Torbay BSAC is Branch No. 8 of the British Sub-Aqua Club, the governing body for sport diving in the UK. The branch was founded in 1954 and is currently based in Torquay Harbour, where the club has a compressor room and where the club dive boat is moored. There are currently over 40 members, of whom about 30 are full diving members. Dives are arranged on several days every week (weather permitting), including evening dives in the Summer. Trips further afield, both in the Southwest and overseas are arranged from time to time (in 2019, 14 members joined a liveaboard in the southern Red Sea). The club meets socially every Wednesday evening at the Torquay Rugby Club facilities near the seafront to arrange the week’s dives.
The club is managed on a voluntary basis by a Committee who are elected each year at the AGM, usually held around April.
Club members pay an annual BSAC membership fee (variable, depending on qualifications – see BSAC website for details), which includes the monthly SCUBA magazine. Members also pay a branch fee of £210 annually (or £18 monthly by standing order). This entitles members to join dives from the Club dive-boat and free air fills from our compressor. (There is also a per-dive fee of £10 or £5). There is a ‘Social’ membership available for those wishing to remain members of the Branch, but not participate in regular diving activities with us (£20 per year).
As well as the regular Wednesday evening meetings, the Club occasionally runs a social event (e.g. the Christmas dinner) to which partners are welcomed. Similarly, talks of general (diving-related!) interest are sometimes organised at the Wednesday meeting, and partners often find these of interest.
Since 2017, the Club has hosted “Splash-In,” a one-day underwater photography competition attracting enthusiasts from across the Southwest region. Entrants have to take their underwater photographs on that day within the Torbay area. The competition is open to anyone with an interest in underwater photography and photos can be taken while scuba diving or simply snorkelling. Prizes are awarded at a dinner and presentation event on the same evening at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club in Torquay, to which all are welcomed.
The Club owns a 27 ft hardboat ‘Torbay Diver’ (or “TD1”) which is kept in Torquay Harbour. She is equipped with standard safety equipment, including marine radio, GPS, and an oxygen set. In 2019, she was equipped with a modern depth sounder (including side-scan sonar).
The Club’s Compressor Room is located on Beacon Quay in Torquay, where you can obtain air fills for free, once you have been shown how to use the compressor.
Most of our regular dives are conducted within Torbay, notably to the SE of the harbour, where a number of dive sites are to be found around the small islands there, e.g. Thatcher Rock or the Orestone. More details can be found on our website. Most dives are on rocky reefs - there are no major wrecks remaining in the bay, although we sometimes visit the Bretagne and Emsstrom off Teignmouth, which are our closest significant wrecks at recreational diving depths.
Collecting seafood is permitted, provided you have a current Recreational Diving Permit issued by the Devon & Severn Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (apply online).
Occasionally, dives are arranged a little further afield which could involve either using a charter boat or taking TD1 down to Salcombe (where we can dive the wreck of the SS Maine, which is owned by the club). These trips may involve some extra costs.
New members wishing to learn to dive can join the Club and start training as BSAC Ocean Divers through a series of classroom lessons, pool sessions, and open water sea dives, which will be arranged locally with our qualified instructors. The training fee includes the BSAC Ocean Diver training pack (manual, logbook, and certification card) and use of scuba equipment during training (although you may want to start purchasing your own equipment as you gain knowledge). In 2019, the Club purchased 4 new scuba sets for use by trainees.
New members who are already certified divers are welcomed from all diver training agencies and will be encouraged to progress their training to the next BSAC level, although this is not a requirement.
From time to time, the Club will run specialist training courses, e.g. Boat Handling, Oxygen Administration, etc. The BSAC Southwest Region also runs specialist training courses in the local area that are open to all members.
We can also arrange ‘Try-Dives’ for prospective members or those just wishing to experience breathing underwater. These are run by experienced instructors and conducted in a shallow heated swimming pool. To cover pool hire expenses, we charge £10 per head.