Organise a diving holiday
CPA doesn’t have official holidays organiser. Up to individual members. Volunteers usually highly welcomed, but can be hassle. Benefit is you get to go where you want. Also, as holidays not strictly club/committee events, doesn’t have to be club-members first, so if you’ve diving friends not in CPA, invite them along first. Can be cheaper too – some operators let you go free if, say, 12 places booked. More usual to split free place and discount each trip, but up to organiser and those going. As long as done very openly, shouldn’t cause bad feeling – bad idea to be secretive. Club can act as “bank”. Each deposit paid to club then single club cheque to tour operator. Note club will not subsidise trip. Organiser responsible for ensuring net zero balance to club. Good idea to deputise some jobs. Getting commitment can be hard. Not worth planning by committee – you’re doing legwork so just decide where & when suits you then see who else wants to go. Advise you take significant deposit cheques even before holiday booked. Makes sure the “yes” is real. Bank cheques if get enough numbers; return them if fizzles through lack of interest. Decide what style holiday is. Relaxed family one or serious diving one? Affects choice of resort, acceptable price level, time of year, and type of accommodation. Once decision to go ahead, good idea to make dates well known to avoid others trying to plan different one at same time. Finally, make sure covered for operator problems or unplanned cancellations. Can get into serious trouble if others lose money on trip you’re organising.
Prove qualifications when abroad
SAA affiliates to CMAS, so SAA qualifications recognised all over world. Make sure you take qualification logbook and medical certificate. Should be all you need. If preferred, can get a “c-card” from SAA, like credit card with photo and quals on. Means can’t lose logbook etc. If diving in deeper/more extreme conditions, very good idea to take ordinary logbook along to show experience. May help get you into better diving. Some operators insist on charging for “orientation” dives before doing serious stuff. Claim it’s to be sure you’re safe diver, but just an extra-earner scam really. Only avoidance is to get confirmation in writing before going that not needed. Little you can do once there but pay up.
Get proof of insurance cover
Some operators (especially American) may want to see proof of 3rd party insurance cover before you dive. D.O. or Secretary can give you copy of SAA indemnity certificate, renewed annually. Explains cover and terms. N.B. only valid for proper SAA members, so be sure you take proof of qualification (see “… Prove qualifications when abroad”) and medical certificate (SAA membership not valid unless medical in date). Many foreign countries have expensive health care. Can be trouble if have problems and not insured. May be refused treatment! Check you have cover, take proof with you (along with max amount payable) and keep handy whenever in risky situations.
Take sensible kit for diving abroad
Suit depends on temperatures and susceptibility to cold of course. Remember dives will be longer. Many OK to dive without suit (or just lycra) above say 27 Celsius, though longer dives need a shortie at least. Below this, at least 3mm needed. Below 24 Celsius, consider long john half of UK semi-dry. Out of season, even in Red Sea, many divers wear dry-suits though rarely essential. Take usual stab & DV if not hiring. Check dive operations has same fittings as you. Most take either international A-clamp or DIN, but some don’t do DIN and occasional German ones don’t do international. Take adapters if unsure. Computers a huge boon in tropical diving. If downloadable to PC, don’t forget may run out of log memory and lose profiles info as can easily fill up memory inside 2 days – so if have something like Aladin PC Mouse don’t forget to take it. If diving under tropical tour packages, leave UK ‘accessories’ behind. Forget goody bags, strobe beacons, DSMBs, certainly lifting bags, and even big knives in non-netted locations like Red Sea, Maldives etc. Good case for leaving gloves behind as encourages you not to touch. Exceptions are if cold, or if (as in Maldives) strong drifts and may need to hang on to rocks. Two torches a good idea only if night dives possible, else take one big bright one or don’t bother. Little ones useless in daylit tropics. Consider using foot-fins then leave boots behind too, but may still need something to protect toes rubbing raw inside fins. Possible to get ear infections in tropics. Best avoidance is to swill ears with fresh water after every dive and dry thoroughly. If known to be susceptible, take special ear-drops (e.g. Boric Acid based “Aurocaine”) to prevent “swimmer’s ear”. Don’t forget most important part of diving kit for tropical holidays is sun protection. Definitely no fun diving with sun-burn.