The inaugural meeting of the British Sub Aqua Club was held in London at the Waldorf Hotel on October 15th 1953. There were about 50 people present and the meeting had been arranged by Oscar Gugen and Peter Small. They had both attended a course run at Dartmouth by the retired RAF Captain Trevor Hampton AFC, who had bought some equipment made by Seibe Gorman, and had possibly made the first aqualung dive in English waters.

Gugen and Small decided that the club would be non profit making, the subscription would be 30 shillings a year, and the lower age limit would be 16. The first AGM was held in December 1953, and by then there were 100 members and three more branches, Bristol, Blackpool and Manchester.

In May last year I was diving at Vobster and noticed pins and needles in my hands afterwards which lasted for a number of days. I put this down to diving in cold water with 3mm gloves and with newly replaced and therefore tight wrist seals. However, after one of my buddies mentioned someone he knew getting a bend under similar circumstances, I phoned the Royal Navy Doctor for advice. Given the dives were mostly shallower than 10m, I was told a bend was unlikely and they would call back in a few days for a update. I was diving again the following weekend and everything was back to normal.

On the 21st March 1917 the armed merchantman S.S. Maine set sail from London's East India Docks bound for Philadelphia carrying a cargo consisting of chalk, horsehair, goatskins and fenugreek seeds to run the gauntlet of the marauding U-boat packs in the Atlantic..

She never made it out of the English Channel. On the squally, misty morning of the 23rd March 1917, under the command of Captain 'Bill' Johnston and with his First Officer on the bridge, lookouts stationed on the forecastle head and the poop, and the 12cm gun on the stern manned she was steaming on an evasive zig-zag course at about ten knots approximately thirteen miles South of Berry Head. The poor weather perhaps masked the wake of the periscope of the following U boat. Oberleutnant-zur-see Ralph Wenninger on the U-boat UC17 had spotted the Maine shortly after dawn and was shadowing her. He attacked and at 8:05am the Maine was struck on the port side level with her No.2 hold by a single torpedo.

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All information concerning contestants shall be used by Torbay BSAC and BSAC exclusively for the purposes of the Splash In Photography competition.

No information will be passed on to any third party. In particular, it will not be used or distributed for any marketing or similar purpose.

At the end of the competition all information concerning contestants – their names, addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers - will be destroyed and not retained by Torbay BSAC.

If you would like us to retain your contact details so that we send you periodic bulletins about Torbay BSAC and its activities please tick the box below to signify that you authorise Torbay BSAC to retain your name, address and contact details for that purpose.

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All contestants shall be personally liable for their own safety during and after diving. They are responsible for their own diving practices. They are responsible for ensuring that they are suitably qualified and experienced to complete the diving they plan to conduct. They are responsible for planning their dives, the timing of dives, for providing safety cover on-shore – if that is considered necessary - and for determining whether and if so where and when it is safe to dive, taking into account, wind, weather conditions, prevailing tides and navigational and all other hazards.

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On the 21st March, 1917, the S.S. Maine, a 3600 ton cargo vessel sailed for London's East India dock bound for Philadelphia with a crew of 43 under her master Capt. W. Johnston, carrying a cargo consisting mainly of horsehair, goatskins and seeds.

At 8 a.m. On the 23rd March, a damp and misty morning she was steaming at about ten knots on a zigzag course approximately thirteen miles South of Berry head. As was usual in wartime lookouts were posted on the fo'c'sle and up with the master and 1st officer keeping a sharp lookout from the bridge when, without warning the ship was hit by a torpedo on the port side in number 2 hold which blew off number 2 and 3 hatches, smashed the port gig and partially wrecked the bridge.

General Information


High and low water at Torquay on the day of the competition (Saturday 11 July 2020) will be as follows: -

Low water 04:40
High water 11:05
Low water 16:53
High water 23:10


Torbay Council operates nearly 40 car parks in Brixham, Paignton and Torquay. Details can be found at the following website: -

Charges will apply to all car parks unless otherwise stipulated by the Council.

Air fills

Air fills will be available from Torbay BSAC on the day of the competition from our compressor room on Beacon Quay, Torquay Harbour from 9:00 until 15:00. The compressor is ‘O2’ clean, but Nitrox will not be available.

There will be no charge for air fills but a donation will be warmly welcome.

Commercial air fills are available from:

The Spearfishing store, 371 Torquay Rd, Paignton TQ3 2BT, Tel: 01803 523023

Teign Dive Centre, Quay Road, Teignmouth TQ14 8ER, Tel: 01626 773965

Camera rinsing facilities 

Cameras may be rinsed at the club's Compressor Room in Torquay Harbour if required. It will not be possible to provide rinsing facilities at other sites during the day and competitors are invited to make their own arrangements as may be needed.

Owners of equipment are solely responsible for it and Torbay BSAC accepts no responsibility for loss of or damage to equipment whilst it is being rinsed in the rinsing facilities mentioned above, or kept in club facilities.


Torbay, Brixham and Paignton have no shortage of pubs, cafes and shops.
Don’t eat too much during the day as there is a Buffet meal at the evening event!

Contact information

A member of Torbay BSAC will be available to contact from 08:00 until 20:00 on the evening before the competition on the following number... 

Phone number to be confirmed

Members of the Club will also be available at the club’s compressor room at Torquay Harbour throughout the day of the competition.

Check our Facebook page for updates during the day of the competition.


Our Address

Torbay BSAC
Unit 0008
Beacon Quay