Sub-Aqua Association
Formation1976 (1976)
PurposeDiver training, services and advocacy.
HeadquartersUnited Kingdom
  • Sefton Lane , Maghull, Liverpool, L31 8BX
Region served
United Kingdom
CMAS Europe[2]

The Sub-Aqua Association or SAA is a diver training organization for scubadivers in the United Kingdom. The SAA and other UK-based diving groups have traditionally used a club-based system with unpaid instructors, while other training agencies organise most of their training programs through professional instructors and dive shops. The other major club-based diving organizations in the UK are the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and the Scottish Sub Aqua Club, and the principal non-club-based organisation is PADI.[3]


The Sub-Aqua Association was created in 1976 to represent diving clubs outside of the BSAC branch structure. Its training structure is based on the BSAC levels and offers a full range of diving qualifications.[4] The association is made up of independent clubs, while the BSAC is a single club with many branches.[5]


Sub-Aqua Association member clubs maintain their independence and individual clubs organize diving programs and instruction according to the national standards of the association.[6] The association provides regional and national support for these activities. The SAA is one of two UK affiliates to World Underwater Federation (CMAS), the international umbrella organisation for diver training organizations, and has voting rights for both CMAS Technical and Scientific Committees.[7] Application for CMAS cards (qualification or "C-cards") for divers in Great Britain is done via the SAA and its qualifications are accepted worldwide through the CMAS affiliation.

The association's training focuses on preparedness for the relatively cold and often visibility restricted waters around the UK. The SAA training also aims to be as comprehensive as possible, emphasizing rescue training very early in the programme.[8] The association exercises regulation of its membership and has disqualified divers found guilty of breaches of its safety rules.[9]

The SAA is a member of the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG),[10] CMAS Europe.[11] and the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee (JNAPC).[12] It also collaborates with other external organisations, such as the Marine Conservation Society, Seasearch,[13] and other environmental groups,[14] the media,[15] and examination boards to provide advice and expertise.[16]

The SAA also acts as an advocate for amateur divers in the UK, representing their views to government agencies and similar bodies.[17]


  1. ^ "Federations, Sub-Aqua Association". CMAS. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Members". CMAS Europe. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Follow your dream: Rockbottom". British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
  4. ^ "Sub-Aqua Association". Diver magazine. October 2001. Retrieved 21 November 2008.[dead link]
  5. ^ Intute: Social Sciences: Sub Aqua Association
  6. ^ SAA Website - Qualifications Archived 6 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ CMAS List of Affiliated Organisations
  8. ^ "C.M.A.S. Diver Training Program" (PDF). Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques. 18 January 2005. pp. 4, 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2009. 1 T 10 and 1 P 6 cover rescue.
  9. ^ "Diving club members banned". British Broadcasting Corporation. 20 January 2004. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
  10. ^ British Diving Safety Group website
  11. ^ "CMAS Europe Articles of Association, 25 June 2005" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  12. ^ "(JNAPC) Membership". Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  13. ^ "Project Partners". Seasearch. 5 October 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
  14. ^ "Concern over sea dredging licence". British Broadcasting Corporation. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
  15. ^ "Underwater gnome threat 'returns'". British Broadcasting Corporation. 14 February 2005. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
  16. ^ Roberts (October 2004). "AS/A2 Physical Education (Units 2564 & 2567) - Outdoor and Adventurous Activities: Sub Aqua Diving" (PDF). Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 June 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  17. ^ "House of Commons - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Written Evidence". United Kingdom Parliament. March 2004. Retrieved 21 November 2008.