There are NOT 966,000 new divers each year

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on July 06, 2006 at 16:26:23:

In Reply to: So where do "they" stand posted by MHK on July 05, 2006 at 22:02:03:

If there were, business would be a LOT better . . .


This has nothing to do with other points Micahel raises. But as many of you know, I'm a stickler for attribution and getting facts correct and - despite what anyone might claim - this number is absolutely bogus, especially if it's being interpreted/represetned (by others, not Michael) as new American divers. What's it supposed to represent? Divers on all cert levels worldwide, inclduing resort course, intro dives, try-scuba sessions? It's important to qualify the number.

And let's also remember just because someone says something is so, doesn't make it so. I can claim to make a million dollars a year but that doesn't mean it's true.

The latest estimate through Leisure Trends is that there are around 185,000 new divers created in the US every year by all agencies combined. (At least I think that was the number - I'm doing this off the top of my head.) This also jives with a number I was given about 6 or 7 years ago, which was the in-house audited number from PADI which at that time was 165,000 new divers in the US by PADI alone. Given the decline in business in the ensuing years, the new number (185,000 annually) seems to make sense to me.

My personal estimate would be that PADI has about 60% of the market, NAUI has about 30%, and all the others split the remaining 10%, not counting any dual certs (both NAUI & PADI, PADI & someone else, etc.).

In discussions we've had among store owners lately, we'd estimate the numbers of divers certified in SoCal (LA, Ventura, Riverside, Orange counties - San Deigo and Santa Barbara are not included in this estimate) at somewhere around 5,000 divers annually. This is based on 50 dive shops in the area with each shop certifying roughly 100 new divers per year. (Some do more, some do less, but that seems to be about average.)

Again, the point of this is not to say Micahel's points are without merit. There's ample ground for discussion. But let's also keep the overall numbers of people in perspective as well and try to use numbers that more accurately reflect the diving population.

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

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