Back to the Water in Spring 2021!
The end of the covid lock-down is in sight (again!) but unlike the previous iterations, this time we have a clear roadmap with (at least partially) fixed dates! So, what’s the way forward for England?
- Step 1 (29th March onwards): Based on the current guidance, open water diving of either up to 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will be allowed. However, the number and length of journeys should be limited where possible and overnight stays are not permitted.
- Step 2 (12th April onwards): non-essential retail (like the dive centre) is permitted to re-open, provided it operates in a covid-secure manner! Yea! Whilst pools will re-open for private individual swimming, pool sessions are still not permitted.
- Step 3 (17th May onwards): by this date, we should now have an update on the social distancing rules and numbers that are allowed to meet up. Currently, it is proposed that up to 30 people will be able to meet up but this could change. On the positive side, pool sessions should be able to restart and hotels, B&Bs etc. should also be allowed to re-open.
- Step 4 (21st June onwards): all remaining restrictions should be eased.
Whilst things are still all closed down, now’s a good time to break out the dive kit from the box and make sure it’s working. Is it clean and dry, or a bit mouldy and smelly?! Does it all work? Does the BCD still hold gas without leaking? Do you thermals and drysuit still fit?! Are your cylinders in test? There’s already a bit of a rush going on as people start to get ready for the 2021 season, so contact the centre and get your kit booked in now for test or service as required. It’s not been used for a while and conditions are more challenging than they were on your last dive.
Knowledge & Skills:
It’s been at least 3 full months since your last dive and the water has dropped to the chilling 4C since our last dives. A diver who is out of practice and in very cold water needs to take extra care. On the MySSI app, you should have access to all your course manuals as well as other tools to help you refresh your knowledge. In addition, we have the Scuba Skills Update, the XR Scuba Skills Update and bespoke Coaching Sessions available to help. Spend a little time thinking through your diving and being honest with yourself – where are your skills and knowledge really at? It’s a smart diver who admits to themselves that actually their skills won’t be as sharp after so many month’s lay-off, and if something “needed a little work” at the end of last year, you can be sure it still needs it now! And that 35m dive you did as a stretch-goal in November last year is now probably a step too far! Build up slowly and carefully, working out where you are today.
All of the above will need to be scheduled in amongst “life in general”. Sadly, it won’t just be the diving world that’s re-opening again; your day job might also have the cheek to expect you to start doing “normal” days/shifts! So, start the planning process now – work out where you are with respect to the two points above, and where you want to get to, and when… then get booking! Keep an eye on our Facebook page and group and if you’re planning to go somewhere, feel free to share those plans, especially if you need a buddy! Everyone’s keen to get back in the water, so the sites will be busy and planning will be key for us all.
So, there you are! It is looking like maybe the end is coming into sight. We’ve all been waiting patiently to get back into the water but let’s proceed with care, keeping a close eye on the covid rules and guidance, and with an eye on our own lack of practice to make sure 2021 is a diving season to remember for all of the right reasons!