The independent British Diving Safety Group (BDSG) held a special meeting on Thursday 21st May. The purpose of the meeting was to determine if UK diving can safely resume after numerous popular diving spots around the country were starting to see activity starting up again.
The group includes medical experts, diver training organizations, and supporting industry representatives.
The consensus of the meeting was that the infrastructure to safely support diving activity is now available and that a cautious approach to resuming diving activity can be started, focusing on shore diving only.
It is important to note that the guidance is only applicable to diving in England. When the devolved government advice changes in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, the BDSG will also amend its advice.
The Republic of Ireland had already resumed limited diving activities on Monday 18th May, for recreational, non-training shore diving to 12m.
The full guidance from the BDSG:
- You must follow the Coronavirus (COVID-19) government guidance for your country at all times.
- You must follow the normal safety protocols recommended by your training organization, and any special guidance provided by them regarding COVID-19.
- Without any specific guidance on watersports or diving, it is the BDSG’s interpretation that diving is considered as an outdoor activity and as such, shore diving should be practical if done while following points 5 and 6.
- Boat diving will be inherently less practical, but some boat operators may be able to meet these recommendations.
- You can dive with one other person not from your household if you follow the two-meter rule while out of the water.
- You can dive with anyone from your household and there is no need to follow the two-meter rule while out of the water.
- If you have had symptoms or positive testing for COVID-19, consult with a doctor before diving, ideally, a doctor specializing in diving medicine, eg UK Diving Medical Committee (www.ukdmc.org). In any event, you should be following self-isolation guidelines relevant for your country if you have tested positive for COVID-19, came into contact with anyone tested positive, or have any symptoms, or suspect that you may have COVID-19.
- We strongly recommend that only experienced and fit divers return to diving at this stage, due to the limited capacity of the emergency services.
- Additional guidance and advice on the possible consequences of COVID-19 for diving are available from DAN Europe (www.daneurope.org ‘COVID-19 and Diving Activities: 10 Safety Recommendations’).