Right, lads - and ladies, of course, going to have to get used to that, no sense alienating half our potential membership before we start - if were going to be a proper club we need rules.
  Yes, I know weve managed without rules up until now, but we need a boat and a compressor and we dont have the money, so we need members and their fees. And members will expect us to take them diving, so if we dont sort things out properly at the beginning theyll get right underfoot. We need rules to make sure we, the founding divers of this club, get the priority we deserve.
  So, I suggest that Rule Number One be: The following rules do not apply to the founder-members, who can make things up to suit themselves. Is that OK with everyone here
  Good. Yes, Dave, have you got a point to make, or do you just need the toilet Only if it is the toilet Id rather you went instead of asking, given the incident on that hardboat dive out of Oban last year. You went before you came out Good. So its a suggestion, is it
  Thank you, Dave, and a very fine suggestion, in my view. We will indeed split the rules into two sections, as suggested by your good self.
  Section One: Diving Practices.
  No, I dont think calling them Safe Diving Practices would be appropriate in the circumstances. How is Tony, by the way
  Rule Number Two, or Rule Number One of our Diving Practices Section, therefore has to along the lines: Only suitably qualified and experienced divers will be allowed on club dives.
  Good point, Jim, I quite agree. Just because someone has done lots training and has lots of paper qualifications and has done a lot of diving is no reason to assume theyre any good at it, so perhaps we should have: Only suitably qualified and experienced divers - in the opinion of the founder-members - will be allowed on club dives.
  Ah yes, Jim, another good point. How about: Only suitably qualified and experienced divers - in the opinion of the founder-members - will be permitted on club dives, and only if there is space on the boat after the founder-members have been asked if they want to dive.
  It seems a bit wordy, but if were all happy well move on to Rule Number Three. Well want to go diving where and when we want to go diving, and not anywhere else, so: Club dives may be organised and run only with the express permission of the founder-members, and only if they can come along for the dive and really want to go.
  Louise Hmm. I see what you mean. Tricky, but we might get away with it if we add to Rule Three: Training dives count as club dives and must be authorised by the founder-members, but if the dive is to take place at a boring site, or at any inland site when the water is really cold, the dive may still take place even if no founder-member wishes to attend.
  Now then, what sorts of diving do we want to stop Ill put that another way. What aspects of diving can be potentially hazardous to the relative novice, and so need to be regulated in the best interests of the membership as a whole, and for the protection of individual members
  Quite right! Decompression. Rule Number Four: Deco dives may be undertaken only with the permission of the founder-member in charge of the dive, who must review a written dive plan and sign to indicate that approval has been obtained.
hspace=5   Yes, I realise that the document could form part of the evidence at the inquest if anything goes wrong, but Im sure were all experienced enough to find plausible reasons for rejecting any dive plan submitted for approval. I for one dont want to be sat on a boat heaving on the open sea while we wait for some selfish beggars to complete a long deco stop.
  Actually, Dave, against all previous experience youve come up with a second good point in the one meeting. We dont want to spend too much time looking at dive plans either, so if we add though just a minute or two of deco doesnt really count and can be ignored, we ought to have covered most situations.
  What an excellent idea, Jim, that should help with the deco issue, and reduce strain on the compressor, so for Rule Five we have: Only 10 litre cylinders may be used on club dives.
  Yes, another good point, Dave. Three in one night. Remarkable - I should go and have a lie-down.
  Rule Number Six: Air supply must be adequate for the planned dive, therefore no club dive may be undertaken with any cylinder of less than 15 litres, and twins are to be preferred. Nobody can possibly object to that.
  Yes, I know Rules Five and Six may seem contradictory, but that can be simply resolved. The thing is, well have to tell our new members what the rules are. I know, Louise, I dont like it any more than you, but if were going to keep the buggers in line were going to have to make sure they all know where they stand, so we dont have any awkward questions to answer.
  So we print the rules on a card with a note saying: If you have any questions concerning the Rules, any founder-member may give clarification on receipt of a written query accompanied by a non-refundable fee of £20, and after a reasonable consultation period.
  Thank you, Andy, I hadnt considered pony bottles, but I think if we apply Rules Five and Six rigidly there wont be an issue, and I think an additional rule would merely cause confusion.
  Rule Number Seven is a bit of a personal hobby-horse, but I do detest all those silly bits of string and inflatable balloon things, so Delayed Surface Marker Buoys and pre-deployed Surface Marker Buoys are not permitted on any club dive, and will be slashed, burnt, ground underfoot or chopped into pieces if used, and any divers using them will be tied to an object on the bottom with their own line and left to consider the consequences of their own actions as their air runs out.
  You dont feel Im being unreasonable, do you Good. My sentiments exactly. The beggars can damn well learn to navigate. We did, and we had to take turns to use the compass.
  Now, boats are as expensive as compressors, so Rule Eight needs to be: The club boat may be used only with the express permission of the founder-members.
  Jim Ah, yes, almost missed that one, no telling where we might have been if that had slipped through! Well re-word the rule to: The club boat may be used only with the express permission of the founder-members, and may be driven only by one of the founder-members.
  Jim Ah, yes, I see what you mean. We can make that: The club boat may be used only with the express permission of the founder-members, and may be driven only by a founder-member, unless conditions are so tricky that there is a chance of something going wrong, when the boat must be driven by some Johnny-come-lately who isnt very popular so the founder-members have someone to criticise and blame later. Very neat.
  Time for another of my hobby-horses. Rule Number Nine should be: Club members using the club boat must ensure that it is towed to the dive site, launched, recovered, returned to the garage and properly washed down, overseen by a founder-member, who is not to be expected to get involved with the hard work. I just cant stand those people who refuse to pull their weight.
  Thats general diving, so now we need Section Two - Training. Rule 10 is so basic, I hardly think it needs to be written down, but just for completeness sake: All training must be done by a founder-member.
  Actually, that sounds like an awful lot of work, so: All training must take place under the supervision of a founder-member would be better. We can let some enthusiastic so-and-so do the actual messing about with the novices while we go diving.
  Im sorry, Jim, I thought that would have been understood, but perhaps youre right. So well add Rule 11: Successful completion of training dives does not entitle a club-member to claim any level of qualification unless the founder-members agree that such qualification is justified.
  Thank you, Louise, a good point well made. I dont want any baby divers spoiling my precious minutes in the water, so Rule 12 seems to follow on very naturally: Novices and recently trained divers with little experience must demonstrate that they can dive safely and without annoying their buddy before being permitted to dive with a founder-member.
  Any more suggestions for rules about training No
  Oh well, we dont really want to encourage too much by way of training anyway, no sense in setting ourselves up to look daft.
  Try not to lose the beer mat with the notes on, Arthur. Anyone want another pint