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November is the month for the scuba industry trade show, DEMA Show, and I was down in Orlando last week to catch up on all the latest scuba diving developments. DEMA stands for Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, which is an international organization dedicated to the promotion and growth of the recreational scuba diving and snorkeling industry. The association has over 1,300 members and is responsible for producing the trade show each year, in addition to other goals such as promoting scuba diving and environmental awareness. The 2015 show was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida November 4-7.
While its always fun to wander the show floor checking out the new scuba gear, I always focus on opportunities for learning and education. Show seminars are a great way to update professional skills and find out the latest on what I need to know as a dive professional. This year I attended sessions on new digital learning products, training standards, risk management for scuba diving, the PADI ReActivate scuba review program, and business pricing strategies. Lots of good information to take back home and implement into the business.
Down on the show floor, one of the most interesting products was the Full Face Snorkeling mask by Ocean Reef. This new style mask with integrated snorkel claims to be easier to use than a traditional mask & snorkel set up. After chatting with John McKenzie of Scuba Gadget, I noticed that there were a number of other vendors were offering “clones”, some not as well made but others offering improvements such as GoPro camera attachments and children’s sizes. Another interesting new product was the ScubaPro Hydros Pro BCD featuring lots of Monprene and a modular fit. Another observation of the show was how rebreathers continue to come down in price and ease of use. Rebreathers in the $3k-$4K range are now not unusual, and I’m even hearing that open water certifications using rebreathers are not far down the road.
Next year, DEMA Show will be in Las Vegas November 16-19. I’ll be looking forward to attending and catching up all the most recent developments in scuba diving.
I just returned from a week at DEMA ( Dive Equipment & Marketing Association) in Las Vegas, Nevada. DEMA is a non-profit international organization dedicated to the promotion and growth of recreational scuba diving and snorkeling. They sponsor a trade-only event for businesses in the scuba diving industry, which I usually attend each year or so. The event is a great place to keep up on changes through attending seminars, checking out the latest gear and technology, and networking with other scuba professionals.
A majority of the time at DEMA is spent attending seminars about the scuba industry, and one of the most important that dive professionals can attend is on risk management. Here we get updates on waiver requirements and current best practices in mitigating risk in the industry. Other seminars were about training updates (the new ReActivate Scuba Review program), updated course materials (PADI iPad Touch, PADI eLearning), updates to ScubaEarth and the PADI app. There were also a few interesting seminars on business strategies and trip sales & management.
The Las Vegas Convention Center is a huge facility, and the DEMA show hall where manufacturers set up booths took up a big part of the convention center. On my list to check out this year were upgrades to the BCD rental fleet, gloves, and compressors. I was able to view lots of different types of products and speak to factory representatives. Now we’ll be better prepared when we do our gear orders in early 2015.
Of course, there was lots of networking and socializing, starting off with the PADI member social on Tuesday evening at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and going all the way through Friday. I also met some people from the Women Divers Hall of Fame, a great group that recognizes women’s contributions to diving and provides scholarships is various diving related categories. They also have an awards dinner each year at DEMA, which I plan to attend next year.
Now that I’m back in Seattle, it’s time to get back to our dive tours. We have excellent water conditions right now with some of the best visibility of the year. We’ve had lost of Giant Pacific octopus sightings this month and yesterday we had Orca swim by West Seattle, following a Salmon run through Puget Sound.
Hoping everyone had a great Thanksgiving and happy diving!
I’m flying off to DEMA Show 2013 (Diving Equipment & Marketing Association) this morning for a week of scuba industry training and seminars in Orlando. Florida. While there, I’ll be hearing about the latest training updates, getting caught up on risk management, and taking in lots of marketing and industry news. When not in sessions, I’ll be checking out the convention floor, seeing all the new diving products and travel destinations for 2014. Looking at my schedule, the next three days will be pretty jam packed, but I’m hoping to also connect with my professional peers and meet new people as well.
Back in Seattle, our Divemasters will be leading our dive tours daily, taking visitors on beautiful scuba diving tours of Puget Sound. You can also check out our Facebook page for updates on diving activities (and to see if our K & J pod Orca are back playing in front of downtown Seattle). You can also follow us on twitter for more news & updates from DEMA Show 2013.
Congratulations Seattle Dive Tours Divemaster Chen Hsu on his marriage today to his longtime partner, Divemaster Chris Chambers. The ceremony was held at Edmonds Underwater Park, a popular Seattle dive site. Immediately after the beachside ceremony, the wedding party went on an afternoon dive followed by a reception attended by family and the local diving community.
Both Chris and Chen trained as PADI Divemasters with Seattle Dive Tours Owner/Operator Richard Anderson and Seven Seas Scuba. When not leading guided dive tours, Chen works for The Boeing Company in the IT field. Chris works for Underwater Sports, a local scuba diving retail operator.
I’ll be heading down to the Northwest Dive & Adventure Travel Expo 2013 at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center this weekend to answer questions about scuba diving courses, and help out our friends at Seven Seas Scuba. My favorite classes to chat about are Peak Performance Buoyancy and Digital Underwater Photography.
While not at the booth, I’ll be checking out the cool new gear and tweeting updates throughout the weekend on my personal Twitter account, @scruffydiver. I’m hoping to stop by the DAN (Diver’s Alert Network) booth for first aid & dive safety information, and then the photography section of the convention hall for underwater photography tips & new stuff. Lots of good friends are entering photos in the various photography contests, so I’ll be looking forward to see who won.
Some interesting seminars to check out are an introduction to tides and currents by PADI Course Director Nicolle Pratt, and a fish ID presentation called Rockfish and Greenling and Sculpin, Oh My! by Janna Nichols of REEF. I regularly submit survey data to REEF, while Janna has allowed many of her underwater pictures to be used in our site. Janna is also scheduled to receive a Diver of the Year award from Dive News Network on Saturday night. Other interesting seminars I’ll try to make are about diving in Antarctica, and Giant Pacific Octopus conservation in Puget Sound.