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<font color='#000080'>Hi

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]not only is St Abbs a safe location but it is ideally suited to use by entry level divers.
I agree, our club has dived st abbs often and there is a whole range of available depths from 6mtrs to 35 mtrs.

You have to be careful of the shore dives though, as people will do those even when the boats won't go out, in all sorts of shite weather.

Andy
 

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I've lost count of the number of "dive virgins" who've popped their cherries at Abbs, only problem is when folk can't recognise that big surges mean that the harbour wall is probably not the best option
 

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Great to see all the agencies acting in unison, giving St Abbs the unequivocal "thumbs up" for all grades. No one sitting on the fence - makes a welcome change.

Just a shame the corner didn't think to ask their opinion before taking evidence from the so called "expert".
 
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (John Holmes @ Nov. 11 2003,11:56)]

Great to see all the agencies acting in unison, giving St Abbs the unequivocal "thumbs up" for all grades. No one sitting on the fence - makes a welcome change.

Just a shame the coroner didn't think to ask their opinion before taking evidence from the so called "expert".
 
Amen to that, brother John. See ya in October next year! Have you done Abbs yet or will this be your 'cherry-poppy' session at the site??
 

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Having recently dived St Abbs under pretty tough conditions, I can only add my support to the agencies' and fellow YDers conclusions. Diving the harbour wall at St Abbs is not to be recommended if there's a heavy swell but there are good sheltered sites that can be dived safely by boat even when the north sea is looking choppy.
 

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<font color='#000F22'>Abbs is perfect for divers of all levels BUT

I'm getting a bit miffed with so-called Dive Leaders/DMs taking raw students in without following safe diving practices.

Abbs is usually very benign but 3-4 students per DL/DM is not acceptable even in good conditions IMHO.

I love Abbs and will no doubt be having a good old swim around there over the winter. I hope that clubs will continue to use the area and enjoy the fine diving there safely and without incident.
 

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I read this article with interest as I was diving officer of my club when we had an incident there last may. Where has the suggestion about suitability originated? I would like to know what sparked this.

I am not wholely convinced it is suitable for first time/inexperienced sea divers. I am kind of pleased that BSAC et al have issued a statement endorsing the site. There are issues with pairs surfacing too far from the shore, divers are out of site from their shore cover so some or most of the dive if circumnavigating any of the rocks and if there is an incident, evacuation is quite difficult (we were lucky as someone brought a RHIB in). These are not serious issues when dealing with experienced divers, but Abbs does attract some inexperienced people.

Paul
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Paul

I think this originated from a comment made by the RNLI, someone will correct me if I am wrong.  The comment that was made was similar to your comments about shore diving and shore cover.  Divers where not taking the sea conditions into account when planning or not planning shore diving.  Divers where going in from the harbour wall then they were unable to get out, I have heard of divers being battered against the rocks and being too exhusted to clamber out.

Fiona
 

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Actually it came from an inquest into a death there.  Some unknown "expert" gave evidence to the inquest that said that St Abbs was not a suitable site for beginners.

Suffice it to say a few people disagreed with his viewpoint!

There are lots of people on here who know more details...they can post more
 

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i love st abbs - have dived there loads, both as shore dives and off the wee boats.  I think you need to take real notice of the conditions up there.  We dived from our rib launching at eyemouth last year, and nearly didnt get back.  I was sooo glad the bloke coxing was on his local lifeboat crew, cos otherwise i think we would have been dead.  The sea picked up so quickly from flat to horrendous in under an hour.  Also i have been from amble to torness by boat, and st abbs is the worst bit of the lot!
Also a word of warning from those who know - this is from Lisa Smith, the helicopter pilot at RAF Boulmer (i know her through work)- be carefull of the currents up there.
 

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Its like anything else in life - all a matter of degree. Nowhere is totally safe - you can drown in your bath if not careful. Abbs is relatively safe (compared to other sea dive sites) provided you follow sensible dive plans and carry out proper risk based assessments. Things like:

1. Use local skippers to choose the dive site for you - they have much superior local knowledge of currents / tides etc so use them.

2. Ensure every diver not only carries an SMB but can actually use the damn thing.

3. With trainees, as Gav states, ensure a sensible ratio for the conditions.

4. PLAN THE DIVE - what happens if .....

5. Ensure you have O2 on board (again, using the St Abbs skippers will ensure this as they all carry O2 kits)

6. If the O2 kit is not your own, ensure EVERYONE knows where it is AND HOW TO USE IT

There are many more but dive planning and sensible use of local knowledge is essential and helps ensure St Abbs retains its reputation as a safe environment for new divers to develop open sea skills.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Lou @ Nov. 11 2003,15:26)]Actually it came from an inquest into a death there.  Some unknown "expert" gave evidence to the inquest that said that St Abbs was not a suitable site for beginners.
<font color='#0000FF'>However, ScotSAC diver Ian Neilson, the expert witness appointed by the Scottish Procurator Fiscal, made a series of criticisms of the dive operation. He asserted that St Abbs is not a suitable diving location for inexperienced divers and that Hawkins had been inadequately trained and supervised for the type of dive being undertaken.

Is this the unknown expert?
 

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Yep, that's him, I couldn't rememebr his name and I expected someone to provide the link.  He is unknown in that he was not a formal representative, nor well known as a diver. Whether he is an "expert" appears to be unproven.
 

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I'd say in light of the joint statement from the various agencies SSAC don't consider him as an official representative
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Lou @ Nov. 12 2003,09:50)]He is unknown in that he was not a formal representative, nor well known as a diver. Whether he is an "expert" appears to be unproven.
<font color='#0000FF'>he is well known in scotland, i am sure PK has heard of him
 
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