RAFS-AA SNIPPETS & MATTERS OF THE MOMENT
Minutes. Minutes of the Oct 10 Joint Service Sub-Aqua Diving Policy
Advisory Committee and the Oct 10 RAFS-AA Committee meetings are online at
http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafsubaqua/role/ All RAF branches are encouraged to read.
Medical Certification: The requirement for Medical Form Annex 8c to be
completed annually is still not widely understood. Details are available at
http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafsubaqua/policy/medical.cfm. All RAF Branches & SADS
are to ensure all personnel have completed Annex 8c prior to commencing sub-aqua
diving activities. A new Annex 8c is to be introduced to differentiate clearly between
the dates/validity of 1/3/5-year full diving medicals and the annual medical review.
Collective First Aid Refresher Trg. Collective first aid fresher training
similar to that given on the SADS Refresher Cse will be mandated in the next edition
of JSSADRs to be published on 1 Apr 2011. The presentation is available on the
RAFS-AA website at http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafsubaqua/training/safetytrg.cfm
Compressor Testing and Breathing Gas Standards: JSSADRs have been
amended to reflect JSP 319 requirements for breathing air to be tested in accordance
with BS 12021 and mixed gasses (nitrox/trimix) iaw BS8478. Of note, JSSADR
incorrectly states the requirement for a ‘particulate test’ rather than the actual
requirement of a ‘gaseous test’. JSSADRs will be amended idc. DSO(AT) has
acquired new gas test equipment for onsite gas testing - the Fact Air F2235.
DSO(AT) intends to issue each RAFS-AA with 20 kits; 10 will be held at the Bicester
AT Loan Pool. The Fact Air F2235 kit will include an O2 analyser and can test both
air to BS12021 and nitrox to the soon to be revised mixed gas standard. Training for
the use of this kit is available from the Fact Air website with online assessment and
certification. Certification for competent gas testers is to be made available to
DSO(AT) during Branch inspections. JSP319 will be amended shortly to include a
NATO Stock Number (NSN) to demand gas test sample cylinders; this should reduce
the cost to Unit branches.
Nitrox. Nitrox at Service AT centres, including Ascension Island, has been
tested to BS8478 standards. However, owing to the difficulty of obtaining and testing
nitrox to the exacting standards of BS 8478, Service divers can only use nitrox that is
obtained from Service AT Centres or from authorised Defence Fuels Group
suppliers. Following a national Public consultation exercise, the exacting standards
of BS 8478 are expected to be relaxed and a new BS/EU standard introduced in
Branch Inspections by DSO (AT). Some RAF branches have still not been
inspected by Diving Standards Officer (AT), Mr Nick Harrington. The mandatory
inspections are highly constructive, providing useful direction and guidance on best
practice to Branches. RAF Branches that have not been inspected are to arrange
with DSO(AT) a visit/inspection as soon as possible.
Branch Registration. The need for branches to register annually with their
single Service Association (the RAFS-AA Membership Officer) in accordance with
Joint Service Sub-Aqua Diving Regulations was re-iterated. Branches that continue
to fail to register will not be allocated any overseas expedition slots by RAFS-AA and
HQ 22 Gp will not approve JSTAFAs.
SADS Slate. OC Jt Services Sub-Aqua Diving Centre, Fort Bovisand, in
conjunction with MOD Superintendent of Diving (SoD) intends to issue a new SADS
slate in 2011.
Civilians. On behalf of the 3 single Service Associations, Chairman
JSSADPAC requested the MOD Armed Forces Adventurous Trg Committee
(AFATC) amend tri-Service regulations governing civilian participation in Service-
authorised sub-aqua diving; the request was denied. Thus, the policy for participation
of civilians on AT detailed in AP 3342 remains extant. Civilians must be included on
JSATFA and approved/authorised through WO FD(AT), HQ 22 Gp. 22 Gp approval
can be sought either annually to cover the UK diving season or for each open water
activity/exped. Justification needs to be comprehensive and related to the aim and
objectives of the expedition. Importantly, JSATFAs detailing civilians cannot be
signed-off at Stn level but require authority from 22Gp. For simplicity, therefore, it is
in Branches’ interest to justify and seek annual approval for civilian members to take
part in UK-based sub-aqua activities.
RAFS-AA Instructor Trg Events. RAFS-AA is planning to run a combined
instructor event (IFC, TIE, OWI and AI trg & examination) in Ascension Island in June
2011. RAFS-AA is also planning to arrange to UK-based IFC, TIE and PIE training
courses in 2011.
RAFS-AA Dive-In. Following the success of the 2009 & 2010 events, a
RAFS-AA ‘Dive-In’ weekend is planned for 21-25 Jul 11 at Porthkerris, Cornwall.
There are also plans to hold a ‘northern’ RAFS-AA Dive In weekend later in 2011
either at Kinloss, Lossiemouth or Capenwray.
BSAC Diving Conference: The BSAC Diving Conference will be held at the
Big Scuba Show, National Hall, Olympia in Kensington on 19-20 Feb 11.
Joint Services Diving Conference: The Joint Services Diving Conference
will become the Joint Services Diving Safety Conference. It will be held at RAF
Halton over the period 10–11 Mar 11. The Conference, organized by the RN/RM
Association, is open to all RAF divers and the wider Jt Service diving community. A
DIN will be published to provide further details. It is likely that the Conference will be
held every 2 years thereafter. A RAFS-AA Committee meeting and Annual General
Meeting will be held alongside the Conference.