Editorial – May 2023

Why It’s Important To Study The Industry
 by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
The Dive Industry Foundation

In the early 1980’s there were a handful of young Dive Industry Professionals (myself included) who took it upon themselves to study the diving industry and turn it into successful careers as Consultants, Reporters, and Industry Planners.  We conducted primary and secondary research and used the data to develop industry databases, industry norms, and industry guidelines that pertained to the market size, market composition, annual scuba certifications, and total industry sales revenue.  We studied the businesses that made up the then-current Global Diving Business Network and the Key Dive Industry Professionals who were in charge of the top companies.  We did our best to track the sales of diving equipment, training courses, travel programs, and lifestyle products.  We developed our own industry leading economic indicators for growth which were the current number of dive stores, annual new certifications, and annual equipment sales.  A lot has changed in the last 40 years but the need to study and understand the industry has actually increased.  In the past 40 years, the diving industry has become more fragmented and even though we have more data to deal with on a daily basis, there is a greater need to sift through the amount of misinformation and disinformation that is out there.  They say that the major problem with the information age is that there is too much information (data) being produced and the overall reliability and believability of that data is suspect.  It is no longer relevant how much information is available to us; it is the quality of the information we receive that is important.  The global diving industry would benefit greatly if the current Industry Planners and Researchers held a round-table discussion to discuss how we could collect economic and statistical data about the diving industry and share it with the key decision makers in our recreation.

Our Foundation follows four Dive Industry Professionals and Associations that conduct on-going surveys in the industry.  There may be more, but for some reason, they are not sharing their data with us.  Hopefully that will change in the near future.  We currently follow and participate in surveys that are conducted by the Dive Industry Association (Gene Muchanski), The Business of Diving Institute (Darcy Kieran), the Cline Group (William Cline), and DEMA.  We track the questions being surveyed, the answers and trends the respondents give, and the numbers and business categories of the respondents.

In our opinion, the important data to keep track of in the Global Diving Business Network are the data that identifies and tracks the activity and growth (or decline) of the diving industry global commerce.  This job is complex, time consuming, labor intensive, and expensive.  On top of that, it is not income-generating for the researchers, which is why there are so few surveys being conducted in the industry.  However, the data that can be retrieved, analyzed, and compiled is priceless to the Global Diving Business Community, so we are looking into ways the Global Diving Industry could fund the non-profit organization, The Dive Industry Foundation, to conduct the necessary research.

In the coming months, the Dive Industry Foundation will lay out a plan to analyze the current surveys being conducted in the industry and to see how we can enhance and improve on them, both in quality of questions and quantity of responses.  We will be looking at developing leading economic indicators that measure the industry’s economic development in terms of growth or decline.  We will be looking at the numbers of dive stores currently operating in the Global Diving Business Network as well as the numbers of diving and diving related businesses throughout the industry supply and demand chains.  We will look at annual sales in both wholesale and retail numbers and track initial certifications on an annual basis.  It is interesting to note that annual sales and certification numbers are important economic indicators, but so are the number of diving business going in and out of business, and the number of diving-related jobs that are created or lost throughout the year.   To get a firm understanding of the industry’s economic development status, we need to look at all of these factors.

Our first step will be to look at industry surveys that are currently being conducted.  We need to do two things here.  First, we need to help increase the response numbers for all of the surveys currently being conducted.  Secondly, we have to update our own survey to include questions that are important to know but are not currently being asked.

The second step will be to convince all dive industry professionals to get behind the surveys and do their part to supply information that we can gather, analyze, and report on.  This, of course, is the hardest thing to do in our industry for many reasons.  While most dive businesses are small, owner-operator businesses, many are owned by larger companies.  Many small business owners either don’t have the time to complete the surveys, don’t trust the companies that run the surveys, or have not collected the necessary data themselves.  Too many of the larger companies are reluctant to share any of their information with survey companies, for a number of reasons.

If we can convince the industry to participate in quarterly or annual surveys, we may need to rethink how we conduct them. Rather than have one industry survey that asks the same question to all the different stakeholder groups, maybe we should conduct stakeholder group surveys with questions that pertain specifically to their group.  Surveys to Retail stores need to focus on initial scuba certifications, equipment sales, total revenue, number of group trips and number of participants in each group.  We also need to know how many stores opened for business and closed for business.  Jobs are a big factor in retail.  How many jobs are there currently?  Full-time, part-time, and private contractors. Every year we need to know how many jobs were created and how many were lost.

Manufacturing surveys are important to the industry.   We need to know annual sales domestically and internationally, in wholesale numbers.  The numbers of Dealers and employees tells us a lot about manufacturing growth trends.  How many new Dealers, how many lost Dealers, and how many current Dealers are there?  Jobs created and jobs lost are a big economic factor for us to know.

Certification numbers are important to us.  How many initial certs, how many other certifications were issued, and how many certifications were duplicates (one person getting two agency certifications)?  If we knew the total number of instructors in our industry, that would be very helpful.  If we knew how many Instructors we gained and lost every year, that would be even better.

Travel surveys would tell us how active the global diving community is.  Besides knowing how many dive resorts, liveaboards, dive operators and travel professionals we have in the industry, knowing how many we are gaining and losing every year would be helpful. We need to know their occupancy rate and the number of divers they attract every year.  We should start counting dive boats in the United States as part of the travel stakeholder group.  After all, they are part of travel on a local level.  How many dive operators do we have and how many trips do they run, and how many passengers do they take out?

Knowing the economic activity of Equipment Manufacturers, Certification Agencies, Dive Retailers, and Travel Professionals, and comparing last year’s data against the year before is critical information for every serious Dive Industry Business Professional to have.  It helps them plan their business activity and budgets for the current year and future seasons to come.  But let’s look at the bigger picture here. Knowing the financial state of the industry is necessary when you are considering whether to keep your investment in the industry and especially if you are considering an initial investment in the industry.  Having a successful industry that is growing is a prerequisite to attracting investments in new dive resorts, liveaboard vessels, retail dive centers, and other diving and diving related businesses.  What about the job market?  Why would an individual choose to work in the diving industry if there weren’t employment opportunities?  If we don’t have the economic data to include in our marketing message, how can we convince individuals to invest or choose to work in our industry?  I think it’s high time that we gather the necessary statistical data we need to have to better market our industry to the next generation of Dive Industry Industry Professionals and Business Investors.

This is an exciting time to become part of the Global Diving Business Network.  For more information, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director of the Dive Industry Foundation, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904.  Phone: 321-914-3778.  Email: gene@diveindustry.net  Web: www.diveindustry.net

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Starting Your Own Business

Starting Your Own Business Series
The First Year in Business
by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.

Your first year in business may be your most difficult part of going into business for yourself.  In fact, it is going to be harder than all of your business planning up to this point.  If you think that doing a personal assessment, feasibility study or business plan was hard, think again.  You may even think that creating an action plan and going through the start-up process was more difficult than you could have imagined.  I grant you; it probably was not easy and I know it was a lot of work, but it is nothing compared to the first year in business.   Think of your journey so far.  Getting to this point is like climbing Mt. Everest.  You may be on top of the world now, but you have only completed half of your journey.  To underestimate what comes next and not bothering to plan for it can result in failure and financial ruin. 

Planning a business takes a lot of research, study, and SWAG (Scientific Wild A_ _ Guessing).  But when you finish your planning, all you have invested at that point is a lot of time and manpower.  That’s a good thing.  You probably learned a lot about starting a business.  When you went through the actual start-up phase, you put your resources to work and hopefully built your business according to your plan.  At that point you have not lost anything yet either.  Your investment is intact and is waiting to bring you a return on investment (ROI).  What’s it waiting for?  You.  Now it’s time to get to work, but don’t stop your planning.  Remember, this may be all new to you because you have not been here before.  With each passing day, you will be building a history and that is something you want to record and learn from.

Dropping the ball on planning after a successful retail store grand opening happens all the time.  I worked with a sporting goods retail start-up not too long ago.  We went through the entire business planning process and the entrepreneur excelled at it.  His research was through, and all his assumptions were complete, well thought out, and realistic.  The Business Plan was textbook perfect.  All bases seemed to be covered and he was ready to open.  His start-up period was short and complete.  On opening day his store looked fantastic, was well stocked with the correct amount of inventory, represented by the best brands in his industry, and his hardware and business software programs were installed, online and ready to go.  I congratulated him on his achievement and told him we should proceed with the next phase of his start up, the first year of operation.  You could imagine my disappointment when he said, “That won’t be necessary, Gene, I’ve got it from here.

A year later I got a call from that same entrepreneur.  He needed to raise $4,000 by the end of the weekend to pay his rent or face eviction.  When we reviewed his past year of operation, we found out that he had not recorded any of his sales history, did not have a database of his current customers and did not keep adequate records of his income and expenses.  Basically, he did not use any of the professional business programs he purchased and installed during the start-up.  With a beautiful store, an excellent inventory that was paid for, and the best legal, accounting and marketing programs that money could buy (with no useful data in them), there was little he could do except hang a GOING OUT OF BUSINESS sign in his window and move out on Monday.  Don’t let that happen to you.

Now do you believe me that going into business for yourself is for reals?  That’s why you don’t open a store on Monday and put up a “GONE DIVING” sign on your door on Tuesday.  After you open your doors to the public you have a big responsibility to make it work for you, your family, your local diving community and to the industry.  Learning how to operate your business will be easier and more enjoyable if you develop a Board of Advisors that you can casually meet with from time to time.  Remember, you are in the recreational diving business, and you will undoubtably have customers that work in the various professions, like marketing, accounting, law, and business.  If they patronage your dive store or dive business, I am sure they will want you to succeed.  Get to know them on a personal basis and recruit them as volunteer advisors.  I am not saying that you should get them to give you professional services for fee.  I firmly believe that you should pay for your legal, accounting and tax services using professional companies that do that for a living.   Keep your professional services and your advisors separate.  An advisor to me is someone I can socialize with, as a friend, who lets me pick their brain for ideas.  Sometimes they may even give you constructive criticism on different aspects of your operation.  Your Accountant, Lawyer, and Banker provide services that you pay them for.

Some of the things you want to do during your first year is record your history of customers, sales, students certified, and everything to do with income, expenses, and cash flow.  It will help you create your own seasonality curve which will give you a competitive advantage the following year. Until then you are really operating on assumptions and realistic estimates.

Customer Database:  Starting on day one, you need to create a customer database.  Every time someone walks into your store and every time you meet a scuba diver, get their full contact information and record it in a useable CRM (customer relationship management) program that could be integrated into your point-of-sale software program.  This will be your potential customer list.  Every time you make a sale, make sure you capture the customer’s contact information.  People who have made a purchase from you in the past 12 months are considered your current customers.  Get in the habit of frequently marketing to your current customer base.  This collective group of people is referred to as your circle of influence.   When a current customer has not purchased from you in 12 months, they become your former customer.  Knowing who they are is important but contacting them again is more important.

Sales History:  Knowing your sales history is important.  You will want to know how you are doing this year and how it compares to last year.  After the first 12 months in business, you will have a one-year history that shows your first seasonality curve.  From that point on you can start to see trends in your sales.  I have always maintained a simple Xcel spreadsheet for sales.  At the end of every day, I enter the daily sales.  The spreadsheet gives me the total for the year, the daily average, and the projected total for the year.  Those four columns are compared to last year daily sales and at a glance I can tell if we are up or down compared to last year, by the daily amount, total amount, average daily sales, and projected annual total.  My spreadsheet gives me the answers in dollars and percentage.  Once you set up the spreadsheet, all you have to do is put in one number per day.  Easy.

Point of Sale System:  I can’t recommend enough having a good point of sale software program.  I used Scuba Prophet in my dive store back in 1988, when it was first introduced.  A good point of sale program will help you control ordering, inventory, sales, customer data, marketing and merchandising. Knowing what you sell, how much you sell, and to whom is invaluable information.  Knowing the revenue, current selling price, cost, and profit per unit sold is priceless.  Being able to accurately forecast sales is a skill you need to develop as a professional dive retailer or dive equipment manufacturer.

Accounting Software:  Most small businesses use an accounting software program like QuickBooks.   You want to be able to track the flow of your income, expenses, and cash flow.  Your software will also keep track of your vendors, customers, and employees.  You will always want to be current with your invoices, bills, payments, deposits, payables, receivables, taxes, and payroll.  Accounting software is necessary to manage your day-to-day operations and for accountability and government compliance. 

Office, Marketing & Graphic Software:    Business tools are designed to make your job of operating your business easier, more accurate, and more manageable.  Using an integrated system of programs like Microsoft Office 365 and the Adobe Graphic Suite will make getting your daily tasks done quicker, easier, and end up looking more professional.  The key to getting the most out of your computer software programs is to purchase a book or a course on each software program, read the book, complete the course, and keep the textbook on-hand for future reference.

Staying Current with The Diving Industry:  During your first year of operation, it is important that you refine your business model and make any changes or adjustments to your original business plan as you think necessary.  What you should be trying to achieve at this point is developing a business model that works for you as you iron out any bugs in your current assumptions.  Your goals should be to utilize the current business tools you have and do the best you can within your current market.  We will address shifting to a grow strategy in future articles.  For the present time, you may want to keep yourself current with what your competitors and the rest of the industry is doing.  Don’t just focus on your local market but start noticing what other vendors in the equipment, training, travel and lifestyle sectors are doing.  If you haven’t joined your industry trade association yet, now would be a good time.  The Dive Industry Association has a book on  how to stay connected as a Dive Industry Professional, and it’s free as part of your membership.

Congratulations on getting this far in your own business.  Keep going.  For more information on getting through your first year in business, as it relates to a Dive Industry Professional Business, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association.  Phone 321-914-3778.   eMail: gene@diveindustry.net

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Editorial – July 2022

What It Means To Be A Volunteer.
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to the July 2022 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional.  We are so fortunate to be involved in a recreation that attracts some of the most adventurous, kind, considerate, intelligent, and generous people on the planet.  I have been a water sports person all my life and it has brought me great joy and appreciation.  Appreciation for a healthy environment.  Appreciation for our plant and animal population.  And yes, appreciation for the enviro-friendly recreation businesses I deal with on a daily basis. 

As a lifelong scuba diver, I know that, as a group, we are an adventurous lot.  That’s a given.  You have to have an adventurous streak in you, in order to put on life support equipment and enter a strange and sometimes hostile environment we know very little about.  Just for the sake of exploring and learning something new.  So, we are adventurous, courageous, and curious.

Scuba diving is an outdoor recreation, so we have developed an appreciation for clean air, clean water, and abundant and healthy plant and animal life.  Whether I am hiking on land or exploring underwater, I get that feeling we were designed to be more than custodians of our environment.  We were meant to be good stewards of all the gifts that were entrusted to us.  That means, we don’t just get to enjoy and appreciate a healthy environment, we have to use our abilities and talents to create and maintain a healthy environment for all to enjoy.

Being good stewards of the earth and everything in it means that everyone has a duty and a responsibility to do their part.  Since we were all born with unique talents and abilities, it means that we can volunteer our time, talent, and treasure according to our gifts.  Regardless of your ability, you have something of value that can be used for the greater good.

Volunteering your time, talents and treasures is not just for a few non-profit organizations.  The diving industry has many non-profit organizations that focus on a multitude of needs.  We have environmental groups that work for clean water, healthy reefs, and marine life.  We have organizations that work with people who have physical and emotional challenges.  Some specialize in working with Veterans.  A number of non-profits work with children, or specific minority groups.  Some non-profits are designed to assist small businesses to help them start, grow, and succeed in their calling.  The types of non-profit, charitable organizations are almost limitless.  Finding an organization to volunteer your time, talent and treasures should be easy.  In today’s world, the need is great, but the volunteer workers are few.

Many people don’t realize this, but becoming a volunteer is actually a part of our life cycle.  In his book Start, Jon Acuff tells us that everyone goes through the same five stages in life, and the stages appear to correspond to our age groups.  According to Acuff, the five stages of life are Learning, Editing, Mastering, Harvesting, and Guiding.  See if any of these apply to you.  In our 20’s we are focused on learning.  In our 30’s we are taking what we’ve learned and refining it in order to better serve our purpose.  We edit and use what works for us and we discard what doesn’t.  In our 40’s we spend our time mastering our trade and really digging into the details that makes us more competitive in the workplace and in our profession.  By the time we are in our 50’s we are at a point in our life where we can enjoy the fruits of our labor and reap the rewards of the hard work we’ve done in our lives.   When we arrive at our 60’s, it’s time to guide the younger generation and become the mentors they need.  That’s why volunteering is so important.  Over your lifetime you have developed talents that other people need and can use.  Hopefully you will now have the time to spare, working for a good cause.

To me, volunteering is donating your time, talent or treasures to an organization that does good work.  Work that benefits people, companies, governments, or the environment.  I’ve seen three types of volunteering in the diving industry and other industries as well.  Some organizations recruit general volunteers to do general tasks.  These organizations need bodies.  Lots of them.  Good examples are beach clean ups for the environment and parking or clean-up crews at the local church.  The tasks are general in nature and can be on a one-time basis or on a recurring schedule.  The second type of volunteering is one that uses a volunteer’s specific talent for a specific purpose.  Recruiting a Medical Doctor or Dentist for a doctors without borders program is a good example.  The mission of the organization is specific, and the volunteers have to be qualified and experienced to perform the work. The third type of volunteering is simply giving financial support to an organization.  If you look at the non-profit industry closely, you will see why this type of volunteering is essential for building roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and libraries.  Without your financial support, many non-profits would not be able to carry on doing the work they do for their community or the world.

The diving industry needs all three types of volunteers.  We need the masses for beach clean-ups and environmental projects.  We need generous donations of equipment, travel accommodations, and dollars to keep these organizations solvent.  But most of all, we need the education and experience of the generation of Dive Industry Professionals that came before us, to volunteer their talents and expertise to small businesses so they can start, grow and succeed in the Global Diving Business Network.  Now, I want to distinguish the difference between a volunteer and an advisor with a special talent, because I have had experience as both.  Volunteers get things done.  Organizations ask for volunteers with various professional expertise, like law, accounting, marketing, graphic design, etc.  These organizations know what they want and are looking for talent that is willing to help them on a volunteer basis.  Advisors, on the other hand, lend their expertise on an as-needed basis to help an organization clarify an issue or help make a decision.  An Advisor’s recommendation is not always implemented and sometimes is not even valued by the paid employees of a company.  If you are asked to be an Advisor or a Volunteer, to sit on a committee that doesn’t have the authority to implement their recommendations, don’t just walk away from that situation, run.  Volunteering is a two-way street.  Companies must utilize and appreciate the work performed by the volunteer and the volunteer must be made to feel that the work they do is important, has meaning and is respected and appreciated by the company. 

I’ll close with this suggestion for the diving industry.  We need to recruit volunteers for our organizations, both non-profit and for-profit.  Until we can afford to bring on a paid employee or paid consultant for a specific task, brining on volunteers to help us grow will benefit our companies greatly.  Not only will it help your company, it will give Dive Industry Professionals worldwide, an opportunity to use their talents (or practice their talents) to help make a diving company better at serving its customers.

As we promote non-profit organizations of the diving industry in the pages of The Dive Industry Professional, let us think about ways we can promote and praise the volunteer work of divers and water sports people who work with us for the betterment of the industry.  We look forward to writing articles about organizations and their staff who do good work for the industry as well as the non-paid volunteers who donate their time, talent and treasures to make this a better world.

For more information on being a Dive Industry Professional Volunteer, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, Inc., at gene@diveindustry.net or call me at 321-914-3778.

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Editorial – June 2022


What Is A Dive Industry Professional?
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to the June 2022 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional.  Being this is our third issue in a magazine format, after twenty-two years as a Newsletter, it is a justifiable question to ask the International Diving Community “What is a Dive Industry Professional?”  I admit, we have skirted the issue, as has the entire diving industry, on defining what a Dive Industry Professional is.  We’ll do our best to give you our best definition of what we think the title implies as well as the roles and responsibilities of being a Dive Industry Professional.  Of course, this is in our humble opinion based on fifty years in the business.

Dive applies to all of the different types of diving in the many different markets.  It applies to snorkeling, free diving, scuba diving, surface-supplied diving, rebreather diving, and the like.  Dive includes recreational diving, public safety, military, commercial, occupational, scientific, and technical.  Basically, if you go underwater with equipment you are participating in dive.

Industry is a little more tricky.  Technically, an industry is a group of like-minded businesses, producing similar products or services, that collectively make up an industry.  Industries are based on how programs, products and services are made or sold.  The United States Government organizes industries in their North American Industry Classification System.  Industries include Manufacturing, Distribution, Retail, Service, Recreational Education, Travel, etc.  There are many industries that have a number of businesses that specialize in dive.  We currently track 18 of them.

Technically, a market is where stuff is bought & sold and is made up of buyers & sellers.  The Diving Industry, as we affectionately and wrongfully call it, is not an industry at all, but a niche market.  But that’s OK.  We will continue to call it an industry anyway, with a wink and a nod.

Now we get to the Professional part.  While there are many definitions of the word professional, word phrases that apply to us include; engaged in high standards of a profession, requiring advanced education, earning ones living from an activity, and engaged in a specific occupation for pay rather than a hobby. We acknowledge that all Scuba Diving Instructors can still be considered Professional even if some of them don’t teach diving for compensation.  Our purpose in the industry is to work with all water sports professionals who make a living, part time or full time, in the business of diving.

 So, we will define a Dive Industry Professional as anyone who works in the Global Diving Business Network for pay, either on a full time or part time basis.  If you work in the diving community and you make money at it, we consider you to be an Industry Trade Professional.  A Dive Industry Professional to be exact.  The good news is that you now have a monthly trade publication to call your own, regardless of your certification affiliation or your dive equipment preference. 

As we said before, The Dive Industry Association has been publishing The Dive Industry Professional for 22 years.  We started out as a printed bi-monthly newsletter.  Then we eventually began publishing every month.  As our membership and circulation grew, we turned the newsletter into a monthly digital publication.  The power of a 4-color publication with digital hot links to active websites was a big plus for us and our members.  The problem with using a digital format was getting our subscribers to scroll down past the fold, never mind for 30 pages.  With advanced graphics, adobe software programs, and a flip-page format, we now have the best of both worlds with longer content length and good graphic capability.  I believe we are heading into a new age of monthly trade communications.

Welcome to the new monthly, digital trade news publication, The Dive Industry Professional.  Our vision is to reach the entire Global Diving Business Network with a free trade publication that covers every diving topic imaginable, brought to the International Diving Community every month. Our goal is to bring you an industry insider’s perspective into the modern-day business of diving topics and issues.

In future issues of The Dive Industry Professional, we will present a monthly Editorial, a Feature Article as part of a series, an Industry Profile, a Shows & Events Calendar, and information about Membership in the Dive Industry Association.  We will include articles about businesses that specialize in diving, that are in the manufacturing, retailing, training, and the travel industries.   We hope to report on diving equipment tests and dive resort visits.  We will feature dive operators and their dive operation crews.  We will feature Scuba Instructors, Dive Clubs, Dive Boats, and Non-Profit Organizations and report on their diving activities.  We will publish articles about the business of diving and how using modern marketing tools and technologies can improve your business operation and your bottom line.

Our Monthly Trade Magazine will be all about the sales of diving equipment, training programs, travel services and lifestyle products that meet our customers’ needs and grows the recreational diving industry.  Our goal is to get The Dive Industry Professional into the hands of every Dive Industry Professional across the globe, every month.  Subscription is FREE to all in the International Diving Community by opting in at our Constant Contact Safe Subscribe site at:


When you subscribe to our monthly trade publication, you can also opt-in to our Weekly Dive News, published every Tuesday, and our General Mailing list. You can also unsubscribe or change your profile any time you wish. We are all about keeping happy and informed divers.

For more information on being a Dive Industry Professional, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, Inc., at gene@diveindustry.net or call me at 321-914-3778.


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Stand Up And Be Counted

Surveying The Diving Business Community.
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
Dive Industry Professional

The Dive Industry Association is looking into ways to improve the flow of goods and services in the recreational diving industry. In the post-pandemic period, the international diving community is recovering from a difficult two years. As many of us reopen our businesses we are noticing that things have changed. Some of these changes are temporary and some are permanent. In our July Editorial we talked about how the diving business community needed to become more professional, due to at least four major changes in the past 20 years. The four major changes being; 1) Maturity of the industry. 2) Digitization of text, images & objects. 3) Covid Pandemic. 4) Changing Business Landscape.

Because so many things have changed, I feel we are re-entering a business environment that is different than before but new and exciting at the same time. So as we reenter the business community, let’s look at it as a new (ad)venture.

What’s the first thing you do when you start something new? Gather information. The Dive Industry Foundation is taking a lead role in surveying Dive Manufacturers, Manufacturing Sales Reps, Retail Dive Stores and the Travel Industry. We’ll go over each one and the reason we are asking for your participation. But first let me tell you what we are doing with the data collected.

As a Trade Association our Mission is to bring Buyers & Sellers together to increase sales, grow member companies and grow the industry. Because so many things have changed in the last two years, we are redefining the channels of distribution used by four categories of the industry that account for the majority of sales in recreational diving and adventure travel. They are Diving Equipment, Training Programs, Dive Travel and Lifestyle Products.

We define the diving equipment channel of distribution as Manufacturer – Mfg Sales Rep – Retail Dive Store – Consumer. Before we can address the Demand Chain (Consumers) we need to make sure the supply chain understands each other and is working well with their supply partners.

The Travel Industries that specialize in diving is larger, more diverse, and scattered all over the globe. In many cases, diving is a small niche market for many of these businesses. In the delivery of services to the final consumer we define our Dive Travel Channel of Distribution as Tourism Board – Resort Destination or Liveaboard – Dive Travel Wholesaler – Dive Travel Specialist (Retail Travel Buyer) – Consumer.

As I mentioned before, our redefined channels of distribution are not perfect, absolute or even the same in every case, but the models we construct are workable, easy to understand and constitute a majority of the revenue in the Diving and Adventure Travel Market. We can always work on variations and exceptions to this model later, but for now, this may give us the biggest bang for the buck.


The first Survey we have is the Dive Manufacturing Companies. This is the first year we have used this. Whether the company is an OEM (original equipment manufacturer), manufacturer or distributor, this group is considered the originator of diving or diving related equipment. First of all, we want to know if we have the company’s correct contact information and they are still in business. Secondly we want to understand the company profile, size and managerial makeup. Since we are in the referral business, we need to know the proper person to contact for specific issues. The survey questions delve into the use of sales reps, participation in trade and consumer shows, memberships in trade organizations and the use of professional sales and marketing tools. We need to know how many domestic and international Dealers they sell to and how they reach their customers. Understanding our manufacturing partners helps us determine the current state of the industry and what business needs may be unfulfilled at this time. We currently have over 400 manufacturing companies in our database and are doing everything to quantify and qualify our data.

The second survey is the Manufacturing Sales Rep Survey. First conducted in 2002, this survey defines the work of a small 140 person industry niche. Our Industry Report on Sales Reps showed us many important aspects of what manufacturing sales reps do for the industry. It’s important to know how many companies they represent, how many accounts they service, in the number of states and how many days they are on the road. When we look at the impact of their gross sales revenues and know how much (or little) they are paid before deducting their travel expenses, we understand the value of using Sales Reps. Our current roster of Manufacturing Sales Reps is about 140. That includes In-House Sales Teams and Reps working through contracted Sales Rep Companies. Individual sales people from individual companies are not included in our database.

The third survey is the Retail Dive Stores. Our first Retail Survey was performed in 2002 and was ground breaking in the industry. We learned the size of the average dive store, how many students they certified to dive, how much equipment and travel they sold and how business savvy they were in using business plans, marketing plans, and business consultants. We saw how many people they employed, how many Instructors they used, the number of group trips they booked and more. The more we learn about the dive store sector, the more we realize how important they are to our industry. The front-line ambassadors of diving deserve a lot more respect and perks then they are currently getting. Prior to the pandemic, our domestic retail database was at about 1,500. We are into the 1,400’s now and this number gets lower every year.

The completion of these three surveys will significantly change the way we relate to the diving equipment stakeholders in the industry. When you look at Manufacturers, Sales Reps and Dive Retailers as working partners in one-third of the Supply Chain of our Industry you’ll have a better idea of the industry’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. I can’t emphasize the importance of completing these three surveys and we encourage all three sectors to participate in them whole-heartily.


The fourth survey we completed this week and have started to distribute is the Dive Travel Industry Survey. We have over 900 dive travel businesses in our database that specialize in dive travel. We are sending one survey to a number of different industries to determine the correct Business Profile of the companies as determined by their NAICS Code. We are looking at Airlines, Resorts, Liveaboards, Dive Stores (International), Dive Operators, Dive Travel Wholesalers, Travel Advisers, and Dive Group Leaders. We are looking to understand this market in a way we could refer business to them using our Travel Channel of Distribution. The more we know about the Travel market of today, the better we can address their needs to reboot their business and attract new customers.


Our surveys are just the beginning. Our Mission is to bring Buyers & Sellers together for their mutual benefit, not ours. Redesigning new Channels of Distribution for different market segments only makes it easier for individual stakeholders to acquire new vendors and customers, retain the ones they have and recapture the ones they lost. It’s about being a part of an International Business Community that works together for mutual benefit, reducing fragmentation and duplication of effort. It’s about being part of a TEAM while focusing on your own core competencies for maximum efficiency and profitability. It’s about becoming and remaining more professional, more productive and more profitable.

To request a survey for your business please contact Gene Muchanski.


Our Foundation does not profit from conducting these surveys. Our Mission is Promoting Economic Development in Water Sports. Our industry work is performed by Volunteer Marketing Professionals and Volunteer Dive Industry Professionals. If you would like to volunteer your time, money or manpower, please contact:

Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Foundation
2294 Botanica Circle
West Melbourne, FL 32904
Phone: 321-914-3778
eMail: gene@diveindustry.org
Web: www.diveindustry.org


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Preserving Our Diving History

dif-backdrop-2Preserving Our Diving History
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

The recreational diving industry can trace its history back to the end of World War II when Navy Frogmen brought home their new found tool, the Aqua Lung, and introduced it to their civilian friends.  Dive equipment manufacturers started making dive gear, lifeguards and spearfishermen  started teaching people how to dive and certification agencies were created to formalize training programs for the masses.  Well, maybe not “masses” but many anyway. Seventy some-odd years later, things have changed.  Many dive equipment manufacturers have gone out of business.  The manufacturing industry that specializes in diving equipment has evolved down to the top 4 full-line companies, with perhaps 70 more that manufacture some type of diving equipment and sell wholesale to retail dive stores.

The Sports and Recreation Instruction Industry now includes approximately 40 certification agencies that specialize in the training and certification of scuba divers.

The Travel Industry has blossomed, worldwide and the number of dive resorts and dive operators is at an all time high.  Well, at least in numbers before the COVID19 pandemic.

The most remarkable change to our international community is the Retail Dive Store.  aka The Dive Shop, The Local Sporting Goods Store, The Retail Dive Center, and the Travel & Outdoor Adventure Stores.  From garages and cellars with an air compressor to commercial leases with lots of pegboard to stand-alone stores with training pools and lots of slatwall and grid panels.  

No where in the world is this history documented so well as in our skin and scuba diving magazines.  Which I am a collector of, by the way.  One only has to peruse the back issue of SKIN DIVER Magazine to see, remember and appreciate our diving history.  We wrote about it and recorded it.  For the most part, much of it is still with us.  But it won’t be long before it’s all gone and forgotten. 

Our new recreation has grown older and many of our founding pioneers have left us.  But they left behind a lot of stuff.  Old gear, old books, old magazines.  The kind of stuff we Divers cherish and the same kind of stuff our heirs with throw in a dumpster when we die.  We can’t let that happen.

I wrote a blog post on facebook two days ago.  Post  I asked, “How many Diving Historians do we have?  I was encouraged with the 11 likes and 18 comments I received.  To my surprise, there are still a number of collectors out there.  There is even a good number of non-profit organizations and museums that specialize in old diving stuff.  Books, magazines, gear, etc.

Dive Industry Foundation plans to organize a list of Diving Historians, Collectors, Museums, and Non-Profits that focus on diving history.  We will publish articles on Diving Pioneers, Diving Collectors, Diving Equipment, Diving Magazines and Diving Museums.  Since different people collect different things, i.e. equipment, books, magazines, trade show stats (lol), and various diving related information, we’ll do our best to connect the right item with the right source.  We’ll also give this topic free press in our Weekly Dive News and monthly newsletter The Dive Industry Professional.   

This should be a fun project for the international diving community.  Contact the Foundation and let us know what you specialize in and how we can help.

DIFlogo-tag-200I’ll start off by listing Dive Industry Foundation, non-profit 501c3, as an organizer, media & marketing source and a collector of Dive Magazines.  Contact: Gene Muchanski, Executive Director.  Dive Industry Foundation, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904.  Phone: 321-914-3778.  email: gene@diveindustry.org  Website: www.diveindustry.org  Donations of any size are  appreciated.  Specify – Dive History Project.  Full tax deductions as allowed by law.


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Passing of Dr. Glen H. Egstrom

Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society
by Steve Barnett, President
1990 Rolex Scholar

It is with great sadness that I inform you that Dr. Glen H. Egstrom passed quietly at home facing the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by family on Monday, October 7, 2019.

Glen was a highly-regarded researcher, educator, mentor, and friend to the diving community.

The Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society was privileged to have Glen as a Founding Director.  Over the past 45+ years, Glen championed the idea of providing young people with opportunities and experiences related to the underwater world through the Society’s scholarships and internships.

Wednesday, October 16th would be Glen’s 91st birthday.  His daughters invite friends and family to raise a toast and cherish a memory, wherever you are on that day.  Let’s send a wave of love around the planet.

Family has requested that any cash memorials be made to the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society for the establishment of an internship in Dr. Egstrom’s name.  https://owuscholarship.org/about-us 


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Looking For Mermaids

Dive Industry Foundation
Non-profit 501(c)(3)
GeneMuchanski, ExecutiveDirector

The Dive Industry Foundation is looking for Mermaids in our industry who like to work with non-profit, environmental organizations.  One of our friends in the industry has worked with Mermaids in the past and needs our help identifying Mermaids, Mermaid Organizations and Non-profit Environmental Organizations.  Dive Industry Foundation accepts that challenge and we need your help.

The Foundation already has an industry database that contains many non-profit, marine & environmental organizations and their Key People.  We are now looking to add Mermaids and their companies to our database.  If you can help us identify this group, please have them send their picture, bio, contact information and any recent press releases they have to gene@diveindustry.org We will showcase one Mermaid and the work they do, every week, in Dive Industry Association’s Weekly News. 

Let’s have fun with this and give some credit where credit is due.

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Dive Industry Foundation to Exhibit at DEMA Show 2019

DIFlogo-tag-200Dive Industry Foundation
Non-profit 501(c)(3)
DEMA Show Booth 447
November 13-16, 2019

Please stop by our Booth 447 at the DEMA Show.  Here is what you will see.

  • Free Business Consulting
  • Industry Trade Directory / Buyers Guide
  • Information on DIVE LOCAL Campaigns
  • Retail Dive Center Survey
  • Manufacturing Sales Rep Survey
  • Business Course – Hypergrow Your Business
  • Book – The TriStart Matrix: Available for $20 Donation
  • Book – Hire Your First Employee by Rhonda Abrams
  • Book – Blackbeard by Margaret Hoffman: Available for $20 Donation
  • Dive Industry Foundation – Business Consultancy Services
  • Free Marketing Tips on using Social Media, Press Releases & Trade Shows
  • Information on Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society Programs
  • Drawings and Show Specials – TBA
  • JOIN “Friends of the Industry” for $25 Donation
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Daniel Copeland Selected – 2015 European Rolex Scholar

It is a great pleasure to announce that Mr. Daniel Copeland, age 23, from North Wales has been selected to be the 2015 European Rolex Scholar of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society.


Danny-Copeland-200Daniel Copeland, 23, has always enjoyed learning about, understanding and experiencing different aspects of the natural world. Despite this underlying passion, and a childhood living along the coast of North Wales, his plan throughout most of high school was to follow a path in electronic media and graphic design. It wasn’t until he took his first breathes underwater during an introductory ocean dive in a harbor in Malta, that Daniel’s love for the underwater world rapidly bubbled to the surface. During that dive, he was captivated by an unlikely encounter with a colorful and curious cuttlefish an experience that changed the direction of his life forever.

Over the next few years, Daniel gained his PADI Open Water diving certification in Turkey, enrolled on an Open University, self-taught course in marine science, and embarked on a month-long expedition to Ecuador. Here he was fortunate enough to experience the rich marine biodiversity of the Galapagos archipelago, snorkeling with sea lions, sharks and penguins during a week tour of these famed islands. He was hooked! A career revolving around the underwater world was now the only path for him.

Daniel took a year out from education to further his diving skills and continued travelling to foreign shores. He spent three months immersed in the scuba culture of Thailand’s islands, where he was trained as a PADI Divemaster and to service Aqualung regulators. Daniel then headed to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, to experience an unforgettable introduction to cenote diving, and to unexpectedly attend the world’s second largest underwater wedding!

Daniel completed his degree in Zoology at the University of Sheffield in 2014. Although he was distant from the sea, Daniel managed to keep the underwater world a constant during his studies. He became a member of the university’s subaqua club, serving on the club’s committee and participating in the organization and management of various dive trips around the UK. Through the club he was trained as a drysuit and Nitrox diver, and later began teaching fellow students as a BSAC Assistant Diving Instructor.

In 2012 Daniel interned at the Marine Discovery Centre at Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives, where he assisted the resident biologists with their turtle rehabilitation, coral reef propagation, and fish breeding programes. It was here that Daniel also helped the Manta Trust collect photo ID data of manta rays within Baa Atoll and the world famous Hanifaru MPA. He went on to assist other scientists studying marine megafauna, including tagging whale sharks in Tanzania and supporting another manta ray researcher in Indonesia. His final year research project focused on gender differences in the skin morphology of lesser-spotted catsharks, whilst his dissertation assessed the effectiveness of ecotourism in the conservation of elasmobranchs.

Throughout his experiences, Daniel has enlisted different ways of sharing his passion for the underwater world. He has organized stands and given public presentations on manta conservation at several UK dive shows, and recently helped to manage a Scottish festival dedicated to basking sharks. Putting his existing media skills to good use, he has collaborated with marine NGOs to spearhead multiple online campaigns to garner public support of protective legislation for sharks and rays, reaching an audience of more than four million people. After developing a keen interest for underwater photography and videography, he placed 2nd in an amateur wildlife film competition ran by a popular UK natural history TV channel, with a one-minute film on blue sharks.

Over the years, Daniel’s desires have developed from pursuing a career in the underwater world, to developing one where he also plays a part in conserving it. Despite the armada of anthropogenic impacts that threaten our oceans, Daniel believes that the biggest challenge is inciting the world to care about these threats in the first place. His goal is to gain a better understanding of how to reconnect people with the ocean using a variety of different strategies – after all, a world that continues to be disconnected from its marine environment will have no interest in fighting to protect it. Daniel is honored to be appointed the OWUSS European Rolex Scholar for 2015, and believes it will provide an invaluable opportunity for him to learn how he can play a role in rekindling a love for our blue planet.


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