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Posted by Ken Kurtis on March 01, 2018 at 00:02:30:

Diving is an amazingly safe sport . . . until it isn't. But we're all human and things happen. In fact, a study has shown that 69% of diving accidents are caused by diver error. So the last thing you'd want to hear is, "Sorry, there's no chamber in the area so thereís nothing we can do for you." Fortunately, that's NOT the case in SoCal. Since 1974, divers have relied on the USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber to bail us out when things go wrong. And once again, our Chamber is counting on you.

2018 marks our Chamber's 44th year of unbending service to the Southern California diving community. While our Chamber still gets about half of its funding from L.A. County, Chamber Day & Eve have become the major source of funds to keep our Chamber available to us 24/7/365. And that's why we need you to participate in Chamber Day & Eve 2018 on Wednesday, May 2. And we're trying some new things this year that we hope you'll find inviting.

This is our 30th annual Chamber Day event. The first one in 1989 attracted about 200 divers and netted about $15,000 for our Chamber. Over the years the event has grown to over 1,000 participants by adding Chamber Eve, the Flying Dutchman, and the Chamber Challenge. Last year we raised just under $106,000 for our Chamber. We are justifiably considered the largest single-day scuba charity event in the United States and perhaps even the world.

Itís important to know that ALL monies raised go to the Chamber. No administrative fees are deducted from the proceeds, the participating SoCal boats donate their time and services, the manufacturers donate gear for raffle prizes, the Aquarium of the Pacific donates their facility for Chamber Eve (we still have to pay for the food), hundreds of volunteers donate their time, and you (hopefully) donate your money.

Hereís whatís happening:

* The main event is Chamber Day, which includes two dives at Catalina plus a walking tour of the Chamber facilities at the Isthmus. A ticket on one of the participating boats for Chamber Day is still only $110 (plus $30 for food and airfills for the boat). You get the diving, the tour, five day time raffle tickets, and a chance to chat with (and thank) first responders from Coast Guard, L.A. County Sheriffs, Baywatch, and others.

* This year, we're introducing an Early Bird Chamber Day price of just $95 (still plus the food-and-air). Anyone who pays for their boat spot before April 1 (no foolin') will get the discounted price.

* If you canít take the day off but would still like to participate, we have the Flying Dutchman - a mythical boat, yes, but a big part of Chamber Day and the perfect option for those who canít attend in person. ďDivingĒ the Dutchman gets you five daytime raffle tickets plus a special limited-edition T-shirt available only to folks who sign up for the Dutchman. And we're holding the Dutchman price at $95.

* Thereís also the Chamber Challenge, which ďchallengesĒ our community to raise extra funds for our Chamber through direct donations (mostly $100 pledges, but also $500 and $1,000, and even $5,000 and $10,000). You donate, and then - we hope - you challenge your friends to match your generosity.

* Raffle tickets, anyone? Daytime raffle tickets are a great way to go because you donít need to be present to win. Tickets are $1 each, with discounts when you buy more. Again this year, when you dive our participating boats in April, youíll get additional FREE raffle tickets.

* Chamber Evening, co-sponsored by the Aquarium of the Pacific, wraps things up, and we've got some changes there as well. This year Chamber Evening tickets are $120 each which includes five evening general raffle tickets and one Grand Prize raffle ticket, which this year is a trip to Guadalupe Island (south of Ensenada) to go nose-to-nose with Great White Sharks on one of the Nautilus Explorer boats.

* When you purchase your ticket, we will also ask you to specify if you want the regular meal (chicken) or the vegetarian/vegan meal. FYI, all the meals are gluten-free (except for the rolls).

* Do you want early access to the Aquarium, a private lounge area, and free preferred close-in ground-level parking? Then sign up for our V.G.D. (Very Generous Diver) Package. This is limited to the first 150 people. For an extra $75 you get that plus a private cash bar, private outside lounge/deck area with seating (available to you all evening until 10:45PM), exclusive access to the Moon Jellies exhibit, five extra general raffle tickets, one extra Grand Prize raffle ticket, a Chamber Eve t-shirt and early access (6PM) to selected areas and exhibits inside the Aquarium.

* For everyone else, the doors open at 7PM. You can explore the Aquarium (as well as the raffle prize and merchandise tables) from 7-8:15PM, dinner is from 8:15-9:15PM, and our program (acknowledgements, short speeches, raffle prizes) is from 9:15-10:15PM.

* There are some changes to our raffle this year. The most noticeable is that the Grand Prize - a trip to Guadalupe Island with Nautilus Explorer - is now a separate ticket from the general raffle. When you get your Chamber Eve ticket, you'll also receive one Grand Prize raffle ticket, and you can purchase more for $5 each. But we will only sell 1,500 Grand Prize tickets in total and once they're gone, they're gone. So don't miss out on a chance to increase your odds of winning a fabulous trip.

* The regular raffle will now be a targeted raffle as well as Pick-A-Prize. There will be a special bin for each of our top three prizes, plus a separate bin for prizes #4-20. You choose where you want to deposit your raffle tickets. Split them up equally, put more in one bin than another, or however you want. For each of the top three prizes, the name drawn gets that prize. For #4-20, it'll be Pick-A-Prize as we've done in the past, from what's still available on the prize list.

* The grand finale is the presentation of the overall proceeds check to Chamber Director Karl Huggins, and the drawing of one lucky person who will win the trip to Guadalupe with Nautilus Explorer.

For more information about these canít-miss events, visit our web site at www.chamberday.org. You can sign up there using our secure server, or you can Chamber Day HQ at 310-652-4990.

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, May 2 and Chamber Day & Eve 2018.

Ken Kurtis (Chairman, Chamber Day/Eve 2018)
Karl Huggins (Director, USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber)

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