Another dive shop lost.

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Master Diver
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:38 am
Location: Richmond, Va

Re: Another dive shop lost.

Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:25 am

I have been diving for 50 years now and have always done it on a budget. If I can get something used that saves me some cash I get it used. I viz my own tanks, rebuild my own gear and usually can get all my fills for free. I rarely ever buy anything at a dive shop. That is because I had other priorities like a mortgage and kids in school. It would have been selfish of me to want to spend extra money on items that were a hobby for me. I waited until I got it at a price I could afford or went without it.

I personally own enough gear to equip a dive shop. I have over 70 tanks, tubs full of regs and a dozen BC's from horse collar Fenzy to the latest tech BP/ Wing gear. I have surprisingly little money in gear and dive very inexpensively as I have had great luck getting deals at yard sales, been give a lot of gear including a Bauer compressor . Occasionally a buddy will get interested in diving but are worried about the cost. I have set them up with quality second-hand gear like Conshelfs, two tanks, and mask, fins and snorkel and weights and get them some basic set up for 300-350 bucks. I let them get their own wet suits and booties but you don't have to drop thousands to dive.

Obviously I am not making a dive shop wealthy. But what I have done is steer people to a dive shop or two that I think are run by good folks who are honest and I tell them to avoid others that tend to take advantage of inexperienced divers. I did spend a lot of state money with the dive team I was on dealing with dive shops that were squared away.

Obviously most divers are not like me and you who are diving independently and working on their own gear, Most divers never dive on their own and depend on going diving on charters and with clubs or with a dive master. I have been asked to give talks to dive clubs on conducting underwater investigations. I learned from talking to divers in clubs that they only dive in groups and it would never occur to any of them to drive past a body of water and just think "Man, that place looks cool...I wonder what is in there?" and then grab their gear and dive it.

If they aren't paying for a trip, they just don't dive. I gave a talk to once to a LDS sponsored club and afterwards the shop owner began pitching dive trips. If you won the lottery you could afford to go dive the Galapagos on a live-aboard. There were about six trips being sold, the cheapest was to Crystal River to do a manatee dive. Cost for that was $500. Last time I dove Crystal River I rented a johnboat from the Best Western Hotel for 18 bucks and dove with those stupid manatees until I was so sick of them I wanted to stab one with my Vulcan.

The owner kept pressuring the divers to buy trips and I thought I was at an Amway sales pitch. He went around the room asking people what trips they wanted and I turned down each one of the great opportunities I was offered.

He finally tried shaming me by saying "You do dive don't you?" When I told him I did plenty of diving he asked,

"Well, then what kind of diving do you do?" I said,

"Free diving."

"I thought you scuba dived."

"I do scuba dive. I just do my scuba diving for free! "

That shop did not stay in business very long. Many shops find it hard to compete with the internet. In addition so much used gear has become available and back in the day before there were a lot of divers if you found used gear it retained a lot of the value and never became obsolete.

There will always be the need for dive shops but only for those who do not own a compressor or have a PayPal account. The good shops will evolve and survive.

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Master Diver
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Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
Location: Alexandria, MN

Re: Another dive shop lost.

Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:10 am

"... Safety, Liability, and Environmentalism..."

In the last 7 years since I got back into diving (thanks to Vintage), I've spent a small fortune on dive gear. But only a very tiny amount came from the local dive shop (LDS) quite frankly because he never has what I want. I have bought fills and used to get hydros there until a collectable vintage tank came back all scratched up. But he has his shop set up to survive on low overhead costs, I think. It used to only be open Friday and Saturday with minimal inventory. He sold mostly PADI courses and air fills. And sublet half of the tiny retail floor space to a snow ski shop.

The obvious thing we all say about diving is that the equipment doesn't wear out and need replacing... For YEARS. Supposedly the diver never needs to buy any more equipment. So, the LDS settles into selling PADI courses, fills, and hydros.

But there are other businesses like that. Hunting rifles, for example. There are over 500,000 deer hunting licenses sold in Minnesota every year and you'd think, "WOW, that's a huge potential for business." But the average deer hunter only takes his rifle out of the gun case in November, shoots it three times to sight it in, and falls asleep in the deer stand. Surprisingly, this guy still spends a ton of money on deer hunting. Using the Dive shop philosophy, gunshops should only survive by selling ammunition and repairs... Which is just not true.

The hunting industry sells innovation, gadgetry, high performance, cosmetics (looking cool), machismo, pride, DIY, drama, techniques, martial arts, self defense, etc. You want to worry about liability? They buy their liability insurance, leave the law suits to the lawyers, and get on with their business. And as we all know, they sell a heck of a lot of hunting rifles to people who already have a hunting rifle. (Since when does NEED have anything to do with buying toys?).

The sport diving industry is so fixated on Safety, Liability, and Environmentalism that they don't sell anything exciting. You get certified so that you can go diving a time or two when you take your vacation. But only for sight seeing. Don't touch anything. Don't pick up a rock to adjust your buoyancy. Don't ride the turtles. Don't harvest a lobster or spear a fish. Don't come back to the boat with less than 500 psi. Don't this. Don't that. And you MUST use the same type of equipment as everyone else so you might as well just rent it when you get there... There's another reason you don't buy more from the LDS.

On the other hand, "...innovation, gadgetry, high performance, cosmetics (looking cool), machismo, pride, DIY, drama, techniques, etc"... These are the things that sell me over and over on Vintage Double Hose diving. This stuff is FUN. I want to do it more. I want to learn more. And, I want to buy more stuff to do it with!

A few weeks ago up at Fortune Pond, we had a group of divers with an amazing assortment of diving gear. I can't imagine what it all cost. But it was all purchased from somebody in the business of selling dive equipment. We vintage guys had stuff from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. JIm and Eric had full out Tech (Wreck, Cave) diving gear. A couple of young newbies had conventional PADI style gear. And two other guys were diving re-breathers. Holy Cow! In that one dive trip there was enough "COOL" to sell sport diving 100X better than it is sold now. And the coolest stuff is the stuff the diving community teaches newbies to avoid.
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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Re: Another dive shop lost.

Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:37 am

It's funny that you mention that Eben, because I buy way more gun stuff than I do scuba gear. I still buy guns and I bet I can't fit another gun in the safe I own. The dive industry, in my opinion, lost its way at some point and went the hippy route. Firearms, by contrast, embraced its culture and I'm constantly marketed to for a new stock, a "wrist brace", a new optic, new ammo, etc. I bet I spend more money a month on gun stuff then I spend in years on scuba crap minus Bryan's stuff. I'm sure there is something to what you said.
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

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Master Diver
Posts: 244
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:41 am
Location: Los Angeles CA

Re: Another dive shop lost.

Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:36 pm

Just wait and see. My money says that within a year or two at the most, a major manufacturer is going to reintroduce a double hose regulator. It may be marketed as minimally invasive to the marine habitat - a professional photographer's dream - or something similar

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Master Diver
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Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:33 am
Location: Tabuk, Saudi Arabia

Re: Another dive shop lost.

Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:37 am

After the 2009 economic debacle, global scuba industry growth declined 30%. That has ended and as of 2016 several reports for the industry ( and I site this one at: ( ... obal_scuba ) claim that globally the industry has not only recovered that 30% decrease, it is projecting a CAGR (Compound Average Growth Rate) of 3,78% between 2016 and 2020.
That said, even though the industry as a whole has lost .5 to 1% of its participation rate as a percentage of population wise since 2000 to 2008. Overall participation in diving has dropped 25% or more in the last 25 years or so, though sales appear robust or a least semi-static. see; ... &Itemid=66
Cost of equipment and the misleading spectre of inflation due to value weakening schemes of government (through accumulated debt and so-called "Quantitative Easing" [ nothing more than printing/borrowing more money that destroys purchasing power] mislead US industry newcomers into thinking that the industry is healthy due to dollar amounts that appear to have robust growth rates, but due to inflation, have at best 66% (approx) the buying power that they had in 2000. Globally, outside the US, the market is robust, with new tourist dollars from the Arab world, South America, China, Korea and Vietnam creating new opportunities for the industry, while US and European sales remain relatively flat to slightly negative.
Why? IMO, we have newer populations of persons that are less inclined to spend money on a vigorous sport such as diving for the long haul of the average diver who will be active in the sport for 10 years or more. By this, I mean that even though many new people are certified, they are less likely to participate in the sport for what used to be a ten to twenty-year average active participation rate. Also, there are far less of them as opposed to the Boomer 1 and Boomer 2 generations on whom the industry thrived on for many years. There might be a generational difference as well as economic difference from those born around 1942-1966 as opposed to those born around 1974-1990. In my observations, Generations Y and Z appear to like to dabble in things. but the majority don't end up making it a major part of their life for 10 to 20 years. ... ained2.pdf
I do agree with the above statement that the industry in America and Europe has gone too far to the ecological left in many respects. This initially was a good thing, but when you think about the way the industry was, say back in 1960 as opposed to today, it has become a Snowflake convention in most of the U.S. and it is due to this "emasculation" of diving that makes it less appealing and far less exciting to most young people today.
Case in point, UNDERWATER HUNTER!!! God forbid you to look for this certification class in most PADI shops on the left coast or in most places in North America, they will look at you like you are Adolf Hitler reincarnated! Funny thing is in Southern Europe and most places overseas outside of PC control, this course is still offered and was a real mainstay of the industry for years until the practice was abolished in many states and provinces in the US and Canada due to over-zealous eco-Nazis. And the debate about UW hunting is just as moot as the debate about land hunting. If properly done with GOOD oversight, it has not depleted fish stocks. The real depleters are longliners and other such commercial types that really do rape the oceans of the world, but those nasty scuba divers will cause such ecological chaos if we let them do it. Hypocrites all. Hey, I like communing with the fish, but now and then I like to eat one as well. :lol: JMO.
"Where'd ya get that ol' thang, don't cha' know them thare things ill kill ya!"

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