The Business of Recreational Diving

Key Elements of the Business

There are three key elements in the business of recreational diving. These elements relate to the specific needs of every dive customer. It is these elements that potential customers will seek, and expect, in establishing a long term relationship with a dive center and its staff.

As any experienced business person will readily acknowledge, it is usually easier to retain an existing customer than it is to recruit a new one; and the best way to retain an existing customer is to appropriately fulfill his or her needs.

Naturally, the importance a customer places upon each of the key elements may vary from one individual to another, it might vary over time for the same individual, and it also can vary a bit by geographic location and circumstances. Nevertheless, each of these elements is critically important in the success of a dive business.

The first key element is educational opportunities. Unlike some other types of adventure sports, recreational diving mandates appropriate entry-level training before potential participants can go out and actually dive on their own. Naturally, when the first training experience is viewed as interesting, enjoyable, exciting, and professionally presented, the average participant will be more inclined to take advantage of another training opportunity. At the same time, in the case of both entry-level and continuing education programs, it’s important that the educational opportunities be readily accessible to the customer, in terms of both location and schedule. Finally, it’s important that the educational opportunities appropriately offer perceived value, in that each program in some way will help the participant become a more comfortable, confident, and capable diver.

DIVING OPPSThe second key element is diving opportunities. After a customer has invested time and money in an educational program, he or she naturally will be anxious to apply the new-found knowledge and skills. Depending upon the geographic area, this may include local diving, dive charters, and group travel programs to exotic dive destinations. Rather than venturing out on their own, and rather than having to go through the hassle of making their own arrangements, most people will prefer to dive with individuals they already know and take advantage of opportunities where someone else already has attended to the details.

Equipment SalesThe third key element is equipment. Without a doubt, diving is an equipment intensive sport, and divers need someone to provide them with that equipment. This element of the business includes retail sales and rental of those major components like buoyancy compensator devices and regulators. It also includes retail sales for all the other accessories and assorted gadgets that make the diver more efficient and the experience more enjoyable. It further includes essential services like air fills for a diver’s cylinders, nitrox gas blending, and of course routine equipment maintenance and repairs.

The Business of Recreational Diving

Retail Business

Yes, Recreational Diving is a Business!

Prior to enrolling in this leadership course, the reader likely will have viewed recreational diving solely from the perspective of a participant, and probably considered it to be little more than a personal hobby-like pastime.

In making the transition from diver to dive leader, it is essential for the dive leader to fully recognize that in fact recreational diving also is a business. Like any other business, recreational diving delivers a combination of products and services for a profit. Accordingly, it is very much a business environment in which the dive leader will function.

The Recreational Dive Leader: Part 3

Topics Covered in this Chapter:

  • The Business of Recreational Diving
    •  Yes, Recreational Diving is a Business!
    •  Key Elements of the Business
    •  Interrelationship of Key Elements
    •  Role of the DM and AI in the Business of Diving
    •  Positive Selling
  •  Professionalism
    •  Attributes of a Professional
    •  SDI and TDI Standards and Procedures Manuals
    •  SDI and TDI Code of Ethics and Conduct
    •  Positive Attitude
    •  Role Model Behavior
    •  Compensation
  •  Review Questions

Boyle’s Law

Pressure and Volume Calculations (cont.)

As noted during the earlier discussion, a diver’s rate of air consumption directly corresponds to pressure-related changes in gas volume. These same formulas may be applied with time substituted for volume. If a diver knows the amount of time that a certain supply of gas will last at a given depth, he can readily calculate the time at a new depth with the following formula:

Metric and Imperial:

minutes 2 = [ P1 x minutes1 ] / P2

Example: If a supply of gas lasts for 60 minutes at 2 bar or 2 atm, how long will the same supply last at 5 bar or 5 atm?
Answer: 24 minutes: [2 x 60] / 5 = 24 min

Boyle’s Law

Pressure and Volume Calculations (cont.)

Similarly, if a diver knows the amount of time that a supply of gas will last at a given depth, and he wants to determine the depth at which it will last for some specific period of time, the above formula may be appropriately transposed as follows:

Metric and Imperial:

P2 = [ P1 x minutes1 ] / minutes2

Example: If a supply of gas lasts for 17 minutes at 5 bar or 5 atm, at what pressure will it will last for 30 minutes?
Answer: 2.8 bar or 2.8 atm: [5 x 17] / 30 = 2.8 bar or atm

Boyle’s Law

Pressure and Volume Calculations (cont.)

To determine the relative change in ambient pressure, such as that occurring between two different depths, the following formula may be employed:

Metric and Imperial:

relative change = P2 / P1

Example: What is the relative change in ambient pressure when an object is taken from a starting pressure of 2.5 bar or 2.5 atm to a new pressure of 3.5 bar or 3.5 atm?
Answer: 1.4 times that of the starting pressure: 3.5 / 2.5 = 1.4x
Example:What is the relative change in ambient pressure when an object is taken from a starting pressure of 4.8 bar or 4.8 atm to a new pressure of 2.2 bar or 2.2 atm?
Answer: 0.46 times that of the starting pressure: 2.2 / 4.8 = 0.46x

Identifying changes in gas density actually requires no further calculation, as this change will be exactly the same as any relative change in ambient pressure; that is, if the pressure is doubled, then the density also will be doubled.

Principles of Pressure

Freshwater versus Seawater

The following abbreviations appear within the formulas in this section:

  • “P” for pressure
  • “D” for Depth
  • “msw” for meters of seawater
  • “mfw” for meters of freshwater
  • “fsw” for feet of seawater
  • “ffw” for feet of freshwater

Seawater contains salt; thus a given volume of seawater weighs more than an equivalent volume of freshwater. A liter of seawater weighs 1.03 kilograms, while a liter of freshwater weighs 1.0 kilograms. A cubic foot of seawater weighs 64 pounds, while a cubic foot of freshwater weighs 62.4 pounds. Naturally, this difference in weight has a direct effect on pressure at a given depth. While 10 meters of depth in seawater exerts 1 bar of pressure, in fact in freshwater it is 10.3 meters of depth that exerts 1 bar of pressure. Similarly, while 33 feet of depth in seawater exerts 1 atm of pressure, in freshwater it is 34 feet of depth that exerts 1 atm of pressure.

Interestingly, when dealing with depth-to-pressure and pressure-to-depth calculations in a freshwater environment, and while relying only upon standard diving instruments to identify depth, no modification is required to the mathematical formulas detailed above in this section. Despite the fact that true freshwater depth might differ slightly from the depth displayed by a diver’s instruments, the actual water pressure will still be accurately displayed in terms of meters or feet of seawater. It is important to note, however, that when dealing with pressure-related calculations in a freshwater environment and while identifying the true freshwater depth in some manner other than via standard diving instruments, the above mathematical formulas will require some modification.

For depth-to-pressure calculations, the following formulas will apply to freshwater, but only when the true depth is known:

Metric (freshwater): P = [ D / 10.3 ] + 1 or P = [ D + 10.3 ] / 10.3

Imperial (freshwater): P = [ D / 34 ] + 1 or P = [ D + 34 ] / 34

Similarly, for pressure-to-depth calculations, the following formulas will apply to freshwater, but again only when the true depth is known:

Metric (freshwater): D = [ P – 1 ] x 10.3 or D = [ P x 10.3 ] – 10.3

Imperial (freshwater): D = [ P – 1 ] x 34 or D = [ P x 34 ] – 34

To calculate true depth in freshwater while relying upon standard diving instruments (which display water pressure in terms of meters or feet of seawater), the reader may simply multiply the instrument’s depth by a factor of 1.03, as depicted in the following formulas:

Metric:
mfw = msw x 1.03
Example: In freshwater, when the diver’s depth gauge displays a depth of 20 metres, what will be that diver’s true depth?
Answer: 20.6 meters: 20 x 1.03 = 20.6 m
Imperial:
ffw = fsw x 1.03
Example: In freshwater, when the diver’s depth gauge displays a depth of 60 feet, what will be that diver’s true depth?
Answer: 61.8 feet: 60 x 1.03 = 61.8 ft

When the true depth is known in freshwater, it may be converted to gauge pressure (meters or feet of seawater) simply by dividing the true depth by a factor of 1.03, as depicted in the following formulas:

Metric:
msw = mfw / 1.03
Example: When a diver is at a true depth of 20 meters in freshwater, what depth will be displayed by his depth gauge?
Answer: 19.4 meters (likely will be rounded off to 19 meters): 20 / 1.03 = 19.4 m
Imperial:
fsw = ffw / 1.03
Example: When a diver is at a true depth of 60 feet in freshwater, what depth will be displayed by his depth gauge?
Answer: 58.25 feet (likely will be rounded off to 58 feet): 60 / 1.03 = 58.25 ft

 

Principles of Pressure

Pressure-to-Depth Calculations

It also is a fairly straightforward process to convert ambient pressure to depth, again provided that the reader remembers to account for both the weight of the overhead atmosphere and the weight of the overhead water. As previously noted, 1 bar equals 10 meters of seawater, and 1 atm equals 33 feet of seawater. The appropriate mathematical formulas are depicted below:

Metric:
D = [ P – 1 ] x 10 or D = [ P x 10 ] – 10
Example: At what the depth in seawater is the ambient pressure 3.4 bar?
Answer: 24 meters: [ 3.4 – 1 ] x 10 = 24 m or ( [ 3.4 x 10 ] – 10 = 24 m
Imperial:
D = [ P – 1 ] x 33 or D = [ P x 33 ] – 33
Example: At what depth in seawater is the ambient pressure 3.4 atm?
Answer: 79.2 feet: [ 3.4 – 1 ] x 33 = 79.2 ft or [ 3.4 x 33 ] – 33 = 79.2 ft

sdi_stripe

Professionalism

SDI and TDI Standards and Procedures Manuals

SDI and TDI each publish a Standards and Procedures Manual in both paper and digital form; the same information also is available to members via the SDI-TDI website. Every professional should have his or her own current copy of the manual, for one or both agencies as appropriate, and should be familiar with its contents.

SDI_Inst. Man

Each manual includes general information regarding the manual itself, a brief history of the training agencies, the relationship between SDI/TDI and its members, a discussion of instructional methodology, the Code of Ethics and Conduct, general membership standards, and all appropriate forms. Each addresses the respective diver level and leadership level courses, including who may teach each course, student prerequisites, required equipment, required subject areas, and required student performance.

Maximum student-to-instructor ratios are specified for each course; of particular note, many of the SDI courses also allow for an increase in the ratios when a Divemaster or Assistant Instructor is added to the instructional staff.

As detailed in each Standards and Procedures Manual, dive leaders are professional members of SDI and/or TDI; to maintain active membership, dive leaders must remit annual dues, carry appropriate liability insurance where required, and adhere to SDI and TDI standards.

Professionalism

SDI and TDI Code of Ethics and Conduct

The following items apply to all SDI and TDI professionals:

  • The professional always maintains their equipment and never begins a dive with defective equipment.
  • The professional strives to maintain an attitude of professionalism and objectivity, and supports the concept of safety in recreational diving.
  • The professional will not encourage or recruit other individuals to dive recreationally if unqualified.
  • The professional will make every effort to pass on their knowledge to novice recreational divers and diving community if requested to do so, whether through formal instruction, answering questions or via appropriate publication in books, journal and magazines.
  • The professional strives to encourage and practice an awareness of conservation of the underwater environment at all times.

The professional, by virtue of his or her voluntary membership, recognizes a responsibility and obligation to promote SDI and TDI, and support the official decisions as adopted by SDI and TDI; in fulfilling this responsibility and obligation, SDI and TDI members shall:

  • Publicly support SDI and TDI as organizations.
  • Make every effort to bring about necessary changes in a professional manner by direct contact with those fellow SDI and TDI members who are in positions of authority and responsibility.
  • Every member has an obligation to report violations of SDI and/or TDI Standards and the Code of Ethics.
  • Every member should strive to set an example of professional behavior and ethical conduct in all activities including, public speaking, articles and books, and various forms of internet style discourse.
  • Unwarranted critical comment and deliberate inflammatory statements of diving peers is inappropriate and undesirable.

The following additional items apply to SDI professionals:

  • Sport diving is recognized as carrying a degree of risk and responsibility not normally associated with other recreational sports.
  • We believe an individual should not be qualified as a SDI diver unless those empowered to qualify the person would allow them to buddy or teach their loved ones recreational diving.

The following additional items apply to TDI professionals.

  • Technical diving is recognized as an advanced form of recreational diving and as such carries with it a degree of risk and responsibility not normally associated with sport diving.
  • We believe an individual should not be qualified as a TDI diver unless those empowered to qualify the person would allow them to buddy or teach their loved ones recreational diving.