ChippenhamDivers Logo

'How To... Get the Most from the Club' Page

The information expressed herein should be treated as opinion. No guarantee is given or implied that any advice on the web-site is necessarily correct. Nor might it best suit other divers and clubs due to regional and personal differences. Diving is a risk sport - all advice herein should be validated with advice from your own diving club, governing body, or approved published material before being adopted.

How To...

… Get the Most from the Club

… Contact other members

Communication is key to getting the most from the club. Go to club nights regularly to find what's going on. Read newsletters when they're published. Look on the club website for latest up-to-date member phone numbers. Website also has news and upcoming social events. Go to socials whenever possible to get to know other members better. Even arrange a social yourself - great way to get yourself known (and liked) by other members.

… Ensure training is fast

Club instructors do it to help members. They are not paid, would often rather be doing other things. Trainees responsibilities:

… Pay subscriptions without hassle

Options are to pay in a lump sum up front every year, or by standing order. Much better for the club to use standing order as this means less hassle and bank charges. Usually less hassle for members too, and monthly sub payments hardly noticed compared to a single big hit straight at same time as Christmas spend. Standing order can be cancelled at anytime just with phone call to bank, so no risk.

… Involve family/friends in the club

Camp-dive expeditions in summer can be good family events as a seaside holiday not just dive expedition. Even days out (especially shore dives) are good to bring family to beach as most of time spent in company of divers apart from when actually underwater.

Beware boat diving days though as most of time spent on boat and non-divers rarely able to come out on boats too. Active involvement is even better if family enjoys it. Involvement with organising socials can be fun too. Maybe someone wants to write an article for the newsletter or the web site. Children can get lots of kudos at school from doing some sort of project around mum & dad's sport. Basically, plenty of opportunity for involvement, and often good for all involved..

… Buy Try Dives for friends

Here's a great idea. You're stuck for a present for someone: birthday, Christmas, congratulations on exam/driving test, or just "you're special" message - Buy them a try-dive. It's a unique experience, they'll love it, they'll love you for it, and the club gets a bit of extra income to boot - everyone wins. See the Diving Officer or Training Officer for more details. Or, if friends wants to try dive anyway, they can just contact us for a try-dive and pay on the night. Put the word around - it's good for the sport and good for the club. All try-divers get a Club certificate on completion.

… Get hold of Club Merchandise

If you're proud of your club, why not get a polo shirt, sweat-shirt or cap with the club logo on it? These are rare and sought after so when the opportunity arises make sure you get your hands on one. Usually club t-shirts / sweatshirts are produced for most annual club expeditions.

… Dive for profit

Sorry, you don't - not with our club. The BSAC is a strictly amateur organisation. BSAC clubs cannot dive for profit else insurance is invalidated and incidents could leave dive marshals / committee members open to serious legal charges. Professional diving (diving for personal gain) is governed by the Health and Safety Executive legislation. Special HSE recognised qualifications are required.

Beware if someone gives you money (or even favours) for recovering lost objects, freeing roped props or whatever - could be illegal. It is OK to recover costs (air, petrol, wear & tear on kit) but not make profit. If you don't like the thought of doing it for free, it is best to get a donation to club funds as then it's not for personal gain.

… Actively Contribute to the Club

… Do little things that make a big difference

… Give lectures & pool training to novices

People gave up their time to lecture you - return the favour. Take on a novice or volunteer to lecture occasionally. This helps the club but also most find it enjoyable. A big advantage to helping with training is keeping your diving knowledge current. Everyone forgets theory or gets slack on skills. Teaching others is a great way to refresh learning. Even with a perfect memory, remember that dive lectures change & new things are discovered. Lecturing keeps you up to date. Ring/e-mail the Training Officer to agree a novice to train or dates to lecture.

… Do a try-dive

Generally: safety is first naturally, but try to make big fun close second.

… Organise and run a Social Event

Socials are really important in keeping the club together, getting everyone to know everyone else, retaining members and having fun. Traditionally the club does things like skittles evenings, barbecues, nights out, 60's discos and go-karting.

Easiest ones to organise are ones that don't need booking - parties, discos, pub crawls, days out to theme parks etc.

Ones that need booking must have minimum numbers else risk losing big money. Best idea is to get commitment in form of payment up front before booking for definite. If falls through, return cheques/cash, if not, take money and if then can't make it see if can sell ticket on for them (but after all spaces filled!). Needs to be done well in advance though. Make sure bookers given either ticket or receipt else can be big arguments later. As with holidays, hard to do it by committee - just come up with good ideas and go for it.

Delegate to others in club - get them to sell event and raffle tickets to maximise income/participation. Think about pricing event tickets. Often a good idea to offer very cheap rates for children to encourage whole family participation. If enough interested, then book venues, DJs, bands etc and pay deposits. Good to include a raffle in evening events to raise a bit of extra cash. Ask around club well in advance for prize donations. Often get given bottles of booze, perfumes, chocolates, camera films, amusing trinkets etc., especially of it's not long after Christmas! If prizes looking poor, club can buy bigger prizes as long as confident raffle will make a profit.

… Run a fund raising event

Previous ideas include car boot sales, golf ball dives, public raffles, and group try-dives. New ideas are always welcome.

… Organise the Annual Christmas dinner

The Chippenham Dive Club has a Christmas Dinner every year without fail. Choose venue well in advance. Much later than June and dates start getting restrictive. Before March gives good choice. If possible pick venue that whole family can enjoy. Venues have varied. More adventurous ideas are: Mediaeval meal, riverboat meal, or a meal on steam train. All great fun.
Once venue decided, will have to book well in advance. This is one social event club takes a risk on. Club will pay deposit. Once minimum number of guests known, important then to be sure to fill places so club doesn't lose out. Nearer the day (October/November AGM a good place to start), get tickets printed and delegate ticket sales to several other members. Also traditional to have a raffle at Christmas Dinners (see end of "…Organise and run a Social Event").

… Do Committee Jobs

… Organise an AGM (or EGM)

Usually use the creche at the Olympiad for AGMs - cheap, spacious, bar for congregating before and after. Constitution says all members to be notified in writing at least a couple of weeks ahead, so either do mailshot or arrange for newsletter to come out around then. Often useful to get some idea of who will stand for posts well in advance, and fill nomination slips. Frenetic if all left to AGM itself.
Agenda very simple:

Most of interesting debate often in any other business. Make sure current secretary going to take minutes and distribute to club as final task even after handover to new secretary. Finally, before new committee disperses, best to get a date in everyone's diary to have initial committee meeting for handover - ideally with both old and new officers invited.

… Get a new committee up to speed

Each officer responsible for handing over to new officer. First committee meeting of club year a good time. Secretary to notify the BSAC of changed officers via BSAC form. Also submit new specimen signatures to the bank. Good idea at first committee meeting to go through role specs so all officers know what's expected.

… Organise an effective committee meeting

Cut down the need for phone calls by organising next date/venue at end of previous meeting while everyone together. Far more hassle if just leave it. Each officer should have own list of things to report and get agreed. At least a few days before committee meeting, Chairman should chase actions from last committee meeting so people reminded and have time to do them before meeting - helps prevent "action ongoing" syndrome. Important for all officers to keep meetings focused on aims, else degenerate on chat shops. Secretary to record key points from committee meetings in minutes: mainly agreed decisions and actions. Waste of time doing "he said, she said" minutes. Distribute to committee soon after meeting, ideally with each officer's own actions highlighted on own copy. Finally, talk to each other on club nights about how things going between meetings. If new action needed, don't wait - get views, do it in executive mode and report at next meeting. "Easier to seek forgiveness than permission". Certainly gets things moving a lot faster than committee-bound procedure.

… Make sure club annual renewals are done

Secretary renews club's BSAC memberships. One fee for club as a whole and individual fees for members. BSAC send list of existing members and qualifications to Secretary towards end of calendar year. This list to be checked and BSAC notified of changes. New members joining BSAC for first time need to have BSAC membership form submitted. NB, nobody insured to dive unless a current member of BSAC, so vital to get this all done by Jan if people diving in winter. Ideally, club subscriptions for new club year should be finalised by Jan. Only send individual BSAC membership fees for paid-up members. Never are of course, so have to take a judgement on those who definitely will pay, those who will drop out, and those who might renew with effort. Latter group should be renewed with BSAC only when subs paid. Until then, not insured to dive. Equipment officer too should check club equipment. Is it serviced and bottles in test? Is oxygen kit in test? Are boat flares out of date? Is first aid kit fully stocked? Get sorted early in year if not.

… Make sure membership is actively managed

Secretary needs to enrol new members properly: give brief explanation of responsibilities, give hand outs for training etc. Ensure membership application form fully filled in especially with emergency contact details and whether club may publish contact details. As things change like qualifications, emergency contacts, medical renewals, keep member records up to date. Club has an Excel spreadsheet with full details of members. See D.O. or Secretary for latest copy, or contact webmaster to see how to download this from secure area of website. Ideally, every now and then a mailshot should be sent out showing current details on record and asking members to update anything that's changed. On regular basis (maybe at committee meetings), review medical due dates and notify members and D.O. of any overdue ones. Keep communications good between Secretary, D.O., T.O. and Treasurer as all interlinked: can't dive without insurance so no subs = no BSAC cover = no diving. Can't dive without medical, so if no proof of current medical on record, again = no diving until sorted. If qualifications change, update club records so D.O. can sanction more advanced diving and so on.

… Make changes to the club website

At present, website only updated by webmaster. Things members might want to do include: improve the indexing for desired information not found; update or remove personal details; get a photograph added/changed; suggest additions and improvements. For now, any change request, just contact (ideally e-mail) the webmaster at


Copyright © 2007 Chippenham Diving Club - BSAC1622
Home Page Site Map Club Info UK Diving Club Contacts Top Links