Today, Prince William marked his first day as the President of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) by diving into an open air pool in London, all decked out in scuba gear. Along with him was Prince Charles, who didn’t participate in the water sports, but watched from the sidelines.
The Duke of Cambridge took over the Presidency of BSAC from his father, the Prince of Wales, in May. Prince Charles in turn took over from his father, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1974, making William the third generation of royalty to hold the position.
At the Oasis Sports Centre near Covent Garden, Prince William donned his mask, air cylinder, fins and other snorkelling apparatus, before swimming to the bottom of pool along with a group of six children, who were having snorkelling lessons at the moment. William jokingly announced a race. “Let’s race, let’s do it,” he said. “Give me a lead start.” Unfortunately, the Prince only finished in joint second place.
Meanwhile, Prince Charles, who had been the President of BSAC for the past 40 years, said: “I’m delighted that my eldest son is taking over from me.” He spoke to children about their love for the water, and also spent some time learning about BSAC’s underwater litter pick campaign, its part in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and their interactive sessions designed to teach children about marine life.
Prince Charles is no stranger to the sport himself, having dived in the Arctic. He also dived down to the wreck of the sunken Tudor warship Mary Rose before it was salvaged in 1982. Prince William too would frequently scuba dive in Anglesey, and has visited such exotic locations as Seychelles and the Maldives, which offer excellent snorkelling opportunities.
Later Prince William spoke to members of BSAC and the assembled guests, saying: “It’s a great honour to be here with my father and accept the presidency of the British Sub-Aqua Club, continuing that from my grandfather as well.”
William added: “I hope that one day my son George might follow in our footsteps. For the moment bath time is quite painful, but I imagine as he gets a little bit older, donning a mask and snorkel might calm him down.”
The Chairman of BSAC, Eugene Farrell, spoke of his pleasure about the Duke’s appointment. “We look forward to working closely with The Duke to inspire a new generation of young scuba divers and snorkelers and to discover the rich adventures and opportunities of the underwater world which we all have a shared interest in preserving and protecting.”
The British Sub-Aqua Club is the leading club for scuba diving in the UK. The provide internationally recognised diver training through 120 dive centres and more than a thousand family friendly clubs, run by volunteers, both in the UK and overseas. Both the Duke of Cambridge and his wife Catherine learned to scuba dive with BSAC.
Before leaving, Prince William was presented with a T-shirt with a seal in snorkelling gear for Prince George. It won’t be long now before the 11 month-old Prince, who was gifted a collection of water gear while in Australia, takes to the water himself.
Later in the day, the Duke and his brother, Prince Harry, will hold a reception at Buckingham Palace to launch The Queen’s Young Leaders Program.
Photo credit: Government House NZ/Woolfe/Crown