OPERATION: DIVE LOCAL
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional
All diving is local. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Chicago, Seattle or Cozumel. The only difference is who is doing the promotion. When a Dive Store in Chicago sponsors a dive trip to the Great Lakes, that’s local diving. Same thing with a California Dive Boat taking Divers out to Catalina Island. When a group of dive resorts on Bonaire work together to identify and post 63 beach diving sites along the shores of Kralendijk, that’s local diving too. To be perfectly honest with you, there is good local diving all over the world. The fact has been with us all these years that the Heart & Soul of the diving community is “Local Diving.”
OPERATION: DIVE LOCAL is a combined industry effort of Dive Industry Professionals to promote diving to the general public and stimulate diving activity within the diving community. Dive Local uses National Magazine coverage, Regional Dive Shows and Regional Summit Conferences in addition to websites, newsletters, blogs, electronic mail, press releases and social media networks to promote local diving shows & events and local diving businesses. The focus of Dive Local is to facilitate the growth of the diving industry by helping people; 1) Learn to dive. 2) Buy diving equipment. 3) Stay active in the recreation. 4) Develop scuba diving into a sustainable recreation and life-long hobby.
Our Retail Dive Centers are the centers of their Local Diving Community. As public businesses, they are usually the first point of contact between the general public and our recreation. Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States learn to dive at dive stores every year. Dive Centers are where people learn to dive, buy their equipment, and if done correctly, stay active in the recreation.
Dive Clubs were popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. Those were the days when being “Social” actually meant something. In the past 46 years Clubs have performed a very important role in the keeping divers active. Today, non-profit organizations like the Underwater Society of America are still bringing divers together by planning local events like Underwater Hockey. If we want our recreation to survive, we need to return to the club concept and keep divers actively involved.
There is no question that Local Dive Operators do their part in keeping divers diving. And they make money at it too! Keeping Dive Operators in the public eye and publishing their individual schedules is a full time job. Promoting Dive Operators is a national industry priority.
Is teaching diving a hobby or a business? It could be either and it could be both. Scuba Instructors teach in dive stores, colleges & universities, high schools, YMCA’s, at resort destinations and independently. Getting access to a classroom, pool and open water is relatively easy and there are many ways to accomplish this. With the introduction of social media and modern marketing vehicles, advertising instructional services is easy and inexpensive. There is no reason why Scuba Instructors shouldn’t have a WordPress Blog Website, a Facebook Page and a Constant Contact email account. The only major challenge independent instructors still have is their access to reliable instructional equipment. Obtaining rental equipment to teach scuba students with is an issue that will be discussed by Dive Local Ambassadors in future DIVE LOCAL articles.
For now, let’s get Dive Stores, Dive Clubs, Dive Operators and Dive Instructors to step up to the plate and get involved in OPERATION: DIVE LOCAL. The industry will not grow without you and everyone needs to do their part.
We’ve taken the liberty of outlining the DIVE LOCAL organizational structure that we will be following. Our blog article on Dive Industry Foundation’s website defines how we will promote diving in territories and how we let everyone know how they can actively participate in the promotion. If you love diving and would like to see it grow, get involved in OPERATION: DIVE LOCAL and donate you time, money or talent to the program.
Contact: Gene Muchanski at firstname.lastname@example.org