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June 2011    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 26, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Is it Time for an American Recreational Scuba Divers Association?

from the June, 2011 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Recreational scuba diving is the one major sport with no national consumer organization. The principal reasons that sports consumer associations form are togetherness, information, involvement, discounts, advocacy, insurance, safety, recruitment and competitions.

Sparked by an Undercurrent piece by Bret Gilliam about declining innovation and participation in the sport, a small group of long-time recreational divers began discussing the possibility of forming a national recreational divers association to: 1) give divers a voice to be heard by manufacturers, retailers, training agencies, destinations and policymakers; 2) form a web of connection among individual divers and dive clubs to promote safe diving and ocean stewardship; and 3) provide information and money-saving benefits.

When researching other recreational sports organizations, they found that the closest example of a consumer sports organization is the U.S. Parachute Association for skydivers. Like scuba, skydiving is about gear, training and safety. What differentiates skydiving from scuba diving at this point is competition, but that could change

Among the benefits the concept group discussed are:
* Gear discounts
* Travel and destination discounts
* An interactive Website
* Blogs
* Used gear exchange
* National buddy lists and organized group trips
* Consumer dive shows
* Diver and gear insurance
* Certification registry
* Podcasts and Webinars
* Gear reviews
* Destination reviews

While a recreational scuba divers association is still in the idea stage, Undercurrent will soon offer a survey to subscribers and friends to determine interest in the idea. The results will help the concept group determine its next steps. In the meantime, I'd like to hear your thoughts, so email me at bendavison@undercurrent.org

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