April 20, 2020 - Perpignan, France
Here at Scubalife HD we have been working hard to change our scuba diving business practices in order to face the new challenges posed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. To keep you updated we have decided to launch a newsletter providing all the latest updates in the dive industry as and when we received them.
What’s going to change in the business?
Firstly, from the news gathered globally via DAN, PADI, SSI, RAID, other dive federations according to country (such as the French Federation where we are), the scuba industry, in terms of in-water activities is well and truly closed. Sad news for dive-centres, tour operators, equipment providers, live-aboard organisers, instructors and scuba divers alike. Changes are bound to happen; many small outfits are struggling to keep their businesses afloat with little or no revenue and even some of the larger players are starting to feel the crunch with large overheads. One thing for sure, scuba instructors, like ourselves are at the end of that chain, and as such are wondering how the dive industry is going to look after this nightmare is over? How many employers will have survived, and how do they envisage paying instructors with no revenue coming in?
Support dive businesses
If you are a scuba diver there is a way you can help. If you had plans to take a scuba dive course during your next dive trip, still do! Contact your local dive shop, or your dive instructor (such as us at Scubalife HD) and find out how you can continue, or start, your dive education from the comfort of your own home with one of the many eLearning packages available: Open Water diver to Rescue, or if you are planning to go professional there is also a learning package suitable for you.
And to you, the dive instructors, you can do something too! You can help your future dive centre by staying active in the industry, in your own home just as we are doing. Get your creative juices flowing and think of ways in which you can keep potential customers engaged: sharing great dive videos, pictures, news and you too can promote the great eLearning tools that your dive association has to offer: the PADI eLearning discount of 25% on all courses during this difficult period.
Dive travel post-confinement?
None of us know when we will be able to travel again, when we will be able to dive again. Many of you had dive trips organised; some of you have cancelled, some have chosen to put their trips on hold until the confinement is lifted. PADI travel have worked hard to get operators to offer flexible cancellation terms. Our friends over at Diving Specials have worked tirelessly to help their clients reschedule. Everybody is doing their bit to show solidarity in these trying times. Our advice to you is simple: get in contact with your country’s travel advisor before booking any overseas trips.
Changes to dive gear hygiene rules?
As of yet there has been no official notice concerning hygiene practices & diving although there is guidance provide by DAN. Eventually we imagine there will be a country by country rollout; at least there will be here in France. Our advice is simple and common sense: personal dive equipment needs to be disinfected properly & individually of other equipment. One tip for doing this is by using a 10% bleach solution. We will inform you of other measures as we have more visibility.
Hiring scuba dive equipment vs buying personal equipment?
This is a subject that we at Scubalife HD have been speaking about for a long time. DAN have demanded dive centres take better care of disinfecting shared gear which suggests it wasn’t done properly before. It goes without saying that scuba equipment is expensive. However, reflect for a moment if you will. When people go skiing, do they hire the salopettes or just the boots, skis and poles? Do they wear a mask that a thousand people have worn before them? Do they hire the socks which protect their feet inside the boots from potential fungal infection … I could continue but you get the picture. Skiing too is an expensive activity, but once you know you like it you tend to invest in the minimum at least.
As dive instructors we often see divers with several hundreds of dives under their belts, and with accomplished dive levels, that still hire all their equipment from regulators to wetsuits! We know only too well, from the years of experience of lugging around our personal equipment, that it can be cumbersome and expensive to travel with, but in light of recent events please reconsider. Hopefully airlines & travel operators will make it easier on the pocket!
That leads to the question of when to buy your own dive gear? Quite simply, I bought mine as soon as I was doing my Open Water Diver certification. Not wanting to be crude but I didn’t fancy putting on a wetsuit after the previous diver had taken a long pee inside!
From the point of view of the dive centres, a great rule of thumb - we will come to other dive equipment in a future newsletter - is to have hire wetsuits for Discover Scuba Dives & entry level divers. With correct & well thought out planning suits can be thoroughly disinfected and aired allowing only one use of one suit per day. And for the divers themselves, please buy your own suits & if you do hire consider taking a pee before diving! There are some great inexpensive brands out there and let’s face it, if we set up a great recycle plan for the future, even if you don’t continue diving in the long-term at least you know you are safe!
Please subscribe to our blog “The Secret Life of a Cuttlefish” and contact us Scubalife HD should you have any scuba diving related questions.
We will end here by wishing you all well! Stay safe, stay home, take care of each other - until we dive again!