Newsletter January 2019

Chairman’s Letter

Happy New Year everybody and welcome to the start of yet another year of diving with Branch 5; could be as rasper!  We are barely two weeks into the New Year, but already the pace is picking up with the Annual Tug-o-War against the Lifeboat crew on New Year’s Day.  This led to our inevitable defeat though managed to raise something just short of £500 (for the RNLI) and certainly served to raise the profile of the club.  Since then there have been a welter of quarry dives as members train and prepare themselves for the sea.  Obviously, the Dive Calendar is not yet complete but the following provide a snapshot of what will be on offer and is by no means complete, here goes:

  • 19/20th. January 2019 – Stoney Cove, Sports Diver transition dives to 35 meters
  • 10/17th. May 2019 – Malta with Divewise/Techwise
  • 8/9th. June 2019 – Liverpool Bay
  • 14/17th.Jube 2019 – Pembroke with Archaeological Nautical Society diving the Abbercastle
  • 29th. June – 6th. July 2019 – Rosas, Spain with Fleet Divers.
  • 12/14th. July 2019 – Farnes
  • 26/27th. July 2019 – Anglesey (diving SS Durbant)
  • 24/31st. August 2019 – Red Sea
  • 20/22nd. September 2019 – Oban

And just too wet you appetite even further, I am looking to run a full trip to Scapa Flow in  2020 and for those with deep pockets Truk Lagoon in 2021….watch this space.

Turning to equipment, the club has just purchased three Apex training DV’s complete with ‘octo’ regulators.  Towards the back end of last year we also bought a new Lawrence Chart Plotter/Sonar combo to replace the one on the Viking which was found to be full of water.  As a matter of some urgency both boats and the club compressor will be serviced in readiness for the new season.

Training needs continue, specifically Skill Development Courses (Accelerated Decompression Procedure, Chart work) have featured quite heavily in the last three months and will be followed by Compressor Operations, Mixed Gas Blending, Boat Handling and Rescue Management during the coming months.

On the social front I am looking to arrange ‘The Major’s Late, Late Easter Bash’ on Saturday,27th. April 2019.  At the moment I have neither decided on a venue or whether to run it in combination with something else, such as a clay pigeon shoot, go-karting or ‘Ghetto’ Golf at the old Cain’s Brewery in Liverpool.  In addition, I can tell you that Dave and Robbie Edwards are hoping to run a full blown BBQ at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club during the summer and are presently liaising with the caterers.  Also by popular demand this year’s annual dinner will be a similar format at the same venue as last year.  Again we are negotiating over the date, although it is bound to be sometime around mid-November. Just to let you know the annual dinner raised £900 and the Late, Later Xmas Bash £260 for the club, thanks for your support.

One of the things to come out of the club’s AGM in November was an agreement between you the committee that we would put forward a submission for the Heinke Trophy (BSAC’s prestigious award for the most outstanding Branch).  Now the application is retrospective, in other words for the current year, so it is important that we all work towards this goal, which means collecting photographs and short reports and forwarding them to our co-ordinator John Rice.  He has recently taken on the mantle of Communications Officer and is very aware of the need to raise our profile, particularly through community engagement.  One of the things he has organised through Facebook is a ‘Try Dive Bang’ which will be ‘splashed’ across the ether and entice punters to a Try Dive event at Guinea Gap on the 31st. January 2019.  I am sure you will appreciate that this may well attract a bevy of new members and also, most importantly, some great publicity. This could then be extremely helpful and used to support any future application for Sports Council money etc.

As you are probably aware the ‘bold’ Chris Mills has taken over the responsibilities for developing our website and he now sends you the following missive:

          ‘Over the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to tidy up the existing website, updating out of date details as well as trying to get details of recent events published. Mainly to show visitors that the club is active as well as to pass on details to club members who may have missed them.

 I have now installed an events calendar on the site with links to most of the up and coming events I can find details for. I really need help with this going forward if it’s going to be useful. If anyone plans an event; diving, training, social or anything else could they please send me some details. Ideally a few words on the event, dates, organiser details and if possible, a photo or two relating to the event. (Basically, the details that would normally go on the sheets that are put on the notice boards) I will add this to the events list and calendar on the site. If this could be followed up with a very short report following the event, again with a photo or two this would also be appreciated.

I’m more than happy to take any updates for the site in any format; paper, disk, memory stick etc but have also set up an email address for anyone who wishes to send them electronically. The address is

Going forward I’m looking at updating the look and feel of the site. This is a spare time project so is likely to take a few weeks to complete. During this time there is likely to periods, hopefully short ones, where the site will be offline or not work as it should. Apologies in advance for this and many thanks for any help you can give with content for the site’.

That’s it folks and not before time I hear you say, but there is really a good deal going on which I wouldn’t like you to miss.  Safe diving.

Alan Jones

Newsletter October 2018

Chairman’s Letter

Just tell me folks where has this year gone and here I am yet another year younger! So, what is on the Agenda? Well firstly there is the AGM on Thursdays, 22th. November 2018, which is a week later than usual due to the Dinner Dance having been put back a week. Our Equipment Officer, John Dunne is standing down this time round and there is also a new position of ‘Communication Officer’ up for grabs which will be advertised together with a job description within the next week. With regard to Tony Fitzpatrick, he has completed three years as Diving Officer and would normally stand down, however, due to the 2016 AGM being delayed until the February and meant he did not get a full year, he is now able to serve an extra year (Article 3 (b) of our Constitution). Of course, you should not forget that anybody can ‘throw their hat in the ring’ and challenge the present incumbents.’ up for grabs which will be advertised together with a job description within the next week. With regard to Tony Fitzpatrick, he has completed three years as Diving Officer and would normally stand down, however, due to the 2016 AGM being delayed until the February and meant he did not get a full year, he is now able to serve an extra year (Article 3 (b) of our Constitution). Of course, you should not forget that anybody can ‘throw their hat in the ring’ and challenge the present incumbents.

Speaking of the annual Dinner Dance, this is being held on Saturday, 17th. November 2018, at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club. So, what we have is the same venue and a similar format to last year, however, this year you will be dancing to ‘The Forty Thieves’ which is a fourpiece band that plays all usual the disco anthems that everybody gets up to and comes highly recommended. The down side is that we have had to raise the price from £38 to £40, but in fairness this is the first increase in quite a few years and you are getting a band. All the usual forms can be found on the club Notice board and tickets purchased from behind the bar.

As you are aware, the club has been looking to extend its footprint out into the rear car park, albeit that the Council are less than happy with our proposals. Accordingly, the committee has agreed to ‘Plan B’ and extend just the interior of the club, specifically knocking through into what used to be the kit store and redeveloping the bar area. I would hope that by the time of the AGM we will be able to present a detailed overview of the plans and a definite timetable for the work.

During the winter period we will be taking stock of all the club equipment and preparing a schedule for repair/replacement, testing and servicing. In fact, recently several of the club bottles have failed pressure testing, while some of the training regulators have seen better days. Accordingly, if anybody has any ‘gash’ kit they would like to donate to the club we can offer it a good home. Also, has anybody got any small pool fins they no longer use and where have all the weights gone from behind the bar? Can we have them back please?

Regarding training, Chris Woods and Steve Mills have already set in motion a series of lectures for up and coming Dive Leaders and Advanced Divers (they begin on Thursday, 4th. October 2018, usual place, usual time). In addition, ‘Stevie Mac’ is currently running, arguably the most important SDC you will ever do, namely buoyancy and trim. This will be followed over the weekend of the 3rd./4th. November with an Accelerated Decompression course run by Alistair Reynolds. We had also hoped to do include a Chartwork SDC in the current programme, however, with so much going on this will have to wait until the New Year.

That’s it folks, safe diving and I do hope to see you all in the near future.

Alan Jones