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What's happening to the dive industry?


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Posted by Eric S on September 05, 2008 at 20:08:10:

I've been pondering this question for a while.

"What's going on with the dive shops and the dive industry in
general".

The local dive shops (LDS) are one of the very last businesses to enjoy a 100% mark up on products. Not all, but most things in the store are doubled in price from what they paid.
Most or all other retail businesses work on about a 30% margin these days.
This fact alone makes the LDS a prime and vulnerable target for the internet dive supply price bandits.

Let's rewind back to the days when diving started. I wasn't diving then, but I have heard enough stories and accounts of how things were to scratch my head and wonder what went wtrong.
Dive equipment was cheap, it was basic, training was brutal, most or all dive equipment was made in USA, there was one style of diving, not tech, rec, dir, jacket, hog, plate, koolaider, stroke, etc. And somehow the sport sustained itself and grew. Was it the TV shows of the time like Seahunt or Jaques Cousteux that primed the imaginations of millions?

It seems like I'm seeing an autumn in the dive industry. Shops are slowing down and drying up.
Enthusiasm is weakening.
Or is it alive and well but instead there's a new style and subsequent underground movement starting up of divers that are sick of dive shops selling the same crap and holding the same jacket and split fin mentality and gong elsewhere to buy the stuff they need and want?
It seems so to me.
What would happen if all the local LDS's
went belly up? where would you get airfills?

Answer: My buddy bought a compressor and fills nitrox for us. Reason: our LDS refuses to get into nitrox.

So, does this mean some day if things keep on as they are that you'll need to know someone with a compressor or get on a dive boat to dive?

Is this what diving has come to, underground scuba?
Many of us have resorted to buying some or all of our stuff on the internet. Reason: our LDS refuses to carry the stuff we've progressed to and want.

The dive industry is alive and well, just not in the stagnant LDS's of the 80's and 90's. It's gone underground. Just look around at some of the gear people are using. Lot's of it you won't find in an LDS.

They had their chance but I'm afraid it's probably too late.



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