Monday evening, on the phone...

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Hi, is that the diving club Ive just come back from a brilliant holiday and while I was there I did a try dive, and I really, really liked it and I want to carry on diving now Ive come home so can I be a member and come diving with you, please
You get a lot of people who try diving on their holidays and then come back and ring you up saying they want to go diving at home but very few of them make it Why is that
The cost puts them off. Why, much does it cost to be a member, then How much did you say What, every year Good grief!
Thats a lot more than I expected, to be honest, but I suppose I can just afford it, and if it means I can go diving itll be well worth it. Tell me what I get for the money.
The club organises regular dive trips and Id be able to go on them and go out on the club boats and have other people to go diving with and make new friends that would help me with my diving and take me to new places to dive and do wreck dives and scenic dives all round the country and also abroad. Sounds brilliant, just what I was looking for.
Sorry, what was that Theres an extra boat fee to pay on all club dives where the boat is used What for
To cover the costs of towing, launching and running the boat out to the dive site and back. Remind me exactly what the membership fee covers, then, would you
Training. I get that for free. Well, its covered by the membership fee, to be more accurate. Now that puts things in proportion a bit, it costs quite a lot to do a course. And youd expect me to get involved and train other divers in due course Wow! Im not even a member and I cant even dive yet, but already you want me to do some of your training. You really look to the future! Anything else
An internationally recognised qualification card when I complete my training that means I can dive anywhere in the world and that shows people that Im a proper diver, and if I carry my logbook as well people will know how much diving Ive done and just how experienced a diver I am, and one dive in the UK is worth 10 dives abroad when it comes to gaining experience and people abroad really respect British divers because theyre so well trained and so good in the water. Fantastic! Anything else
The club has its own air compressor, so Ill be able to fill my cylinder for free, as often as I like. What will that save me Well, at that rate Id only need 60 or so fills a year to cover the membership fee! I think you were under-selling yourself really. Being a member is starting to sound like a bit of a bargain.
One small point, though, what exactly did you mean when you said my cylinder
I have to buy all my own gear. Dont you have any equipment for the members to use
You have some old kit donated by members thats OK to use in the pool for training, but nothing youd trust with your life on a proper dive.

THIS MAY BE A SILLY QUESTION, but if the kit isnt up to being used on a proper dive, why is it safe to use at all
It isnt really but in the pool there are usually people around who could deal with an emergency, and nobody has drowned yet. Right. So how much will a set of gear cost me
Three words. Bloody. Hell. Fire. And I need all of it before I can go on a dive, do I
Not to worry, because Jim at the local dive shop does club-members a discount and I can buy the kit as I progress through my training. How much discount 10% - is that all I got 50% off when I bought double-glazing last year, and I bought one loaf and got another free at Tesco tonight.
Yes, I know 10% is 10%, but what it really means is that Ive got to find 90%. How long does decent diving gear last
Ten to 20 years depending on how well it gets looked after and how many dives I do. Now were talking. If the cost is viewed as an investment amortised over a long period, the annual cost starts to seem very reasonable indeed.
You see, you were just alarming me unnecessarily. If I join I can already see that were going to have to make changes to the way we talk to potential new members.
What were doing at the moment is more likely to put them off than get them signed up. Now, youve mentioned training a few times but how exactly does it all work
You arent sure of the precise details of the current training programme because the syllabus changes more often than you change your underwear. I wonder if that tells me more about the training or about your personal hygiene.
Sorry, missed that. Best thing to do is come down to the pool on a training night and talk to the DO about it all. What day is it, and whats a DO
Diving Officer. Person in charge of all diving operations including training. Right. See you later in the week, then.

Thursday, at the Pool...

Cor blimey, chlorine! Straight up the nose and currently stripping the lining from my sinuses. I suppose they have to put that much in the water because the divers pee in it. I know I had to pee on my second dive, it was almost 40 minutes long, and the water was starting to feel really cold, it was only 27.
That must be the chap I spoke to on Monday night, hes got the beard and the briefcase. Hello again! Er, we spoke on the phone On Monday night You suggested I come down to a pool night and chat to people
Must be a special night for the hard of thinking. Try again.
I tried diving on holiday abroad and want to continue now I'm home You were going to introduce me to the DO so he could tell me more about the training. Ah, communication established.
Youve got a couple of people going through their initial training, and if we walk around the pool I can see what goes on and have a chat to the DO.
There they are, three of them putting their kit together. The fat guy looks like hes struggling a bit to get his gear sorted! Do you think he bought that wetsuit to try to look slimmer If he did, he wasted his money.
Hes the DO. Right. And hell probably be the one who teaches me to dive. Right. No need to mention the comment about the wetsuit to him, then, eh Hello, yes, I want to go diving with you. What does the training involve?
We start in the pool with basic skills, then move on to diving skills, also in the pool, then to open-water dives to put the training into practice, and then on to more advanced training as I gain experience and develop my diving interests. Wow! That sounds really impressive.

hspace=5 WHAT DO I DO FIRST IN THE POOL Start with basic equipment and skills and then progress at my pace through the various additional skills that Ill need to become a safe and competent diver. It sounds just excellent. How quickly can I get through the training
OK, I can see that it will make a difference how well I take to it, but I really enjoyed the try-dives and didnt find any of it scary or anything. So if it all goes according to plan how long would it take
Really? As long as that? The courses I've seen on holiday only last a few days, but what you're saying suggests I'll be lucky to do a dive before I retire. Yes, I know I'm exaggerating, and I would appreciate the time to save up to buy my kit, but will it really take all winter
I won't miss any diving because you don't dive in winter. Why not?
The sea is too unpredictable, inland sites are too cold and boring and it's too much like work and not enough like real diving, but Id be ready to go in the water next spring and then I'd have the full summer and autumn of diving, and by next winter you'd expect me to be teaching the new crop of members to dive.
So I pay you a huge sum of money to be a club-member, a sum that I will continue to pay you every year. You will then train me, initially in the pool and using secondhand, obsolescent and possibly dangerous equipment, but will expect me to spend a far greater sum to buy my own gear as the training progresses. At least I'll have plenty of time to save.
Then, possibly some time next year, you'll take me diving, but charge me more money each time. In short, I get to go diving, but it will cost me a lot.
Just about what I expected, really. Who do I pay?