Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DEMA Launches Phase II of Diving Consumer Behavior Research Project

**Association Encourages Industry to Share Survey with Divers Internationally and in the US **

DEMA has launched an online diving consumer behavioral survey to complement the objective diving consumer data on diver demographics and psychographics published in early 2014.  DEMA is asking all industry professionals to share a link to the survey with their end-user customers so that as many divers as possible can contribute to the data.
With DEMA’s completion of its Phase I research and the publishing of aggregate data from five different diving activities ((1) Who is the Open Water Diver, (2) Who is the Diver Buying Equipment (hard goods), (3) Who is the Continuing Education Diver,  (4) Who is the Diver Traveling to a Resort and (5) Who is the Liveaboard Diver), the information DEMA is now seeking will reveal consumer buying behavior and dive participation, making it possible to learn more about the recent activities of divers including diver retention, equipment purchasing preferences and more.  
To maintain the anonymity of customer records, DEMA is again using a third party administrator to distribute the survey links and gather the responses. To partake, a business can inquire with DEMA who will direct the third party administrator to provide a link unique to their web-based survey. The survey can then be distributed to as many end-users as possible via social media and e-mail. It’s designed for completion by certified divers living both inside and outside the US, and will take about 15 minutes to complete. The survey will be live until August 15, 2014 and all participants who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for one of a number of $100 gift cards that can be redeemed at a local participating dive center.
“Understanding more about these behavioral activities requires direct contact with consumers using a web-based server,” commented Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA. ‘The information we receive from the Phase II survey will help us understand how often the participants are diving, to where they travel, and what level of training they have received. We will need the Industry’s full cooperation to achieve our goals. For businesses that agree to take part, the results of their individual survey will be provided back to them.  The results will also be aggregated with other consumer data for a more complete picture of diver behavior.”
Dive Industry stakeholders are encouraged to participate by distributing the survey to their customers to learn more about their buying behaviors and diving habits. Interested businesses should contact DEMA at research@dema.org. They will receive a unique survey link that will collect data from those to whom they directly distribute their survey, and after the survey closing date, the results from their survey data.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DEMA Show’s Official Host Hotel is Now Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino

** Hotel’s Rebranding Will Not Affect DEMA Show’s Hotel Block Benefits or Discounted Room Rates **
DEMA’s official host hotel for DEMA Show 2014, formerly known as the Las Vegas Hotel and the Las Vegas Hilton, has announced it is under new ownership and has been renamed as the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino. Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino is conveniently located adjacent to the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center – home to DEMA Show 2014.
“DEMA would like to assure all Show Attendees and Exhibitors that the rebranding of the hotel will not affect the exclusive savings and benefits they will receive when booking their reservations in the official DEMA Show hotel block,” commented Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA. “Those who book their rooms in the official hotel block will still receive rates, savings, and special perks including complimentary shuttle bus access to and from DEMA Show.”
DEMA Show registrants who are planning to arrive early into Las Vegas, or stay after the Show concludes have access to a special Early Bird Discount on “pre” and “post” show dates when they book their rooms in the official DEMA Show block by August 11, 2014. Those special discounted rates are based on availability and are as follows:
  •  $49 Single/Double for the following nights:  November 13-17 and 23-25, 2014**
  • $95 Single/Double for the following nights: November 11-22, 2014**
**Must be booked by August 11, 2014 in order to receive this special discounted rate and are based upon availability.  

Between now and August 11th, book your stay within the Official Room Block at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino and your name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an upgrade to a premium Park Avenue one bedroom suite plus a round trip limo transfer from McCarran International Airport. You must make your reservation before 6:00 PM on August 11th. In addition, you will receive the early bird sleeping room rates. The winner of the luxury suite upgrade will be notified on August 12th.

The Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino is a landmark property that, at one time, was one of the largest hotels in the world and was home to such legendary greats as Elvis Presley and Liberace during Vegas’ Golden Age. The hotel is located just one block off the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, and is one of seven stations on the Las Vegas Monorail. It features a 95,000 square foot casino with a wide array of table games and the hottest slot machines on the market, 200,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, incredible restaurants, endless entertainment, a spa and fitness center, expansive pool with luxurious cabanas, access to golf at the exclusive Las Vegas Country Club, and the world’s largest race and sports SuperBook®.
To book your DEMA Show hotel reservation visit http://ow.ly/yXOJs

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Patrick Hammer and Alese & Mort Pechter to Receive DEMA’s 2014 Reaching Out Award

Honorees to be Recognized at the Motown-themed 2014 DEMA Awards Party Held at Hard Rock Hotel’s State of the Art Rock Venue, The Joint in Las Vegas, NV

The Dive Industry will take a trip back to Hitsville U.S.A. at the 26th annual presentation of the prestigious Reaching Out Awards on November 21, 2014, where there "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" to stop us from celebrating the extraordinary careers of Patrick Hammer and Alese & Mort Pechter, recipients of the 2014 DEMA Reaching Out Award (ROA). These newest additions to DEMA’s Hall of Fame will be honored at this year’s DEMA Awards Party taking place at the Hard Rock Hotel’s premiere event and music venue, The Joint. First presented in 1989, the ROA honors leaders in the diving community whose significant contributions to the sport have elevated the industry on all levels. This year’s recipients will be joining an extraordinary list of distinguished past Honorees.

Patrick Hammer first became a diving instructor in the early seventies, forming a dive club with over 150 members. He opened his first dive store in 1974 and eventually opened a total of five stores in Illinois, Florida and Georgia during the period from 1974-1982.   During the mid 1970’s, the Chicago Fire Department approached Hammer for advice on how to do a proper search and recovery. Since, Hammer has worked with several fire departments and was instrumental in developing safety procedures on proper search and body recovery techniques. Over the years he has gone on to write more than 40 additional specialty diving programs.

Pat has operated the Our World Underwater consumer show since the late 1980s, and during that time the show has grown to become the largest consumer dive event in the Midwest. 

In addition to providing opportunities for divers from all over the world to learn more about diving, Pat has seen to it that Our World Underwater also provides opportunities for kids to become engaged in recreational diving and the diving environment, and even puts its money toward various scientific efforts through the non-profit Tim Early Foundation, which is largely funded by OWU.  The key purposes of grants provided through the Tim Early Foundation are to further the knowledge and understanding of the local Midwestern underwater environment, support Midwest aquatic preservation programs in high schools and colleges, fund research of Lake Michigan shipwrecks to preserve the history and historical contributions made to the Midwestern states by the maritime shipping industry, and to implement “Micro Gravity” programs designed to replicate N.A.S.A. space camps for local youth to experience zero-gravity while underwater. More than 3,000 school-aged children have reaped the benefits of this Foundation. He also cofounded the Ralph Erickson Foundation whose goal has been to help diving enthusiasts in underprivileged areas start their scuba career through a grant program that helps provide access to equipment and training. Through this foundation, Pat has been instrumental in changing the lives of many, mostly underprivileged youth and young adults, in multiple locations in the Caribbean.

Pat is the author of two skin diving manuals, two operations and resort training manuals, numerous articles and a contributor to major worldwide diver training programs.

Hammer has served the Industry by serving on a number of Boards including the PADI Retail Association Board, Coral Reef Alliance Board, Aqua Lung Advisory Board and DEMA Board of Directors.

Alese & Mort Pechter have traveled the globe and spent years documenting their underwater experiences, photographing, displaying their photographs, writing and lecturing, and promoting the world of SCUBA. Throughout their career, they have provided first-hand information and photographs to scientists and writers, as well as media personal, making it possible to promote the underwater world and shift the image of the sport from an elite, male oriented activity to a family-oriented recreational sport for all levels. Long before it was fashionable to promote diving in a way that was attractive to a younger market, the Pechters were paving the way for the industry to reach these young would-be divers.

The Pechters have dedicated thousands of hours to teaching children about the underwater world. They entertained, visiting school children with adult groups to promote ocean conservation. The Pechters’ children’s book, What’s In The Deep, has received public and critical acclaim and was chosen as a Public Broadcasting System Reading Rainbow selection. It was the first ocean-oriented book direct toward young children using actual photographs of the underwater world.

During their careers, Alese and Mort contributed to many publication in the diving industry; Underwater USA, Caribbean Travel & Life, Dive Training, Sport Diver, and more. They were elected Fellow National members in the prestigious Explorers Club for their contribution to scientific knowledge in the field of geographical exploration. They are life members of the National Marine Educators Association, the Historical Divers Association and are also members of the Oceanography Society. Alese was elected as a charter member of the internationally-recognized Women Divers Hall of Fame. They were active founding members of the Long Island Science Museum having carried the title of Administrative Vice President of the museum for several years.

Among their many awards, the Pechters were honored by the United Nations Environment Program and recognized by the US Navy as Honorary Deep Seas Divers. They were also honored by the South Florida Police Search & Rescue Teams, were selected as the Photojournalists of the Year in 1996, and were awarded the 2003 NOGI for Distinguished Service.

DEMA congratulates Patrick Hammer and Alese & Mort Pechter for their exemplary, life-long service to our Industry.

Further details about the 2014 DEMA Awards Party are available on the DEMA Show website where interested parties can purchase individual tickets from the DEMA Show registration system.  Large groups can reserve VIP tables of eight by contacting Colleen Vasquez at cvasquez@dema.org or (858) 616-6408 x106.  Unique sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dive Safety PSA & Poster Made Available for Use Prior to Florida Lobster Mini-Season

**DEMA and Divers Alert Network (DAN) Provide Safety Tips for Florida’s Lobster Mini-Season July 30-31, 2014**
As the 2014 Florida Lobster Mini-Season approaches, DEMA has updated their Lobster Mini-Season poster and is circulating their30-second PSA in an effort to increase diver safety.  Both the poster and PSA remind divers to be prepared for the upcoming mini-season. DEMA Members are encouraged to print the Lobster Mini-Season poster and to display it in the store, distribute it to their customers, and share it electronically with their own online community. Both the poster and PSA are part of DEMA’s ongoing campaign to encourage divers to refresh their training and maintain their equipment prior to getting back in the water.   
“The purpose of the Lobster Season PSA is to encourage divers to prepare in advance for the Lobster Mini-Season and to remind them to adhere to necessary safety measures, including diving with a buddy when hunting for lobsters,” commented Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA. “We hope an increased awareness of the recommended safety procedures will help to keep diving safe for everyone during this 2014 mini-season.”
The 30-second PSA was produced by DEMA in partnership with Divers Alert Network. It was created to encourage divers to visit their local dive center to update their dive equipment and to refresh and upgrade their dive training.
In addition to being made available to the Industry for download and sharing, the poster and PSA will be promoted as a social media campaign via DEMABe A Diver, and DiveCaching Twitter & Facebook pages prior to and during the Lobster Mini-Season, as well as on social media sites of affiliated organizations. The poster is now available to be viewed, shared and downloaded and the PSA can be viewed and shared via the Be A Diver YouTube channel. All divers and Industry Professionals are encouraged to share the PSA with their social media friends and followers and their local diving community to spread this important message. DEMA Members can download and print the poster for their customers and stores.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

DEMA Launches Online Forum to Engage with Members and Stimulate Collaboration Amongst All Industry Stakeholders

As an outcome of April’s Strategy Session, DEMA’s Board of Directs made immediate changes to the Association during the June Board Meeting. Among these changes was the creation of a new online forum on dema.org for Industry stakeholders to discuss, engage, and collaborate with DEMA and other Industry professionals.
During the Strategy Session the need for DEMA to participate in better dialogue and two-way, collaborative conversations with its Members was determined as a high priority. Particularly, Stakeholders voiced their desire for a DEMA-based forum where Industry stakeholders can provide feedback and engage with DEMA in dialogue about the association and Industry-related issues. During June’s Board meeting, the DEMA Board of Directors agreed to immediately activate such a platform on the DEMA website.
DEMA’s new forum hosts a number of discussion categories where users can click through to find specific topics and posts in which they wish to engage. Currently, forum categories include: Association NewsDEMA Show News;Retailer Resources, Support & EducationIndustry Research; and Legislative News. Additional categories will be added as needed and as topic trends emerge and become relevant to the Industry and forum participants. 
DEMA Members should note that in order to comment on an existing post or start their own thread, they mustFIRST be logged into dema.org.  DEMA Members can retrieve their username and password directly from the login screen.  Once DEMA Members have logged in, they will see options to comment and post a “New Topic” within the forum interface.
To comment on an existing post:
  1. First, log in with your DEMA.org credentials.
  2. Visit the DEMA Member Forum page here.
  3. Select a forum category and then select a specific forum post on which you would like to contribute or comment.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to find the box labeled “Quick Reply” in which logged-in DEMA Members can contribute their input. Please note: You MUST be signed in for this comment box to be enabled. There is also an option to “Reply in Full Editor” if such features such as links, images, etc are desired within the comment.
  5. Click “submit” once contribution is complete.
In addition to commenting on existing posts, Member stakeholders are strongly encouraged to initiate their own topics, posts, and pose questions for feedback from other Industry Members.
To start a forum topic thread:
  1. First, log in with your DEMA.org credentials.
  2. Visit the DEMA Member Forum page here.
  3. Click on the forum category that is most appropriate for the discussion topic. (If you are unsure of which category to select for your topic, or if you would like to request a new category for consideration, please email Rachelle Reimers, Membership Marketing & Communications Coordinator at rreimers@dema.org)
  4. Click on the icon labeled “New Topic.”
  5. Complete the new topic form and click “submit” when complete.
DEMA and the Board are excited about this new tool that will allow DEMA Members to engage with the Association and each other. “As one means of communication, this DEMA-based forum will help us reach out to obtain productive feedback for the Association. We are looking forward to the opportunity to engage and meet the needs of the Industry more than ever,” said Tom Ingram, Executive Director. DEMA asks for Members of the Industry to use this tool to connect with other Industry professionals and the Association as we work together for Industry growth and success.

DEMA & Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) Announce Winners of the Diving for Bonaire Treasure Challenge

**Over 170 Divers Participate in DiveCaching Promotion**

DEMA and TCB wrapped up the Diving for Bonaire Treasure Challenge, and announced the winners of the Challenge the week of May 17, 2014. This International DiveCaching pilot program was a huge success with over 170 divers registering to participate in the Challenge.
In the Diving for Bonaire Treasure Challenge, divers had to find five of the eight DiveCaches that had been strategically hidden at different dive sites around the island in order to win a variety of prizes. Divers who found five of the eight DiveCaches, and logged their findings on Opencaching.com, were eligible to win.
“Some of the most exciting elements of the Diving for Bonaire Treasure Challenge were that it reflected Bonaire’s commitment to sustainable tourism, while utilizing one of our greatest assets, the Bonaire National Marine Park,” commented Ethsel Pieternella, Director of Tourism Corporation Bonaire. “I would also like to thank DEMA for giving Bonaire the opportunity to partner with them and for being the first Caribbean island to create an international DiveCaching event.”

Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA, and Stephanie Worth of Adams Unlimited Public Relations were on Bonaire the week of May 17th to collect the DiveCaches and announce the winners. Throughout the week, they worked closely with the dive operators who sponsored the eight DiveCaches and the prizes.
The winners of the Diving for Bonaire Treasure Challenge were announced at a private cocktail reception for all of the sponsors at Eddy’s Restaurant on Friday, May 24, 2014. Congratulations to the winners:
  • Lisa Newlands, Grand Prize Winner of 2 roundtrip airline tickets and a 7 nights’ stay at Captain Don’s Habitat
  • Ryan Atkinson, 2nd Prize winner of  a 5 nights’ stay at Bruce Bowkers Carib Inn
  • Roger Veteto:  3rd Prize winner of a 3 nights’ stay at Hotel Roomer

Friday, June 20, 2014

New Law in Florida - Dive Flags AND Dive Buoys

On Friday June 13th Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 1049 into law in the state.  This bill provides divers with additional choices for marking their position in the water by allowing either a traditional divers-down flag OR a divers-down buoy.  This legislation was sought as a means of increasing diver visibility and diver safety on the waterways, and was supported by DEMA as a way to enhance safety and the diving experience.

The current law requires divers to display a "divers-down flag," a square or rectangular red flag with a white diagonal stripe, in the area where diving occurs.  Divers are required to conduct their diving activities within a certain distance to the flag, and vessels are required maintain a certain distance from the flags, depending on the location of the activity.  The new law allows divers to use a buoy in place of a flag when the buoy is a specified size and when the diver is diving independent of a vessel.  Flags are still required when diving from a vessel. 

According to the new law, "divers-down buoy" means a buoyant device, other than a vessel, which displays a divers-down symbol of at least 12 inches by 12 inches on three or four flat sides, which is prominently visible on the water's surface when in use.

Divers must make a reasonable effort to stay within 100 feet of the divers-down flag or buoy on rivers, inlets, and navigation channels.  Similarly, any person operating a vessel must make a reasonable effort to stay more than 100 feet from the divers-down flag or buoy in these areas.

Divers must make reasonable efforts to stay within 300 feet of the divers-down flag or buoy on all waters other than rivers, inlets, and navigation channels.  Any person operating a vessel on waters other than a river, inlet, or navigation channel must make a reasonable effort to maintain a distance of at least 300 feet from any divers-down flag or buoy.

In both locations vessels that approach within the required distance must proceed no faster than is necessary to maintain headway and steerageway.

Any violation of the law results in a noncriminal infraction punishable by a civil penalties and a requirement that the person appears before the county court.  The bill also requires boater education and safety courses to include a component regarding divers-down buoys and diver-down flags.

In partnership with the Safe Boating Association, DEMA has issued a Public Service Announcement regarding diver-down flags, and has made this PSA available to television stations in many different states including Florida.  The PSA can be seen here.

The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2014.  For more information, see the bill here.