A team of female scuba diving instructors from Bingham are challenging 100 women to take the plunge and sign up to a mass charity dive to boost women’s participation in the sport.
The scuba dive and snorkel taster event, which is being organised by British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) branch clubs from across the East Midlands, is part of the This Girl Can Campaign – a national Sport England initiative designed to encourage more women into sport.
Women and girls aged 12 and over from across the region are being invited to test the water with one of the world’s most adventurous sports while also raising money for Breast Cancer Care.
The event, which is being hosted by Bingham Sub Aqua Club (SAC) in South Nottinghamshire, on Sunday, November 27, follows last year’s successful first event in Derby which saw scores of women sampling diving for the very first time.
Rachel Quinn, event instructor and former Bingham SAC chairman, of Keyworth, said scuba diving was a positive way for women to keep healthy and increase their self-confidence while also learning new skills.
“Scuba diving obviously builds confidence because it’s quite a technical sport,” said the 45-year-old charity CEO, who learnt to scuba dive at the age of 13 back in 1985 with Bingham SAC.
“It’s not just about diving; it’s about equipment maintenance, navigation, boat handling, chart work, and first aid. The breadth of activity we undertake is massive.
“From a physical point of view, scuba diving is strength building and great for breathing as it involves a lot of cardiac activity.
“From the social point of view, it’s really good for team-working. My two daughters learnt to dive and it encouraged them to work with other people and instructors and developed their co-responsibility. They take responsibility for their own development and the wellbeing of the person they are diving with.”
The event, which is being held at Bingham Leisure Centre, where the club trains once a week, will involve a series of 30-minute introductory sessions led by female-only instructors.
BSAC clubs from across the region have come together to support the event and organisers hope to raise at least £500 from the £5 participant donation fee which will be presented to Breast Cancer Care.
As the governing body for scuba and snorkelling in the UK, BSAC represents more than 30,000 divers and 1,000 plus family friendly and sociable clubs, run by volunteers, up and down the country and abroad.
Mary Tetley, BSAC Chief Executive, said: “The beauty of scuba diving is that it can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, of all different backgrounds and ages, and we are always keen to look at ways of boosting the numbers of women in the sport.
“It’s important to us that BSAC is as diverse an organisation as possible. We have women from grassroots right up to senior positions on our committee and the contribution they give is invaluable.
“We wish Bingham Sub Aqua Club every success with their upcoming charity event and look forward to welcoming some more women into our ranks. It is set to be a great event which will show new female members just what a fantastic sport scuba diving is.”
Andrea Riley, who lives in Keyworth and is Membership Secretary for Bingham SAC, said participating clubs were hoping to recruit new club members from the taster dives.
“We usually convert a high number of people who take part in our club try dives into members, probably as much as 50 per cent,” she said.
“This is a very different event but it is obviously one of the primary aims. This is how we sustain the club system; the more members we have moving through the ranks the better. It creates sustainability for the future and it’s also important that we develop a good gender mix.
“At Bingham SAC, we have members aged 12 right up to those in their 70s who are still actively diving. There’s a good gender mix and it’s getting better.
Susan Shipley is another longstanding Bingham SAC member who will be at the event. She said: “When I first started, there were just three or four female members. We have many more than that now and we’re also seeing more female instructors; some of our female members are on the national and regional coaching teams, and are participating in this event.”
“Scuba diving has taken me to places that I would never have seen. I would encourage all women out there who want to challenge themselves and develop their fitness to try it out.”
The club has previously organised its own projects to enhance women’s experience of scuba diving. Rachel and Susan previously organised an all-women diving expedition to St Abbs in Scotland where participants were tasked with overseeing all aspects of diving including boat handling.
“There’s a tendency for girls to sometimes stand back and let the guys manage the boat,” Rachel said.
“I wanted to create an opportunity where they had to do it and feel confident about it.”
For more information about the taster session and to book a place on Sunday November 27th, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available at Bingham SAC’s Facebook and Twitter account.