Yes, but . . .

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on December 21, 2003 at 19:41:24:

In Reply to: Funding Stewardship posted by Sonke on December 21, 2003 at 10:18:08:

As a diver, I'd be willing to pay a "reasonable" (and realizing that man's reasonable is another man's highway robbery) annual fee. My thought is something on the order of $10/year.

You'll encounter some resistance, I think, from the cert agencies and the shops. First of all, no one wants an added financial burden on divers, even if it's only $10. But secondly, should something like this go into place, it would REALLY giver us a pretty good idea of how many "active" diver there are in California. And something tells me the number will be far smaller than what the industry would like to pitch.

Now, as a dive shop owner, I have to add some caveats. First I'd ask for an exemption for students in basic Open Water classes. It may dumb, but I can see where it might drive some people away or, if a store should choose to eat the fee (even if there's a separate fee for students), that it could pose a financial burden on a shop, especially if they're doing a lot of students each year.

Secondly, I'd like to know what the enforcement would be. Because if it's not going to be enforced, personally I wouldn't be for it. Than it's just a blatant fee grab rather than really trying to improve the resource. If all you want is the money with no improvement, let's do a telethon and I'll volunteer to host.

Thirdly, what's the distribution channel for this? My thought is that these license, especially if they're strictly scuba-limited, would have to be available not only at dive shops, but also on the boats so they could be purchased day-of-dive.

Fourthly, while I don't expect DF&G to be present every time every boat signs someone in, whose responsibility is it to ensure that all divers are license and, more importantly, what's the penalty to the boat or the chartering organization if the rule isn't enforced?

Finally, maybe there's a better way.

How about a Garibladi/Kelp vanity license plate? The mechanisms already in place, it's a higher annual fee, and your market is not just limited to scuba divers, so (in theory) it can raise a LOT more money than a license fee which some will see as onerous.

Just a thought (which I'm happy to discuss with you further).

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA

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