It took 40 years for divers to move from the "sinners" to the "saints" category of beach-users. It was not an easy transition to make.
All those years ago, for example, pot fishermen regarded divers as their deadliest rivals for the shellfish of the sea. In vain did the humble diver argue that he was not into the commercial looting of crabs and other shelled creatures, but merely liked the occasional lobster for his tea.
Such protests were brushed aside by the potters, who could have been employing a top PR firm, so good was their propaganda. "Everyone knows that divers rob pots, slashing them open with those great knives they carry – why else would they carry such fearsome weapons?"
"Divers are as black-hearted as the suits they wear, trying to deprive the poor fishermen and their families of their livelihood…" It was all tough stuff. The beach-going public accepted most of it in line with their traditional belief in the saints who went to sea in ghastly weather to bring home fish and chips for their teas.
It took years of divers recovering fishermen's lost gear and unwrapping trawls from wrecks and rocks for a truce to be called between them and the fishermen. That peace owed much to the professional fishermen who began taking out divers and finally ended up as much-admired diveboat skippers.
On the beaches, the next stage was to tell the public of the safety brought by divers to their local beaches. This was done with a "You're Safer With a Diver on the Beach" campaign, stressing the benefits of having strong-swimming divers with boats, all trained in first aid and modern life-saving techniques and ready to help in any emergency.
The result? Peace reigns today between divers and other beach- and sea-users, even though some divers still tend to spread their gear too far and wide on crowded beaches
But could we be regressing to the old days? Beachcomber is much concerned by reports from many of his Leaks of bad behaviour by divers on some of Britain's best beaches.
They may seem small affairs when taken one by one, but together they can affect the way people think of divers in the round.
Typical of many reports is this one from a South Coast Leak: "I had been watching a group of divers using the beach as a base for exploring a close-inshore wreck. This shallow wreck is often used by local clubs to introduce novices to wreck-diving. There is not much left of the ship, but the boilers always create much excitement, especially when it's the first time a novice has ever seen a wreck under water.
"Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves and there was no bad behaviour that I could see. However, when I walked along the beach to the spot the divers had used as a base, a woman said: "It's disgusting, look at the mess those dirty divers have left behind!"
"And so they had – a foul scatter of plastic cola bottles, drink cans, wrapping from sandwiches, crisp packets, chocolate silver paper, orange peel, apple cores and other debris.
"There were no beer cans, so at least they had not been drinking and diving."
My Leak is finding out where those divers came from, ready for Beachcomber to extract suitable piles of cracklies and crunchies from the culprits. If you were running that dive or are that club's diving officer, start collecting now.
Worse may follow – all divers may be banned from that private beach in the near future because of the yobby mess left on that Sunday this summer. Don't let a few divers like these turn us all back into "dirty divers".
Have you noticed that the sea around Britain has changed colour recently?
Scientists say that since 1988 our sea has gone from blue to green. Most divers will find that strange, never having found blue water under the surface around any of our coasts. In Beachcomber's experience, British seawater has always been green, with sometimes patches of very strong grey leading to black. Sissy blue seas belong to warmwater reefs. Most of Britain is surrounded by cold green and always has been.
The scientists concerned with this recoloration of our sea say that the apparent alteration is down to climate change. A great surge of green plankton into our coastal waters, borne on powerful currents from the warm waters of the tropics, have painted the sea green.
Beachcomber suggests that you do not worry unduly. It's just another of those global-warming stories which scientists, anxious for grants to continue with their pleasant seaside research, hand out to those dreadful journos, who dutifully print such tales on their inside pages whenever there is a dearth of real news.
How can you tell when a top thriller-writer was a diver, or still is, for that matter? Answer: by finding the dreaded O-word in a paragraph like this in one of his recent books:
"Clipper and Trench were both kitted out with wetsuits, with only their blacked-up faces visible. On their backs they had strapped on oxygen canisters, and they had flippers on their feet. Both of them had two thick steel hunting knives strapped to their belts, but otherwise they were unarmed..."
Stand up, Chris Ryan.
Don't feel sorry for HMS Scylla. It's true that she was sunk somewhat ignominiously, not by war or weather but as an artificial reef. But the real wreck-divers honoured her by rushing to put her in their log-books.
Some perfect diving weather saw nearly 600 divers down on the wreck in one weekend. And thousands have followed suit. So famous has it become that some not-so-real wreck-divers started writing their names on Scylla as though it was some old Tube train. That wasn't nice.
Something else wasn't too good, either. "Wreck experts" appeared on TV to declare that you couldn't read warning signs placed on the wreck to guide divers, that access holes had jagged edges on which divers would cut themselves, and that the main passage was a labyrinth, too narrow for divers to swim side by side and share air.
Which description led a veteran diver to tell Beachcomber that, for the first time, Scylla sounded like a proper wreck!
Real wreck-divers have, since then, given up their diving time to safety work on the wreck, filing down the jagged edges and cleaning up the warning notices. This has enabled the National Marine Aquarium spokesman to say that they had done as much as possible to make the wreck safe.
Now, he said, it was up to dive clubs. They were responsible for seeing that their divers didn't dive Scylla unless they were skilled enough to do so.
Which, I have to say, makes real wreck-diving sense to me.