EDITORIAL – AUGUST 2022
We Need A Better Reason To Go Diving.
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional
Welcome to the August 2022 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional. I’m in the process of getting ready for another dive trip and thought I would take a break from my packing to get our August Editorial finished before we go. Hopefully by the time you read this, our team will either be still diving the Sea of Cortez or have just recently returned home. Like any other dive trip, our reasons for going on this trip were varied. We wanted to dive someplace we never dove before. We heard great things about Dora Sierra’s Liveaboard, the Rocio Del Mar, and we heard about the great diving in the Sea of Cortez. The thought of diving with Sea Lions and Whale Sharks again was enough to make us look forward to the trip, but what got us most excited was photographing and videotaping the experience ourselves. After seeing Dora’s video on Diving the Sea of Cortez – Midriff Islands, Dana and I both said, “We Have to Go!”
Within a week’s time, we were all booked and scheduled for the trip. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the importance of deciding what we were going to do on the trip. The big question that millions of scuba divers ask themselves all the time, is Why are we doing this? Why do we dive? Being a certified diver for 55 years now, I have always actively worked at keeping my diving activity fun and meaningful. For many years, just diving and exploring was good enough. Diving new sites and seeing new things was always fun and gratifying. Then, teaching classes at all levels and focusing on giving my students good diving experiences occupied 20 years of my career. That was rewarding too. And speaking of rewarding, the diving I did in the U.S. Navy and the Naval Reserves for 24 years, was very special and memorable. The twenty years I spent diving and testing new equipment after that, got me into tinkering and experiencing new types of diving and new diving equipment. I have to say, I always had a reason to go diving then. But for me, when I started capturing my experiences on film and video and then writing about and publishing my diving adventures, it gave me new meaning and purpose to go back again and again. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s the educator in me, but going out and capturing a diving adventure and then sharing it with my diving and non-diving friends, is very rewarding. And the search for new content is never ending. I guess that is my new purpose. My new reason for diving. And it’s insatiable.
So, how do you take this concept and make it work for you? If you are a Dive Industry Professional, it may put a spark, or maybe even a new direction in your diving career. If you are a certified diver and enjoy diving as a hobby, it will definitely give you more reasons to get back in the water as often as you can. Keep in mind that your reason to dive is a personal one. Every person has their own reasons to dive. Find your reasons based on what makes you happy.
For some people, diving is an end in itself. They get certified, buy their gear and go diving. It’s a recreation. It’s fun. For some people, diving is a means to an end. They love to take underwater pictures or video. To do that you need diving equipment. Same thing with Wreck Diving and Cave Diving. If we put on our thinking-caps, I’m sure we can come up with a slew of other underwater activities that require the use of scuba diving equipment. Marine Conservation, Mermaiding, Underwater Modeling?
I bring this topic up for a few reasons. A few years ago, I spoke with a person in the Yachting business. He told me that if fishing ever became illegal, the boating industry would cease to exist. Whether he was right or wrong, his opinion was that not enough people buy expensive boats to just go boating. Most big yachts like Viking and Hatteras are purchased by people to go fishing. Think about that. My question is if underwater photography and videography became illegal, would the scuba diving industry die? How about if Dive Travel became outlawed permanently, how would that affect our industry? To put it into a clearer perspective, instead of thinking about activities becoming illegal, what if just the number of participants decreased by a significant number? If divers lost their interest in underwater photography and travel, how would that affect our industry and specifically, your business?
So, ask yourself, Is underwater photography to the diving industry what fishing is to the boating industry? If it is, then it would make sense to expand the Image Resource Centers at trade and consumer dive shows many times over. If a large percentage of activity is concentrated in a specific interest of our recreation, that means it has meaningful economic potential for the industry. For our industry to grow in a meaningful way, we have to look at the reasons people go diving, what they spend their money on and whether they think of diving, equipment, training, travel, and interests as a means to an end or as an end to itself.
In my opinion, the image making professionals need to get re-engaged in the international diving community and definitely in the Global Diving Business Network. Focusing on select clusters of current customers is safe, but it doesn’t grow the market. On average, businesses lose about 25% of their market share every year through attrition. The customers you lose every year needs to be replaced by new customers. If the diving industry is certifying 100,000 new divers every years, that’s a good place to start your prospecting. I believe you can increase consumer demand significantly by designing a campaign that retains your current customers, recaptures your former customers and acquires new customers. If dive businesses would only use their own expertise in creating and marketing the power of underwater images to inspire divers to take up underwater photography and video making, I believe they will experience business and diver growth like never before. Just think about it. If watching Dora’s video on the Sea of Cortez got us to spend another $10,000 on a dive trip, and more dive equipment and photography equipment (and that’s just 2 people), what would marketing to 100,000 new divers do for your business?
For more information on being a Dive Industry Professional and growing your business, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, Inc., at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 321-914-3778.
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