News & Updates November ’13

The BSAC Diving Incident Report 2013 has been released

The Annual Diving Incident Report for 2013 is now available to download from the BSAC website. Published by BSAC every year, the 2013 report recorded a total of 263 incidents throughout the UK.
The number of incidents reported this year is about 29% lower than the level of recent years and it follows the trend noted in 2012. This reduction is due to a lower number of incidents reported in the period March to June. It is believed that this was caused by the very poor weather conditions in the UK during this period resulting in a reduced amount of diving taking place. Other highlighted conclusions from the latest report include:

  • The number of fatalities of BSAC members is slightly below the average of the previous 10 years.
  • The number of fatalities of non-BSAC members is in line with the average of the previous 10 years.
  • The causal factors associated with these fatalities and other incidents are very similar to those seen over a number of years; no new causal factors have been identified.
  • Diver age and related health and fitness issues are still featuring as critical factors in this and recent years’ fatalities. The average age of the subjects of this year’s diving fatalities was 52.2. The average age of the background diving population in 2013 is 42.5.
  • Incidents of DCI continue to fall.
  • Ascent related incidents continue to reduce.
  • Incidents relating to ‘Boating & Surface’ events have dropped back to earlier levels.

The above conclusions need to be viewed in the light of a probable overall reduction in the amount of UK diving that has taken place in this period. However, as has been stated many times before, most of the incidents reported within this document could have been avoided had those involved followed a few basic principles of safe diving practice. BSAC publishes a booklet called ‘Safe Diving’ (new edition imminent) which summarises all the key elements of safe diving and is available to all, free of charge, from the http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=1019

Help us to keep diving safe – If you have been involved in or witnessed an incident, please report it – in confidence – and help us to continue to shape a safe future for diving. Whether you are BSAC or another agency, a recreational or technical diver or if the incident happened in the UK or overseas, we want to hear about it. All reports are treated in confidence and any details used in future reports will be anonymous.
You can report incidents at any time online.

RNLI scheme helps sea anglers stay safe

A new pilot scheme created by the RNLI is aiming to help keep sea anglers safe while they enjoy their sport. Last year 11 sea anglers tragically lost their lives while fishing in the UK* and the RNLI responded to over 1,200 incidents involving anglers. The RNLI is working with bait and tackle shops to pilot a Retail Ambassador Scheme, in which the charity helps the shops give their customers safety advice.
Chris Adams, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, said:

‘It is not about preventing people fishing from rocks or exposed shorelines, but helping them take the right steps to enjoy their sport safely. ’

There are some simple things that anglers can do to keep themselves safe:

–          wear a lifejacket

–          Check the weather and tides before you head out

–          Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back

–          Carry a means of calling for help

–          If you’re fishing from a boat, keep it well maintained.

*Statistics taken from the National Water Safety Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID).Download Tackle shops help the RNLI keep anglers safe

England’s bathing waters see record improvement

New figures show that almost 99 per cent of England’s bathing waters meet strict quality standards. Water quality around England’s coasts has dramatically improved since last year, new figures from Defra have revealed today. Nearly all of England’s bathing waters have met strict quality standards, with almost 99 per cent of England’s bathing waters meeting the minimum European water quality standard, and over 82 per cent, the highest ever number of bathing waters – meeting the tighter guideline standard. Environment Minister, Dan Rogerson said: “England’s bathing waters have seen record improvements, meeting the highest standard this year and we need to make sure they continue to remain of good quality. Having quality bathing water and beaches is not only good for the environment but also boosts tourism and creates a stronger local economy. From 2015 the water quality at Britain’s beaches will be measured against stricter levels. The revised EU Bathing Water Directive sets much higher water quality standards which are approximately twice as stringent as the current standards”.

Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, said: “The improvement in the quality of UK bathing waters this year is really good news, but with much stricter standards coming into force in 2015, we cannot afford to be complacent. The Environment Agency is working hard with local authorities, businesses and water companies to ensure that bathing waters meet the new standards, and the seaside tourist economy in England continues to thrive”.

Bathing water results for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are published by the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Environment Northern Ireland respectively. For more information on the Improving water quality policy go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/improving-water-quality

Bathing waters in England: 2013 compliance report

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NWSF News & Updates September ’13

BSAC’s Annual Incident Report 2013 deadline is fast approaching
The closing date for incident submissions for BSAC’s Annual Incident Report is 14th October 2013. Every year, BSAC compiles a comprehensive Annual Incident Report to aid diver safety by sharing information and allowing all divers to learn from the reports of others. The reporting year runs from 1st October to 30th September each year to fit with both the diving season and to allow compilation of the report in time for publication. It is important that all reports are submitted as soon as possible in order to be included in this year’s report and so we would remind all members to submit reports for any incidents, occurring between 1st October 2012 and 30th September 2013, by Monday 14th October. The report will be presented by BSAC’s Safety Adviser Brian Cumming at the BSAC Diving Conference at the NEC on Saturday, 26th October. Read more or report an incident: http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=1046&sectionTitle=Incident+Reporting

#SAVEWAVE: A Wave of support that put RNLI rescue stories in front of 1.8M people
The RNLI’s #SAVEWAVE campaign has been running during the summer months. A simple idea of allowing the RNLI to post stories over your Twitter/ Facebook profiles to your followers has created a campaign that reached 1.8 million people. Over the 7 week period, the RNLI posted the week’s most dramatic rescues across social media on behalf of the 6,000 strong campaign’s supporters. #SaveWave, has quickly helped build awareness of the RNLI’s lifesaving work. RNLI volunteers rescue, on average 150 people every week. See the #SAVEWAVE video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAONhO4aZXQ&feature=youtu.be
More ways to support the RNLI: http://rnli.org/howtosupportus/Pages/How-to-support-us.aspx

Before you book your next dive holiday, check out BSAC Trip Reports
Malta, Gozo, Orkney Islands and Marsa Shagra are the latest dive destinations to be covered by the BSAC Trip Reports, written and submitted by travelling divers and now available online. An invaluable port of call if you are starting to plan your next big dive trip, the reports are part of the BSAC Trip report service, which hosts hundreds of first-hand dive holiday accounts, both in the UK and worldwide. Written by BSAC members, Trip Reports provide uncensored testimonies on the best – and not so great – holiday experiences to help you make up your mind. Check out the Trip Reports section where you will also find guidance on how to submit your own holiday report.
Trip Reports: http://www.bsac.com/news.asp?itemid=13313&itemTitle=Before+you+book+your+next+dive+holiday%2C+check+out+BSAC+Trip+Reports&section=56&sectionTitle=News&month=9&year=2013

Swansea and Stirling’s elite swimming centres under threat
British Swimming has given the strongest indication yet that centres of excellence in Swansea and Stirling could lose their International Training Centre (ITC) status.
The sport suffered a £4,000,000 funding cut after winning just three of their five targeted medals at London 2012. The centres at Loughborough and Bath are believed to be safe. British Swimming has been investigating ways of reducing operating costs since suffering the funding cut. The sport had operated five ITCs in the build up to London 2012, but the one at Stockport was axed in February. Talks with representatives from both threatened centres are on-going, but those from Swansea will meet with British Swimming officials for a crucial meeting about their situation next week.
Scottish Swimming says it is working hard with British Swimming and is in constant dialogue with their counterparts over the future of the centre in Stirling. It stresses that, while the review is underway, preparations for Scottish swimmers using the facility at Stirling will not be affected and it is business as usual. Read the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/wales/23962233

MPs to debate Coastguard’s report
Westminster Hall debate: The Coastguard, Emergency towing vessels and the Maritime incident response group – Follow up. The Westminster Hall debate will be on Thursday 17th October in Westminster Hall at 13.30. The debate will discuss the Committee’s Sixth Report of Session 2012-13.
Having secured changes to the Government’s original proposals, saving some stations from closure and keeping all remaining stations as 24-hour operations, the Coastguard service report, receiving worrying information about the impact of recent reforms.
The report focuses on changes to the Coastguard Service, and draws considerable attention to the problems of; low morale and the loss of experienced staff with exemplary local knowledge – which came through station closure and amalgamation. The report will be the subject of the first debate of the afternoon, before a debate on a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news/coastguards—wh-debate/

NWSF News & Updates August ’13

England rugby star James Haskell launches RNLI Respect the Water campaign
The RNLI launched a new drowning awareness and water safety campaign – ‘Respect the Water’ – in Brighton during August. The campaign, was launched by England Rugby International and London Wasps flanker James Haskell, and was trialled throughout August in Sussex, Kent and Hampshire aiming to highlight the risks around the coast, with the long-term goal of reducing the number of incidents and fatalities. To highlight the need for the campaign, the charity has revealed some key statistics about coastal fatalities:
– Around 150 people die around the UK coast each year – that’s more than those killed in cycling accidents.
– Six times more men drown around the coast each year than women.
– Key causes of coastal drownings are rip currents; cold water shock; slips, trip and falls; alcohol and fatigue.
– Cold water shock can occur in any temperature below 15 o C. The average sea temperature in the UK is just 12o C.
The campaign, which offers key safety tips, has a particular focus on men aged 25-65, as this demographic represents the biggest number of fatalities.
Key causes of coastal fatalities in the UK are: rip currents; cold water shock; slips, trip and falls; alcohol and fatigue.
For more information and safety tips go to: http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/England-rugby-star-James-Haskell-launches-RNLI-Respect-the-Water-campaign.aspx

Calling all divers! Help compile the 2013 BSAC’s Annual Incident Report and contribute to a research project…..

BSAC’s Annual Incident Report 2013 deadline fast approaching
The closing date for incident submissions for BSAC’s Annual Incident Report is 14th October 2013.
Every year, BSAC compiles a comprehensive Annual Incident Report to aid diver safety by sharing information and allowing all divers to learn from the reports of others.
The reporting year runs from 1st October to 30th September each year to fit with both the diving season and to allow compilation of the report in time for publication. It is important that all reports are submitted as soon as possible in order to be included in this year’s report and so we would remind all members to submit reports for any incidents, occurring between 1st October 2012 and 30th September 2013, by Monday 14th October. The data provided by in BSAC’s Annual report is also used by the WAter Incident Database, and contributes to the Annual UK water related fatality reports. About WAID: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/index.asp
Incident Report Form: Copies of an electronic Incident Report Form are available for download (where you can also download copies of previous reports) Please note that all reports are treated in strictest confidence and reassurance that names and other identifying characteristics are not included in the published report.

Divers called on to help RNLI with safety research
Divers and dive instructors are being called on to help lifesaving charity the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) with important research into participation and attitudes to risk and safety in the sport by taking part in an online survey. Last year alone, 314 diving incidents were reported to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).
With the support of BSAC, the RNLI, in partnership with the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG), is asking divers and dive instructors in the UK to take ten minutes to complete an online survey, which looks at their reasons for participating in diving, how often they take to the water, preferred methods and locations, experience and training, awareness of possible hazards and use of safety measures.
The findings will be used to help the RNLI and BDSG develop tailored and relevant safety messages for the diving community, to help make the sport even safer. Launched on 27 August, the survey run for nine weeks, during which time anyone who dives in the UK – no matter how often or what level of experience, can take part. Take a few minutes of your time to support this valuable research and complete the survey at http://www.rnlidiving.substance.coop

Invitation for all Hire Boat Operators to Attend Open Forums – to improve safety
The UK’s inland waterway navigation authorities are inviting boat hire operators and other interested parties to participate in a general review of hirer safety, and especially to attend regional open forums across the UK. These are the key questions at the top of the review –
How safe is hire-boating?
What are the biggest risks?
What, if anything, should we do to reduce them?
The review, which is limited to self-drive, powered hire boats, with or without overnight accommodation, has the intention of striking an appropriate balance between the roles and responsibilities of the navigation authorities, hire operators and hirers in ensuring hirer safety.
The outcomes will influence the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) standards for hire boats, which were last reviewed in 2002, as well as ensure that safety-focused licensing conditions for hire boat operators are proportionate. By the end of the event, participants will have:
– Shared their knowledge and experience of hirer safety
– Had the opportunity to influence the BSS hire boat requirements and navigation authority hire boat licensing conditions relevant to hirer safety
– Helped to define the roles and responsibilities that the navigation authorities, hire operators and the hirers themselves have for safe boating
To find out more about the hirer safety review and, if you are a hire operator to find the link for the event booking form go to http://www.boatsafetyscheme.org/hirer-safety-review-2013 .

150 Incidents in three months: Do you know how to operate your Personal Water Craft?
In the past three months, HM Coastguard has seen an increase in the number of calls about jet skis or personal water craft (PWC). From 1st May to 1st August 2013, the number of incidents logged on HM Coastguard’s database totalled more than 150. These ranged from mechanical issues, running out of fuel or even concern that PWCs were too close to swimmers. In comparison to the same period last year (2012), HM Coastguard recorded 95 incidents. Chris Turner, HM Coastguard’s National Liaison Officer for Jet Skis and PWCs, said:
“You need to make sure you know how to operate these powerful machines. The last thing you want is to find yourself in the water after being thrown off. This is also why we always recommend that you wear a buoyancy aid and ensure you’re using a kill cord, so if you end up in the water, the engine will stop. It’s also worth taking with you a hand held VHF radio, so you can contact the Coastguard if you get into difficulty. A Personal Locator Beacon ( PLB) may be useful for more remote locations, along with mini flares and a charged mobile phone. Jet skis and PWCs have gone too fast and too close to shore. This is a concern to us as it’s putting swimmers and other beach-goers in danger. The advice is simple. Check if any bylaws are in place, stick to them and be respectful of others in the water. If you see anyone in difficulty at the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/newsandpublications/press-releases.htm?id=F6E274551527E6F7&m=8&y=2013

The 2013 RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar: “Risk research and reality: empowering local prevention” is to be held on October 17th, at The Lowry, Salford Quays.
Organised by RoSPA with the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), the RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar is recognised as the key annual multi-discipline update event for UK water safety professionals.
Opening with the introduction of the UK’s first water safety and drowning strategy, the seminar provides a mix of conference style learning updates, multiple topic tracks, and outdoor workshops – aiming to inform and resource you in your own role. For further information please contact : events@rospa.com

The closing date regarding incident submissions for BSAC’s Annual Incident Report is the 15th October 2012

Every year, BSAC compiles a comprehensive Annual Incident Report to aid diver safety by sharing information and allowing all divers to learn from the reports of others. The reporting year runs from 1st October to 30th September each year to fit with both the diving season and to allow compilation of the report in time for publication. It is important that all reports are submitted as soon as possible in order to be included in this year’s report and so we would remind all members to submit reports for any incidents, occurring between 1st October 2011 and 30th September 2012, by Monday 15th October. The report will be presented by BSAC’s Safety Adviser Brian Cumming at the BSAC Diving Conference at the NEC on Saturday, 27th October.
Copies of an electronic Incident Report Form are available for download at www.bsac.com/incidents (where you can also download copies of previous reports).
Please note that all reports are treated in strictest confidence and reassurance that names and other identifying characteristics are not included in the published report. Read more on the BSAC website… 

Divers vital contribution to the definitive Incident Report

With the UK diving season now well underway, BSAC would like to remind anyone involved in or witnessing a diving incident this year to report it. Every year BSAC produces an Incident Report, which plays a key role in helping to understand trends in diving safety. By reporting an incident to BSAC, you can help contribute to the wide-spread practice of safe diving. As the UK Governing Body, BSAC has monitored and reported on diving incidents since 1964. Providing the most comprehensive database of incidents and trends, the BSAC Incident Report has influenced the development of safe diving and training practices across all agencies. The annual report contains details of UK diving incidents occurring to divers of all affiliations, plus incidents occurring world-wide involving BSAC members. Many groups, including the MCA, RNLI and other diving organisations feed into our system but the vast majority of reports come from individuals. The findings are presented by BSAC’s Safety Adviser Brian Cumming at the BSAC Diving Conference every autumn.

Brian said he applauded the courage and generosity of divers who contributed to the report so that lessons can be learnt and hoped others would follow suit: “Divers are central to this report, and their experiences are invaluable. Whilst some people may be reluctant to report an incident or ‘near miss’, BSAC would like to reassure contributors that any details supplied will be used anonymously.”

BSAC Incident reports can be submitted online at www.bsac.com/incidentreport

Diver tracker survey

BSAC members are being invited to take part in survey to help develop a diver tracking system.
a small technology company has developed a system to track divers all the time on the sea surface, with support from the European Space Agency.
The team has developed a prototype that proves the concept. It tracks multiple objects in real time, up to 4.5km. The next stage is to consolidate results, miniaturise it, and get the system ready for a production run.
To ensure they produce a system that fulfils the needs of the diving community, they have created a survey for users.
If you wish to feed your experience into the design of a device aimed specifically at diver safety, please go to the BSAC website…

UK Water related fatalities 2010 WAID report: Reveals 420 deaths from accidents & Natural causes

There were 420 water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes across the UK in 2010.

The report, which uses the WAter Incident Database (WAID), reveals that, as in previous years, the highest number of fatalities – 217 (52 per cent) – happened in inland waters such as rivers, canals, lakes, lochs, reservoirs and ponds.

Nearly a quarter of fatalities – 94 (22 per cent) – happened at the coast or in a harbour, dock, marina or port, while an additional 73 deaths (17 per cent) happened out at sea. Twenty-four fatalities were the result of incidents in baths (including jacuzzis or hot-tubs), six in swimming pools and six in areas that are not usually watercourses, such as flooded areas. Although fatalities were spread across every day of the week and every month of the year, Saturday was the most common day and April and June the most common months for fatalities to occur.

WAID was developed by the NWSF to enable greater detail and volume in the collection of data on fatal and non-fatal drowning, other water-related deaths and injuries, and near misses. It collects incident data from a wide range of sources including the emergency services, sports governing bodies, coastguard, rescue services, coroners’ courts, and press reports. WAID was developed by NWSF members, including: national partners – British Waterways, British Sub Aqua Club, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, RoSPA and Royal Life Saving Society; sports governing bodies; and regional and local organisations, including Cornwall Council. It has been developed in partnership with the Department for Transport.

The purpose of the database is to provide a comprehensive and reliable evidence-base for risks to the public from water-related activities which can be used to inform decisions on risk acceptability, prevention and the appropriateness of risk controls and regulation. The 2010 figures and the development of WAID will be discussed at the National Water Safety Seminar in Birmingham on April 26.

The UK Water related fatalities 2010 WAID report (PDF 784kb) is available here.

HM Coastguard remind divers to stop! Beware of decompression sickness

After two divers suffered decompression sickness this afternoon following rapid ascents, HM Coastguard would like to remind all divers of the importance of regular stops as they come to the surface.

Although separate incidents, both divers were treated and had to be rushed to hyperbaric chambers. H.M Coastguard advises that dives requiring decompression stops should be planned beforehand and taken. Any diver who has missed planned decompression stops could suffer from decompression illness.

Divers are also advised to make sure they are adequately qualified and experienced for the diving they plan to undertake, with a close eye on weather and sea conditions. Their personal fitness is a top priority for safe diving and they should be familiar with new or different gear before planning deep dives. If you are operating a dive boat check do a radio check with the Coastguard before heading out tell the Coastguard your planned destination and expected return time. If one of your divers has a problem contact the Coastguard straightaway. Read more on the MCA website…

BSAC gets set to make waves

BSAC’s new marine environment pledge is to be launched at this year’s London International Dive Show. The ‘Divers Making Waves…to protect our seas’ initiative has been created to underpin BSAC’s commitment to a rolling program of marine environment activity throughout 2012, and beyond. Read more on the BSAC website…

Deadline moved for MCZ implementation

The proposed delay in Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) has been called into question. Parliament Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon MP has announced that the implementation of MCZs – dedicated marine conservation sites around the UK coastline – has been delayed until 2013. The decision behind the delay has been based on what DeFRA states to be ‘limitations in the evidence supporting the MCZ recommendations.’ It means that the public consultation will continue to the end of 2012. Read more on the BSAC website…