The Magazine for Underwater Professionals
A season of change
We are going through a season of change, be it the change of season and a new year ahead, or the huge changes our country is heading towards with Brexit, or with the change of secretary in the ADC. For many years we have been very fortunate to have Roger O’Kane as our secretary, with whom I have served on the Committee. I held the posts of vice chairman and then chairman, and now as the Southern Area Committee representative.
Roger transformed the ADC into what it is today within the commercial inland/inshore diving industry. In many ways the Association is at the forefront of the inland/inshore sector as a leading light in raising professionalism and high standards within the industry, offering a helping hand to all members when needed. Much of this is down to Roger’s able guidance and direction.
We now have the well-established supervisors exam and certification scheme which has set a new standard in the level of the professional inland/ inshore diving supervisor. There are numerous guidance documents and notes assisting the contractor members. The Association was deeply involved in the revision of the HSE diving ACoPs. The ADC continues to have a very good relationship with the HSE diving inspectorate. It is now normal to see client tenders stating all companies quoting must be ADC members.
Roger retired in November and is no longer a part of the ADC, although I feel we may well call upon him for his expert advice from time to time. We have welcomed Taira Caton as our new secretary, who has an excellent career history and I am sure she will be a more than able secretary in assisting the Committee to help the ADC achieve even higher standards in the diving industry.
We should welcome this change; already we are seeing a higher profile of the ADC on social media which can only make the presence of the Association more noticeable to clients and prospective users of diving companies.
We have seen huge changes in the commercial diving industry since I started diving in 1976 and pretty well most of it has been for the better. It is a much safer industry with a wider understanding in dive teams of what is expected from them in the way diving operations are conducted. Clients now generally have a better understanding of what they should expect from a diving company providing the service to them.
As in all times of change, there are some aspects which may not be for the better; in my opinion compliance seems to be increasing to levels which are both costly to the diving contractor and to the divers themselves but may not add anything to making diving operation safer or better for the client. It seems to be in some cases just an excuse to extract more money from the contractor and from the divers. Just having a certain piece of paper or certificate does not always make the holder the best for the job.
There is a good chance the industry could well over-regulate the diving sector again at a time when following the recent HSE reviews which were designed to help it become a bit easier red tape wise for everyone, without losing the excellent safety records.
This does not bode well for our country either with Brexit looming and all that entails, when the UK has to become even more competitive and professional around the world without losing our reputation of being the best diving industry in the world.
So we move on into a new year with uncertain times ahead for our country, but I feel that the ADC is moving in the right direction in the capable hands of Taira as our new secretary. Finally, it must be said we owe a huge debt to Roger, and I think I speak for the whole industry in that we wish him all the very best in the future. Personally, it has been a great honour for myself to have worked with him on the ADC committee.
Peter Hutchison – ADC Management Committee/Medway Diving Contractors