Chapter 7 – Industry Key People

cropped-dsc_0457-200DIVE LOCAL – A Dive Industry Community Effort
Key People of DIVE LOCAL
By Gene Muchanski, Executive Director,
Dive Industry Foundation

CHAPTER 7 – The Industry’s Key People

What do you think about when you hear the words “Key People in the Diving Industry?”  A number of years ago we ran a survey and asked select Dive Industry Professionals who they thought were our industry key people.  Not surprisingly, a few training agency CEO’s names were mentioned, along with some  top executives of the large diving equipment companies.  Jean Michel Cousteau’s name was mentioned a few times and so were a few scattered individuals in different industry sectors.  It seams that our respondents were a little confused about the difference between the titles of  “Key People” and “Industry Heroes.”

I can understand that.  Sometimes we think about key people as industry heroes, Hall of Fame nominees, popular dive industry professionals, environmental volunteer workers,  gifted underwater photographers, or even accomplished underwater explorers.   But as we began the DIVE LOCAL series of articles, the words Key People took on a whole different meaning.  To us, a key person in the diving industry is a person who is making a significant contribution to their own business and the entire diving industry as a whole.  A Key Person in the diving industry is also the lead person in an organization that is responsible for leading their company forward, regardless of their total industry significance.

Last month we added this chapter to our DIVE LOCAL series because we wanted to add faces to the names of the companies that are actively involved in creating, maintaining, and growing our local diving communities.  It’s important to remember that businesses don’t make a local diving community successful, people do.  It’s the people we celebrate in this article and it’s the Key People we maintain contact with to follow and promote their progress.  Defining the diving industry’s key people is easy when we are talking about Local Dive Industry Professionals.  We see these people face-to-face on a daily basis.  It gets more important to define who are key people when they are infrequent visitors to our local diving community and especially more important when they are located outside of our community, state, or territory.  Let’s start with the top four sectors of our local diving community that are usually local residents.

The 4 Pillars of Market Growth

  1. Diving Instructors
  2. Dive Stores
  3. Dive Boats
  4. Dive Clubs

Diving Instructors:  Every diving instructor is a Key Person in our books.  Of course, we are talking about the active diving instructor who is currently engaged in teaching diving classes.  Diving Instructors are helping to grow the market every time they teach and certify a new student.  As we have said before, if it weren’t for diving instructors, there would not be a diving industry or a market for diving equipment and dive travel.

Retail Dive Stores:  Every local dive store should have a Key Person in charge.  It doesn’t matter if that person is the owner, the store manager or the lead Instructor.  A successful dive store that is operating on all cylinders is the center of a successful local diving community.  Most dive stores teach classes, sell equipment, service equipment, and have some type of dive travel program, be it local diving or dive travel.  That means they are doing their part to grow the market.  Having a Key Person at the store that can take the time to communicate with the diving industry outside of their local diving community is extremely important and advantageous to the dive store.  The store key person should be forming business relationships with the stores equipment vendors, training agency, travel wholesaler and trade association.   The farther away that you are from your vendors, the more likely it is that you can miss out on business opportunities.  In our case, we give free website advertising to Local Dive Stores and often conduct email campaigns to divers in their local diving community.  All we ask is they mail us one of their business cards and keep in touch with us from time to time.  If the local store key person doesn’t know who we are, there is a very good chance that we don’t know who they are.

Dive Boats:  We’ve said before that Local Dive Boat Operators are the champions of local diving.  Usually, a dive store or dive instructor owns a boat that takes out students or local divers.  Since most dive boats are six-pack licensed, they mostly rely on their inner circle of students, friends, or customers.  Only when a dive boat decides to increase their capacity to run charters do they look into the possibility of advertising outside of their inner circle.  That’s where working with a trade association can help.  We would gladly list the local dive boats in a local diving community web page if the Dive Operator would send us one of their business cards and designate a Key Person from their Dive Boat to keep in touch with us from time to time.  All that is needed for a Dive Boat to stay in the public eye is to make that a responsibility of one key person.

Dive Clubs:  Dive Clubs were very popular in the 1960’s.  Maybe because scuba diving was new, maybe it was because there were a lot of baby boomers interested in an outdoor, physical activity or maybe it was because there were fewer recreational options available at the time.  I also think we were more social back then.  It was fun to get together with other divers and go diving, and talk about diving, and go to Film Festivals as a group.  Today is a much different story for dive clubs, although I do see some great activity from some dive clubs across the country.  I see press releases from Indian Valley Scuba Club (PA) all the time and I wish I still lived in Houston when I see Gigglin’ Marlin Dive & Swim write about their great club dives.  So good Dive Clubs are still out there.  What would help Dive Clubs grow would be to appoint a Key Person to represent the club and have a permanent mailing address that did not change with the election of every new president.  If they created a free WordPress website and free Facebook page, that would go a long way in creating the stability that dive clubs need.   Again, it all boils down to appointing one Key Person to be the face of the Dive Club to the Local Diving Community.

Now we get to the point of people who live outside of the Local Diving Community but are considered to be Key People in their Regional Diving Territory.  That would be the Sales Representatives working for the equipment manufacturers, training agencies, and travel tourism bureaus.  Because of the fact that Regional Sales Managers spend so much time on the road in their territory and are probably the best paid professionals in our industry, they are considered to be the most knowledgeable about the state of business activity in their territory.  According to DIVE LOCAL’s geographic breakdown, a territory may consist of multiple states and multiple local diving communities.  That’s the reason Regional Dive Shows like Beneath the Sea, Our World-Underwater, Sea Space, and Scuba Show were so well attended for many years. They created and grew a regional diving event that drew attendees  from multiple territories.

Dive Industry Professionals Actively Engaged in the Local Community

  1. Equipment Manufacturing Sale Reps
  2. Training Agency Reps
  3. Visiting Travel Advisors

Dive Equipment Sales Reps:  Each Sales Rep is considered a Key Person in their territory because of the amount of time they spend with clients and the amount of influence they have in the success of the local diving communities they work in.  We like to think of Regional Sales Managers as our boots on the ground regional influencers.  Regional Sales Managers can play a greater role in the Local diving communities they service. There are a great deal of benefits available to them by joining the Dive Industry Association.

Training Agency Reps:  Similar to Equipment Sales Reps, Regional Training Reps are Key People in their Territory.  There has been quite a bit of change in the past ten years with Training Reps.  Some Reps are now also working as Dive Equipment Reginal Sales Managers as in the case of Mares and SSI, while others  represent their National Training Agencies as Training Instructors, Sales Managers or Service Managers.  Training Agency market share was at its highest levels when training agencies used local Regional Sales Managers.  The strongest market share years for NAUI Worldwide was when they had Regional Branch Managers.  Having a local person responsible for sales and activity is the most competitive asset a company can have.

Travel Advisors:  The dive travel industry is a little different when it comes to local and regional representation.  Most Tourism Bureaus and Boards have regional offices in the major cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, and Miami.  Sales Representatives from their regional offices are the ones who participate in local dive shows and trade shows.  The regional offices also get extra help from time to time when Senior Tourism Managers from the Country’s Tourism Bureau happen to be in town for a local event.  It is our intention to work with National Tourism Boards to help them understand and sell to local diving communities and at Regional Diving Shows & Events.

The most difficult key people to account for and manage are the ones who live outside of the Regional Diving Community and are considered to be key people on a National or International basis.  There are a number of companies in a limited number of stakeholder groups that do not want their key people identified or even contacted by other members of the trade.  Whatever their reasons are, we have to respect that.  It’s their company after all.  Since our Mission is to bring Buyers and Sellers together for the benefit of the Global Diving Business Network and the Global Diving Community, we have chosen to focus on identifying and working with the Key People who are involved in the sale of diving equipment, dive training, dive travel, and lifestyle products.  We also have the social responsibility to work with the non-profit organizations in our industry.

Our approach to working with the Key People in the industry will be to follow the marketing channels of distribution that these companies use to move their products from conception through consumption.  We are more interested in working with diving companies that want to increase their sales, market share and marketability.  We view this as a life-long project rather than a short-term research project to build a list of Industry Key People.  This is our first pass at the Other Stakeholder Groups.  More detail and more stakeholder groups will follow.

Other Stakeholder Groups

  1. Diving Equipment Manufacturer
  2. Service Provider
  3. Training Association / Certification Agency
  4. Non-Profit Service Organization
  5. Travel Business (various)

Dive Equipment Manufacturers:  As a Trade Association, it is our responsibility to identify and work with original equipment manufacturers, equipment component manufacturers and suppliers, brand marketers, and distributors.  Since our mission is to help bring buyers and sellers together, we use a basic Channel of Distribution:  Manufacturer – Sales Rep – Retail Store – Consumer.  The Key People we are looking to identify are: General Manager – Marketing Director – Sale Manager.  The categories of manufacturing that we will start organizing are:  Full Line – Multiple Line – Single Line – Tech – Photography – Specialty – Apparel.

Service Providers:  A very important stakeholder group, but often underrepresented, is the Service Provider sector.  Mostly because the grand majority of service providers are small owner-operator businesses with a limited marketing and advertising budget.  The Service Provider companies we are following deal with:  Repair & Maintenance – Software – Professional Services.

Training Agencies:  There are over 50 Training Agencies in the United States.  Not all agencies have Training Managers or Sales Managers in all territories.  As a Trade Association, the Key People we look to identify are the General Manager (Executive Director), Training Director, Marketing Director, and Sales Director.  If the agency is looking for new customers, having one external key person to contact streamlines the acquisition process.  Having one internal key person that focuses on competitive strategy keeps the agency moving forward.  Having regional representatives engaged in local diving communities or territories, with their local contact information, is important to local diving businesses who want to have a working relationship with the national agency.

Non-Profit Organizations:  There are many non-profit organizations in the Global Diving Community.  We have identified non-profits that focus on environment and conservation issues, veteran health and rehabilitation issues, marine life programs, scholarship programs, and educational foundations.  There is a greater need in the industry to define, organize and promote non-profits for a number of reasons.  First of all, there are many people involved in non-profits.  They include the founders, board of directors, paid executive staff, non-paid staff members, and volunteers.  Secondly, there seems to be a higher turnover rate for people who work in non-profit organizations, and consequently there is a high turnover of the contact people who represent non-profits.  Finally, there is a disturbing trend in non-profits that are moving out of their national headquarters and no longer publishing a contact person or mailing address for their organization.  We are seeing an increase in online fund raising but a decrease in physical presence and personal accountability.  It’s important for non-profits to put a face and a name to all of their regional representatives and have a contact person (face & name) at their national headquarters.

Travel Businesses:  The Travel Industry is a very important aspect of our recreation.  Water covers over ¾ of the earth’s surface which means there are unlimited places to dive.  What is limited in the Global Diving Business Network are the number of Airlines, Dive Resorts, Liveaboards, Dive Operators, Dive Stores, and Dive Travel Wholesalers across the globe.  The Dive Industry Association keeps track of over 1,000 dive businesses that are involved in dive travel.  Based on the Channels of Distribution we work with in the travel industry, it is important that we maintain contact with two Key People at each company.   We’ve already stated why it is important to maintain contact with the Internal Key Person at the company.   But what about the External Key Person?  A travel company that specializes in adventure dive travel normally hires a number of external sales, marketing, and reservation specialists, in many geographical locations across the globe.  While it is important to hire these specialists, a company can lose its connection to a market overnight, if and when their market specialist stops working for them.  Why?  When an independent contractor leaves your employment, they take their contacts with them, and you are left to reinvent the wheel.  That’s where our association comes in handy.  We can help the Internal Key Person find a new local sales, marketing or reservation specialist.  That is one reason we work so hard to acquire and maintain our industry database.  We didn’t build a professional database just to have a list of the people who work in the diving industry.  We built our database to be able to bring buyers and sellers of diving equipment, training, travel, and lifestyle products together.  That is the true purpose of a Professional Trade Association.

Steps to be included in our Global Diving Business Network:  We encourage Key People at companies that specialize in diving to register with us at the Dive Industry Foundation.  1) Send us your business card and any sales and marketing brochures you use to promote your company.  It doesn’t cost anything to register with us.  2) Subscribe to our Industry Blog, Weekly Dive News, Monthly Trade Magazine (The Dive Industry Professional), and our annual Trade Directory.  Subscription is FREE and you can change your subscription preferences or unsubscribe fully at any time.  Subscribe to our Blog at   Subscribe to our other publications through Constant Contact’s Safe Subscribe Service at

To be listed in our Annual Trade Directory & Buyers Guide and be eligible for benefits from our Buyers & Sellers Referral Program, we invite you to join the Dive Industry Association.  Annual membership is $125.  We look forward to working with you in the months to come.

For more information contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, Inc., 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL.  Phone 321-914-3778. Email:  web:

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Chapter 6 – Population Breakdown

cropped-dsc_0457-200DIVE LOCAL – A Dive Industry Community Effort
Population Breakdown of DIVE LOCAL
By Gene Muchanski, Executive Director,
Dive Industry Foundation


Local diving communities are built and developed by the number of diving businesses in a particular geographical area and the number of divers that reside there.  The more divers a geographical location has, the more likelihood diving businesses will want to locate there.  More diving businesses create more new divers.  The number of diving businesses in a local diving community increases as the diving population increases.  The Dive Industry Foundation’s mission is to encourage the creation, growth, and continuance of Local Diving Communities across the globe.  Our purpose for writing this chapter is to show the industry how Local Diving Communities (markets) are created, how they grow, and how they are nurtured.  It’s important for Dive Industry Professionals to know how important Local Diving Communities are to the Global Diving Community and the Global Diving Business Network.

Business Population Breakdown:  The first step in addressing the diving population breakdown is to realize what creates the population to begin with.  We start the process by introducing the four pillars of market growth in the diving community.

The 4 Pillars of Market Growth

  1. Diving Instructors
  2. Dive Stores
  3. Dive Boats
  4. Dive Clubs

Diving Instructors create the market and the demand for diving related programs, products, and services.  I don’t want to limit the discussion to Scuba Instructor because diving is a big tent that includes many types of diving. When we talk about diving instruction, we should be referring to snorkeling, free diving, mermaiding, scuba diving, technical diving, and all the other forms of diving.  Instructors start off by teaching their family and friends how to dive, and as they gain more experience, their circle of influence grows.  Diving Instructors are the core component of our industry because they are the ones who create the market that we make our living from. 

Retail Dive Stores are usually the first point of contact to our recreation for the general public.  Stores have a public store front and are open for business on a regular basis. Dive Stores teach diving, sell and service diving equipment, take people diving, and keep divers active.  It’s important to remember that the Instructors at the dive store are the ones responsible for creating the market.  It’s our job to acknowledge that Dive Stores are the ones who grow and maintain the market by providing and following up with post certification activity.  Creating a market by teaching people how to dive does the industry very little good if certified divers don’t buy their gear, go diving, and stay active after certification.

Dive Boats are the champions of local diving.  They are responsible for taking people diving and keeping divers active.  Our industry would be at a loss if not for local dive boats.  Boat diving has come a long way from the early days of “an instructor with a boat” that took scuba students diving.  It has grown into an important part of our industry.   Most of the dive boats that charter for hire are well built and maintained vessels, operated by a licensed Captain and crewed by a certified Deck Hand or licensed Divemaster.  Dive Boats are owned by Instructors, Dive Stores, or Professional Charter Boat Companies. Because chartering is usually a seasonal part-time business, dive boat operators do not have a large enough marketing budget to promote their business in the media and at local diving shows and events.  The Dive Industry Association provides a low-cost membership in their trade association to help dive boat operators deal with the business of diving issues for this segment of the industry.

Another very important segment of the local diving community is the Local Dive Club.  Although not as popular as they once were, Dive Clubs are still very active in parts of the country.  Dive Clubs keep divers active in the recreation.  Some clubs are dive store affiliated and some are independently operated.  Diving is a social activity and meeting face to face with other divers on a periodic basis is an enjoyable way to stay active in the recreation.  If managed correctly, active participation in a local dive club could be the glue that keeps our industry together.

There are other stakeholder groups in the diving industry that build, support, and benefit from a strong and successful local diving community.  Because of the way our industry’s channel of distribution works, traveling sales representatives have become the link between the local dive businesses and their distantly located vendors, the equipment manufacturers, training agencies, and travel companies.  The bulk of total industry revenue comes from the sale of diving equipment, training courses, travel programs, and lifestyle products.  The producers of these products are nationally located as opposed to the buyers and resellers of their products who are the Local Diving Businesses.  The challenge of bringing buyers and sellers together has been dealt with by having local sales representatives calling on their local accounts during the year or meeting with them at regional shows and events in addition to the one annual national trade show.  To increase wholesale orders, Regional Diving Communities can organize local buyer-seller events for qualified retail buyers who are unable to attend the national trade show.  This option would increase sales on an industry level and strengthen the concept of the Local Diving Community.

Dive Industry Professionals Actively Engaged in the Local Community

  1. Equipment Manufacturing Sale Reps
  2. Training Agency Reps
  3. Visiting Travel Advisors

No one outside of the local diving community spends more time in the territory than sales reps who work for dive equipment manufacturers, training agencies, and travel companies.  Some of the Sales Reps, or Sales Agents as we call them, live in the local community, but most travel to many dive communities in their territory.   Face-to-face selling is one of the most expensive and time-consuming ways to sell programs, products, and services, but in our industry, it is the most effective way to conduct wholesale business.

Dive Equipment Sales Reps:  Sales Reps have been used in our industry from the very beginning.  Today, diving equipment companies may use both in-house salespeople and outside sales agents.  Most outside sales agents are independent contractors and carry multiple lines, whereas in-house salespeople are most likely to be employees.  Sales Reps that represent the larger manufacturers are assigned territories that may include, on average, seven states and 163 dealers.  Sales Reps for the major lines normally focus on their primary company and may also represent another non-competing brand.  The bulk of the industry’s sales force either works for a professional repping company (sales organization) or independently.  Smaller companies usually do not have a sales team.

Outside Sales Reps visit their Dealers on a seasonal basis as often as they can.  Reps have used Regional Dive Shows, Regional Dealer Meetings, and National Trade Shows to meet with their Dealers.  When such an event is well attended, the sales meetings can be very cost effective.  Although a Sales Rep can make a very attractive living as a Rep, traveling to meet with their accounts individually is very expensive.  In past industry surveys, we discovered that Sales Reps spend on average over $33,000 a year on travel and are on the road 183 days a year.  Sales calls for dive equipment Sales Reps average $203 per Dealer.

Training Agency Reps:  The role and responsibility of Training Agency Reps has changed many times over the years.  Depending on the training organization, Agency Reps can operate regionally, nationally, or even internationally.  It all depends on the size of the organization and their business model.  Some Agency Reps focus on training, some on service, and some on sales.  Again, depending on company and business model.  Agency Reps can either focus exclusively on training whereas other agencies allow their Reps to represent diving equipment companies.  Either way, from our point of view, this makes the Training Agency Reps an important stakeholder group in the Regional Diving Territories and the Local Diving Communities.

Visiting Travel Advisors:  Salespeople from dive travel destinations, dive resorts, and dive operators have always visited local dive centers and dive clubs whenever they are in town for a regional dive show or event.   To create a sales force to call on group travel buyers throughout the year may be a little cost prohibitive.  We have seen in recent years, with the increase in travel shows, that Tourism Bureaus and Trade Organizations are sending their sales representatives into the field to conduct travel seminars and sales meetings with potential group travel buyers.  This trend may be an opportunity for Local Diving Communities to plan local diving shows and events to attract the travel industry as participants, exhibitors, and sponsors.

When we look at the population breakdown of the local diving communities, we see that some of the dive industry professionals are locals, and some are frequent visitors.  Local diving communities are also supported by people and businesses outside of the local territory that may visit only a few times a year.  And that’s OK as we’ll explain.  Certified scuba divers can also be classified as residents, frequent visitors, or occasional visitors.  All of these Dive Industry Professionals and certified divers help make the local diving community what it is.

Other Stakeholder Groups: There are other important stakeholder groups in every Local Diving Community.  As the Local Diving Business Community grows, businesses that support the diving community enter the market.  As more divers are certified in the communities, businesses that support divers also enter the market.  There are a few exceptions to the rule.  Besides more divers and more dive businesses, geography plans a major rule in attracting diving and diving related businesses.  Equipment manufacturers are influenced by proximity to their suppliers.  Resort Destinations and dive operators choose their location based on what they sell.  Non-profit organizations choose their location based on a variety of reasons.  For these reasons, it’s important that we identify each of these stakeholders because of their value to the local diving community rather than the reasons they chose to locate there.  It is our purpose in publishing this series to identify the stakeholders that make up our local diving communities and to think of ways we can interact with them to our mutual benefit.

Other Stakeholder Groups

  1. Diving Equipment Manufacturer
  2. Equipment Distributor
  3. Service Provider
  4. Media Company
  5. Trade Association
  6. Training Association / Certification Agency
  7. Non-Profit Service Organization
  8. Shows & Events Operator
  9. Travel Business (various)
  10. Industry Professional
  11. Certified Diver
  12. Friend of the Ocean

Each stakeholder group will have a different function in their Local Diving Community and each Local Diving Community will have a different mix of stakeholder groups.  It is our mission to identify, define, organize, grow, and maintain Local Diving Communities around the globe.

For more information contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Foundation, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL.  Phone 321-914-3778. Email:  web:

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Chapter 5 – Geographical Breakdown

cropped-dsc_0457-200DIVE LOCAL – A Dive Industry Community Effort
Geographical Breakdown of DIVE LOCAL
By Gene Muchanski, Executive Director,
Dive Industry Foundation



To make the DIVE LOCAL concept work, we have to take into consideration the world’s geographical locations as they pertain to direct access to various bodies of water.  Then we have to consider the comparative population in those areas.  The most important consideration to the international diving community right now is the number of active divers and diving businesses in each geographical territory.  Since the international diving community has never organized a concept like DIVE LOCAL before, anything we do to identify, organize and target the world’s diving population (the international diving community) and diving businesses across the globe (the Global Diving Business Network), the better position we will be in to effect development, growth and prosperity in our recreation.

Mind you, any efforts we make to identify, organize, and target the international diving community, will be subject to change as we evolve.  We are on virgin territory here, and that’s a good thing.  None of us is an expert at this, so we can all consider ourselves to be discovery pioneers.

Principle Guideline:  Before we begin with the work of setting our geographical boundaries and identifying the number of divers and diving businesses around the globe, let me make one ground rule that we will follow.  It doesn’t have to be a rule that everyone agrees with or follows.  It’s just a guideline that the Dive Industry Association will follow.  Our one organizing guideline that we will adhere to, is to start working with divers and diving businesses we identify in the market, immediately.  This is not an academic pursuit for us and we are not interested in building a list of certified divers or licensed diving businesses.  The question we will be focusing on is “How many divers and diving businesses have we identified and started working with so far”, rather than “How many divers or diving businesses are there around the globe?”   This may seem like a confusing point to some people, but if you think about it, shouldn’t we concentrate on identifying as many divers and diving businesses in the international diving community so we can start working with them immediately?  I believe that is more important than just knowing how many there are.  It’s about creating a market for the Global Diving Business Network so that we can focus on bringing buyers and sellers together immediately.  I know that some marketing experts will want to identify the total market and its potential first, so they can calculate their anticipated market share.  I appreciate that concept, but I think we’ll just skip to the part where we identify and start working with Dive Industry Professionals around the world that are looking to do business with the current, participating, global diving business market.

Geographical Breakdown:  In most cases, we attempt to be Geo-Graphical rather than Geo-Political.  When dealing with the International Diving Community, it may be necessary to group different countries together where there is close proximity, rather than which political flag they fly under.  Such is the case with the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico which are United States territories but located in the Caribbean.  There are many other similar cases all across the water planet.  When it comes to planning DIVE LOCAL shows & events, I believe that catering to divers and diving businesses in close proximity is a better option, barring any political or territorial conflicts.

To keep things simple, we start with Continents and break them down into Country, Region/Territory, State/Provence, County, City, and Neighborhood if necessary.  In the example below, we begin with the seven continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia/Oceania, and Antarctica.  In the case of North America, we include the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean.  In the United States (where DIA HQ is located), we segment the mainland states into the Northeast, Mid-America, Southeast, Florida, North Central, South Central, Northwest, and Southwest.  Florida, incidentally, is sometimes separated from the Southeast Territory because it has 17% of the Retail Dive Centers, most of the Dive Boat Operators, and accounts for an estimated 25% of the diving industry’s annual sales volume.  As we mentioned before, because we have U.S. Territories, we include the Caribbean for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  For Hawaii, Guam, and American Samoa, we include them with the South Pacific.  In the example below, we have taken our geographical breakdown to the state level.  When a state has a significant number of divers or diving businesses and becomes difficult to manage, it may be prudent to further breakdown the state into Counties, Cities and Neighborhoods.  The ultimate goal is to create a Local Diving Community that has a sufficient number of divers and diving businesses to create local diving events that brings our diving communities together and produces more activity and growth.


  1. North America
  2. South America
  3. Europe
  4. Asia
  5. Africa
  6. Australia & Oceania
  7. Antarctica

Continent – North America

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Central America
  • Bahama Islands
  • Caribbean Islands

Country / Region / State – United States

  • Northeast – CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT
  • Mid-Atlantic – DC, DE, KY, MD, NC, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV
  • Southeast – AL, GA, MS, SC
  • Florida – FL
  • Caribbean – PR, USVI
  • North Central – IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI
  • South Central – AR, CO, LA, NM, OK, TX
  • Northwest – AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY
  • Southwest – AZ, CA, NV, UT
  • South Pacific – GU, HI

US Map - Regions 2

The complete global geographical breakdown is listed in our white paper publication, DIVE LOCAL – A Diving Community Cooperative Effort, which is continually analyzed, refined, and upgraded.

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Breaking Into The Retail Market

Gene-Video-200Breaking Into The Retail Market
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

I’ve always been fascinated by Retailing.  It’s an Art and it’s a Science.  It is, in fact, the lynch pin between producers and consumers.  As Retailers, we are the Middlemen (and Women), in between where the Supply Chain meets the Demand Chain.  We are both Buyers and Sellers in the eternal game of commerce.  We are the Re-Sellers of the world’s programs, products and services.

I say “we”, because I consider myself a life-long Retailer.  A born professional of the Merchant Class.  My passion has always been focused on the quest to serve and to sell.  I first realized my calling as young boy in Catholic School, where I was directed by the Nuns to sell punch cards for the church’s annual fundraising.  After I sold out my cards, I was always given more cards to sell.  Even then I realized there was something magical about meeting new people and selling them products that made their lives better.  And mine.  I liked people and I believed in what I was selling.

I look back on the jobs I had as a youth; Newspaper Boy, Christmas Card Salesperson, Clothing Salesman, Apparel Sales Consultant, and even my active duty job classification in the Navy was in the Naval Supply System Command.  I majored in Marketing and minored in Retailing at the University of Connecticut.  My first job out of college was with NAUI Worldwide where I was their Marketing Director and in charge of their 250 store Pro Facility Program.  I worked in Retail Dive Stores as an employee, store manager, and owner.  For over 40 years I have always been actively involved in the diving industry’s retail market.  That’s my background.  This is what it means to the diving industry.

Forty years ago there were over 2,400 Retail Dive Stores in our Industry.  And that was just in the United States.  Today there are less than 1,200 stores in the U.S. which means the retail market is 1/2 what it used to be.  There are many reasons for the decline of retail stores in our recreation, and we will explore those reasons throughout the year.  But for now, let’s just say that the size of the retail market is small and definitely underserved.  In the following text, I will attempt to define the current retail market, point out the reasons the market is important to the survival of the industry, dive into some of the weaknesses and challenges of the market segment, and recommend some of the solutions that can overcome these challenges and put the market back on track to recovery.   I have to point out that I may ruffle a few feathers here, but my intention is not to condemn, criticize or complain but to point out problems as I see them and offer solutions that I think would make the situation better.  I hope you don’t mind.  Incidentally I’m pretty thick-skinned and I’ve been shot at before, so I’m OK with your comments.

Why is the Retail Market Important to the Industry? Retail Dive Stores are the heart of the recreational diving industry.  Dive stores teach diving, sell dive equipment, take people diving and keep them active in the recreational.  To me, that means that Dive Industry Professionals working in the retail sector of our industry are the heartbeat of our international diving community.  Dive stores are well suited to be the first point of contact between the general public and the suppliers of diving equipment, training, travel and lifestyle products.  Never underestimate the power of first contact.  But as we will see later, first contact can be a fleeting thing if not managed properly.

Dive Stores are the industry’s first responders.  Store owners are responsible for customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer reactivation if necessary.  Dive stores that are a one-stop-shop for the recreational diving industry are a significant market builder.  By teaching diving, they create the market that purchases diving equipment.  As a full time dive center, these stores retain their customers by forming dive clubs and conducting local, regional, national, and international diving activities.  So when it comes to growing the recreational diving industry, dive stores need to be reminded that they are responsible for creating a local market for diving and maintaining that market to the best of their ability.  In other words, if you teach diving lessons and don’t follow-through with equipment sales, someone else will.  Now you just lost the market you created.

What are the conflicts?  The short answer has to do with a limited amount of time, money and manpower.  The long answer is a little more complicated.  There is so much to do in running a successful diving retail store, that conflict always arise when the owners lose track of their priorities.  A good business plan will spell out the details of why the business was started, how it is organized and operated, and how success is measured. After reading hundreds of retail profiles over the years, we have a pretty good idea of business models that work better than others in the retail industry.

First of all, a retail dive store is not in the diving industry.  It is in the retail industry.  Our Government calls it Industry # 45 in it’s NAICS (North American Industry Classification System).  There are 4 digits after 45 that tells us what kind of retail business it is, but we don’t need to go there for now.  One thing we can all agree on is that our dive stores are in the retail industry and the scuba diving market.  It’s a niche market and it includes recreational education; diving equipment sales, rental and repairs; diving and adventure travel; and the sale of lifestyle products.  Now, to be successful in the retail dive business, the owners have to understand and be proficiently qualified in the diving market and in retail business management.  They have to understand diving and business.

Daily conflict can become apparent when owners don’t understand business or the market they are in.  For now, let’s just say that the diving should be half of your focus and business should be the other half.  Conflict also results when the business owners don’t evenly balance their focus on the things they sell in the store (Dive Equipment – Training – Travel).    Besides running the store, should the owner focus more on teaching diving, selling gear, or going diving?  As a business owner, that is your call to make, not mine.  I am only saying that it should be balanced.

Solutions to your conflict.  The solution to this 60 year old dilemma is simple.  I didn’t say easy.  I said simple.  Go back to your Business Plan and look at your Vision for your Dive Store.  What did you go into business for?  What is your purpose?  Now look at your Mission Statement.  How did you plan to achieve your vision?  The next step, I guess, would be delegation of your talents and those of your staff (if any).  Who is responsible for training new divers (your new market)?  Who is responsible for selling equipment to your customers (your market)?  Who is responsible for keeping your customers active, like taking them on dive trips?  Our recommendation is that you do some serious soul searching and conduct some detailed staff meetings to determine who is qualified to do what specific tasks.  Another thing you should look at are the goals and desires of your store staff.  Why are you and your staff in the business to begin with?  Who is best qualified to produce a specific positive result to your planned outcomes?

A final word of caution.  I know a lot of dive store owners that are either a mom & pop operation or a sole (single) proprietor operation.  I’m not saying it should not be done, but I am saying that this is a very difficult way to go.  If you’re teaching class, you’re not minding the store.  If you’re on a dive trip every month, you’re not minding the store.  But if you’re minding the store all the time, who is creating a new market and selling to them for you?  Who teaches, who travels, and who minds the store is your call to make.  Make it a smart call.

Why it’s difficult to reach the Retail Market.  As you can see.  Dive Store Owners are stretched pretty thin.  They have to be proficient in business.  That’s sales, marketing, accounting, law, merchandising, advertising, social media, computer hardware and software expertise, etc.  They have to be knowledgeable in diving.  That’s instruction, diving skills, dive equipment knowledge and repair, and travel destinations (resorts and liveaboards).  They have to wear many hats and be very good at them to be competitive.  One thing they probably don’t have a lot of is time.  I know many Retailers who don’t read their eMail often and certainly don’t reply to it in a timely manner.  And you can’t blame them.

Making the Industry Better.  There are many things we can do to make the industry better. We can increase our knowledge of the industry by conducting and participating in industry-wide surveys.  We can then improve our services to help each other become more professional, productive and profitable. We can work together to unfragment the industry and decrease duplication of efforts.  We can change our dues structures to allow the retail sector to pick and choose the products and services they purchase from us.  As an example, many organizations require retailers to pay dues to be able to purchase goods and services from them.  If you belong to 3 certification agencies, you have to pay three annual dues, regardless of the numbers of certifications you issue for that agency.  If you want to go to an annual trade event you have to pay dues first before you purchase your ticket.  If you want travel insurance, you have to pay dues first before you can buy insurance.  While all of these programs and products are important to us, we have to think of innovative ways to increase membership by reducing membership costs while increasing membership services and discounts.  Perhaps your annual dues could be reduced as your purchases with an organization increase?  I know it can be done.  It just takes a little pre-planning and customer communication.  A good example is the Surf Expo, in Orlando, Florida.  They have two full time employees who’s responsibility is to get Retail Buyers to attend their two Trade Shows.  Surf Expo does not charge Retail Buyers to attend the show.  The Exhibitors agree with that policy because Retail Buyers make purchases!  We supported a Rep Show in New Jersey one year and invited local Dive Stores to attend for free.  Twenty Five (25) equipment manufacturing Reps paid for the event and 50 Dive Stores attended at no charge.  A lot of orders were written.  We can do that again.

DIA_RETAIL_LOGODive Industry Association has been a leader in the Global Diving Business Community for over 20 years.  Our Member benefits have been on the increase ever since we started “Building a Better Industry, One Member at a Time.”   Our members receive 24 free press releases a year, valued at $4,800.  Our Members are included in numerous Trade Directories and websites at no charge.  We have negotiated discounts for our Members with marketing companies such as Constant Contact and Modern Postcard.  We have helped our members and all Dive Store Owners obtain free passes to Travel and Adventure Shows and the two annual Surf Expos.  We have referred our members to Small Business Development Centers for free business consulting services.  We have recently in the past few years, helped Retail Store Travel Buyers participate in free or low cost familization (FAM) Trips.  We have been successful in obtaining funding for summit meetings, seminar events and luncheons from sponsors who are looking to make connections with the Retail Dive Stores in the United States.  Our Mission is to bring Buyers & Sellers together.

That’s the way a Trade Association builds a better industry.  It all begins by recognizing the importance of the Retail Industry that specializes in our market, and working to meet their needs.  Let us work to meet your needs.

For more information contact:
Gene Muchanski, Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
Phone: 321-914-3778


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Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire Is Open

Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire

Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean, June 4th, 2021

Saturday, June 5th, 2021 – Bonaire welcomed the first direct flights from the USA since 15 months. Needless to say, Buddy Dive Resort is open and more than ready to welcome you.

Even though Buddy Dive Resort has been welcoming guests in the past couple of months, your buddies have been waiting for this moment and are beyond happy to welcome the first visitors from the USA again after 15 months.

Since the outbreak of Covid, Buddy Dive Resort has been busy preparing the full re-opening and took all necessary measures to give its guests a safe and hassle-free vacation.

The testing requirements to travel to Bonaire, include taking either a NAAT test 24 hours before departure to Bonaire or taking a PCR test 72 hours before arrival on Bonaire and an antigen test on Flamingo Airport Bonaire. You can find comprehensive information about all testing requirements and regulations on our website:

Your Buddies on Bonaire hope to see you soon to show you our amazing underwater world, serve you cold drinks in the newly renovated Blennies restaurant, and see you relax in your comfortable apartment!

Are you ready to plan your next trip to Buddy Dive Resort? Or to re-schedule your trip?

We are here to help you. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like some help planning your stay.
+599 717 5080
+599 789 5080
Toll-Free US/Canada:
1-866- GO-BUDDY

About Buddy Dive Resort
Buddy Dive Resort, Bonaire’s leading dive hotel is known for its personable staff, spacious accommodations and a dive operation that has something for every diver. Today, the full-service resort is consisting of eleven modern buildings housing spacious studio’s, one, two- and three-bedroom apartments, a full-service dive center, activity desk, two swimming pools, two restaurants, pool bar, vehicle rentals and the famous drive thru air and Nitrox fill station. Built with active people in mind, Buddy Dive Resort knows exactly what is needed to make guests comfortable both during their busy day of diving and exploring and during relaxing on resort. Over the last few years Buddy Dive Resort was recognized as one of the World’s Best Dive Resorts & Operations in Scuba Diving magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards: Top 100 Gold List. For more information visit

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Creating a Dive Store Directory

Creating a Dive Store Directory
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, Dive Industry Professional

I’ve been a certified scuba diver for 53 years now.  I know – I don’t look that old.  But anyway, throughout my life as an active diver, I have always made sure that I knew where my nearest dive store was when I moved to a new place or when I was on the road traveling.  Funny as it may sound, I’ve always thought of Dive Stores as my home away from home.  The store owners, managers and staff, regardless where they were, spoke the same language I did – DIVING.  They were my source of equipment, training, travel and lifestyle products.  They could always fix things I had that were broken and sold me things I needed to replace.  They knew the best places to dive locally and were always willing to lend a helping hand to a fellow diver.  If you have never experienced that kind of comradery before, give it a try sometime. 

I work for the Dive Industry Association and we publish a directory of our Members to help refer divers to them.  See DIA Directory  A lot of time, money and manpower goes into running an association of equipment manufacturers, training agencies, dive stores, travel businesses, non-profits and the like.  We are actively engaged in the advertising and promotion of our Members.  We work to make sure they are the best at what they do and that the whole diving world knows about them.  We verify that they are actively engaged in business and do the things they say they do.  For all our work, we charge each of them a small annual membership fee.  I personally know each member and I can honestly say that I would recommend any one of their services to the worldwide diving community.

Not every diving business is a member of the Dive Industry Association and many don’t even know who we are.  Why?  I have no idea, but I’d be willing to guess.  Some of the dive businesses I’ve hear about are full time operations and some are part time jobs or a hobby.  Some are large operations and some are small mom & pop companies.  Whatever reason they have for being in business is theirs and theirs alone.  One thing they all have in common though is their love for scuba diving and our recreation.

As a Director of the non-profit organization, Dive Industry Foundation, I’ve been asked to create a directory of Retail Dive Stores in the United States.  Unfortunately, because of the difficult economic times we are in, caused by the covid-19 pandemic, many dive stores will be forced to close their doors this year.  Keeping abreast of 1,500 dive stores, many whom I do not have a working relationship with, is a very difficult task.  I need the help of the Global Diving Community.

Our goal is to create a directory of all the retail dive stores worldwide.  We started off with the United States and created ten territories that we call Regional Diving Communities.  On this website home page you can see that each territory has its own web page.  They are; Northeast, North Central, Northwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, Caribbean, South Central, Southwest, and South Pacific.  Each page has its own Dive Store Directory.  We listed dive stores that we believe to be in business and have collected a business card from many of them.  The stores that we verified or are verified by Regional Sales Reps have their website URL added.  The ones without a web address have not been verified yet.  As an example, please have a look at our Directory of Dive Stores in Florida.  You’ll see that we list the store name, city, state and website when it’s verified.  See Florida Dive Stores

Here’s how you can help, regardless of your trade affiliation.  If you work in a dive store please mail us one of your business cards.  If your a Sales Rep, please send us one card for each of the Dealers that you visit.  If your a diver, please send us a business card for the store you do business with.  We are looking for members of each Local Dive Community to verify their local dive store and introduce us to the owners or managers.  We will list the store in its regional territory on at no charge.

We  are hoping that a current dive store listing will help local divers get in contact with their local dive store and perhaps, start diving again.  This directory is a passive directory that can be accessed by every certified diver worldwide.  It may even be the beginning of a professional relationship with each dive store and the creation of an active Local Diving Community.

There are only two things we ask.  1) Please mail us a hard copy of the dive store’s business card.  We use Card Scan Software and its part of our verification process.  2) Please don’t tell us our list is old, it’s out of date or it sucks.  We would like to know if a specific store has gone out of business or if a new store has entered the market.  We knew the list wasn’t perfect when we started, but I can assure you, it’s getting better every day because of some real great volunteers in the diving industry.   And no one else is doing this in public.  Thank you.

Please mail your Business Cards and comments to: Dive Industry Foundation, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904.  You can call us at 321-914-3778 or email Gene Muchanski at 



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Rebuilding The Diving Industry Has Started

Rebuilding The Diving Industry –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

In May of 2020 I wrote a blog post about the necessity of rebuilding local diving communities.  Local diving communities suffered a loss of activity and growth in the past twenty years for a number of reasons; aging population, more recreational options available to consumers, decline of outdoor sports, pollution of our marine environment and a lack of media celebrities promoting the joy of underwater exploration.  Small business has also changed in the past twenty years.  As modern marketing tools were developed to target and reach countless more potential customers, diving companies abandoned their relationships with their local customers and began to centralize their business models.  Companies even attempted to sell their products and services directly to customers in hopes of saving profits and commissions to members of their supply chain.  Some companies who historically have always been a dollar short and a day late are still letting some of their local staff go and replacing them with nameless, faceless figures that operate from their national headquarters.  All I can say is that you are making your own bed, and you’re going to have to sleep in it.

In the mean time, we are rediscovery that diving is a social sport and Local Diving is a social activity.  We also know the value of face-to-face contact and the power of a local referral, whether it be for diving equipment, training or travel.  We know that “Social Media” is not very social and maybe we should be looking for a new way to communicate, like “Local Media.”  We know that we can only run our businesses for now on a small scale because of covid restrictions.  Heck, I would be happy to teach a class of six if all my students bought their own diving equipment.  I would also be delighted taking a dive trip with ten people.  And Dive Resorts would be very happy with that too.

Well, it’s time to get back in the ball game.  Enough with the pretty fish pictures and the boring online seminars about what it would be like to dive again.  It’s time to rebuild the diving industry to reflect the recent changes in our recreation. 

Well, I’m pleased to announce that the rebuilding of the diving industry has started and the Dive Industry Association is doing it.  We didn’t ask for permission from anyone, especially from old rusty companies that may not be in business two years from now.  We are laying out our plan to bring Buyers and Sellers together for mutual benefit.  We are focusing on the sales of diving equipment, training and travel.  We are rallying notable opinion leaders to volunteer their time, money and manpower to help non-profit organizations in our industry to do the work that needs to be done to clean up our environment, organize our business channels of distribution and ensure that our recreation is servicing the millions of divers in the world while supporting our local merchants.  Our message to the world is to “Learn to Dive, Buy Your Gear, Go Diving and Stay Active.”  Our message to the Dive Industry Professional Community is “Get Onboard and Join Us.”   Let’s look at what we’ve done so far.

Step One:  Retail Dive Centers as the Foundation of Local Dive Territories

As part of our initial marketing campaign that started in 2016, we created a concept called DIVE LOCAL.  As outlined in our white paper of September 2016, we drew up local diving communities according to geographical territories.  In the drawing to the left, we started by identifying all the dive stores in the United States by state.  We verified their addresses by conducting a first class post card mailing.  According to our research, there are 1525 dive stores in the U.S.  The exact number isn’t important.  Numbers change.  What’s important is that we started a process that will continue in the future.

We then looked at the concentration of dive stores and grouped them together into workable Territories.  We now have territories in the Northeast, North Central, Northwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, South Central, Southwest, South Pacific, and the Caribbean.  Exact Territories are not important either.  They are not cast in concreate and can change according to the numbers.  What is important is that Dive Stores are the foundation of our rebuilding.  They are licensed businesses that are a physical part of the states and territories they are in.  Most stores sell diving equipment, training and travel.  Having a local business address is our key ingredient to promoting their location to the general public who can visit and learn all about diving in their own community.

Keeping track of 1,525 dive stores in our country is a big job.  And an expensive one too.  Breaking it down into territories makes it more workable.  Organizing it by state is even more so.  The Dive Industry Association is looing for a retail volunteer from each state to be their state’s spokesperson.  We are looking for each territory to appoint a Territory Advisor to represent the states in their territory and work with us during the year.  This first step will revolutionize the 21st Century Diving Industry.  I guarantee it.

Step Two:  Adding Dive Equipment Sales Reps to the Local Diving Territories

Step two in rebuilding our Local Diving Communities is to bring the Dive Equipment Regional Reps into the plan.  Dive Equipment Sales Reps have long been a crucial element of the industry and yet they are the most unappreciated group in the community.  Have you ever seen a Rep get elected to an Association’s Board of Directors or receive an award for their industry service?  How many Reps do you know that have been inducted into a Divers Hall of Fame?  Do you ever see them at an industry “Black Tie” event?  I didn’t think so.

Well, Dive Equipment Reps, or Sales Agents as they are called, are one of the most important elements in the industry’s channel of distribution.  They are the direct link between Buyers and Sellers in the diving business community.  According to an industry-wide survey in 2002, Reps typically represent 5 companies, to 163 accounts in a 7 state territory.   On average, we found out they spent 183 days a year on the road and spent over $33,000 of their own money traveling to their Dealers.  Sales Reps are the eyes and ears of our Supply Chain.  With the demise of national trade shows, Regional Sales Reps are once again coming into prominence and importance in this post-covid economy.  I personally feel that Regional Sales Agents can once again become the lynch-pin of our global business network – on a regional territorial basis, of course.

DIVE LOCAL has mapped out the 144 Dive Equipment Sales Reps in the United States, based on a first-class post card mailing conducted by the Dive Industry Foundation (non-profit 501c3) this year.  We organized the Reps according to their home addresses due to the fact that travel has become compromised because of the virus.  We honestly feel that Sales Reps who are traveling locally are more effective in sales than Reps who are not traveling.  

Dive Industry Association is working with a number of Sales Reps to help them identify the State of the Retail Industry in diving.  Together we are keeping track of the successes and challenges the Retailers are facing.  Participating Sales Reps can benefit from our persistent marketing efforts while they focus on their local travel and sales.  There are opportunities at Dive Industry Association and Dive Industry Foundation for Sales Reps to participating in volunteer activities and commissioned sales work.  Building a Global Business Network always has benefits that go along with working together. 

Step Three:  Adding Dive Equipment Companies to the Local Diving Territories

Diving Equipment Manufacturers have the most to gain by being a part of the Regional Diving Communities we are building.  Having an organized group of Professional Retail Dive Centers, serviced by Professional Sales Agents leads to continuity of marketing communications and the abundant flow of goods and services.  Many of the antiquated sales methods we have used and are still using in the industry are being replaced by 21st Century sales and marketing techniques that will improve the way we do business on behalf of the recreational diving consumers.  We invite all Diving Equipment Manufacturers to become a part of what we are doing and benefit from it.

For more information on DIVE LOCAL, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director of Dive Industry Association, at 



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Rebuilding Local Diving Communities

Rebuilding Local Diving Communities –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

The COVID-19 Pandemic has given us the opportunity to stop and think about what we do for a living.  And for a recreation.  With all this time on our hands, Dive Industry Professionals are faced with some hard realities on how to proceed in the future.  We know this pandemic is very serious.  It’s devastating to the health of our people and it’s devastating to our economy.  Without a doubt, this crisis will change the way we live, work and recreate.  So let’s deal with it, learn from it and move forward.

I’m a Dive Industry Marketing Professional. Not a Doctor, a Government Health Official or a Politician.  World leaders in the medical profession are studying the virus, trying to find treatments and cures for it and are working non-stop to save lives.  Organizations like the CDC are recommending precautionary measures for citizens to follow and we should heed their advice.  Business organizations like the Small Business Development Centers are helping Entrepreneurs apply for loans, obtain grants and learn how to navigate through this economic nightmare.  Even in the diving industry I am seeing encouraging work coming from some of our leading companies.  This pandemic will end and hopefully soon.  We will get through this and the rest of our lives will be in our hands.  It’s time to start planning for the future – a bright future.

In my opinion, the diving industry has and will change forever.  I don’t see us getting back to the way it used to be.  It will be different and in many, many years hopefully better.  Consider this to be our golden opportunity to rebuild the diving industry.  For the better.

Over the past sixty years, scuba diving as a recreation grew.  Many of our Founding Pioneers have since passed away and a second generation of diving adventurers have picked up where our pioneers left off.   I hope they remember what our pioneers did to make the recreation start, grow and succeed because we are at a point in time where we are going to have to rebuild the industry, post COVID-19.

The Dive Industry Association has a plan for rebuilding the diving industry,  It’s based on what our early pioneers did in creating the market for our recreation but not making the same mistakes we made in the past twenty years.  Our plan is spelled out in our campaign DIVE LOCAL.  Scuba diving started out as a local social recreation.  Scuba Diving enthusiasts bought or made diving equipment to enjoy the wonders of their local rivers, lakes, quarries and oceans.  Being social animals they taught their family and friends how to dive.  On Weekends they went diving together – locally.  Divers started talking pictures underwater, exploring shipwrecks, and doing some wonderful underwater exploration.  As the travel industry matured, divers had more options and oceans to explore.  During the off-season divers read scuba diving magazines, joined dive clubs and went to local dive shows and film festivals.  As more people took up diving, the sales of diving equipment, training and travel increased.  More dive stores opened up, more companies distributed diving equipment and certification agencies grew. Dive travel was introduced and blossomed.  Three things started the industry on its decline.  The Baby Boom generation got older and new population numbers decreased.  The 21st arrived and the industry was still using 20th business tools or none at all.  COVID-19 brought the world to an all halt.  But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully it’s not a train.

We can start rebuilding our industry right now.  As we learn to deal with the corona virus and stay safe, let’s rebuild our recreational infrastructure.   We start by creating Regional Territories, made up of states, made up of local diving communities.  As outlined in our website we make Dive Stores the center of each Local Dive Community.  Add the Equipment Sales Reps who visit these stores and then the diving equipment companies that reside in these communities.  Next we add the Training Agency Sales Reps and the agencies they represent that visit the Retailers.  The completion of the first phase of this rebuilding is to add Local Dive Travel Specialists who sell local and extended dive travel.  We now have a complete Local Diving Community of Dive Industry Professionals.  All that’s left to do is add the Local Divers and we have a complete Local Diving Community.

Our new White Paper, The Rebuilding of Local Diving Communities will spell out, step-by-step how the diving industry can rebuild itself post-COVID-19.

For more information, contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.

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Alaska Dive Stores – Week 14

Building a Dive Retail Database in Alaska
by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.


Starting on Week 14 in 2020, Dive Industry Association is beginning a campaign to verify its Retail Dive Store database on the DIVE LOCAL Website. Every week we will focus on a new state. Alaska is the first one. The purpose of the listing is three-fold. We want to identify all Retail Dive Centers, worldwide, that are teaching diving, selling dive gear, talking people diving and keeping them active in the recreation. We want to bring more divers into our recreation. Finally, we want to create an active local dive community in the State of Alaska.

The Dive Stores in Alaska are part of the Northwest Diving Community of the United States. Dive Stores are, in our opinion, the heartbeat of our recreation and usually the first contact with the general public. Dive Retailers are our Ambassadors of the Diving Industry.

Starting on April 1 (no joke) the Dive Industry Association will be mailing a post card to every Retail Dive Center in the United States to verify their mailing address. Every week we will pick a new State to focus on. On Week 14 we will list every Alaska Dive Store in our NW Dive Stores Directory on To prevent email address farming, we will only publish the stores name and their city & state.

If a local Retailer would like us to publish their website address they only need to mail one of their business cards to Dive Industry Association, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904.


The Dive Industry Association is promoting and support Retail dive Centers through its Dive Industry Retailers Association. All Retail Dive Centers are invited to join the association that promotes dive stores regardless of their equipment or training agency preference. A united retail dive organization is the first step to a growing and healthy industry.

For more information contact: Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904. email: Web:

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Participate in DIVE LOCAL – Regional & International

Participate in the Industry Program – DIVE LOCAL 
by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.

Step 5 to uniting the diving industry is to participate in the international diving cooperative program, DIVE LOCAL.  DIVE LOCAL is a project of the Dive Industry Foundation, a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) tax-deductible, charitable organization.  DIVE LOCAL is international in scope and one of its sponsors is the Dive Industry Association.  DIVE LOCAL has a Blog Website, a Facebook Page and its own Twitter Account.  The main goal of DIVE LOCAL is to create opportunities for local diving businesses and help them succeed in business, thereby growing the industry.

Our first task is to define the size of the industry and its economical potential.  To do that we must identify the dive businesses and dive industry professionals that make up the dive business community.  To ensure that only current dive businesses are listed in our directories on we are asking dive businesses to send us their current business card and any marketing materials they may have on their company.

Anyone who comes in contact with a Dive Industry Professional can participate in this project.  Manufacturers can send us a business card from each of their key employees and Reps as well as their product catalog, Dealer Price Sheet and any marketing materials they may have.  Dive Retailers can get a business card from every Sales Rep who visits their store.  Sales Reps can get a Business Card from every Dive Store they visit throughout the year or see at the DEMA Show or Regional Dive Show they attend.  It would be very helpful if you put them in the mail to us on a monthly basis.  Training Agencies come in contact with a tremendous number of Dive Industry Professionals and can and should be a big help in this project.

The reason we ask for the original business cards is that we use Card Scan hardware and software to process and file the cards for our industry database, which is currently at about 4,900 Dive Businesses and Industry Professionals.

But first, allow me to destroy some common myths and assumptions associated with this project and give you some guarantees that will make you feel more at ease.  First of all, DIVE LOCAL will not share any sensitive content about your company to any individuals in the industry.  In the case of dive companies, we only list the name of the company, it’s city, state and country and its website address on our Regional and Worldwide Directories.  That is to give you exposure and promotion to potential customers, not to get you on everyone’s spam list.  In the case of Dive Stores and Dive Boats, 99% of these businesses want people to visit their business website.  That’s how you get customers.  Dive Clubs and Dive Instructors may have different ideas on how they advertise for customers and that is on our “To Discuss” list.

Secondly, we are listing dive businesses (Manufacturing, Retail, Training and Travel) that are registered businesses with their city, state, county and country governments.  They are finite in number and their contact information is available to the public.  There is no secret as to who they are or where they do business.  Why would any company doing business in public want to hide from being discovered by potential customers?

DIVE LOCAL already has special cooperative programs for Training and Manufacturing Sales Reps to help them identify Retail Dive Centers in their territory.  We have gotten business cards from a number of Reps and even listed their accounts on a database that is specifically tailored to them.   Their list can be emailed to them quickly and as needed should they lose or forget to bring their Dealer Accounts Book with them on the road.  Of course, their list is never available to anyone but them.  A great benefit of this program is our automatic updates to the Reps when we discover an out-of-business Dealer or a new Dive Store in their territory.  Any Sales Rep can call our office for details and how our program can be of value to them.

The last myth I would like to dispel is the fact that any customer is “Your” customer and belongs to you.  First of all, customers do not belong to you.  They are yours only for that period of time when you meet their needs with goods and services they need, want and can afford.  If you want them to be your customer for a longer period of time, you must continue to meet their needs.  In the 1960’s and 1970’s the major certification agencies published Directories of their Scuba Instructors.  The directory listings helped working Instructors find new students.  As Instructors stopped teaching classes, the need to be in a directory vanished and actually became a problem with unwanted phone calls asking about new classes.  Another problem was that agency competitors may have been using these directories to solicit Instructors.  Either way, the working Professional Educators lost a good source of marketing exposure.

Now in the 21st Century we have Instructor and Dealer Directories on-line.  It seems that everyone has a directory, but unfortunately many are not well kept or current.  And there still is no all-inclusive, industry-wide directory.  Maybe with DIVE LOCAL, that will all change.

The DIVE LOCAL Website, Facebook Page and Twitter is live.
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Dive Industry Foundation
2294 Botanica Circle
West Melbourne, FL 32904

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