Divers Code of Conduct




Before Leaving Home

Contact the nearest BSAC branch or the dive operator local to the dive site for their advice. Seek advice from them about the local conditions and regulations. If appropriate, have the correct chart and tide tables for the area to be dived.

One the Beach, River Bank or Lakeside

  • Obtain permission before diving in a harbour or estuary or in private water. Thank those responsible before you leave. Pay harbour dues.
  • Try to avoid overcrowding one site, consider other people on the beach.
  • Park sensibly. Avoid obstructing narrow approach roads. Keep off the verges. Pay parking fees and use proper car parks.
  • Don't spread yourselves and your equipment since you may upset other people. Keep launch ramps and slipways clear.
  • Please keep the peace. Don't operate a compressor within earshot of other people - or late at night.
  • Pick up litter. Close gates. Be careful about fires. Avoid any damage to land or crops.
  • Obey special instructions such as National Trust rules, local byelaws and regulations when camping and caravanning.
  • Remember divers in wet or drysuits are conspicuous and bad behavior could ban us from beaches.

In and Out on the Water

  • Mark your dive boats so that your Club can be identified easily. Unmarked boats may become suspect.
  • Ask the harbour-master or local officials where to launch your boat - and do as they say. Tell the Coastguard, or a responsible person, where you are going and tell them when you are back.
  • Stay away from buoys, pots, and pot markers. Ask local fishermen where not to dive. Avoid driving through rafts of seabirds or seal colonies etc.
  • Remember ships have not got brakes, so avoid diving in fairways, or areas of heavy surface traffic and observe the 'International Regulatations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea'.
  • Always fly the diving flag when diving, but not when on the way to or from, the dive site. Never leave a boat unattended.
  • Do not come in to bathing beaches under power. Use any special approach lanes. Do not disturb any seal or bird colonies with your boats. Watch your wash in crowded anchorages.
  • Whenever possible, divers should use a surface marker buoy.

On Conservation

  • Never use a speargun.
  • Shellfish, such as crabs and lobsters, take several years to grow to maturity; over-collecting in an area soon depletes stocks. Observer local Byelaws and restrictions on the collection of animal and plant specimens. However the BSAC recommends that you do not collect shellfish, but if you must collect, only take mature fish or shellfish and then only what you need for yourself. Never take a berried female (a female with eggs), this is stock for future years. Never sell your catch or clean it in public or on the beach and do not display your trophies.
  • Ascertain and comply with seasonal access restrictions established to protect seabirds and seals from disturbance. During the seabird breeding season (1st March - 1st August) reduce noise and speed near breeding sites. Do not approach seal breeding or haul-out sites. Do not approach dolphins or porpoises in the water.
  • Be conservation conscious. Avoid damage to weeds and the sea bed. Do not bring up sea-fans, corals, starfish or sea urchins - in one moment you can destroy years of growth.
  • Take photographs and notes - not specimens.

On Wrecks

  • Do not dive on a designated protected wreck site. These are indicated on Admiralty Charts and marked by buoys or warning notices on the shore nearby.
  • Do not lift anything which appears to be of historic significance.
  • If you do discover a wreck, pinpoint the site, do a rough survey and report it to the Nautical Archaeological Society, who will advice you.
  • If you do not lift anything from a wreck, it is not necessary to report your discovery to the Receiver of Wrecks. If you do lift anything, you must report even if you, or your branch, owns the wreck.
  • If your find is important, you may apply for it to be designated a protected site. Then you can build up a well qualified team with the right credentials and proceed with a systematic survey or excavation under licence without outside intervention.

Don't let divers down - Keep to the code of conduct

The 'Divers Code of Conduct' that is set out immediately above was developed by the BSAC many years ago, and is still relevant to all divers today. However environmental issues are of greater concern to all water users today then ever before, particularly when this Code was developed, and so during 1999 the BSAC will actively developing its environmental presence by the development of the following policies:

  • To provide education in environmental awareness, understanding and enjoyment
  • To promote Branch participation in environmental schemes and events
  • Highlight current environmental issues, and work with environmentalists on order to provide a united approach to deal with these issues
  • To further develop and update the Divers Code of Conduct





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