Thursday, May 31, 2018

Louisiana House Bill Prohibiting Dive Professionals from Promoting Professional “Certifications” Amended

The Louisiana Senate has passed a revised version of House Bill 748, which was amended to clearly permit the use of professional certification credentials in the state. 
HB 748, the “Occupational Licensing Review Act” was originally proposed with the intent of increasing employment opportunities in Louisiana by loosening licensing requirements for certain jobs. DEMA and other associations objected to wording in the initial text that would have restricted individuals holding a voluntary certification from using the term “certified” in their title.
For the diving community, if enacted as originally proposed, this bill would have prohibited certified instructors, divemasters/dive cons, rescuers, equipment repair professionals and others from acknowledging their professional credentials in offering their services to the public. Conversely, these professional statuses would have ceased – by law – being dive community standards that exist for the protection of the public, with the potential result that diving education and services could more easily be offered by untrained individuals.
DEMA urged the diving community in Louisiana to reach out to representatives there and oppose the bill, and, after receiving objections from DEMA and others, HB 748 was amended by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Julie Emerson (R).  As a result, the measure was significantly amended before the LA Senate Commerce Committee considered it. The certification prohibition was removed in the amended version.
The bill now provides for the governor’s office to review 20 percent of the agencies engaged in regulatory and licensing activities within five years. The term “certification” has been removed from the bill entirely.
As of this writing, the amended bill still must be passed by the full Louisiana Senate. It will then require a vote for concurrence on the House floor or be sent into conference.  DEMA will continue to monitor changes to this bill and will remain on watch to prevent similar bills from being proposed or passed elsewhere. 
Industry members who encounter legislation of any kind which is averse to the interests of the diving community are urged to contact DEMA for assistance

Monday, May 21, 2018

DEMA Announces Go Dive Now Retailer Co-Op Advertising Program

DEMA has announced the launch of a new Go Dive Now retailer co-op Facebook advertising program. It is designed to assist DEMA Member retailers in reaching a greater number of customers while using the Go Dive Now campaign advertising materials including Go Dive Now social media ads and videos.  DEMA Member retailers can customize these professionally-designed ads and videos to include their own logo, name and website.  The co-op matching funds are meant to help increase the frequency of advertising, while using any of the Go Dive Now campaign collateral.  The co-op program is designed to help more DEMA Members engage with the Go Dive Now campaign, recognizing that the program can increase the number of new divers in the US when more Members are using the professionally-designed Go Dive Now materials.
DEMA will match up to $450 per DEMA Member retailer for the co-op ad campaign on a first-come, first-served basis, using the date the application is received. Matching funds from DEMA for the media buy are distributed directly to the retailer at the end of the retailer’s Facebook ad campaign once required documentation is provided to DEMA. To be eligible for co-op funds, Member participants must use the professionally-produced Go Dive Now marketing collateral in Facebook advertising.
All advertising eligible for these funds must follow the rules of the co-op ad program process and co-op ad costs must be pre-approved by DEMA prior to running.  To facilitate approval, retailer should complete the online application. The Go Dive Now retailer co-op advertising program will run until October 1, 2018 or when all available co-op funds are distributed, whichever occurs first.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

DEMA Legislative Alert – LA Bill Poses Threat to Professional Certification Programs

DEMA is urging training organizations, dive retailers, and independent diving instructors to contact state legislators on a pending bill that would severely restrict the use of professional certifications in the state.
Louisiana House Bill 748, the “Occupational Licensing Review Act,” would prohibit use of the terms “certification” and “registration” for nongovernmental professional credentialing unless state law requires certification or registration to work in the profession (as in the medical field, for example).
DEMA’s contact with the general counsel firm for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, concluded in a client memo that the proposed legislation “could be disastrous” for nongovernmental certifications.
“In particular, HB 748’s definitions for the term ‘certification’ effectively prohibits certified professionals from holding themselves out as such unless such certification is a requirement for state occupational licensure,” Pillsbury writes. For the diving community, if enacted, this bill would prohibit certified instructors, divemasters/dive cons, rescuers, equipment repair professionals and others from acknowledging their professional credentials in offering their services to the public. Conversely, these professional statuses would cease – by law - being dive community standards that exist for the protection of the public, with the potential result that diving education and services could more easily be offered by untrained individuals.
DEMA is joining ASAE and other associations to oppose the bill. The bill, authored by Louisiana State Rep. Julie Emerson (R), has already advanced through the Louisiana House of Representatives and is slated for consideration by the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and International Affairs Committee in the next several days. Without significant opposition, the bill could pass before the Legislature’s targeted mid-May adjournment.
DEMA is working to deliver a letter of its own to Rep. Emerson this week and urges DEMA members in Louisiana who are concerned about this bill to contact their member of the state senate and voice their opposition to HB 748.

DEMA Board of Directors to Meet in San Diego, CA for Face-to-Face Board Meeting on May 21st and 22nd

DEMA’s 2018 Board of Directors will meet on May 21st and 22nd to strategize ways to help grow our Industry and maximize DEMA’s benefits for Members. Topics for discussion will include DEMA Show; DEMA’s consumer marketing campaign, Go Dive Now; the Go Dive Now Pool Tour and other consumer activities; how DEMA can serve the needs of the industry worldwide; and more.
Day one of the Board meeting will begin with the Board approving reports from past and completed activities as part of the “consent agenda.”  For May, the consent agenda will include:
  • DEMA Show 2018 Update
  • Membership Update
  • Public Policy Update
  • Go Dive Now Program Update
  • Open Water Diver Research Results
  • Continuing Education Diver Research Results
  • Dive Traveller Research Results
  • Equipment Purchaser Research Results
  • 2018 Q1 Financial Summary and Manufacturer’s Fund Report

Following approval of the consent agenda, the Board will discuss DEMA’s annual trade show, DEMA Show, and consumer-centric programs such as Go Dive Now, DEMA’s continuing consumer marketing campaign; the Go Dive Now Pool Tour; and discuss DEMA’s role in engaging divers. Day one will conclude with the Board covering any consent agenda items that require further discussion.
 Day two will provide the Board Members with time to discuss association membership and member needs strategy, as well as how DEMA can continue to support the industry worldwide. The Board of Directors Meeting will conclude on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 22nd after any new business has been addressed. More information on DEMA’s Board of Directors and Bylaws is available on the DEMA website. Complete minutes from past Board of Directors Meetings are available to current DEMA Members from the Member Dashboard of The next Board of Directors Meeting will be held on August 16th and 17th.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

DEMA Supports Diving Businesses at Florida Meeting on Protected Sharks and Goliath Grouper

DEMA President Tom Ingram and Legislative Advocate Bob Harris, delivered written and spoken remarks in support of diving businesses during two days of meetings with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in Fort Lauderdale.  Both Harris and Ingram provided comments on the need to protect sharks and Goliath Grouper in Florida waters.  The meetings were standing room only and many DEMA-Member businesses attended the meetings on both days.
April 25 - Sharks and Shore-Based Shark Fishing
During the meeting held on April 25th, DEMA provided remarks in favor of enforcing existing laws that prevent the intentional targeting and landing on shore of several protected species of sharks, among them Great Hammerheads and Tigers. The comments were necessary considering the actions of a small group of fishers in Florida who endanger protected shark species by deliberately using shore-based shark fishing to target and illegally land them, sometimes near public bathing areas.  Landing and possessing many species of sharks in Florida is not legal, according to Florida Salt Water Fishing Regulations. DEMA asked FWC to consider the need for stronger enforcement of established regulations including revoking the fishing privileges of offenders.
In addition, DEMA also asked FWC to adopt regulations that ban shore-based shark fishing in the vicinity of designated public bathing areas.  Such a ban already exists for any spear fishing activities within 100 yards of Florida’s public bathing beaches, and the scope of this ban should include hook and line fishing as well.
At the end of this meeting, Commissioners instructed FWC staff to initiate the process of rulemaking, with the goal of ensuring the protection of these at-risk sharks.  The process may also address the issue of fishing in proximity to public bathing areas.
April 26 – Maintaining the Moratorium on Harvesting Goliath GrouperDuring the meeting held on April 26th, DEMA, along with 57 additional attendees spoke in opposition to the possibility that FWC would lift a 28-year moratorium on harvesting the protected Goliath Grouper, including the possibility of a “limited harvest” to provide fishing opportunities in the fishing community. Goliaths, which are listed as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), remain at risk and there remains no valid science that assesses the current stocks of these fish.
In addition to the lack of the good science needed to consider a change in the Goliath’s status, dive operators from all over Florida have enjoyed the tremendous business boost provided by divers’ desire to see these gigantic and slow-moving fish.  Some operators indicate that 25% of their revenue comes from people coming from all over the world to participate in this world-class diving opportunity.  Economic studies indicate that divers are willing to pay up to four-times the amount of money to see the Goliath ($336.00) as compared to fishers who indicated their willingness to pay $79.00 to catch one.
DEMA provided the dive stores and divers commenting in opposition to lifting the moratorium with “SAVE THE GOLIATH GROUPER” t-shirts, and signs to remind Commissioners of the value of these important and endangered animals.
DEMA’s comments included:
  • Asking FWC to maintain the current prohibition on harvest and possession of Goliath Grouper in Florida.
  • Requesting that FWC, NOAA, or another appropriate agency or scientific organization undertake a more thorough stock assessment of the Goliath Grouper, to include research on the AGE of Goliaths.
  •  Requesting that the Commission reject any recommendations to implement a “limited harvest” of these fish, especially as the FWC staff indicated that such a limited harvest “serves no valid data collection purpose” and would raise consumption concerns because of high mercury levels in large Goliath.
  • Asking FWC to put protections in place for Goliath Grouper which are commensurate with the reasonable protections currently afforded manatees. 
DEMA also quoted DEMA’s own surveys of divers and dive professionals conducted in 2017 which indicated that more than 69% of ALL DIVERS favor continuing the moratorium, 64% of DIVERS IN FLORIDA favor maintaining the moratorium, and more than 77% of DIVERS TRAVELING TO FLORIDA favor it.
Commissioners, in response to this outpouring from the diving community determined that the harvest moratorium would remain in place.  However, Commissioners asked FWC staff to develop a plan, by the end of 2018, to suggest how the FWC may move forward, with the consideration that harvest of Goliaths might, in the future, be reconsidered.
DEMA will continue to watch developments in these critical diving issues and has offered to be a resource to FWC to assist, especially in understanding the economic value of these fish to dive operators and Florida tourism.

Friday, April 27, 2018

DEMA Opens Official Hotel Block for DEMA Show 2018 in Las Vegas, NV

Block Offers Exclusive Savings and Benefits for DEMA Show 2018 Attendees and Exhibitors at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino
DEMA Show 2018 will be here before you know it and online hotel reservations for DEMA Show 2018 are now open! To save the most on your DEMA Show 2018 experience, taking place November 14-17 in Las Vegas, NV, book your accommodations in the official DEMA Show block at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, featuring exclusive exhibitor and attendee rates and benefits. Reserve your rooms today before the DEMA Show block sells out!
Once again, DEMA Show will feature the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino as this year’s Host Hotel. The Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is conveniently located adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center – home to DEMA Show 2018.  Those booking in DEMA’s block at the Westgate will have access to complimentary shuttle service to and from DEMA Show 2018.  Special discounted room rates are available to DEMA Show registrants that make reservations in the official DEMA Show block by Friday, October 13, 2018, so ACT NOW!  Room rates are as follows:
  • $110 Premium (Standard Room) for the following nights:  November 9-20, 2018*
  • $121 Signature (Newly Renovated) for the following nights:  November 9-20, 2018**Must be booked by October 13, 2018 in order to receive this exclusive DEMA Show rate.  Based upon availability. Rates are based on double occupancy - an additional charge of $35 per person will be added for any additional people. Tax rate is 13.38%. Tax rate is not included with room rate. Attendees can opt in to the hotel's resort fees at $22 + 13.38% per room per night. Includes: Wireless internet access for three devices, cardio room access for up to two adults and local/toll-free domestic calls.
Limited complimentary shuttle service will be provided between the Westgate Resort and Casino and the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center from Wednesday, November 14 - Saturday, November 17 for those attendees staying in the official DEMA housing block. Everyone will be required to present a shuttle pass (provided at check-in) to board the shuttle. Only DEMA block participants will be provided with the shuttle bus pass required to board the shuttle. Shuttle service is limited to two buses during peak hours and one bus during off peak hours.
A SPECIAL CAUTION ABOUT HOTEL PIRATES!  DEMA would like to caution attendees and exhibitors to be wary when booking accommodations through unauthorized third party vendorsclaiming to work with DEMA Show.  These unauthorized vendors are often room “pirates” and though they typically offer what appears to be a lower rate than the official block rate, room reservations may be offered at significantly lower quality and may not be available for the duration of your planned stay.  In addition, cancellation polices with these “pirates” are often harsh and unforgiving, resulting in loss of fees or other penalties. Booking within the official DEMA Hotel Block also allows DEMA to negotiate exclusive rates for DEMA Show attendees and exhibitors.  Help DEMA keep your hotel costs down for DEMA Show by booking within DEMA’s official hotel block.

DEMA Releases Full Detailed Analyses of Diving Customer Research

Four Market Segment Reports Assist Members in Understanding Current Customer Demographics and Behaviors
DEMA has released detailed demographic and life stage analyses of divers participating in four different activity segments. The data was developed using the AnySite Marketing Information System, including the MicroBuild Lifestyle Segmentation Program, originally produced by Pitney Bowes, and is built around the actual purchasing behavior of customers randomly sampled from more than 900,000 diving consumers who have made purchases within the last three years. The research is divided into four separate reports based on different diving consumer activities: Open Water DiversContinuing Education DiversEquipment Buyers, and Dive Travelers.
“In today’s business climate, with an abundance of information shared through social media and readily available on the Internet, the best way to gain an advantage is to have more actionable information on consumers and to be able to leverage that data,” commented Tom Ingram, DEMA President & CEO. “By using the data in these reports, DEMA Members can determine the best geographic locations in which to locate potential end-users in their own neighborhoods or nationwide and determine which services and products best meet end-users’ needs.”  
Information in the report includes demographics and psychographics of end-users and is based on the location of the home in which the end-user resides. Each report covers data ranging from age, income, net worth, and home ownership/value, to stages of family life and education, employment and other behaviors that govern their recreational activities. Understanding these variables provides a better awareness of customer buying behaviors and an understanding of where to find more and similar customers and is also far more reliable than single variable studies which may use age or income alone.
“Using this information can help businesses better understand their customers as well as determine such important issues as whether the end-user is attracted to shopping online, has children in the household and whether or not they are married,” concluded Ingram. “All of these factors can have an impact on the messaging that businesses use when developing advertising and sales programs.”
The reports are available free to all DEMA Members and can be purchased by non-members for $249.00 each. Members obtain their free report by logging into their account on and downloading the report found under the "Research & Educational Guides" section of their DEMA Member Dashboard.  Non-members can purchase their report here.