It hardly seems as if it could have been a week since we returned from Orlando and the 2011 Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) show. There are consumer dive shows held all over the country throughout the year; shows where anyone with an interest in scuba diving can wander in to see equipment and products, hear about travel opportunities, and talk to people. DEMA, however, is the dive-industry show with access limited to professionals in all dive-related matters. This is where the latest in technology/products and training techniques are revealed, continuing education for dive professionals is available, travel agencies and tourism representatives show off what they have to offer for group travel. In some cases, there are people who have products that are easily transferbale to other aspects; the company that is making all reef-safe products such as sunscreen no doubt attends many outdoor activity shows. The multiple organizations that are working to prevent further damage and reverse damage to marine eco-systems are certainly not confined to the world of scuba divers. The sheer diversity of groups that are in attendance is part of what intrigues me as I move among the displays. It is the perfect place for me to find experts in areas that I write about and it was a treasure trove when I was doing research for Islands in the Sand: An Introduction to Artificial Reefs in the USA.
Since DEMA shows are about dive professionals, the age group starts around 18 and goes to whatever. It is not unusual to strike up a conversation with someone well into their 70s who can discuss the great technology strides in self-contained breathing apparatus (SCUBA) because they have personally gone from using rudimentary equipment of the early days to enjoying technological advances in today’s equipment. Something that you also hear is talk about multiple generations that are now a part of what was once an extreme sport. Three generations of divers within a family has become common and when you see adolescents, mom and/or dad, as well as grandmother and/or grandfather all diving together, it’s one of those things that makes you smile. As an instructor, my husband has seen the rise in grandparent-grandchild combination taking lessons, and this is often a topic in the seminars that he attends during the show.
Yes, the “Marketing” part of DEMA is to help promote scuba as a sport with all the associated equipment, products, and services, but most of the people involved in these products and services are (or have been ) avid divers. For the majority of us, it is about how best to share the wonder and excitement we have experienced with those who have not yet slipped beneath the water’s surface to temporarily exist within the fascinating underwater world.
It is easier than ever to learn to scuba dive, especially to take an introductory course where you learn the fundamentals under careful control of a dive professional. So think about adding this activity to your next appropriate vacation.