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March 2005 Vol. 20, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Industry Cheerleader? — I don’t think so

from the March, 2005 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dear Editor: I was somewhat put off by your industry cheerleading in the DEMA piece. As a general aviation writer since the 60s I used to go to the industry shows and eat the oysters and ogle the bikini-clad models (actually, sunsuits in those days), until that industry shot itself in both feet by deciding that the best way to cope with a diminishing demand was to jack up prices. But bigger isn’t necessarily better in the recreational universe. I remember skiing when people didn’t push ahead on the lift lines or steal your gear. And in the diving community, the term “cattle boats” has a certain resonance.

I understand the thrust of your article, but such verbiage as “We need to maintain a critical mass as dive consumers” (what do you mean “we”?) and “I’m happy to do my part as a dive consumer and buy equipment” is, frankly, appalling in a publication that titles itself as “The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers.”

This particular serious diver isn’t about to rush out and buy the Split Fin Design of the Month or book a dive trip to support an industry. My motivations are somewhat different, and I suspect that’s true of most of your readership.

Sincerely, Keith Connes (Goleta, CA)

Keith: It appears I failed to communicate my meaning in the last paragraph of the article. I also will not be purchasing the latest split-fin. My intention was to explain why we as dive consumers should care whether the dive market is dwindling or whether DEMA is promoting diving and why I was glad that these things were not my responsibility. I would only do what I would normally do, which is to be a diver, buy equipment when needed, and travel whenever I can.

I understand your desire for fewer divers and I agree; I’m not looking for more divers in the water with me, either. However, when the industry falls below a certain critical mass, it will hurt divers. Initially, we will be hit with higher prices; since manufacturers and operators have to cover their fixed costs, the laws of economics dictate that fewer sales mean higher prices — until the cost of goods reaches such levels that demand falls off altogether. At that point, operations will close, manufacturers will drop product lines, and we as divers will suffer. We’ll suffer from lack of innovation in equipment and from fewer choices in dive resorts, operations, and liveaboards. And sadly, it’s not the cattle boats that will be driven out of business; it’s the small, outof- the-way places and boats that operate on small margins and limited clientele — the very sort Undercurrent lets its readers know about — that will be lost as travel options.

I hope this helps clarify my intentions. Thanks again for writing.

john Q

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