I love December. Always have and hopefully always will. As we look back on the past eleven months, how many of us in the diving industry can honestly say they had a great year because they understood the market, did what was necessary to prosper and succeeded? I don’t see all of your hands going up. I saw the ones who had a good year in 2017. They were at the trade and consumer shows, either as exhibitors, attendees or support organizations. They were giving lecturers on the joys of diving and their own personal experiences. They wrote articles and books about all kinds of diving. They traveled to their favorite dive sites, whether it was their local quarry or some exotic resort destination. They were spending time with their customers keeping the excitement of diving alive. I saw them at the beach and on local boat dives. I dove with them at dive resorts in the Caribbean and the South Pacific. They were out there and they were active. Among this group, the business of diving was alive and well. And so were their customers.
I could spend hours writing about what I didn’t see and the groups and sectors who did little or nothing to promote diving, even to their customers. I could tell you about the many diving businesses that worked hard at maximizing their income while cutting back on their marketing and advertising expenditures. But in the true spirit of Christmas and the Holiday Season, in addition to my belief that every Dive Industry Leader should be more like Dale Carnegie (never criticize, condemn or complain), I will not go negative on you. Instead, I would like to focus on what can be done to support our customers, increase opportunities for them and grow the industry.
Scuba Diving is a social recreation. It all starts out because one person thinks it’s cool and goes diving. Then they get their family and friends involved. One thing leads to another and they buy their diving gear and make plans to either join a club or find an active dive store that dives a lot. I’ve noticed that people tend to first become divers if they know someone else who dives. They stay actively involved in the recreation if there are a sufficient number of planned dives and shows & events to attend. Keeping people actively involved in scuba diving is all based on activities and relationships.
I’ve been a diving Cheerleader all my life. I loved scuba diving from the first time I put my head underwater and drew breathe from a regulator. There weren’t a lot a divers back in 1967 in Connecticut. In my High School of 1,200 kids there were 2. I made it 3. Soon there were dozens. My philosophy was, “Let’s Go Diving.” If you don’t know how, I’ll teach you. If you don’t have gear, I’ll lend you one of my extra sets until you buy your own. Either way, I’m going diving every weekend, with or without you. For the next 30 years I was never without a dive buddy. Now at the age of 65 I no longer lead the charge or rally the troops from the front lines. That torch has been passed on to a younger generation. I’m content to enjoy my “Princess Diving” (warm, clear, shallow, with lots of fish) with my Best Dive Buddy while I rally the new troops from my computer (from Florida or at a Dive Resort in Saint Somewhere).
What will make scuba diving popular again? If you are already certified, go diving. Invite a friend to go with you. Get your un-certified friends to take lessons. Build your inner circle of diving buddies and go out and have fun. Find a dive store that is active. Join a club that does things. Find a Travel Agent who knows the best dive destinations. Visit our blogs, websites and social media publications to see how many diving opportunities are out there for active dive industry professionals. We’ll introduce you to who you need to know to get connected. There’s a lot of potential out there for you.
The Dive Industry Association and it’s non-profit organization, The Dive Industry Foundation, are in the business of knowing the diving industry and making recommendations to divers and non-divers alike, so they can: 1) Learn to Dive. 2) Buy their gear. 3) Go Diving. and 4) Stay Active. The Dive Industry Association does its work through business memberships and the Dive Industry Foundation does its work through donations from Industry Professionals like yourself. Help grow the diving industry and our recreation. Support these two organizations. Happy Holidays. GO Diving.
For more information, contact Gene Muchanski at firstname.lastname@example.org