Joining VSAC: A Guide for New Members
Updated: Feb 1, 2021
How Viking SAC works as a club?
Viking SAC is run by its members for the benefit of its members. We have a formal constitution which governs the clubs operation. There club has equipment to look after, diving to be organised, training to be arranged and social activities to join in with, so we have a committee appointed each year to oversee these crucial parts of the club operations.
The Committee is made up of volunteers, they aren’t there to do all the work. We expect all club members to join in and share their skills, time and energy.
Chairperson - Oversees the committee and invents jobs to keep them busy.
Diving Officer (DO) - In charge of all of the clubs diving and safety. Delegates to DODs (Instructors, Leading divers and experienced club divers) for individual dives. The DO must be informed of all diving activity.
Training Officer (TO) - Your contact for everything to do with training and advancement within CFT.
Treasurer - Collects subscriptions, pays the bills and organises insurance for equipment.
Equipment Officer - Maintains the clubs equipment including the two boats, Viking Warrior & Viking Raider (orange & blue coloured respectively), as well as our fixed and portable compressors. This is a busy role and helping hands are always needed.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) - The club’s public face. Manages the website & Facebook page. The PRO also leads our recruitment and is the first point of contact for most new members until they start training.
Social Officer - Organises numerous social events throughout the year including nights out and Christmas Party. Fundraising Officer Supplements the income from membership through general extortion.
Club Secretary - Keeps records of meetings, maintains the constitution, and liaises with CFT to register the club.
Training is provided by our team of highly qualified instructors and organised by the Training Officer chosen by the club members each year.
Every new member gets a mentor who can help you get the most out of the club, our facilities and ease your introduction. The first step for someone new to diving is the CMAS Diver* (‘Trainee Diver’), beginning with weekly pool sessions and lectures.
As a Diver* you are qualified to dive to 20m under supervision of an experienced diver. The next step is to become a CMAS Diver ** (‘Club Diver’) which allows you to go to 30m and lead dives yourself with other divers of the same grade.
You can also start to take specialist courses. At the Viking Sac we have many qualified instructors and are capable of training you from a complete novice to the highest level of instructor and many specialist skills in between.
Ask the Training Officer if you want to know more.
As part of your CFT membership full diving insurance is included. Please talk to a committee member to get more information or go to www.diving.ie for more information.
Diving is a very safe sport when regulated correctly. For this reason it is compulsory to have a diving medical performed by your G.P before you undergo any SCUBA Training. Your G.P will be asked to fill out a medical form and to sign and stamp your log book. The GP can keep a copy of the form for their records, your log book must be presented to the Training Officer or Diving Officer before you will allowed in the water.
Here is a list of the equipment required to get you going for the upcoming dive season.
To get you started for the pool sessions you will require the following
• Mask and Snorkel. Fit of your mask is key, like faces they vary...ask for tips and try as many as you can in the pool sessions.
• Open heel fins and wetsuit booties. Our snorkeling sessions begin in the New Year and the water is a little colder than the pool you have become accustomed to, so you will require more equipment as well as the above;
• 7mm or thicker wetsuit (try to get a real ‘semi-dry’ wetsuit –ask for help)
• Neoprene hood
• 3mm/5mm Neoprene gloves
Once you've completed your snorkeling, it is time to get down to business and get diving and see what all the hype is about, but first you will need the following equipment. The extra equipment here is in two categories: mandatory and optional/not required immediately.
• Diving cylinder - most popular size is 12L with a ‘DIN’ fitting
• A set of regulators 1 first stage, 2 second stages, a depth and pressure gauge and hose for your BCD (Again DIN is the popular choice here).
• BCD (buoyancy compensator device) this comes in a variety of styles and sizes
• Weight Belt with lead weight (have a chat with your instructor to discuss the correct amount of weight you will require).
• Dive computer or waterproof watch (Dive computer will make your diving safer & more enjoyable)
• Compass (this often comes with your pressure and depth gauge. Some dive computers have an integrated compass also).
• Life jacket for diving from the boat
Optional/Not Immediately Required
• Diving torch
• Diving knife
• Neoprene socks – if you suffer the cold put this on the mandatory list
• Dry suit – alternative to a wetsuit (basically you stay dry) but is a little more complex to use and not recommended if you are just starting
For all boat dives you MUST have a lifejacket and it must be worn at all times, it’s the law - EN 396 Lifejackets and personal buoyancy aids - Buoyancy aids 150 N - Intended for use offshore or where foul weather clothing is being worn. The lifejacket should be manual inflate not automatic.
Make sure you have a windbreaker coat and a hat as it can get very cold on the boat. Feel free to bring a flask if you think you might like a coffee or soup.
Equipment List and Approximate Costs
There are some great deals available on diving equipment both new and used on the list below you will see a link to these suppliers.
• www.divegear.ie (a buy and sell style website for used dive equipment)
• Aquaholics (Northern Ireland)
If you have any questions about any of the equipment mentioned above your instructor or any club member will gladly share their advice and experience.
Governing Bodies Explained: PADI/CMAS/CFT
In order to develop training and safety standards to an internationally recognised standard, the club is a member of CFT (Comhairle Fo Thuinn), The Irish Underwater Council.
This is in turn affiliated with CMAS (see below for more information). Many divers have come across PADI (Professional Associated of Diving Instructors). PADI and CMAS are similar bodies. The certifications we get are internationally recognised and there is even a ‘cross-over’ programme specially developed for divers trained under the PADI system.
Crossing over is simple. All that is required is a basic assessment of your skills and water fitness along with a small number of lectures. However if you feel you would like to begin again please let us know as there is no problem with running over any sections you may feel unsure about. The crucial difference for you to consider between the systems is that CFT/CMAS is not a commercially driven organisation. It is organised around supporting diving clubs.
For regular divers this makes it a lot cheaper. In particular training costs are very low because other than nominal registration fees the instruction is given free.
For more information see the sections on ‘Dive qualifications / equivalence’ and ‘Club System v Commercial System’
Dive Qualification Equivalence - 'Crossing Over'
Viking SAC is a member of the CFT (Comhairle Fo-Thuinn), The Irish Underwater Council. This is in turn affiliated with CMAS (the international governing body). Different training agencies both professional and non-commercial have different emphasis when it comes to training. If you have a diving qualification from a similarly affiliated training body or agency your qualifications will be recognised.
This is referred to as the process of ‘crossing over’. However you may have to do a few extra lectures to fill in gaps in the curriculums and some in water exercises to check fitness and skills. Nothing onerous and all in the interests of safety. For more advanced Dive Leader class levels we include coxswain certification allowing you to drive the RIBs. This would often need to be undertaken when crossing over from PADI.
We have a large number of instructors to help you cross over and increase your skills. To simplify the process and remove some of the anachronisms the grades are broken down into the following categories the categories in the table below.
Most international diving qualifications are recognised, but if your qualification and/or training agency aren’t listed in the above table, we will be happy to assess your current qualification and advise you of equivalent grade just bring along your certification and log book.
Acronyms & Buzzwords
Here is quick reference to the most commonly used acronyms and buzzwords in the diving world.
If you have any questions at all about anything mentioned above, reach out to us through our website or contact the club directly.