Club History

The Gwynedd Branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club was first established in 1959 by a group of about 6 spearfishers who wanted to be part of a formal group after an accident in the water at Porth Ysgadan.

The Club is number 71 of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC)

The group hired hard boats for diving and used an Avon inflatable with a 3 ½ HP engine.

In 1962 the Treasurer of the club absconded with the Secretary and the funds. The club was then re-formed.

In 1964 the club bought its own compressor for about £130 and this was kept at Plas Newydd, then Beaumaris Gaol. The club’s boats were kept at Ty Mawr, Anglesey. There were about 40 members.

In 1974 all the clubs equipment was kept at a member’s property in Treborth. The club then used 2 ex-MOD 17 foot aluminium assault craft powered by 40 HP Evinrude engines.

Membership increased to 70 by 1980 and a third boat - a fibreglass dory was bought with a 55 HP engine.

The Club compressor is currently an 18 CF Bristol Hamworthy. The club currently owns a 6.2M Chinook Sea Fury and has recently purchased a 6.2M Humber Ocean Pro. The boats carry GPS/Chart Plotter, side scan sonar and with linked Icom VHF as well as the usual echo sounder, flares, first aid kit and oxygen.

Over the last five decades, members of the club have been involved in a number of prestigious underwater surveys and research projects.


In the 1960’s members of Gwynedd Branch with other divers from  Flintshire Technical College, carried out the first formal and scientific underwater wreck survey in the UK. The survey was of the wreckage around Maen Mellt, a small island off Porth Iago on the north coast of the Lleyn peninsula. This was largely the remains of a small ship called the ‘Lovely’ which was wrecked there in 1806 but another ship, the ‘Royal Charter’ (not THE Royal Charter) was also wrecked at the same spot in 1881.

In the 1970’s club members formed a very strong Marine Biology group and carried out many biological surveys around the area and especially in the Menai Strait. Much of this work was published in the scientific press and members attended meetings of learned societies to present their findings.  These people were instrumental in the formation of the Underwater Conservation Society which later became the Marine Conservation Society.

In 1981, a team of professional and amateur biologists spent a week on Bardsey Island carrying out a thorough underwater survey of its coast.

Marine Archeology was another strong area of interest and members of Gwynedd Branch found, surveyed and registered the ‘Pwllfanogl wreck’ which is now a protected historic wreck. It is the remains of a slate-carrying vessel dating back to the 1500’s or 1600’s. Around the same time, Llyn Peris was drained during the construction of the ‘electric mountain’ at Llanberis. Ancient timbers from a similarly constructed wooden boat were found in the mud here and Gwynedd Branch members used their survey skills to resurrect this wreckage, this time working in thick mud rather than the water.

Club members have travelled away from the local patch over the years, the main diving destinations have been the Red Sea, Gozo and Malta, mainland Spain and the Canary Islands and closer to home – Scotland – the islands of Skye and Mull, the Oban area – and the Isle of Man – and the Skerries in southern Ireland.