"All of us, with the exception of Emmett, are divers. We understand what divers want, and what’s out there to satisfy that need"
Bristol Channel Diving Services Ltd originally started in 1995 with Maggie and Neil at the helm as an inland commercial diving contractor, working both in the UK and abroad. Neil had spent his working life previously offshore as a diver in the oil and salvage industry.
They noticed a growing trend among friends and customers; that they were asking for recreational diving kit, air, mixed gases and servicing. They found the cut-throat inshore diving industry hard going, with ever increasing demands being put on us such as ISO 9001, Investors in People etc, and decided that the best way forward was to move into the recreational market. To do this they approached the importers and manufacturers of what they felt were superior brands, Scubapro, AP Valves, Mares, Apeks and Poseidon, and off they went!
Starting, as most people do, on a small scale it soon became evident that there was a huge demand. They supplied air, nitrox and trimix from the outset as well as TDI and IANTD training. Subsequently, they moved to TDI and PSAI as our main training providers as Neil felt these offered a much more flexible and realistic approach to training. In 2002 they moved to our current location at the Timber Yard and put together a much more comprehensive diving facility. Existing in-house cylinder testing was formalised to gain approval from UKAS and IDEST, in addition to extending the range of in-house certified repairs provided for suit, BCDs and demand valves.
In 2003 they were contracted by the then owners of Tidenham Quarry to put together a diving centre, now the well known NDAC. When the original owners moved on and Darren and Kay took over, BCDS stayed on to show them the ropes before returning to the core business in Cardiff.
Where are we now? We have about 2000 square feet of space for both the workshops and the retail facility and parking is very straight forwards - right out side our door for heavy twin sets etc.
We are passionate about what we do. We are one of only 8 civilian HSE accredited diver training schools in the UK, which means we are vetted on a regular basis by the HSE to ensure we comply with their, quite rightly, high standards.
Our scope of work includes a range of customers from the diver in the local club to small MOD departments. We sit on the steering committee for IDEST, The Inspectorate for Diving Equipment and Testing, which means that we are up to date with standards and safe practice. Neil also sits on the Society for Underwater Technology Diving and Manned Submersibles committee, which again keeps us at the forefront of diving technology as its being developed.
Our latest achievements that we are very proud of are acting as the BBC Natural History Unit diving safety consultants, helping the researchers and film crews to bring us the marvel that is Blue Planet 2.
What a result - the most watched British TV show of 2017! The culmination of 6000 hours of underwater filming, 4000 cylinders filled in 39 countries, over 125 expeditions.
We also provided support and equipment for the divers involved in the Thai cave rescue.
So there you have it - we are not a sausage machine churning out divers, we are serious about what we do and what we have achieved. If we can help then please get in touch!
If you're still not sure, take a look at some our testimonials. These are from people who have been round the block once or twice and are right at the top of their game.
Meet the Team
And not forgetting Emmett