ATLAM Sub Aqua Club

ATLAM Sub Aqua Club – Integral part of Malta’s Diving History

The Malta Sub Aqua Club was founded by Mr Eric Pace Bonello on the 31st March 1955.  The main aim of the Club at that time was to organise spear fishing competitions according to internationally established rules.  The competitions proved to be a great success, with the public at large closely following the progress of the competitors.  The Club participated in its first International Competition in Portugal, where it competed against 12 countries and obtained a credible 5th place.  In February 1959, it went to Monaco to represent Malta as a founder member of the “Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques”, the CMAS.  The Club now had obtained international recognition and a firm position in Europe’s largest diving organisation.

With the growing diversity of aquatic sports and the evolution of scuba diving, the general interest in spear fishing started to decline and in 1977, the Club officially started to teach scuba diving.

In 1978, the Club changed its name to ATLAM Sub Aqua Club. In accordance with Act No. XXII of 1978, the Club was not allowed to use the word Malta any more.  Later on that year, the Federation of Underwater Activities of Malta, FUAM was formed.  This national body incorporated all the Maltese Clubs whose main activity was scuba diving or free diving.

The sporting traditions of the Club are now also directed at national and international underwater photographic competitions. ATLAM is renowned for its photographic competitions, namely the Blue Dolphin of Malta Competition, the first of which was organised in 1992.  These used to be held every year and divers from all over the world came over to compete.  Sadly, the Blue Dolphin of Malta Competition has not been held for the last few years due to financial constraints.  Another annual photographic Competition is that held between ATLAM and the British Airways Sub Aqua Club.

The major strength of the Club lies in its consistent dedication to the training of divers in a rigorous, but informal, learning environment.  Every year the Club generally runs two diving programs.  It is a tribute to the Club that the standard of teaching is considered to be one of the best on the islands.  One of the aims of the Club is to teach diving, based on international recognised standards of CMAS, to promote safe diving and encourage marine life conservation.  One of the long-standing problems of the Club is the lack of permanent premises.  The Club has been forced to change premises five times in the last fifteen years.  Presently, the Club uses a government tenement in Melita Street, Valletta but construction works are underway for the club’s new premises in Bahar Ic-Caghaq. Construction works are expected to be completed in early 2011. This is a fitting tribute to the Club’s rich history and tradition.

Activities vary between the training of novice divers and other diving and social activities including shore and boat dives, night dives, charity campaigns, BBQs, photographic competitions, lectures on various topics related to scuba diving, cultural outings, Easter camping.  ATLAM has organised diving trips to foreign destinations such as the Egyptian Red Sea, Lampedusa, Cuba, South America and South Africa.

With the new premises in place ATLAM’s future is very positive and ATLAM strives to continue being an integral part of Malta’s diving community, as it has been since 1955.

Nader Bassily   -   President ATLAM Sub Aqua Club

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ATLAM Dive Club is a supporter of Sharklab (Malta) and its members regularly take part and assist in Dive Research.

Research, Raising Awareness, Making a Difference  

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