The Magazine for Underwater Professionals
Farewell to an unlikely character who helped to improve diving standards
It was very sad to hear of the death of Michael Cocks, after a short but very aggressive pancreatic cancer-related illness. When Michael first contacted me on the phone – not far short of 25 years ago – and then rolled into my office at Dean and Dyball Diving and Marine, I thought that he was some sort of mad Englishman. I had to ask myself, why would a sane, well-to-do, self-financed gent in his late fifties wish to take a very active interest in commercial diving, and in particular the well-being of divers?
At first I did not understand Michael’s personal mission to improve safety and become the champion for divers, but over time his regular visits to the office mellowed my initial reservations. His talks with the lads and internal self-drive got him round a lot of diving contractors and diving schools in the UK, Europe and the wider world. In doing that, he definitely became quite a knowledge base. Michael may not have achieved all that he wanted, but he certainly helped encourage the standards in diving to nudge upward. The industry is unlikely to get another character of his type for a while, that’s for sure.
With Christmas looming into site, the Association has just held its annual meeting at the NEC in Birmingham. This year the attendance was even better than last year, with just shy of 50 members and an assortment of guests in attendance on each of the two days.
Whilst some of the talk was about what has happened in the year to date, much of the discussion also focused on what might lie ahead. The Association is in a pretty good place at the moment, with membership at its highest for some years and six new member applications in process for the new year, assuming that all requirements are met. However, the big news is that an increasing number of client groups, including some councils, are now requiring ADC membership as a pre-requisite to tendering for diving work, and that can only be a good thing.
At the meeting, there were still some mixed feelings being voiced about the work prospects in the coming year. The continuing downturn in oil-related activity and the influx of personnel, laid-off from offshore activity, does not help an already over-supplied work sector with a downward looking trajectory in the medium- to long-term. Let’s hope that the long-expected increase in offshore wind farm development activity starts to make headway.
From the Secretary’s perspective, 2016 could be a busy year. The changes to the ACoP from late-2014 demand that pretty much all the Guidance and Model Format documents need to be updated and refreshed to reflect the changes. They should have been completed in 2015, but, despite being a relatively quiet year, there always seemed to be something more pressing to get on with.
Whatever you are doing during the upcoming festivities, best wishes for Christmas and may the New Year bring you all that you desire and wish for.