Deric Ellerby, British Sub-Aqua Club
Business is buoyant in Japan for the British Sub-Aqua Club, with partners here sharing the emphasis on safety and quality of training to put the organiastion in the forefront of recreational diving. Based in Ellesmere Port, in Cheshire, the organisation was set up in 1953, employs 20 full-time administrative staff at its headquarters and first dipped its toe in the waters of the Japanese market in 1987.
BSAC initially signed a franchise contract with Peoples Co., part of the Mycal Group of firms, before BSAC Japan became fully independent in 2011.
“Despite the difficult market conditions we have maintained and increased our real market share,” said Deric Ellerby, BSAC Japan Liaison Officer and a member of the organisation since 1970. “We are dedicated to continuing this trend but are always driven by our need to maintain our standards and reputation for quality and safety.
“The royalty or licensing income is a useful alternative income source for BSAC in the UK and BSAC-trained Japanese divers further enhance our global presence and reputation,” he said. “Currently, we are probably the second or third largest diver certifier in Japan, but in terms of reputation for safety and quality we believe we occupy the number one ranking.”
The UK’s governing body for underwater activities, BSAC is a company limited by guarantee that supports more than 1,100 branches in the UK and around the world. The organisation has long enjoyed a royal patronage, with Earl Mountbatten and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh as past presidents. The Prince of Wales currently holds that title and both his sons, William and Harry, are BSAC-trained divers.
“BSAC UK is driven and developed by people who are motivated only by their passion for diving and the underwater world,” Ellerby said. “These people bring an unrivalled depth and breadth of professional skills, knowledge and experience to the constant updating of our programme, an input that would be impossible to tap on a salaried basis.”
The BSAC has used the British Embassy in Tokyo to hold annual meetings, simultaneously promoting the “British profile” of the organisation, and has enjoyed the support of the UKTI over the years, Ellerby added.
“Attending events at the Embassy gives valued prestige to our clients and strong reinforcement to our credentials,” he said, adding that a senior member of UKTI Japan gave a welcome address in both 2011 and 2012. “Since our first use of UKTI, their services have proved a very welcome enhancement and we would greatly miss the added value they provide in supporting our activities and image in the Japanese market.
“We may not be the largest British export to Japan but our presence in a very wide market place of many key, young, relatively affluent Japanese professionals undoubtedly provides a great boost to Britain’s image,” he said. “Not forgetting a further help to Britain’s balance of trade – the sale of our ‘intellectual property’ has been worth some £2 million over the years and an unquantifiable amount of positive image publicity.” And as a further statement of intent, all BSAC Japan products prominently carry a Union Jack.