From its earliest days it started to grow, as groups of divers around the UK and overseas came together to form diving clubs. These clubs were formed within the BSAC and were known as Branches. This structure allowed a diver to become a member of the BSAC by joining a Branch, and it needed only 12 members to start a Branch. The number of Branches grew steadily over the years and remains in excess of one thousand.
The local nature of Branches gave divers accessible meeting points that provided all they needed to get into diving. Their local Branch could offer diving instruction toward internationally-recognised BSAC qualifications, together with a path to gaining further experience through branch-organised diving trips. Most members will also rate the social character of a BSAC Branch as a major advantage over other ways of taking up diving since it provided a means of making steady progress in good company. BSAC Branches are the foundation on which it has built its reputation. By making diving accessible and affordable the Club has helped many thousands of people each year to take up diving, many of them making it a continuing passion.
Many BSAC Branches are well equipped, with a stock of equipment for training and even their own powerful boats, giving them access to interesting and adventurous diving. They are also able to offer advanced training to the higher diving grades and advanced diving skills via Skill Development Courses organised either locally or regionally. Branch diving trips may be to an inland site for the day, coastal sites for a weekend, and increasingly to overseas venues for diving holidays. All of these offer excellent opportunities for gaining wider experience and confidence and adapting skills to the type of diving available.
Like any club, a BSAC Branch depends on its membership for its management and this allows members to participate in many ways. Those with an aptitude for teaching will find the opportunities to gain instructional experience and qualifications which can eventually involve them in a wider regional or national role. The Council Members and Officers of the BSAC are elected from Branch members who have gained experience at local and regional level. This is what makes the BSAC the club for divers… not for profit.