Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dive Industry Mourns the Loss of Dick Bonin, Former DEMA Executive Director and Industry Icon

** March 24, 1930 – December 8, 2015 **
This past Tuesday, December 8th, the scuba diving world, our oceans and humanity lost a very dear and good friend with the passing of Dick Bonin. 
A resident of Huntington Beach, California for over four decades, it can be said most fundamentally that Dick was a good man who truly cared about others.    Service to others was embedded early on in his nature and even as a scuba equipment manufacturer he led the industry in providing new services to his retail dealers.  A Chicagoan who retained his subtle accent all his life, in high school and college he was an accomplished academic, swimmer and boxer who graduated ‘with honors.’ Receiving an athletic scholarship to college, he went on to graduate cum laude and then entered the United States Navy. He was an accomplished and respected naval officer and gentleman who served his country as a line officer in the 1950’s during and after the Korean War.  Dick was a protégé of the renowned Commander Douglas Fane who had moved from the British Navy to the US Navy in order to start up the famed UDT teams – and the later expansion christened the US Navy SEALs.  Dick had an abiding love for the Navy and all of those who selflessly risked their lives in protecting freedom and serving others.
After his honorable naval service, Dick continued his love of the seas and entered into the scuba industry at its infancy in 1956.  He advanced quickly to build an amazing network of friends who each realized that he had a quiet, quick wit and savvy business acumen. His rise and eventual teaming up as a co-founder of the ScubaPro brand along with fellow dive pioneer Gustav Dalla Valle are truly legend that helped birth the modern sport of recreational scuba.  A humble guy with a self-deprecating humor, Dick routinely joked to his friends that “Gustav got both ScubaPro and me for the sum of one-dollar – and he always said he overpaid!”
Under his management of the ScubaPro brand, the company manufactured and improved many innovations for scuba and recreational diving including a single hose regulator; the Mark 5 flow-through piston regulator; the first buoyancy compensator back vest (BCD); the first pilot-valve second stage regulator; and his ever-popular “Jet Fins” to name but a few.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dick observed that the scuba manufacturers were lost in the crowd at the annual Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association trade show and took action to establish the Underwater Manufacturers Association that later became DEMA. After retiring from ScubaPro, he was called on to serve as a visionary interim executive director of DEMA in the mid-1990s at a critical time when the association began the process of opening its membership to all the various business segments of diving in order to grow scuba. 
Dick’s diving industry awards were many and reputably earned, including the DEMA Reaching Out Award and the NOGI for Distinguished Service.  A pragmatic ocean environmentalist, he was the founder of Ocean Futures Society and an early advocate and promoter of using retired aircraft and ships for placement as artificial reefs in US coastal waters. Dick also lead the dive industry efforts to ban long-line gill net fishing in California and secured the legislation naming the Garibaldi as California’s official marine fish. He was an avid free diver who held the US Navy free diving record for many years and enjoyed ribbing his fellow scuba divers by calling them ‘tankers’ – a very successful spear hunter who seemed to have ’30-minute lungs’ and always came up with his fish.
Yet with all of his many accomplishments, his friends knew well that Dick was most happy and proud of his large family and wonderful wife – he is survived by his wife Celeste, four children, and six grandchildren. A private Catholic mass was held on December 14th.  in lieu of donations in his memory, the family simply asks that everyone dedicate their next dive to Dick Bonin in the deep blue seas he loved so much. DEMA and the dive industry mourn the passing of a great pioneer of diving and express heartfelt gratitude for all he gave to each of us who loves diving. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

DEMA Show to Return to Highly Requested Destination

** Third City Will Be Added to the Show Rotation Beginning in 2020 ** 
DEMA is excited to announce that it has successfully secured a DEMA Show destination exhibitors and attendees have been requesting for years … New Orleans, LA! The Show last staged in New Orleans in 2001 and the Show Committee is excited to report that DEMA Show will once again return to the Big Easy from November 4-7, 2020!
For the last several years, DEMA has scouted different convention cities that meet the Board-approved Show location criteria with the goal of adding a third Show venue to the current rotation of Orlando, FL and Las Vegas, NV. Finding cities with convention centers that are sufficiently large, and which meet the many needs of the attendees and exhibitors, is no easy task. When evaluating and selecting destinations, convention facilities and hotels, DEMA uses specific Board-approved criteria. A thorough explanation of the criteria and selection process can be found online here.
Funds raised through DEMA Show (and all events produced by DEMA) are used to help the industry, including monitoring legislation, advocating for environmental issues, promoting recreational diving, keeping dive sites open and accessible to divers, providing DEMA-Member access to benefits and programs and conducting research on behalf of the Industry.  Successful DEMA Shows allow the Association to continue its mission of bringing businesses together to grow the diving industry worldwide. 

DEMA's Post-Show Surveys Help Improve DEMA Show for Years to Come

**DEMA Show 2015 Attendees and Exhibitors are Asked to Provide Feedback on Their Show Experience**

Every year, DEMA Show provides numerous opportunities for Attendees and Exhibitors to do great business together by providing hundreds of exhibits, products, services, educational sessions and more. Now, DEMA is asking for DEMA Show Attendees and Exhibitors to provide their feedback and ideas to help take DEMA Show to the next level!
Input from Attendees and Exhibitors is invaluable as it helps the Association create a better Show in the years to come. Past feedback has helped guide the Association when developing seminar content, evaluating speakers, contracting for housing and transportation and even in evaluating future venues and cities. DEMA asks all 2015 Attendees and Exhibitors to complete the Post-DEMA Show Survey via the links below:
DEMA Show 2015 Attendees are invited to provide their feedback on the Show here:
DEMA Show 2015 Exhibitors are also invited to provide their feedback on the Show here:
Deadline to submit your feedback is January 22, 2016 and participants who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $100 Starbucks gift card.
As a non-profit organization, DEMA uses the resources generated by DEMA Show to fund research, legislative scanning and advocacy, education and more.  DEMA extends its THANKS to the entire Industry for helping to make DEMA Show a continuing success! DEMA Show will return to Las Vegas, NV in 2016 from November 16-19. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DEMA Thanks the Diving Industry for their Participation in DEMA Show 2015

** Thousands of Industry Professionals from Every Segment of the Diving Industry Come Together at Trade-Only Show to Buy, Learn and Collaborate **
DEMA is pleased to say THANK YOU to the more than 9,000  pre-qualified dive professionals who registered for DEMA Show 2015, and more than 630 exhibiting companies who made DEMA Show successful.  The trade-only Show was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL from November 4th to 7th.   
DEMA Show 2015 provided many opportunities for Attendees and Exhibitors to do great business together by providing hundreds of exhibits, products, services, educational sessions and more.  Verified attendance figures, which are obtained from electronic scans of Attendee and Exhibitor badges, confirm that over 8,000 Industry Professionals entered and participated in the Show during its four days. The Show’s long-standing credentialing process established by the Board of Directors, helped confirm that the Show maintained a trade-only atmosphere, welcoming highly qualified Buyers and Influencers.
During the four days of DEMA Show 2015, Exhibitors hosted hundreds of Attendees in their booths to showcase their latest products, programs and services.  DEMA’s video production partner, 506 Studio, has captured the excitement of the action-packed days of DEMA Show 2015 in a series of videos highlighting the Show.  In addition, as a prelude to DEMA’s 40th annual DEMA Show in November of 2016, DEMA asked attendees and exhibitors to “Share Your Story,” including their first job in the industry, how they got started in recreational diving, and who was their mentor.  More than 130 dive industry stories were recorded at DEMA Show 2015 by Attendees and Exhibitors while at the Show.
An exciting announcement made at the Show happened during the Annual Member Meeting, in which Executive Director, Tom Ingram, shared that DEMA Show would be returning to New Orleans, LA in 2020. Attendees also learned about the activities of the Association during 2015 and the goals being set for 2016. Industry Professionals are encouraged to stay informed about the latest research and other benefits from the association via DEMAIL and the DEMA website and social media pages.
DEMA extends its THANKS to the entire Industry for the continuing success of DEMA Show! Looking toward thefuture, DEMA Show will be returning to Las Vegas, NV from November 16-19 in 2016. DEMA continues to look at additional venues for future shows, using key factors of Exhibitor and Attendee cost and venue availability.  A complete overview of how DEMA Show venues are selected is available here.
Funds raised through DEMA Show (and all events produced by DEMA) are used to help the industry, including monitoring legislation, advocating for environmental issues, promoting recreational diving, keeping dive sites open and accessible to divers, providing DEMA-Member access to benefit programs such as health insurance and worker’s compensation insurance, and conducting research on behalf of the Industry.  With this year’s strong DEMA Show participation, DEMA can continue its mission of bringing businesses together to grow the diving industry worldwide. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

DEMA Activates Disaster Assistance Program to Aid Show Exhibitors and Buyers Impacted by Tropical Storm Erika, Hurricanes Joaquin and Patricia, and California’s “Valley Fire”

**Funds Available to Assist DEMA Member Exhibitors and Buyers of DEMA Show 2015 **

The Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) announced on October 23, 2015 that the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors has approved the activation of the Disaster Assistance Program to assist DEMA-Member Show Exhibitors and Buyers impacted by Tropical Storm Erika, Hurricanes Joaquin and Patricia, and the severe California wildfire known as the Valley Fire.

DEMA’s Disaster Assistance Program was first created in 2004 and has been used when DEMA-Member companies are impacted by disasters which may interfere with their ability to promote their businesses, products, services and destinations.  The funds have also been set aside to assist DEMA-Member retailers to make sure that they can continue their operations.  As funds are limited, in this instance, DEMA has earmarked them specifically for DEMA-Member companies that planned to exhibit or buy at DEMA Show 2015 but which were subsequently impacted by these natural disasters. Funds are provided to Exhibitors, in the affected areas, based on their exhibit size, and to Buyers in the impacted areas who attend DEMA Show and stay in a DEMA block hotel.

Exhibitors from the affected areas outlined below are eligible to apply for the funds to help them get to the trade show. Buyers who planned to attend DEMA Show can also apply for funds to assist in staying onsite at DEMA Show. 

"The DEMA Disaster Assistance Program funds are available to DEMA-Member manufacturers, destinations and other industry related entities to aid them in getting to and exhibiting at DEMA Show 2015,” said Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA.  “Registered Buyers from DEMA Member businesses who are staying in the DEMA hotel block are also eligible for funds to assist in attending DEMA Show, so they can buy products and services they need to keep their businesses in operation.”

Exhibitor Assistance Program: DEMA’s Disaster Assistance Program funds are available to DEMA-Member Exhibitors who were fully paid by September 25, 2015, and physically located in the following places: 

·        Dominica – Tropical Storm Erika (August, 2015)
·        Northern California Counties of Lake, Napa and Sonoma - Valley Fire (September, 2015)
·        Bahamas – Hurricane Joaquin (September/October 2015)
·        South Carolina – Hurricane Joaquin (September/October 2015)
·        Southeastern North Carolina – Hurricane Joaquin (September/October 2015)
·        Western Mexico – Hurricane Patricia (October 2015)

For affected Exhibitors, each exhibit space purchased and paid for by September 25, 2015, DEMA will provide regular Exhibitors with $US 400.00 in assistance.  Funds will be awarded onsite at DEMA Show 2015 to the exhibiting companies who apply and fall within the guidelines deeming them eligible for assistance. Funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis up to the maximum available from the DEMA disaster assistance fund.   All interested parties must apply for the assistance funds on site at DEMA Show in Orlando, FL prior to close of the Show, November 7, 2015. For more information and to receive a DEMA 2015 Disaster Assistance Fund Processing form, see the DEMA Staff at the DEMA Booth at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The complete rules for disbursements will be available at the DEMA Booth.

Attendee Assistance Program:  Designed for DEMA Member Buyers who are registered for the Show and staying in one of the hotels contained within the official DEMA Show hotel block, one registered Buyer from an attending DEMA Member business physically located in the affected areas can receive reimbursement for one night hotel stayin the DEMA hotel block which takes place by midnight eastern time, November 6, 2015. The complete rules for disbursements will be available at the DEMA Booth.

Designated disaster areas eligible for funds include:
  • The Bahamas Island chain
  • South Carolina
  • The Southeastern Region of North Carolina
  • Cities located in the Northern California counties of Lake, Sonoma and Napa
  • The Island of Dominica
  • Western Mexico

Rosen Centre Hotel
9840 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819

Hilton Orlando Convention Center
6001 Destination Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32819

Days Inn Orlando/International Drive
5858 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819

The designated Buyer from an affected DEMA Member must apply for the disaster funds through the DEMA Office prior to close of business on December 3, 2015 and present the receipt for the hotel stay.   Funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis up to the maximum of the DEMA disaster assistance fund.  Exhibitors are not eligible for hotel reimbursement assistance under this program, but can receive Exhibitor Assistance as described above. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

2015 DEMA Member Update & Annual Meeting is Happening Thursday, November 5th, at DEMA Show

Join us for this informative session led by DEMA’s Executive Director, Tom Ingram, on Thursday morning at DEMA Show. Network with fellow industry leaders and DEMA Members, get an update on how DEMA has been working to help our Members, and get insight on the Association’s programs and plans for 2016.
Exciting topics and announcements include:
  • New Consumer Marketing Campaign
  • Future DEMA Show Venues
  • DEMA Research Initiatives
  • Committee Participation Recognition
ALL Attendees and Exhibitors are invited to join us for this information-filled morning – you won’t want to miss it!
Thursday, November 5, 20158:30 AM – 9:45 AMRoom: S210AB

Create a Winning Formula for Success with DEMA Show’s Keynote Session

DEMA has released details for DEMA Show 2015’s keynote session. This year, mobile expert and author Chuck Martin will lay out the key elements and consumer behavioral changes in today’s mobile shopping landscape and provide some concrete steps that a small retailer can take to create a winning formula for success. This session will take place on Wednesday, November 4th, from 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. at DEMA Show. Learn more about what this informative and motivating session has to offer you and your business!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How are the DEMA Show Location and Timing Selected?

**Meeting the Varied Geographic and Business Cycle Needs of the Industry**

DEMA Show, the annual trade-only event for the dive industry, attracts almost 10,000 diving professionals each year. DEMA Show venues are selected to create the best trade show experience, taking into account the diverse geographic, show timing and overall cost needs of Attendees and Exhibitors. Venues are selected three to five years in advance of the Show.
Show locations and timing are determined using Attendee and Exhibitor surveys as well as by researching convention center and hotel availability. DEMA Show is one of the 250 largest trade shows in the United States and as such, there are a limited number of convention facilities large enough to hold the annual event. When evaluating and selecting the convention facilities, city, and hotels, DEMA uses Board-approved criteria including:
  • The city must have cultural or entertainment attractions and special event venues appealing to the diving professional.  There should be a variety of restaurants and other entertainment within a 10 minute walking distance of the host hotel/convention center.
  • The Show city must be a major airline destination for North American and international travelers.  The city should have a substantial number of direct flights coming into the city, and be a hub for at least one major airline.
  • “Blended” labor rates for the city must be within 10% of the median average as compared to the convention industry market for the previous five years.
  • The convention facility must meet DEMA’s exhibit and meeting space requirements, and be in a location convenient to major hotels, the international airport and city points of interest.  The minimum conventions center size is 500,000 gross square feet.
  • The convention facility must include a minimum of 30 meeting rooms in the convention center, capable of holding at least 50 to 100 people while using classroom style seating.
  • There must be first-class hotels convenient to the convention and exhibit facility for 10,000 attendees.  Hotel facilities should accommodate a minimum of 1,200 to 1,400 rooms peak night pick up, with 4,000 minimum total room nights required within DEMA’s block.  This number of hotel rooms must be within a 5-mile radius/15 minutes travel time (whichever is less) of the convention center.
 “Throughout the years, DEMA has surveyed Show Attendees and Exhibitors about their preferred dates and locations for DEMA Show,” commented Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA. “While the majority of survey respondents prefer the fall, the general requirement is that the Show should be held during a time of the year when there is as little direct interference with the day to day business of as many Attendees and Exhibitors as possible. And of course, DEMA must ensure that the Show takes place during a time that is conducive to traveling to feasible destination cities to conduct business. The DEMA Board and staff have taken this feedback into consideration when contracting future venues and will continue to evaluate new venues as they become available.”
Currently, DEMA Show is in a two-city rotation between Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL and the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. Both conventions centers are located in a major city and gateway and both cities are ranked in the top five convention cities in the United States. DEMA is actively seeking a third city for the rotation and hopes to contract with a venue that has generated great Member interest during previous years. Stay tuned for additional details in an upcoming DEMAIL and at the annual DEMA membership meeting taking place Thursday, November 5th at 8:30 a.m. at DEMA Show 2015.
DEMA Show 2015 will be held at that Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL from November 4-7, 2015. Additional DEMA Show dates and locations can be found online here.
For more information on DEMA Show, including the Show cities for the next few years, visit

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Image & Technical Diving Resource Centers at DEMA Show Can Help Improve Businesses & Careers

**Free Technical Diving and Underwater Photography/Videography-Related Sessions Provided Daily Directly on the Show Floor**
DEMA Show Attendees wishing to make the most of their Show experience are encouraged to visit the Image Resource Center (IRC) and Technical Diving Resource Center (TDRC) at DEMA Show, held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, November 4 – 7, 2015. By visiting these two Centers, Attendees can expect to find ideas they can apply to their own operations to help their businesses and careers.
Located in booth #357, the Image Resource Center hosts numerous Exhibitors offering affiliated photography and videography products and services. Throughout the Show, Exhibitors will be hosting sessions that provide important tips on image-related topics, including how to incorporate photography and videography into dive retailers’ business strategies. To view a complete schedule of the 23 sessions being offered at the IRC, click here.
In the Technical Diving Resource Center, Attendees have the opportunity to discover the latest innovations in technical diving gear. Located in booth #1757, the TDRC is dedicated to Attendees seeking technical diving-related Exhibitors. The Center will feature sessions on technical diving that will help Attendees incorporate more advanced tech diving into their business plan. For additional information on the 18 sessions that are being offered in the TDRC, click here.
These FREE sessions are open to all DEMA Show Attendees and Exhibitors. For more information visit

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

DEMA's Latest Research Initiative Designed to Understand Industry Advertising Practices

** Survey Participants Incentivized with Complimentary Seminar Pass Upgrade for DEMA Show 2015 **
DEMA has announced a new retailer research initiative which will survey retail members of the diving industry to help understand industry-wide advertising and promotional benchmarks. The first 100 retail participants to answer all questions and submit their completed survey will be sent a gift certificate for a complimentary seminar pass upgrade good for DEMA Show 2015 (exhibits only registration and credentials required).
“The objective of conducting this research is to be able to provide retail dive centers with data that will help them guide and evaluate their own advertising activities,” commented Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA. “This is a benchmarking study on a topic not explored by the industry for many years, but which is critical to understanding how professional retailers are reaching out to new consumers and current customers.  The resulting data will make it possible to increase advertising effectiveness for every retailer and help other stakeholders understand how to serve the retailer more efficiently.”
The survey will collect advertising data which is segmented by geographic location; store volume and staffing; various advertising methods and expenses; and effectiveness and conversion for both digital and conventional media.
Dive retailers are invited to complete the survey here: DEMA Dive Industry Retailer Advertising Survey
Deadline to complete the survey is October 13, 2015 so act now for your chance to receive a complimentary seminar pass upgrade for DEMA Show 2015! Initial survey results will be published in time for DEMA Show 2015, and the completed data set released to the industry later in the year.

DEMA Submits Comments Opposing US Department of Labor’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Amend FLSA

The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) recently submitted comments opposing certain aspects of the U.S. Department of Labor’s July 6, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations implementing the exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees (known as the “white collar” or “EAP” exemptions). The comments were submitted by Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA, on behalf of the Association.
DEMA supports the principle in President Obama’s March 13, 2014 Presidential Memorandum that the FLSA regulations need to be modernized and streamlined. However, DEMA has heard from numerous members expressing serious concerns about the significant impact of the changes proposed in the NPRM. It is DEMA’s belief that changing the FLSA by merely altering the definition of the exempt employee salary threshold seems to be inadequate to meet the President’s goal of “modernizing and streamlining” the law and the diving industry, both business and workers, may suffer greatly.
 “It is our fear that should these changes in the NPRM be enacted as written, the changes would have a devastating effect on our Industry. In order to control overall labor costs, we see a number of strategies being implemented by industry business that could ultimately result in industry employees experiencing a reduction in compensation, work hours, benefits, ability to attend educational and technical conferences, and so on,” commented Ingram. “In an industry where labor is amongst the highest costs, and our consumers require such personal attention, we fear that this will ultimately lead to increased prices for our customers and in turn, reduced demand as price-sensitive consumers move to other recreational activities that are less labor-intensive and consequently less expensive,” Ingram concluded.
Some of DEMA’s suggestions for updating and modernizing the FLSA include regional/state salary thresholds, a lower exempt threshold, and greater flexibility for non-exempt employees.
For more information, see all of the comments posted on the website and the official commentssubmitted by DEMA. DEMA will continue to monitor the progress of these rules and is prepared to comment further.

Department of the Navy Issues Final Rules on Recreational Diver Access to Sunken Military Vessels

The Department of the Navy (DoN) has issued its final rules on the disposition of sunken military craft including an updated procedure required for research and other activities on these sunken vessels.  Importantly, according to a letter DEMA has received from the DoN, “…activities such as fishing, snorkeling and diving which are not intended to disturb, remove or injure any portion of a sunken military craft are still allowed without the need for a permit.” The revised regulations permitting investigations of sunken military craft under the jurisdiction of the DoN were published in the Federal Register Monday, August 31, 2015. The new regulations won’t officially go into effect until March 1, 2016.
DEMA has been in communication with the DoN for well over a year on this issue.  In April of 2014, DEMA, on behalf of the industry, reached out to the DoN to determine the extent to which rules proposed in January of 2014(page 620; 32 CFR Part 767; RIN 0703-AA90) would impact routine recreational scuba diving activities in or about sunken vessels/wrecks.  In his response, Dr. J.B, Thomas, Assistant Director for Collection Management with the DoN indicated that, “the Department of the Navy, through its regulations, does not intend to restrict access to those DoN craft purposely sunk to establish artificial reefs or to other sunken former Navy vessels of which United States' title has been expressly divested. The final rule will explicitly clarify this matter.”
With the publication of the new rules in the Federal Register of Monday, August 31, 2015 , DEMA is pleased that the final rules applying to recreational diving do not prohibit diving on military sites or vessels when there is no intent to disturb these sites.
 “The final rules make it clear that these regulations are designed to preserve these sites, while allowing for divers to visit them,” said Tom Ingram, DEMA’s Executive Director.  “By preserving these wrecks in situ, all divers will have the opportunity to visit and enjoy them.”
Of particular interest to the recreational diving industry is the clear statement within the rules which reads:
“Non-intrusive activities including diving on or remotely documenting sites do not require a permit or authorization from the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC), though this rule does not preclude the obligation to obtain permits or authorizations otherwise required by law.  The regulations stipulate an application process for disturbance, removal or injury of sunken military craft under the jurisdiction of the DoN.”
Further, the new rules indicate that, “The rule also incorporates provisions for a special use permit to be issued in case of certain activities directed at sunken military craft that would result in a wreck site’s disturbance, removal or injury, but otherwise would be minimally intrusive.  The standards that must be met for special use permits are more easily attainable as are the reporting requirements, though data collected shall be shared with the NHHC.”
DEMA encourages all members of the diving industry to familiarize themselves with the new rules in their entirety and share the information with their customers and diving communities. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DEMA’s Board of Directors Assembles for Quarterly Meeting

On August 19th, the DEMA Board of Directors gathered for their Quarterly Board Meeting to move the association forward on matters impacting the industry.  Discussion included retailer resources & retail-level research, recommended next steps for creating a major consumer marketing campaign to help all sectors of the diving industry and DEMA Show recommendations. Following approval of the consent agenda, key topics and actions from this quarter’s committee work were discussed and the following actions were taken:
Retailer Resources & Research
The Retailer Resource Committee and the Research Committee joined forces to create and present plans for a retailer survey to the Board. Discussion included methods of distribution and outreach, incentives for participants and vital information to be tracked.  The survey will be distributed in the coming weeks. Additionally, DEMA is currently undergoing test case studies to establish successful location-based marketing tactics to help attract new consumers to retail dive centers.

Industry-Wide Consumer Marketing Campaign
The Board reviewed progress on DEMA’s industry-wide diving consumer marketing campaign plans and further discussed the recommended slogan for the campaign. The group agreed that DEMA would host webinars as well as a meeting at DEMA Show to collaborate with DEMA Members and Industry businesses to help spread the campaign message in an effort to grow the industry. Under the recommendation of the consumer marketing committee, marketing agency Mob Media was invited to join the meeting to present their consumer marketing campaign proposal to the entire Board. After detailed discussion the Board agreed to move forward with the campaign under Mob Media’s guidance.

DEMA Mission Task Force Report
The progress of the mission task force to evaluate the mission statement was discussed by the Board. The task force has determined the “elements” and capabilities that will help make DEMA Members successful and is now weighing how these elements can be incorporated into DEMA’s mission and goals to help forge the future direction of the association. The task force and Board agree that a succinct and memorable mission statement that includes the importance of DEMA’s tradeshow while helping to connect Members was recommended.

DEMA Show Recommendations
The Board discussed details of a proposed trial membership for non-member registrants of DEMA Show. They then reviewed the increasing cost per net square foot being incurred by the Association due to incremental costs increases for Show venues and service contractors. After reviewing booth space pricing for similar trade shows and industry consumer shows as well as the items included in each booth package the Board voted to implement a minor price adjustment for DEMA Show 2016 with a pricing review recommended for DEMA Show 2017.  

DEMA’s Committees can be found here.  The DEMA Board will meet again just prior to November’s DEMA Show.   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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New CA Spiny Lobster Season PSA Offers Safety Tips for the 2015/2016 Season

**DEMA’s Latest PSA Provides Important Safety Reminders to Increase Diver Safety during California’s Upcoming Lobster Season**
California’s 2015/2016 Spiny Lobster Season begins on October 3rd, 2015. With the season less than two months away, DEMA has released a new California Spiny Lobster Season Public Service Announcement (PSA) in an effort to increase diver safety and prepare divers in advance of the 2015/2016 season. The new PSA is part of DEMA’s ongoing efforts to encourage divers to refresh their training and maintain their equipment prior to getting back in the water. DEMA Members are encouraged to share the PSA with their customers and community to spread this important and timely message.
The PSA is available in English and Spanish, as well as in 30-second and 15-second formats.  The English version featuresMiss Scuba International '14-'15 and TV ReporterTabitha LipkinThe Spanish version of the PSA featuresEmmy award-winning journalist and bilingual reporter,Yanula Ramirez. All four versions of the PSA can be viewedonline here.
In addition to the newly released PSAs, DEMA’s California Spiny Lobster Season poster is available to be viewed, shared and downloaded to encourage safe diving. DEMA Members are asked to print the California Spiny Lobster Season poster and display it in the store, distribute it to their customers, and share it electronically, along with the new PSA, with their own online community. The new PSA and poster will be promoted via DEMABe A Diver andDiveCaching Twitter & Facebook pages for the remainder of the summer, as well as on social media sites of affiliated organizations. DEMA is also providing copies of the PSA to select television stations in key markets to encourage divers to refresh their training and maintain their equipment prior to start of the season.

Complete information and regulations for the 2015/2016 California Spiny Lobster Season are available on theCalifornia Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

Printable files:  PDF  |  JPEG

PSA:  15 Second Version - English

PSA:  30 Second Version - English

 PSA:  15 Second Version - Spanish 

PSA: 30 Second Version - Spanish

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

DEMA Requests All Members of the Industry to Sign Online Petition to Stop Dredging of Cayman Islands

**Thousands Have Already Signed Online Petition to Stop Plans for the Cruise Ship Berthing Facility **
The Cayman Islands are a popular tourist destination and well known for their beautiful coral reefs. Currently, officials within the Cayman Government are reviewing plans to build a permanent cruise ship port that would require extensive dredging in the George Town Harbor area, which would damage the coral reefs and ecosystem near the proposed berthing facility, including several popular dive sites. DEMA urgently asks the Industry for their support in petitioning the Cayman Government to halt these plans by signing this online petition.

DEMA is very concerned with the potential for environmental destruction and economic damage to the local dive operators and the worldwide diving community due to the construction and operation of this cruise ship facility. A draft Environmental Statement (ES) dated June 2, 2015, conducted for the Cayman Islands government indicates that damage to the coral reefs will occur due to the required direct dredging action, turbidity and siltation near George Town during construction. Additional damage will likely be caused by the ongoing dredging required to maintain the berthing facility.  In addition, in studying the data presented in the ES, the actual economic benefit to the Cayman Islands appears to be questionable; construction of the berthing facility would require destruction of dive sites such as Devil’s Grotto, Soto’s Reef and the Balboa wreck.  While the ES states that it might be possible to re-locate the Balboa at the cost of millions of dollars, and it might be possible to re-locate and save some of the living reef material, the ES is also clear that the likely result would still be a net loss of living coral. 

Given that tourists arriving by air to the Cayman Islands (rather than cruise ship) account for 77% of the tourist revenue generated there, it appears to make little economic sense to destroy the very fabric of Cayman's attraction to tourists, to accommodate a greater number of cruise ships ferrying tourists who, according the Environmental Statement, spend an average of less than CI$100 per person on island.

DEMA asks for members of the Industry to sign and share the online petition regarding this issue as initiated by the Save Sea Foundation. 30,000 signatures are requested and already more than 16,000 individuals have signed the petition to stop the proposed dredging. PLEASE sign the petition today!

More information on the economic and environmental impacts resulting from the proposed plans can be found in DEMA’s recent alert.  In addition, DEMA has written directly to the Cayman Department of the Environment, expressing concerns on behalf of the Industry. That letter can be found here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

DEMA’s Be A Diver Pool Introduces Scuba Diving to Wounded Warriors at Adaptive Watersports Festival

**Pool Earns National and Local Broadcast Coverage that Reaches Over 1.8 Million Viewers**
The Be A Diver Pool made a special stop in Breezy Point, New York from July 10th to 11th to participate in the Adaptive Watersports Festival. Big Wave Dave and the Be A Diver Pool teamed up with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) for the 11th annual event to help veterans injured while serving participate in a variety of activities including scuba diving.
The Be A Diver Pool helped generate strong media coverage for the event and was spotlighted on Fox 5 New Yorkevening news and Fox News Channel’s National ProgramFox and Friends. Fox 5 News reporter Jodi Goldberg, interviewed Wounded Warriors at the Pool about how scuba diving has helped them cope with their injuries. Pool Tour Coordinator, “Big Wave Dave,” was also interviewed to discuss the benefits of Warriors completing their scuba certification. Footage of the Warriors in the Be A Diver Pool was highlighted throughout the Fox and Friends news segment on the Festival. These media placements were seen by an audience of approximately 1,849,102 viewers. To view both placements click here
“Working with the Wounded Warrior Project helps DEMA demonstrate that scuba diving is a sport that people of any age or physical condition can enjoy,” commented Dave. No matter what your physical challenges are, you’re as able as an able bodied diver.”
DEMA Member Retailers B.A.D. ScubaBlue Water DiversSki & Scuba Connection and Handicapped Scuba Association International participated in the event to help veterans complete their try diving experience.
The Pool also made a stop in Pittsburgh the weekend of July 17th and exhibited at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Scuba Diving was highlighted as one of the top activities to try for attendees and was featured on Pittsburgh’s KDKA-CBS evening news. The segment reached an audience of 199,984 viewers.
The Be A Diver Pool tour has six confirmed stops remaining in 2015 and will be exhibiting at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, Denver Downtown Aquarium, Fall Fun Rally, Houston Downtown Aquarium, Riverfest and the Fort Meyer’s Boat Show. For more information visit
Making stops throughout the year at various consumer-oriented travel, outdoor activity and adventure shows, the Be A Diver Pool gives anyone 10 years old and up the opportunity to discover the fun and exciting sport of scuba diving for FREE in the comfort of a large, tropically warm pool. Event attendees are also able to test out some of the latest scuba equipment, and learn why Bonaire is known as one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Surge with The Current: Promote the Benefits of Diving Using Promotional Video Clips and Materials from Make A Hero’s Latest Film

**DEMA Members Have Free Direct Access to Materials Featuring Stars Bethany Hamilton of Soul Surfer;Olympic Medalist, Missy Franklin and More Through**
As announced during the Annual Member Meeting at DEMA Show 2014, DEMA has partnered with the Make A Hero Foundation to provide DEMA Members with access to content that can help promote recreational diving using Make A Hero’s film, The Current.  The Current is the second adaptive sports film by Make a Hero, which showcases inspiring adaptive athletes, public figures, athlete ambassadors and military veterans who have donated their efforts in support of this film.

The Current tells the story of seven individuals from all walks of life all of whom have faced incredible obstacles and found the drive and inspiration to overcome their disabilities. Through scuba diving, snorkeling and other watersports they have discovered and rediscovered freedom of movement. In this film we will get to know these heroes. “The Current is important to the Diving Industry because it showcases the ‘Healing Power of the Ocean’ through inspiring stories about scuba diving and other water sports,” explained Producer and Director Kurt Miller, CEO of the Make A Hero Foundation. DEMA Members will have access to promotional materials and clips from the film through DEMA to help them promote diving and highlight the many beneficial aspects of scuba and other watersports.” “DEMA is excited about this film and the universal message it carries about the strength of the human spirit, and the healing power of the ocean” commented Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA. “We are very excited to have partnered with the Make A Hero Foundation so that our Members have fresh new content to share for their own promotions of scuba diving.”

The film is currently being featured in media markets across the country including top ten- designated marketing areas such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and many more. Now is the optimal time for DEMA Members to surge with The Current to promote the healing power of the ocean and the benefits of scuba diving. DEMA Members can find out when the film will be playing in their area and access movie trailers, character images and more by visiting the Member Dashboard on and clicking on The Current: Exclusive Marketing Materials. Additional information on the movie is available on the Make A Hero website

 Market the Healing Power of the Ocean in Your Store
Download and use these flyers when showing the film in your store.
 Download PDF Download PDF Download PDF

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

With the Florida Lobster Mini-Season Approaching, Dive Safety PSA & Poster Provide Safety Reminders

**DEMA and Divers Alert Network (DAN) Provide Tips to Increase Diver Safety for Florida’s Lobster Mini-Season July 29-30, 2015**
With the 2015 Florida Lobster Mini-Season just  one month away, DEMA has updated their Lobster Mini-Season poster and is circulating a 30-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.   
“By circulating this PSA and poster before the two-day lobster mini-season opens , we hope divers will start preparing for Florida’s annual Lobster hunt and be reminded to adhere to necessary safety measures when hunting for lobsters, including diving with a buddy,” commented Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA. “With increased awareness of the recommended safety procedures, we hope to keep diving safe for everyone during this 2015 mini-season.”
The 30-second PSA was produced by DEMA in partnership with Divers Alert Network and specifically timed for the two-day Florida Lobster mini-season opening on July 29 and ending July 30. It was created to encourage divers to visit their local dive center to update their dive equipment and refresh and advance 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. 

Opposition to the Cayman Islands Cruise Ship Berthing Facility is URGENTLY NEEDED

DEMA urgently requests all members of the diving community to issue a statement to the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE) by the July 3rd deadline OPPOSING the construction of a proposed cruise ship berthing facility. 

The Cayman Islands Department of Environment has made the Draft Non-Technical Summary of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposed Grand Cayman Cruise Berthing Facility available.  Comments on the Draft Statement, Non-technical statement and the Technical Appendices must be submitted in any of the following ways: 
  1. In writing electronically via e-mail to
  2. Mailed to Department of Environment, P.O. Box 10202, Grand Cayman KY1-1002
  3. Hand delivered to Department of Environment, Environmental Centre, 580 North Sound Road, George Town, Grand Cayman 
The comment period will officially close on Friday 3 July 2015. 

The technical data can be found in various links seen here:

DEMA's opinion is that the construction and operation of this facility will be devastating to the natural coral reefs.  Damage will occur due to direct dredging action, turbidity and siltation on the living reefs near Georgetown during construction and additional damage will likely be caused by the on-going dredging required to maintain the berthing facility, as outlined in the June 2, 2015 Environmental Statement.  In addition, in studying the data presented in the draft Environmental Statement, the actual economic benefit to the Cayman Islands appears to be questionable, involving millions of dollars to re-locate a shipwreck (the Balboa) and portions of the living reef with a result that there would still be a net loss of living coral. 

Given that tourists arriving by air to the Cayman Islands (rather than cruise ship) account for 77% of the tourist revenue generated there, it appears to make little economic sense to destroy the very fabric of Grand Cayman's attraction to tourists, to accommodate a greater number of cruise ships ferrying tourists who, according the Environmental Statement, spend an average of less than $CI 100 per person on island.

All divers and all dive professionals are URGED to make comments directly to the Cayman Islands Department of Environment prior to the July 3rd deadline.