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September 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 28, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Are You Diving Less These Days?

why divers are making few trips or quitting altogether

from the September, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Diving has changed over the years, as have we divers, but it seems like the sport, and many who have participated in it, are parting ways. While scuba was once a fresh, exciting and less expensive pastime -- and for most of us, it still is -- we're finding that it has lost its luster for many.

While I have long pondered the reasons why people dive considerably less or even drop out, I became especially interested when I received an e-mail from Undercurrent subscriber Bobby Marie (Mableton, GA) earlier this summer. He wrote that he was renewing for another year because "I have saved tons of money by living vicariously through the travels and reports of your writers. I personally, however, don't expect to dive anywhere farther away than a couple hours' flight from Atlanta, if I dive at all. While I am proud of my underwater history, I have essentially stopped diving. I would be curious as to why other healthy, long-time divers have decided on their own to stay home and why."

So I put the question, "Why have you stopped diving" to readers of our monthly e-newsletter a couple of months ago. I was surprised at the number of responses I received. Of course, one obvious reason for giving up diving is for health reasons -- our readers are primarily an older bunch -- but there were plenty of other reasons, and readers made some unique points about why they're hanging up their fins.

For many seasoned divers, a general sense of ennui has set in. Phillip Alspach (Boulder, CO) says he is bored with the "same ole, same ole." "I've been diving since the 60's, traveled the world and have dived at many of the 'best' places in their prime; now I am generally disappointed in what has happened to the locations, the beaches, the industry and our oceans. Call it a change of life, a mid-life crisis, I don't know. It's not as much fun as it used to be -- too many people, too much effort, too little fun, too little return."

Travel Hassles and Heartaches

One reason cited for cutting back or giving up diving is the increased hassle it takes to get to any dive destination. Crammed airports and planes make travel a no-fun experience, and prices, especially to the Asia-Pacific region, are sky high. For Denise Kalm (Walnut Creek, CA), that's the prime reason. "Air travel sucks. Between the trouble of trying to get a decent rate (and forget trying to cash in my millionplus air miles to make it cheaper), the TSA, and then the long flights in increasingly uncomfortable seats, it just seems too difficult to go to great places like Palau."...

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