have access to special development courses (either in-house or with other branches), such as first aid for divers and life saving.

Please see our Training section for more details, or contact our Training Officer for information on upcoming training schedules.

There is normally some training going on most weeks whether this is in the pool, classroom or open water.  For those more experienced or wishing to gain experience other members will buddy up with you to help build experience.

As part of the club you will have access to advice about diving, diver safety, equipment and have ready to dive buddies.

SISAC dive trips have recently included forays into Scapa Flow, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Mary Doune, and Lochaline.  This year we are running trips to Southern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Pembrokeshire as well as shorter (weekend) trips to Plymouth and Brighton.

Most dive trips we organise are suited to Sports Diver level, although we do also run trips specifically aimed at new Ocean Divers to extend their ranges of skill, and also more challenging trips aimed for those more adventurous.

Club members also make regular weekly trips to our local inland sites, Gildenburgh Water in Whittlesey, and Stoney Cove in Leicester. Both are excellent sites for training in a controlled environment; but are also fun sites to explore if you’re simply keen to get in the water. The swimming pool at the Ivo Centre is also available to members every Sunday evening to practice skills r try out new kit, and pool fun sessions are sometimes arranged for the winter months.

Aside from diving, we also include a number of social events in our calendar so that partners, family, and friends can also join in the club’s activities. An annual Christmas dinner and disco features, as well as a summer BBQ, punting evening along the Cam, and curry and bowling evenings.

Why Join SISAC? Joining a BSAC club like SISAC is one of the best ways to enjoy a very exciting and social sport, giving you a range of opportunities to extend your training and/or partake in a whole host of events and dive trips all year long. SISAC is one of the most active and respected clubs in the region. We pride ourselves on our excellent standards of training and our safety record; but more importantly, we enjoy what we do – and quite simply, that is we have fun with diving.

The benefits of joining a club are several fold: unlike learning to dive with other organisations, whereby you pay a fee per course and as part of a group undergo an intensive but brief training period, then sent on your own merry way; BSAC operates under a different structure. You pay a low-level subscription fee on an annual basis to BSAC and to SISAC, and this covers all your training – up to Advanced Diver grade – at a pace that suits each individual, on a one-on-one basis with a nationally qualified instructor.

Being part of a club means that you are able to share and learn from other divers’ experiences, and enjoy the range of diving activities and trips that we arrange. There is always something going on – somewhere to go diving, and someone to enjoy the sport or a specialised interest with. And because we operate our diving trips as a club, we are able to make group bookings and so keep our costs as low as possible, a saving that we pass on to our members. It all adds up to a very friendly, supportive environment, where the best training can be taught in a thorough and unpressured manner; and diving can be enjoyed at all levels.

Come and Meet Us
The club meets every Sunday evening at the Ivo Centre, St Ives (except bank holidays), so if you would like to see more of what SISAC gets up to, please come along and meet us. If you would like more information on SISAC, please contact our Secretary; or if you would like details on training, please contact our Training Officer. We also run a forum for our dive members where forthcoming trips and activities can be discussed – A limited overview of this site is available to non-members.

Want to Learn to Dive?
If you’re completely new to diving and would like to give it a go before committing yourself to a complete course, we offer try-dive sessions on Sunday evenings at the Ivo Leisure Centre, St Ives. £10 pp includes an hour in the pool under individual supervision with a qualified instructor, full kit hire, and a try dive certificate. Please contact our Training Officer to arrange a try-dive. We can also provide training right the way through from Ocean Diver to Advanced Diver grades – please see our Training section for more details on these, or contact the Training Officer for more information.

Already Qualified?
If you are already qualified as a diver then you are invited to come along to the club and see what we have to offer you – you don’t need to have trained with SISAC to dive with us. Whether you gained your qualifications through BSAC or PADI,SSI, IANTD or CMAS (or any other organisation), your skills will be valued and you will be able to enjoy all the benefits and activities that our current members do. We can provide full cross-over and updating training within the club if necessary, so that even if you have trained outside of BSAC or are out of practice and slightly rusty on your skills, you will be enjoying your diving in no time at all safe in the knowledge that you are fully up-to-date with the latest BSAC diving practices.

There’s a full calendar every year with trips to suit all levels of ability and all interests, so there’s bound to be something that appeals to every diver – whether that’s rusty metal portholes, or sparkly jewel-like anemones; deeper technical and rebreather diving, photography or nautical archaeology; exotic warm-water locations or adventurous trips around the UK coastline (please see our calendar for details of upcoming trips). If you wish to advance your diving or learn new specialist skills, then the opportunity is available to all members – various special development courses are run during the year, and full support is offered to those who wish to train and/or develop as an instructor.

There’s also a number of social events throughout the year so families and friends can enjoy the club too. Not only do we have the annual Christmas dinner/dance, but we have in the past run punting and BBQ evenings, curry and bowling nights, which have all proved a success.

In all, SISAC is a very active club, with a bunch of very warm, friendly, and welcoming divers – so if you’re already qualified and are simply looking for ways in which to enjoy your diving, SISAC is the perfect club to join. Simply come along to club nights on Sunday evenings at the Ivo Centre to meet us, or contact our Secretary for further details.