Frequently Asked Questions

Instructor and Trainee Ocean Diver at NDAC Chepstow

What age can I start SCUBA training ?


You can start your SCUBA diver training within the Heads of the Valley's Sub Aqua Club at the age of 14 years old, although at this age we will need to speak to one or both parents of the student and as long as the parents are happy to go ahead and give permission for training to commence we will need a signed written consent form authorising the club to go ahead with the training.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

What does SCUBA stand for ?


SCUBA stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Jacques-Yves Cousteau. A pioneer in all underwater exploration helped develop the Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (aka SCUBA) in 1943.

Dive Cylinder

What equipment is needed for scuba diving ?


The essential equipment required for your SCUBA training is a Mask, Finns, Snorkel, Booties, a weight-belt and some weights, A BC / Stabiliser Jacket (buoyancy compensator or commonly named Stab Jacket), a cylinder or tank which contains your breathing gas and a regulator which reduces the pressure of the gas in your cylinder to the ambient or surrounding underwater pressure, this will be sufficient for your pool training, you will then need a suit to keep you warm to complete your open water training sessions.

How much will it cost ?


Scuba diving generally isn't a cheap sport and its important you are aware of that from the start.


Initially we require that you purchase a student training pack (£40 plus post and packing) and be a full member of BSAC (£56:50 per year) along with that you then have to join our club The Heads of the Valley's Sub Aqua Club (£13 per month).


In addition we request that the trainee own their own mask, fins and snorkel (£60 or so), although the club does have this equipment available on a loan basis. This is the initial outlay needed for the sheltered water training.

How deep can you dive to ?


This again will depend on the individuals qualification and experience. An entry level diver (Ocean Diver) after completing all pool skills and open water skills and dives will be allowed to dive to a max depth of 20 meters.


A Sports Diver which is the next diver grade up, once he / she has completed their training will be allowed to dive to a max depth of 35 meters.


And the next level which is a Dive Leader after completing their training will be allowed to dive to a max depth of 50 meters.

Why do people SCUBA dive ?


Red Sea Octopus

SCUBA diving is an amazing and fun sport / hobby to be invovled in. Different people from all walks of life enjoy SCUBA for many different reasons. It is like exploring another world in another dimension, to experience weightlessness and experience all the different varieties of fish, animals, plantlife and inhabitants of the underwater world is truley amazing and beautifull. Some people do it for the fun and adventure of being out on a boat and being in the water, some people like to study and admire the colourful marine life, some take underwater photography very seriously and of course there is the topic of underwater wrecks and the history and archeology that lies behind them, so there are many ares of interest for people to consider when taking up SCUBA diving.

How Long will my training take ?


Your training will depend on you, it depends on if you attend the training sessions every week and also if you attend all the lectures every week. It will also depend on how confident you are and how quick you pick the skills up, BUT don't feel rushed training takes time and our Nationally qualified Instructors will be very patient and meet your training needs and make sure your are competent in all the skills required to complete your training. In a nutshell it can take 10 weeks or longer depending on you.


Click this link to see the course syllabus - Ocean Diver Course.

What if I missed a training session ?


Firstly DONT PANICK. If you are not able to make every pool training session or even miss one of the planned lectures, we will arrange for you to play catch up. We can arrange for you to have a one to one session either in the pool or in the classroom to catch up and get back on track with your theory and practical lessons.

Already Trained


Trained Diver Kitting Up Getting Ready to Dive

We take on new members all the time from any agency and qualification. Why not come along to our pool nights for a swim and meet with other members, we have the use of the pool every Thursday night between 7.30 & 8.30pm at the Sports Centre, Ebbw Vale. We also hold our meetings later the same evening from 8.45pm at The Bridge Station House, Pont-Y-Gof, Ebbw Vale NP23 5AZ every week.


To see your equivalent BSAC qualification CLICK HERE.


You can join the club enjoy the diving and also further your knowledge, experience and qualifications.

Diver at 25 meters at the NDAC Chepstow

How long can you stay underwater for ?


This depend on several factors to be considered and of course will sometimes depend on the individual themselves. Things to consider are:- depth, breathing rate, water temp, how comfortable you are, cylinder size etc. but based on the average person with the average size cylinder to an average depth of 20 meteres you will be able to stay down at that depth for approx 35 to 40 minutes.

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