Time for Change

Corna has knocked many industries for six, not least scuba diving. We know here and overseas the dive industry is struggling, many dive centres have closed never to reopen. We need to be sensitive to these are not just statistics. These are real family people who have possibly lost the business, income, credit rating, savings and self esteem. Making a living in the dive industry is not easy at the best of times. So the market has just got much smaller. PADI for one have laid off many of their employees. Other suppliers, resorts and centres have either cut or rationalsised staff.

Despite all of this shrinkage, we still have a lot of agencies trying to retain or scoop from an ever increasingly smaller pond. Surely, now is the time to get all the agencie together and start thinking of strategies for the future growth of scuba diving. Continually putting up training materials either erodes margins making dive centres even less proftiable or creates switchers (switcher is going to another agency that has better priced materials). At the end of the day regardless which agency is involved, we produce divers. You can fiddle around with the odd skill, the odd depth the odd standard, but, they are divers. Agencies do not produce divers, dive centes do. Agencies ought to be looking at how to arrest training material costs to enable those centes that are left, to survive.

So what of the independent diving instructor? Here in the UK, what has it meant to them? Well more or less nothing. They have no premises. They have no fixed costs. No training, no problem. Agencies need to start focusing on real bricks and mortar dive centre. Ditto with suppliers and retail. Simply Scuba is a good example.

For someone to under take their open water (regardless of agency), there is a ceiling on price. We would all love for clients to be happy paying £1,000 per course, but that is not reality. Therefore dive centres tend to try and hold the price, but, with ever increasing costs of training materials, van maintenance, compressor maintenance, insurances, team costs, dive site entry fees, staff costs, pool hire fees, etc, it cannot go on forever.

Scuba is a discretionary spend. In the UK, very few instructors are paid full time, it is more of a small bear hobby. You certainly are not going to be paying your mortgage scuba diving.

Will there ever be a time when agencies start thinking long term, start thinking for the benefit of the diver and the industries future? Divecrew are involved in numerous agencies. No one has the complete fix. We cherry pick great techniques and ideas from each. Divecrew is fortunate in that it is owned and run by two ex-corporate business people. Financially strong and with great input on scuba teaching (experienced scuba pros) and business strategies.

Lets hope the dive centres that are left continue to survive. Once this ghastly virus leaves us, we hope those in the industry prosper and get back to normality.

iPhone search

Divecrew is always up for a challenge. Todays challenge find a lost iphone in a lake! Maximum depth of the search area was 2.2 metres. Silt bottom with a weed layer. Visibility was half a metre! Needed a torch despite brilliant sunshine. Lady paddleboarding dropped the phone, fortuately in a water tight clear case. Used a search pattern and eventually found the iphone. One happy lady as it was still working fine.

Divecrew have had some strange challenges. Another iphone at Dorney Lake – Found. Fouled prop on the river Thames – cleared. Checking entry and exit points for open water simming at various locations in Berkshire and London. Found a rolex. Checking out the bottom of a 20 metre well. Repairing plumbing in a large koi carp pond.

If you have a challenge and you would like Divecrew to attend. Call the A Team. 01344 771113

BSAC Fast Track Centre

We may have been locked down but Divecrew have not stopped innovating. The country’s first commercial BSAC Fast Track Centre is Divecrew. Working closely with BSAC, you can complete you Ocean Diver with Divecrew and return to the BSAC fold trained to dive. Divecrew are used to delivering courses through paid instructors. A typical open water student takes three weekends to complete. This includes theory, confined water and open water. So cutting the time does this mean cutting the quality. No. In short we operate small groups of student divers. We operate with senior instructors. Divecrew is the UK’s only Gold Star IDC Centre. Quality is our ethos our mantle our reputation. We do not take it lightly.

To find out more contact Divecrew working in partnership with BSAC.

A Small Business and Corona Virus

So how has the lock down been affecting Divecrew.?

I guess the response to that is pretty much like every other small business.
This is financially the toughest time our business has had in the 7 years we have owned it. In January and February we had a fantastic start to the year, our busiest so far and then Kapow.!! Its like the lights went out. Divecrew doors closed.

After about 24 hours of feeling sorry for ourselves, we decided to take some positive action. We had loads of projects that we had wanted to achieve, but time has always been tricky- so now was the time- no more excuses.
Divecrew revamp, has included:-

Painting some of the shop
Taking up the old carpet that was in a third of the shop and cleaning and staining the floor to match
Painting the classroom, and fixing the floor and door
Put a new roof on the classroom to stop the water dribbling in
Staining all the exterior woodwork
That was just for starters- we are also hoping to paint the container and de rust it, but waiting for the special paint to arrive, and give the outside of the building a lick of paint

Having listened to a few webinars we decided to get more active on our Facebook site – as I am sure many of you have seen.
In times of crisis like this it is important to make sure people still know you are there and ready to open your doors. We want to be ready and waiting and primed for opening- But alas, we are still not sure when that will happen yet and if we can resume training but its important to remain positive, and comment that “If ever there was a time to support your local, small independent businesses, it is NOW and when the doors open again.

I fear some businesses will not make it, so spread the positive news about Divecrew. We are hear and we will come out better and stronger.

Thank you

Part 3: Sarah Richard

Part 2: Cat Cushenan

Part 1: Christine Grosart

Time for change

Why a Dive Master?

Why become a Dive Master? Well it is the first level of being a professional. But it is not just a badge. At Divecrew you will be trained not to Dive Master levels but actually instructor standards. Why? Dive Masters key role is the safety diver for the instructor. As a Master Instructor with thousands of dives, if I need a Dive Master to get me out of trouble underwater, I am in serious trouble. YOU WANT THE BEST. My experience of fast track Dive Masters is one of the majority actually not being that good. Certainly not to work at Divecrew.

The Divecrew Dive Master programme is an internship. You work with real students. No role play. No instructors acting like students. Why? Because some students do things one would never dream of doing.

The Dive Master programme is definitely not a give me. Divecrew expects the highest standards of knowledge, diving skills and customer care. Being a TEAM player is very important. Divecrew supports its trainee Dive Masters all the way. First we assign a senior instructor as a mentor. We provide lots of different resources and information to exceed the knowledge required for a Dive Master. We provide a free Equipment Speciality Course. Why? Because Dive Masters need the skills and knowledge to repair kit off site and provide clients with the very best advice on equipment. Divecrew provides free Master Classes, run by Master Instructors. These classes including confined water, open water and theory. Control, logistics, adaptive teaching, skills and organisation. Divecrew wants its Dive Masters to be the best.

So does it work? YES IT DOES. Those Dive Masters that go on to be instructors find the transition really easy as they have already been expected to be of instructor standard. Our instructor candidates always score very high on PADI Instructor Examinations.

Unlike some dive centres in the UK, we pay our Dive Masters for the courses they work on. We offer a kit discount scheme for active Dive Masters. We pay site entry fees and overnight accommodation for some courses. We have other opportunities such as safety diving where the person is paid. We provide numerous other benefits too. You are never going to be rich, but being a valuable and respected TEAM member, with some income and great fun, you ought to make 2020 your year to turn professional.

Contact Divecrew to arrange a no obligation meeting and learn about being the best. 01344 771113

 

Gas Guzzler Course

Are you bit of an air hog? Do you end others dives early? Getting your self stressed? Well this a course for you. Divecrew have mustered years of experience into helping divers with bit of an air problem. 14th March 2020, our Master Instructor is applying all his knowledge and skills to help divers. The […]