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DEMA Show 2023: The Depths of Progress in the Scuba Diving Industry

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By Bryan Horne, Dive Curaçao / Dive Travel Curaçao

As I sit down to reflect on the whirlwind that was the DEMA Show 2023, in the vibrant city of New Orleans, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of pride and optimism for the future of the scuba diving industry. This annual gathering of manufacturers, global destinations, dive retailers, and enthusiasts has always been a focal point for showcasing the latest innovations and trends in our beloved underwater world.

However, this year’s event was more than just a showcase; it was a milestone that underscored the industry’s collective power to drive positive change and create a unified impact across diverse fronts.

Exploring the DEMA Show 2023

One of the most remarkable aspects of DEMA Show 2023 was the palpable sense of collaboration that permeated the event. The scuba diving industry, often seen as a niche community, demonstrated that when we unite for a common cause, we become a force to be reckoned with. From education and environmental protection to travel, marketing, and safety; the influence of our collective efforts was unmistakable.

Diver Education

One shining example of the industry’s commitment to education was the inspiring work of Margo Peyton and her organization, Kids Sea Camp. DEMA 2023 provided a platform for Margo to share her vision and success in introducing children to the wonders of the underwater realm. The impact of programs like Kids Sea Camp extends far beyond the immediate experience, creating a generation of young divers who not only appreciate marine life but also become ambassadors for ocean conservation.

Read more about Kids Sea Camp: “I’m a Believer” by Scott D. Jones

Environmental Protection

Environmental protection took center stage at DEMA Show 2023, with organizations like Stream2Sea, PADI AWARE, and Green Fins leading the charge. Their dedication to sustainable practices and ocean-friendly products highlighted the industry’s commitment to preserving the underwater ecosystems we hold dear. The booths and presentations focused on eco-friendly products, responsible diving practices, and the importance of leaving no trace underwater. It was a clear message that as guardians of the ocean, we have a responsibility to tread lightly and ensure its health for generations to come.

Dive Travel

In the realm of travel, DEMA Show 2023 showcased the incredible potential of our industry and its influence on tourism.

Our Dutch Caribbean Island of Curaçao, once a hidden gem in the scuba diving world, stood as a testament to the transformative power of collaboration.

Over the past decade, Dive Curaçao, Ocean Encounters, and LionsDive Beach Resort worked hand in hand to develop Curaçao as a world-class diving destination.

This year, our collective efforts were recognized with an astounding 23 awards in the Scuba Diving Reader’s Choice Awards. The readers spoke, and their votes reinforced the idea that collaboration can turn a relatively unknown destination into a global diving hotspot.

The success of Curaçao serves as a blueprint for other emerging destinations, illustrating that by pooling resources, sharing knowledge, and collectively marketing our unique offerings, we can elevate the entire industry. Digital marketing played a crucial role in this transformation, connecting divers from around the world with the beauty of Curaçao’s underwater landscapes. Social media campaigns, immersive virtual tours, and engaging content brought our island to the forefront of the diving community’s consciousness.

Photo courtesy of Frank Do

Diver Safety

Safety has always been a paramount concern in the scuba diving industry, and the Divers Alert Network (DAN) took the opportunity at DEMA Show 2023 to unveil the latest advancements in dive safety including innovative training programs. Their emphasis on safety highlighted the industry’s unwavering commitment to ensuring every dive is a secure and enjoyable experience.

Reflecting on the DEMA Show 2023

The DEMA Show 2023 was a rallying point, a reminder that we are not isolated entities but integral parts of a global and interconnected community. The connections forged and strengthened at the event will reverberate throughout the industry, sparking collaborations that go beyond borders and benefit us all. The exchange of ideas, the sharing of best practices, and the celebration of successes create a synergy that propels us forward.

As I navigated the bustling aisles of the exhibition hall, engaged in insightful seminars, and connected with industry leaders, it became evident that the key to Curaçao’s continued success lies in collaboration. Yes, we have achieved great strides, but there is still much work to be done. The challenges facing our coral reefs are immense. From climate change to pollution, these issues demand a united front to ensure the sustainability of Curaçao’s diving industry.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our partners and suppliers who joined us at DEMA Show 2023, and a special acknowledgment to the DEMA 2023 Board of Directors for orchestrating an event that transcended expectations. The bonds formed and strengthened in New Orleans set the stage for an exciting year ahead.

However, as we look towards the future, the scuba diving industry stands at a crossroads. We must avoid apathy and choose a path that will shape the destiny of our oceans and the sustainability of our scuba diving industry, especially here in Curaçao.

Looking forward to the DEMA Show 2024

In conclusion, DEMA Show 2023 was not just an exhibition; it was a manifestation of the scuba diving industry’s potential to create a positive impact. The collaborative spirit showcased at the event serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that by working together, we can achieve far more than we ever could alone. As we eagerly anticipate the DEMA Show 2024 in Las Vegas, let us carry this positive momentum forward, united in our mission to protect, educate, and explore the wonders of the underwater world.

Bryan Horne wasn’t born in Curaçao; he’s a Canadian native, drawn to the Island “out of a passion for scuba diving and the underwater world.” Moving was always going to be a life-changing decision, but in diving, Bryan had found his calling. As the founder and owner of Dive Curaçao, he spends his days showing off Curaçao’s hidden undersea treasures – and does his part to preserve them for future generations.

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Solo Travelling and Scuba Diving

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solo scuba diving

Solo traveling elicits strong reactions, with some relishing the freedom it brings, while others shy away from the idea. The dichotomy lies between the autonomy of solo journeys and the comfort of companionship. Scuba diving group trips for solo travellers emerge as the perfect synthesis, offering a unique blend of freedom and camaraderie.

Embarking on a solo scuba diving adventure is a thrilling journey into unparalleled freedom, new discovery and self-discovery beneath the waves. However, solo travellers should be mindful of considerations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, especially those diving abroad, taking precautions before leaving their home country is crucial for a safe and enjoyable journey.

solo scuba diver

“I started travelling solo by chance”- my wife recalls- “I joined a group from the diving club planning to travel to Tobago, people pulled out at the last minute and I decided to go ahead alone. I did enjoy the freedom: I could travel at the times I wanted, to the destinations I wanted, no need to negotiate when and where to eat and the air conditioning temperature. Diving is a social sport anyway, and the divers one meets are by definition like-minded people. It’s an opportunity to make new friends, often from different nationalities. I’ve gained so much in self confidence and interpersonal skills, way more than on corporate training courses J. However, as a woman solo traveller, I’ve always had to be mindful of personal safety in circumstances where one simply doesn’t know what to expect. I remember the apprehension I felt on the boat ride alone from Batanga to Puerto Galera in the evening. Also the same feeling whilst waiting in Dubai for someone to pick me up and drive me 2 hours to Musandam. This someone is now a dearest friend. The best thing for me is always to book through someone that has made the same journey, lived the experience directly and has close personal links at destinations.”

In essence, scuba diving trips for solo travellers offer a harmonious blend of autonomy and companionship. These journeys transcend traditional group travel challenges by uniting solo adventurers with a common passion.

The first question and one of the most important, as the answer usually determines your location is Liveaboard or Shore based, and there are Pros and Cons to both:

Liveaboard

solo scuba diver

Pros

Immersive Dive Experience: Liveaboards provide uninterrupted access to dive sites, maximizing your time beneath the waves.

Varied Destinations: Journey to remote and pristine locations, exploring a range of dive spots during a single trip. Usually these site are only accessible by Liveaboard

Community Experience: Forge close bonds with fellow divers on board, fostering a sense of camaraderie.

Cons

Limited Amenities: Space constraints on liveaboards might limit facilities compared to resorts.

Community Experience: Liveaboards forge a close-knit community of divers and individuals, which may not be conducive to everyone’s character, particularly for people who enjoy some time alone to charge the batteries, or those not keen on negotiating group dynamics in a somewhat confined environment.

Shore based

solo scuba diving solo scuba diving

Pros

Comfort and Amenities: Resorts offer a comfortable stay with various amenities, including spas, swimming pools and restaurants.

Flexibility: Choose daily dives or explore at your pace, enjoying the freedom to create a personalized itinerary.

Onshore Exploration: Besides diving, resorts often provide opportunities to explore local culture and attractions.

Cons

Fixed Locations: While convenient, resorts limit you to specific dive sites accessible from shore.

Time Constraints: Day trips or tight schedules may impose time restrictions on your underwater adventures.

Flexibility: Unless you are certified as a solo diver then you have to dive with a buddy or with a private guide, which could be a costly option.

Considerations

Personal Preferences: Evaluate your preferences for accommodation, community engagement, and the overall pace of your dive experience.

Destination Exploration: Assess whether you seek the thrill of exploring multiple dive destinations on a liveaboard or prefer the convenience of a single resort location.

Choosing between liveaboard trips and dive resorts hinges on your desired balance of adventure, comfort, and community. Whether you opt for the dynamic exploration of liveaboards or the leisurely pace of resorts, each option promises a unique and unforgettable underwater journey.

solo scuba diving

Dive Destination – Research and Planning

Conducting thorough research on dive destinations is crucial. Understand its culture, local customs, and any travel advisories. Always check government advice, BUT also consider joining Facebook or similar groups and get some real-world advice from like-minded divers.

It’s essential to opt for reputable dive operators with a strong safety record. Sea to Sky, a trusted name in the industry, places a high priority on guest safety, offering comprehensive services, advice, and recommendations.

Ensure you are aware of any health risks or vaccinations required for your destination. Carry a basic first aid kit, if weight allows and any necessary medications. We would advise not to take any over the counter medications aboard, as most are readily available and in a lot of cases cheaper. If you are prescribed medications, please ensure that your country of entry allows your medication, and in all cases please take a doctor’s letter/prescription.

Solo divers should be mindful of diving in secluded or challenging dive locations.  Opting for familiar, well-monitored locations where assistance is readily available if needed. Sea to Sky takes a personalized approach, considering guests’ experience and certification levels to suggest optimal dive locations within their limits.

Being cautious about equipment is paramount for solo divers. Rigorous gear checks to ensure everything is in optimal condition are essential. For those renting equipment, Sea to Sky ensures that the dive centre or liveaboard operator’s gear is regularly serviced and up to date. Please self-check all equipment, we are happy to advise on what to and how to check any equipment.

Safety and Security

Invest in comprehensive travel insurance and Dive Insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and potential diving-related incidents. Keep a digital and physical copy of your insurance details. Secure important documents like your passport, travel insurance, and diving certifications in a waterproof pouch. Consider making digital copies that you can access online.  Share your itinerary and emergency contact information with a trusted friend or family member. Keep them informed about your whereabouts and any changes to your plans. We personally use Nord Locker to store all relevant information, including copies of passport, accessible via the cloud (No affiliation, it’s just what we use).

solo scuba diving

Financial Preparedness

Inform your bank about your travel dates to avoid any issues with your credit/debit cards. Carry a mix of local currency and cards. We can advise country by country what cash to take, as in some destinations Euros or Dollars are the better option.  Be cautious when using ATMs and choose secure locations (inside banks for example). Keep a small amount of emergency cash separate from your main funds. This can be invaluable in situations where card payments may not be accepted.

Communication and Connectivity

Consider getting a local SIM card to stay connected. Check the network coverage in your destination and inform your loved ones about your contact number. We also use an ESim called Airolo (Again no affiliation) but some of the charges can be quite high especially in Egypt, but for peace of mind it’s great.  Carry a portable charger for your electronic devices, including your phone and any underwater cameras. Also check with the country you are travelling to ascertain what plug is compatible.

solo scuba diving

Cultural Sensitivity

Familiarise yourself with the local culture and customs to show respect. This includes appropriate clothing, gestures, and behaviour, both on land and underwater.

What sets Sea to Sky apart is the personal relationships developed with its suppliers and its commitment to providing 24-hour telephone contact for guests, offering reassurance and assistance around the clock. Solo travellers can dive with confidence, knowing that expert guidance and support are just a call away.

In essence, while solo scuba diving opens doors to incredible underwater experiences, travellers must exercise caution, conduct diligent research, choose reputable operators, and prioritise safety.

For any information or assistance you require please feel free to contact the team at hello@myseatosky.co.uk.

Join Sea to Sky and embark on new diving adventures! Visit www.myseatosky.co.uk for more information.

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The BiG Scuba Podcast Episode 172: Dr. Joseph Dituri

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Joseph Dituri

Gemma and Ian chat to Dr. Joseph Dituri. Dr. Jospeh Dituri lived undersea for 100 Days in a mission combining education, ocean conservation research, and the study of the physiological and psychological effects of compression on the human body.  

Dituri enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1985. He served continuously on active service upon various ships and shore stations where he was involved in every aspect of diving and special operations work from saturation diving and deep submergence to submersible design and clearance diving. Now that he is retired from 28 years of active service to the United States, he is the president of the International Board of Undersea Medicine. He also volunteers his time as the CEO of the Association for Marine Exploration. He is an invited speaker on motivational, sea and space related topics.

Fuelled by his passion for exploration, discovery, adventure, and making the greatest possible positive contribution to the world, he is fighting for change in a big way and with great enthusiasm.

You can listen to Episode 172 of the BiG Scuba Podcast here.

www.drdeepsea.com

We hope you have enjoyed this episode of The BiG Scuba Podcast.  Please give us ★★★★★, leave a review, and tell your friends about us as each share and like makes a difference.   Contact Gemma and Ian with your messages, ideas and feedback via The BiG Scuba Bat Phone    +44 7810 005924   or use our social media platforms.   To keep up to date with the latest news, follow us:

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Visit   https://www.patreon.com/thebigscubapodcast and subscribe – Super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.

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