The world’s largest recreational Dive Expo DEMA (Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association) was held in Orlando USA early in November. Was it displaying where diving is heading?
The recent Undercurrent Newsletter (undercurrent.org) an item titled: ‘Anything new at the DEMA Show?’ Caught my attention.
The comments were by John Bantin who is the former technical editor of the UK publication, Diver. He has over 20 years’ experience reviewing virtually every piece of dive equipment available in the UK and the US.
His abbreviated comments:
DEMA provides a good sounding board for what equipment manufacturers are thinking, and this year, it looks as if they are marketing more products to existing customers rather than to those who might be tempted to take up diving for the first time. A plethora of booths proudly exhibited improved and refined closed-circuit rebreathers and an apparent obsession with all aspects of technical diving.
Most seemed to have given up on providing anything new for the ordinary single-tank leisure diver, because those who adventure into technical diving buy a lot more equipment. Why sell a single regulator to a leisure diver when you can sell four to a techie?
Dive shop buyers seemed to be lapping it all up, and the shelves of those dive stores still in business next year will almost certainly be full of techie gear. I say ‘still in business’ because dive stores worldwide are in crisis and are closing down at an alarming rate. Could it be that this obsession with deep diving is excluding those who would otherwise take up scuba diving? It’s a question worth considering.
Main stream Dive Training agencies who only a few years ago dismissed providing ‘technical diving’ training are now fully into providing this training. I believe it will be very detrimental for the diving industry if new divers are quickly pushed into technical diving before they REALLY experience ‘comfortably’ the wonders of the marine environment due to them being consumed with computer readouts, gas mixtures and maintaining their expensive rebreather equipment, etc. To go for a dive becomes an absolute mission and expensive. I suggest, train 100 rebreather divers and in 10 years less than five will still be diving regularly!
The KISS theory comes to mind: Keep It Simple Stupid.
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