If we can get some of these divers back into the water, imagine the benefit it will have to our entire industry? But in order for this to happen, we as diving professionals need get behind it & promote it, any way we can.
INITIALLY, TO MAKE THIS PROJECT WORK, THERE ARE 2 CRITICAL KEY COMPONENTS:
Magazines, Internet Contacts and Other Sources of Media Advertising: To get the word out about this industry wide effort to help get the "rusty" divers safely back into the water. This is a grass roots program. If you're looking for somebody to purchase ad space, the money isn't there. However, if you can find space to write an article or post an ad or whatever supporting the program, this would be a tremendous help.
Instructors and Training Agencies: The mechanism to teach diving safety is already there. But before these divers will go back into the water, they need see the opportunity. Then they need to rebuild their self confidence to feel safe again. Instructors are a critical component. Refresher or Continuing Education classes are usually the first step. This leads to replacing old and outdated gear, benefiting the dive shops and manufacturers. Then the opportunity presents itself for Nitrox and more Advanced Classes, Memberships in Dive Clubs & Non-Profits, Magazine Subscriptions, Dive Travel, Dive Insurance Policies...... Not to mention new friends and the other social benefits of diving.
For many years, there has been a heavy focus on getting young people to learn how to dive, This is still a very important niche, but the reality is many young people just don't have much money. This is my 39th year teaching scuba at UC Santa Barbara. Trust me. Not many of these kids have much money. But a much larger percentage of the older divers who are no longer diving do. They're certified. They've already expressed the interest. They may now be in a period of their life where they have time. They just need the incentive to get back in. That's our job.
We just kicked off the ReDiscover Diving Program. The website is now on line: www.ReDiscoverDiving.com It's basic for now, but it gets people thinking. It directs people to the dive shops, instructors and other diving professionals. It's designed to be broad so the different dive professionals can decide on what will work for them, in their area, during their season, or whatever. It also has downloads for the ReDiscover Diving Logo. We encourage everybody to use this logo whenever possible. It's free for anybody to use. It shows that this is an industry wide program, hopefully benefiting all and not just one group.
Some of you will be having BOD meetings at DEMA and meeting with other diving professionals. I encourage you to discuss how your agency or business can support and benefit from this industry wide project. My internet contact base is very limited. Please help spread the news to other industry professionals. We're all in this together...