Editorial – May 2017

It’s All Part of the Master Plan
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

One good thing about being in the diving industry for over 40 years is that you have a lot of time on your hands to reflect and a lot of data to reflect upon.  I can’t think of a down side, except that some younger people might say “That was then, this is now.”  To that I’ll just say that people who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.

Most of my career in the diving industry has been in strategic planning.  Having a diverse background in diving and the business of diving, I have been fortunate to work in the Training, Travel, Retail, Manufacturing  and Media Sectors of the Industry.  The most useful information I ever gathered was how our customers and competitors think.  If my employers could know just one thing, it was always how could they be one step ahead of our customers and competitors.

And guess what?  When you figure that out, you write it down and formulate a strategy to capitalize on it.  In the process, you learn from your successes and failures and you continually refine the process, all along doing more of the stuff that works and less of the stuff that doesn’t.  You learn from other people and you copy what works for them and you shy away from things that didn’t.  You ask your customers what they want and you do your best to give it to them.

So, is there a Master Plan for the Diving Industry?  Yes, there is and it’s based on what the market is asking for and how some suppliers are responding to their needs.  Notice that I said “some.”  It’s based on a natural flow of seasonality curves and customer purchasing patterns.  It’s based on having the right products, at the right price, at the right time, for the right audience.  It’s about building a market for the present and the future.  It’s about growing an industry.

Not all suppliers agree on a “Master” Master Plan.  Based on their own organizational needs and target customers, they choose to pursue their own plan in order to best achieve their own desired outcomes. The best defense against this type of competitor is to be part of a Master Plan that has the best interest of the market as its guide.

Companies working together toward an Industry Master Plan tend to use words like “integrated marketing” instead of “marketing campaign”.  They tend to work well with other companies instead of “having their own thing.”   They tend to donate to industry non-profit organizations instead of just their own organizations.  They also tend to be transparent in their dealings with other industry professionals instead of meeting behind closed doors.  They tend to be “inclusive” rather than “exclusive.”

Companies working together toward an Industry Master Plan have greater advantages due to an expanded horizontal network whereas companies that are vertically integrated loose a great deal in new ideas and synergy.  What’s good for each company individually is also good for the entire industry when working towards common goals.

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Quino El Guardian Liveaboard – BUY 3 GET 1 FREE

Attention Dive Retailers and Dive Travel Wholesalers!

Do you have clients who want to dive the amazing waters of Socorro and the Sea of Cortez in Mexico but are on a budget? Here’s an opportunity to make some money and create happy dive travel customers with our special promotion:


Quino is Rocio Del Mar’s “brother” ship offering the same magical destinations with the same amazing crew and food that made Rocio famous. Prices are as follows:

Socorro / 10 days $3000 / $3100
Sea of Cortez / 8 days $2100
Explore Baja / 13 days $3450 / $3550
Southern Safari / 8 days $2100

Also available is Quino’s unique Citizen Science expeditions offering shark tagging, animal identification, marine ecology and more.




Susan Long
Sales & Marketing

Dora Sandoval

Retailers get an additional 10% commission on all groups of 5 or more.

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DIA Members To Exhibit at Scuba Show – Long Beach 2017

Dive Industry Association Members at Scuba Show
by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.

The following Dive Industry Association Members are exhibiting at Scuba Show on May 6-7, 2017 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, CA.  Make it a point to visit our DIA Members FIRST.


Travel Businesses, Destinations, Resorts, & Dive Operators

Non-Profit Organizations

Services & Misc.

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Editorial – April 2017

Promoting Diving In The Big Tent
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

With the exception of the Scuba Show in Long Beach next month, the pre-season marketing push for the year has concluded.  Diving re-sellers have the rest of this month and next month to get their inventory levels to the high point and be ready for peak season diving activity.  We observed a number of things in the past four months that could help make this a great season for you.

At all the dive shows we exhibited at this year, we kept hearing that the exhibitors were “pleasantly surprised” with the better that expected attendance.  In other words, the dive industry professionals began the year thinking the shows were not going to be good.  I’m glad the “industry professionals” were proven wrong.  That kind of stinken thinken is what has been holding our industry back for a number of years now.   The second thing we learned is that when the exhibitors pitched in and helped advertise the shows, the attendees showed up.  That means people want to learn to dive, buy gear, and go diving.  All they need is an excuse to dive and an invitation.

The problem this year wasn’t lack of attendees.  It was lack of participation and promotion on the part of dive manufacturers, training agencies and dive centers.  With that said, I have to first share with you what we learned from countless discussions with our Industry Leaders.

The Dive Manufacturers were in a state of flux this year.  The industry has seen a number of serious personnel changes in this sector.  A number of major manufacturers were sold and the new owners are still feeling their way around the market.  Unless we see some concrete positive public announcements in the very near future, our industry professionals will have no choice but to resort to rumor and speculation.  Not good for the industry and definitely not good for the Brands.  Not exhibiting at the Regional Dive Shows this year must have cost the manufacturing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost sales, loss of market share and a deterioration of their brand capital.

The Training Agencies had their own challenges this year.  Some of the Brands were severely weakened by a declining customer base, loss of market share, loss of visibility and ultimately, lost sales.  One major agency was sold and a few others are in search of a new image.  While the traditional scuba diving market is loosing popularity with the general public, Tech Diving, Freediving and Spearfishing have broken away and further isolated their small niche markets.  At the Blue Wild Show this weekend, one Freediving Industry Leader commented that there is very little, if any cross-over between the various diving niche markets. While there seems to be a strong bond between Freedivers and Yoga practitioners and between the Spearfishing and Fishing markets, why can’t the traditional sport diving market cooperate more with Tech Diving, Freediving, and Spearfishing?

The Dive Centers who realize they are the Local Ambassadors of the Diving Industry and the Local Retail Champions to their customers become the undisputed Leaders of our Industry.  At least from a financial standpoint.  The ones who fail to realize this continually struggle to teach enough classes and sell enough diving equipment to a declining number of scuba diving enthusiasts.  Customers buy scuba diving equipment and scuba diving lessons because they have to.  They buy diving vacations and life style apparel because they want to.  Recruiting people to participate in diving & adventure travel and dressing the part will lead them to buy vacation trips, apparel, scuba diving lessons, and diver training.  If done properly, it will also lead to underwater photography sales and everything that goes along with that. You have to give your customers a reason to buy stuff.  The more they do, the more stuff they need.

This year, the Local Dive Retailers did not participate in their local dive shows as exhibitors and many didn’t even participate as attendees.  What a shame.  Maybe they felt there was no reason to because their major lines didn’t exhibit nor did their training agency.  Some didn’t even promote their local show because they didn’t want their customers to attend and see their competitors there.  Silly, huh?  The truth is, the attendees came, and they had a good time, and they bought stuff.  But they didn’t buy from the people who weren’t there.

Retail Dive Centers need to reduce their dependency on equipment vendors and training agencies.  They are what we call entry level or core vendors.  The perfect business model is to sell each new scuba student their own equipment at the beginning of training and then teach them how to use it in their course.  Once the student is certified and has all of their equipment, attendance at Regional Dive Shows is more meaningful.  Newly certified divers are looking to advance in their hobby and go diving more frequently.  Training Agencies promote continuing education at the show.  Local Boat Charters promote local diving.  Resort Destinations promote diving vacations away from home.  Equipment Manufacturers showcase the latest and great diving equipment new in the industry.  Seminars and workshops give attendees an opportunity to see the scope of the entire recreation, filled with countless new diving adventures that await them.  The exhibit hall now is filled with Retailers who sell apparel, jewelry and art at the show instead of just basic diving equipment.  I guarantee, this advanced show model would triple the size of current shows in just a few years.

Regional Dive Shows are all about Divers and want-to-be Divers coming to a Dive & Travel Show to see Diving Equipment, Photography Equipment, Resort Destinations, Training Products, Books, Art, and Apparel.  They come to learn about their hobby.  They are interested in and spend money on advanced equipment, continuing education, and adventure travel.  They go to workshops and seminars to learn more about diving, the environment and travel.  The Industry Professionals come to see their friends and colleagues.  They come to sharpen their professional and trade skills.  They come looking for new business and new opportunities.  They all come to socialize.  You’ll never meet so many people and see so many things in one weekend as you would at your local dive show.

Participate in your Regional Dive Show.  Exhibit, Attend, Volunteer, Participate, Promote and Enjoy your Regional Dive Show.

I can’t speak for all Regional Dive Shows, but if you want to participate in the Lone Star State Dive Show (Dallas), Our World Underwater (Chicago) or the Scuba & H2O Adventure Show (Tacoma) next year.  PLEASE call or email Gene Muchanski  Phone: 321-914-3778.  eMail:  gene@diveindustry.net




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Missie Lashmet Appointed Sales Director at Innovative

Missie Lashmet Appointed Sales Director.  Colorado Springs, CO – Innovative Scuba Concepts and Tovatec announced today that Missie Lashmet has been appointed as Sales Director. Missie has more than 15 years of experience working with retailers, manufacturers and distributors in the dive industry, and she will play a key role interacting with customers going forward.

Missie said “I am excited to start a new challenge within Innovative Scuba Concepts and Tovatec and look forward to working with the team, our national, international accounts as well as distributors to further develop and strengthen our relationships. I am very fortunate to be joining the management team for a company that is respected and prides itself as being a leader.“

“Missie’s expertise in the industry will be invaluable to our dealers and distributors as we continue to grow and expand our reach as a premier company in our industry.  Perhaps most importantly, we have found that people simply enjoy working with her,” said Chuck Fultz, President of Innovative and Tovatec.

Contact Missie Lashmet:
Innovative Scuba Concepts & Tovatec
6170 Lake Shore Court
Colorado Springs, Colorado. 80915
Office 800.472.2740

Tovatec:  Tovatec has been manufacturing underwater dive lights for more than 15 years.  Our lights are made with aircraft-grade aluminum, special alloys and top-of-the line CREE LEDs.  With choices between 260 and 2500 lumens, beam angles of 5 to 140 degrees and models offering adjustable zoom beams, it’s no surprise Tovatec was a winner of ScubaLab’s Tester’s Choice Award in 2016.

Innovative Scuba Concepts:  Founded in 1988, Innovative Scuba Concepts has grown to become the market leader in diving accessories. We offer more than 4,000 products to customers in the United States and Internationally. Industry leaders know that they can trust Innovative Scuba Concepts to provide unparalleled customer service combined with a wide variety of quality products and great retail packaging, at a price that maximizes store profits.



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Mobby’s USA Seeking Sales Rep In Northeast U.S.


Mobby’s USA, a Japanese based manufacturer of scuba diving drysuits with it’s U.S. office in Beaverton, Oregon is seeking sales representation in the Northeast United States to manage all business development activities.

We are looking for an individual or agency with extensive background and knowledge of the dive store marketplace with excellent customer service and rapport.  Please forward your information to Mark Ross – General Manager.

Founded in 1963, Mobby’s is a leading worldwide manufacturer of diving suits and dive accessories for men and woman.  Company products have earned an international reputation for innovation, quality and performance within the recreational, commercial and technical diving community.

For Further Information, Please Contact:

Mark Ross, General Manager
Tel. 503.747.7824


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Tektite Industries Introduces NEW Products

Tektite Industries Introduces NEW Products Under the TEKNA Brand.      

We here at Tektite Industries continue to introduce NEW products under our TEKNA brand.  Our latest introduction in the TEKNA line is the Ocean Edge Stainless Steel Knife with our new Rescue Blade Tip. This Knife has always been a favorite among divers because of its versatile design and solid one-piece construction . The saw-tooth serrations cut through natural and synthetic lines, the line hook type blade provides the ability to quickly cut a thin line in an emergency.  This blade is designed for use to clear lines in a hurry that may pose a problem during your dive. It is also designed for first responders as a rescue cutter for seatbelts.

The Ocean Edge Knife is 7.5” long overall and has a blade length of 3.5”. It weighs in at a scant 3.6 oz, is made of 420 Stainless Steel, and comes with an ABS Sheath and Velcro Leg Straps.  They are all individually serial numbered.  This Knife can also be ordered with a Stealth Black Teflon coating.

The Ocean Edge Knife double edge is now also available in a Limited edition Titanium Version. The weight of this knife is almost half that of the Stainless Steel  version at 1.8 oz and features the symmetrical blade design. They are also individually serial numbered.

Tektite Industries announces the MARK-LITE STROBE with LED.

The MARK-LITE is the worlds smallest submersible strobe, now in LED. This pocket size emergency strobe is double O-Ring sealed, waterproof and has a depth rating of 1,000 feet.  This Strobe will operate for 11 plus hours on 1 AA Alkaline battery (included).   It can be seen for more than 2 miles at night at the surface (conditions permitting). The Mark-Lite Strobe is excellent for use as an exit point or distress strobe.  It is Military issue tough, as used by US/NATO.

The MARK-LITE STROBE has a High-Power LED strobe that puts out 200 plus Lumens. Bulb life is 10,000 plus hours. Flash rate is 2hz (2 times per second, 120/min). It is 5.75” long and 1.2” in diameter, and weighs an amazing 0.38lbs. This strobe is small enough to easily fit in any BC pocket.  The MARK-LITE STROBE is available in a variety of lens and body colors. It is made in the USA, and has a lifetime warranty.

For more information contact:
Miles Bodnar, Customer Service Manager
Tektite Industries, Inc.

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Mobby’s Drysuit Demo Day

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The Benefits of Regional Dive Shows

The Benefits of Regional Dive Shows
By Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Foundation


Regional Dive Shows are a major part of a dive businesses’ marketing strategy.  Face-to-face marketing is a cost effective way to increase sales in a concentrated time frame.  Exhibitors, Speakers and Attendees get an opportunity to meet and greet customers and colleagues they have only corresponded with or spoken to all year long.  It’s an annual opportunity to put a face with a name and a number.  No other marketing activity compares equally to face-to-face marketing shows and events.  Dollar for dollar I would have to say that you get the biggest bang for your buck.

Every year we allocat time, money and manpower to a marketing budget in order to increase sales as efficiently and cost effectively as we possibly can.  A successful business will create a marketing strategy and budget that balances the digital, print, and face-to-face marketing components.  The magic of consumer dive shows is that a smart marketer can combine all three components of an individual show by designing pre-show, at-show and post-show portions to the entire campaign.  Without such an integrated marketing approach, shows and events are never as productive and profitable as they could be.

According to Rhonda Abrams, Author of Trade Show In A Day, “Trade shows are a multibillion-dollar industry for a reason: They work.” Rhonda makes a distinction between trade and consumer shows and deals mostly with Trade Shows in her book.  In the Trade Show category, she makes an important distinction between Expositions and Conferences.  “At a trade show or expo, the primary action takes place on the exhibit hall floor.  Attendees are there to visit booths, and all non-exhibit activities are secondary.  At a conference, the opposite is true.  Attendees are there to go to seminars and educational sessions, visiting the exhibition hall only during breaks in their daily schedules.”

Regional Consumer Dive Shows are the annual events of a particular geographical region.  Beneath the Sea captures the Northeast.  Our World Underwater highlights the North Central (or Midwest) Region.  The Scuba and H2O Adventure Show appeals to Divers in the Northwest United States and Southwest Canada.  The new Lone Star State Dive and Travel Show is becoming the annual event for the South Central U.S.  Divers in California and the Southwest United States have the Scuba Show to call their own.

The Exhibit Hall:  Regional Consumer Dive Shows attract Divers who either work in the business or dive as a hobby so there will be opportunities for both trade and consumers.  Divers are interested in the Exhibit Hall to see diving equipment, specialty gear that includes underwater camera equipment, apparel and jewelry, training material and travel & resort destinations.  A big plus for certified divers is the opportunity to purchase diving equipment at these shows.  People go to shows to buy stuff.  Diving is no different.  Selling dive gear at shows is an excellent opportunity for any Retail Dive Center but they would be wise not to only focus on the immediate sale.  Retailers have the opportunity to book their scuba classes, local boat trips, and vacation travel trips.  Exhibiting at shows is also an excellent way to increase brand recognition of your dive center and capture attendee contact information.

Although diving equipment manufacturers do not, and should not, sell directly to the public, they do have a responsibility to promote their Dealers in the region.  Having a full display is a big plus for their Dealers who might not have gone to the latest DEMA Show. Manufacturing Sales Reps can schedule appointments with their local Dealers at the booth or in the Seminar rooms for wholesale transactions.  Innovative manufacturers have scheduled booth times for their local Dealers in order for them to meet with local divers.  The manufacturer pays for the booth space and sets it up.  The Sales Rep is in charge of scheduling booth times for their Dealers.  The Dealers work the booth where they have an opportunity to meet local divers and take orders for gear.  This realty is a WIN-WIN-WIN.

Seminars & Workshops:  Every Dive Show has a Professional Development aspect for people working in the business as well as an Educational or Entertainment aspect for certified divers.  Professional Development Conferences are important to our industry.  DAN and all of the Certification Agencies have Member Updates and new techniques seminars all year long.  Bringing them to a Regional Dive Show that already has the venue in place is a no-brainer.  Equipment manufacturers and service companies conduct equipment maintenance and repair workshops that take 4-8 hours.  Perfect for a two or three day show.

Where else other than a weekend dive show can you attended a 1 hour, ½ day, or full day world-class photography program like a Cathy Church Photo Workshop?  Speaking of world-class talent, our industry has a Speakers Bureau of available speakers for any size show or event.  Seminars are usually 1-2 hours in length and workshops are either ½ day, 1 day or 2 days long.  Seminars can be educational or entertaining and are usually included in the general admission price.  Workshops are usually educational.  Unless, of course it’s Cathy Church.  Then it’s always educational and entertaining! Workshops usually have an extra charge to them, although general admission to the show is not required.

A popular type of seminar is the dive travel resort seminars. Resort Destinations are bringing their professional video programs to the consumer dive show circuit and giving their audience an opportunity to see some of the best diving destinations in the world.  In the past, these travel seminars have always been conducted in the seminar rooms, but with the advances in audio-visual technology, travel seminars are sometimes conducted in the exhibit hall.  The increased sound and audience participation makes the exhibit hall seem more alive.

Film Shows:  Since the early 1970’s Film Shows, usually on Saturday Nights, were my all time favorites.   As a Scuba Instructor and a very active Diver, I went to Film Shows and watched Stan Waterman, John Stoneman and Fred Calhoun’s underwater Films and dreamt of working in the diving industry.  When Jacques and Michele Cousteau starting showing their latest underwater films, I got a personal, close up view of the best of the best in the diving industry.  To say it recharged my professional batteries every time I went to an Underwater Film Show would be a gross understatement.

Film Shows are not what they used to be, with the exception of Our World Underwater.  They understand the magic spell these films have on the diving public.  On stage, for two magnificent hours or more, you’ll see world-class talent displaying their latest film endeavors to an audience, both trade and consumer, who appreciate being the first of many to see these wonderful films and the people who produce them.

Bringing back the Saturday Night Film Festival is going to take some strategic planning on the industry’s part.  It’s the closest thing we have to Jacques Cousteau invading our living rooms with his wonderful underwater adventures.

Annual Organizational Meetings:  We all know the shows that are popular meeting grounds for the various non-profit organizations.  BTS is the undisputed leader in attracting groups to host their annual meeting at this show.  The Women Divers Hall of Fame comes to mind immediately.  If it’s March, then WDHOF is in Secaucus.

The Future of Dive Shows:  The Dive Industry Foundation has agreed to work with Jim Gentile of Our World Underwater in Chicago and the Lone Star State Dive and Travel Expo in Texas.  We are also working with Rick Stratton at the Scuba & H2O Adventure Show in Tacoma, Washington.  Our goals are to: 1) Increase the number, quality and diversity of exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall.  2) Increase the number, the professionalism and the diversity of Seminars and Workshops, working with Industry Professionals in our Speakers Bureau. 3) Develop a National / International Film Festival format for our Saturday Evening Film Shows.  4) Develop and encourage weekend Regional Professional Development Conferences, second to none in the industry.  5) Encourage clubs & organizations to hold their annual meetings at our shows. 6) Increase attendance at the shows by creating things to learn, things to do, places to see and people to meet. 7) Create and manage a Volunteer Organization for each Regional Dive show for local divers to volunteer in the creation, execution and clean-up of their annual event.  8) Increase marketing and advertising to divers and the general public at large.  9) Involve the entire Regional Area in the creation of their largest annual dive attraction.  10) Bring in the big guns from the International Diving Community to participate in the regional shows.

For more information:  Please contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director at the Dive Industry Foundation.  gene@diveindustry.org


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Editorial – March 2017

Understanding The Business of Diving
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

A large part of our pre-season marketing effort is consumer dive shows.  Every regional area should have at least one annual event that brings their Divers together to see what’s new in diving equipment, current training tips and techniques, and the ultimate diving resort destinations.  It’s also the best place to assemble samples of the world-class talent we have in our industry’s speakers bureau to see what is new and exciting in their world.  While all of this is going on, Regional Dive Shows are the venue of choice for the annual meetings of dive clubs and organizations and it’s the highlight of their social event calendar.

So if consumer dive shows are all that important and well run ones are financially cost effective to exhibit at, participate in and attend, why is our trade participation so lacking?  Partially because of decreasing budgets, a troublesome economy, declining attendance, and an ageing diving demographic with little infusion of younger divers.  To be honest with you though, our problem is mostly because of arrogance, ignorance and the industry’s inability to play well with others.  In the past two years, the industry has witnessed changes in the ownership of a number of manufacturers and certification agencies.  A number of Sales Reps have retired or been replaced.  Quite a few Dive Stores have gone out of business.  Our Industry Professionals are not getting any younger and the senior management at many companies in all sectors of the industry are not degreed or even educated in proper business disciplines.  No one to my knowledge is attempting to document the vast experience of our current industry professionals nor are they creating Advisory Boards to help them understand the current strengths and weaknesses and the future opportunities and threats of our industry. Individual dive companies are lacking in proper Business Plans, Marketing Plans and Exit Strategies.

No one can save an industry.  And to be honest with you, no one should try.  It’s like trying to teach a Pig how to dance.  You’ll quickly find out that it’s a frustrating experience and it irritates the Pig.  But thankfully, there are a number of bright Entrepreneurs in our industry who understand and appreciate the benefits of Mastering The Business of Diving.  It’s for these companies that we spend time, money and manpower to improve our businesses, increase our marketing reach and effectiveness, and carve out market shares that help our companies be more competitive and successful. It is more productive to work with companies that can and want to make positive changes in their own companies, and because of that, our industry, then to try to convince diving hobbyists that running a successful and profitable business is their ticket to a more enjoyable career.  A career that is rewarding, enjoyable, filled with perks and rewards and a career that allows us to do what we love to do.

The Dive Industry Foundation is a tax exempt, non-profit, charitable and educational organization that is dedicated to understanding and improving the economic development of the diving industry.  We specialize in helping Entrepreneurs and their Employees to Start, Run and Succeed in their water sports related businesses.  Our marketing article for March is all about the advantages and opportunities of participating in Regional Dive Shows.  We put all the pieces together that makes attending, speaking, exhibiting and volunteering understandable.  It’s an annual opportunity that everyone in a select geographical area can participation in and benefit from.

Don’t just be a casual observer in your industry and not participate in it.  Take advantage of the growing synergy around you and do your part of grow your business, your hobby and your industry.  Participate in your Regional Dive Show this year.




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