The BDSG issues guidance for the resumption of diving in England

On behalf of the British Diving Safety Group
21 May 2020, Embargoed until 17.00 – for immediate release

The BDSG issues guidance for the resumption of diving in England
Earlier today (Thursday 21 May 2020) the British Diving Safety Group COVID-19 team met to
discuss the resumption of recreational diving activities.

The working group has cautiously welcomed a mindful, progressive return to shore diving,
because it naturally lends itself to social distancing above the surface. It is worth noting that
below the surface divers routinely dive in full personal protective equipment (PPE).

The BDSG has today issued clear guidance for diving in England. When the devolved
Government advice changes in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the BDSG will also
amend its advice. The Republic of Ireland resumed limited diving activities on Monday 18
May, eg recreational non-training shore diving to 12 metres.

BDSG Guidance for diving in England, as of 21 May 2020

  1. You must follow the Coronavirus (COVID-19) government guidance for your
    country at all times.
  2. You must follow the normal safety protocols recommended by your training
    organisation, and any special guidance provided by them regarding COVID-19.
  3. Without any specific guidance on water sports or diving, it is the BDSG’s
    interpretation that diving is considered as an outdoor activity and as such, shore
    diving should be practical if done while following points 5 and 6.
  4. Boat diving will be inherently less practical, but some boat operators may be able
    to meet these recommendations.
  5. You can dive with one other person not from your household if you follow the
    two-metre rule while out of the water.
  6. You can dive with anyone from your household and there is no need to follow
    the two-metre rule while out of the water.
  7. If you have had symptoms or positive testing for COVID-19, consult with a doctor
    before diving, ideally a doctor specialising in diving medicine, eg UK Diving
    Medical Committee ( In any event, you should be following
    self-isolation guidelines relevant for your country if you have tested positive for
    COVID-19, came into contact with anyone tested positive or have any symptoms
    or suspect that you may have COVID-19.
  8. We strongly recommend that only experienced and fit divers return to diving at
    this stage, due to the limited capacity of the emergency services.
  9. Additional guidance and advice on the possible consequences of COVID-19 for
    diving is available from DAN Europe ( ‘COVID-19 and Diving
    Activities: 10 Safety Recommendations’).

We believe that the Scottish Government will amend their COVID-19 restrictions on 28 May
At present the BDSG COVID-19 Working Group is meeting on a weekly basis, in order to
review this guidance as the situation evolves.

BDSG Members
The members are

▪ BHA (British Hyperbaric Association)
▪ BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club)
▪ DAN Europe (Divers Alert Network)
▪ DDRC Healthcare (Diving Diseases Research Centre)
▪ Diving Ireland (Irish Underwater Council)
▪ FIDS (Federation of Inland Dive Sites)
▪ GADAP (Global Association of Diving Assistance Providers)
▪ GUE (Global Underwater Explorers)
▪ HSE Diving Inspectorate (Health & Safety)
▪ IANTD (International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers)
▪ IDEST (Inspectorate for Diving Equipment, Servicing and Testing)
▪ PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors)
▪ PBA (Professional Boatman’s Association)
▪ PSAI Europe (Professional Scuba Association International)
▪ RAID UK (Rebreather Association of International Divers)
▪ RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution)
▪ SAA (Sub Aqua Association)
▪ ScotSac (Scottish Sub Aqua Club)
▪ SITA (Scuba Industries Trade Association)
▪ SSI (Scuba Schools International)
▪ TDI / SDI (Technical Diving International / Scuba Diving International)
▪ UK DMC (Diving Medical Committee)

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