When they told me, I assumed it was a joke. I had never heard anything so stupid in all my years as a diver - and that's saying something! Whoever dreamed up the notion that four-year-olds should be allowed to train with the BSAC needs his head examined.
When I think of the dangers inherent in such a madcap scheme, my blood runs cold.
Your average unfit, overweight diver, trying to keep pace with a healthy four-year-old, will immediately succumb to cardiac arrest. Your typical branch instructor, attempting to field questions on the Gas Laws and decompression sickness from an alert, sober, inquisitive young audience, will be subjected to public humiliation.
"Mister Beazley, is it true that although the lesions caused by sub-cutaneous emphysema are usually superficial, the latest research suggests that some damage may occur to the synapses of the cerebral cortex?"
"An' Mister Beazley?"
"I need a wee wee."
The pool training will be worse still. Four-year-olds have an almost infinite degree of water confidence. They will swim underwater for hours with no artificial aids - nibbling our ankles like piranhas with milk teeth, ditching our equipment and retrieving it, rescuing and resuscitating us when we're least expecting it.
And just imagine the chaos that would ensue were we to allow pre-schoolers onto a dive site. They would all want to sit in the RIB while you humped it to the water's edge and blow raspberries with the boat pump.
Before any such wrong-headed notion is allowed to contaminate the statutes of the BSAC, the members would do well to review the strange events which occurred at the Sturminster Parva branch, back in 1973.
For it was in this sleepy Dorset market town that a small but fanatical group of anarcho-syndicalist six-year-olds managed to infiltrate the branch committee, with profound and catastrophic results.
Nine-tenths of the adults never turned up to meetings, and the remainder were too drunk to understand the proceedings. The group of six-year-olds quickly elected themselves to all the key offices in the club.
By the time the adults realised what was going on, they were the victims of a bloodless coup. The season's social programme consisted of a trip to Disneyland and group membership of the Bay City Rollers' fan club.
Little Elly Trickett, the five-year-old Equipment Officer, spent the whole year's budget on a big, red, plastic slide, a lifeguard's outfit for Barbie and a Fisher Price outboard motor (batteries not included).
And worse still, the bar served only Umbongo, and the snack menu was restricted to Hula Hoops and Marmite soldiers.
Things finally came to a head during an outing to Lulworth, when the DO sent a First Class diver home for entering the water without armbands.
In the end, the exasperated adults were compelled to employ the services of a piper, who bewitched the children with music and led them into a hollow mountain. They were never heard of again.
Although this proved to be an effective solution, it was an extremely expensive one and took an awful lot of time and effort to accomplish.
To my mind the moral is clear: children are all very well in their place (cleaning chimneys, making sports shoes in freezing cellars, etc.) but most divers take up diving to get away from their kids.
The moment we allow them into our clubs, we are doomed - physically outclassed, intellectually obsolete and technologically redundant.
So act now, or stare extinction in the face.
For more in a similar vein the book Blackford's Diving Life and Times can be ordered from Underwater World Publications, price £7.50 (tel. 0181 943 4288).