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How to Engage Younger People in Diving?

Discussion in 'Scuba Industry News' started by KathyV, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    I'd think that setting up a van ride would help a lot too.
  2. KenGordon

    KenGordon Rebreather Pilot

    Wraysbury, the most useful inland dive site close to London, has this. It is £50 for one dive with a buddy supplied and including complete kit rental. I am not sure how popular it is, I don’t know anyone who has done it. I guess people training with one of the random dive schools who use the site might decide it is worth while. Mostly though their plan is to go somewhere warm and a you later have to explain that the local diving is an entirely different thing to a quarry or lake.
  3. Nemrod

    Nemrod Solo Diver

    If that was meant for me, adjusted for inflation, approximately $30,000 for myself and similar for my wife. Good thing grad school, I was a TA and so was my wife so that defrayed some of the cost as did athletic scholarship (swimmer) for me in the first years of undergrad. My parents carried a good bit of it but I also worked even though a full time student.

    Money is not an excuse, it is more the choices of where the disposable income is spent than not having any. How much do those tattoos cost that I see plastered from head to toe? That I see so ubiquitous on the under 30/40 age group. It is true that the collapse of 2008 dented everyone's funds but this trend well predates 2008.

  4. DBPacific

    DBPacific Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Oregon, USA
    For those who see diving as only an option during expensive warm water getaways (if they don't have any local diving available or never hear of opportunities), yeah you bet that that money is going to be spent in other ways. The tattoos my friends have cost ~$100-150. They all saved for months as necessary expenses (utilities, rent, tuition) came up. How far would $150 get a new diver? Several of my friends are interested in diving except for the fact that after all the necessary expenses, they have about $20 or less left. You want them to take out a loan and be paying it off for decades?

    For the love of all that is holy, get off of this 'money is not an excuse' horse. Yeah, some young people have the money and aren't spending it where you want them to spend it. Many don't. Instead of attacking someone's tattoos and choices, answer the thread and ask yourself why diving isn't seen as a valuable pastime for those who do have money.
  5. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    Priorities have changed and tastes change. Diving just isn’t something the younger generation is into like their predecessors. Just like hot rods, car shows, cruising, going to drag races, etc. I can think of a lot of things that were popular at one time that no longer are. As generations die out so do their hobbies. What about expensive lake boats and wake boarding? How long is that supposed to last? Those people who were right in the middle of it 15-20 years ago are now in their 40’s and 50’s. Who can afford to take their places? We can’t expect future generations to be as enamored with OUR sports as we were.
    The new generation has found their own stuff to do and it’s not diving.
    Diving won’t completely ever die out, but it will be hard pressed to ever see the manic popularity it enjoyed from the 70’s through the 90’s.
    The dive industry must also adjust it’s expectations and realize that it can’t continue to prop up something that was so artificially pumped up to start with and expect that the apex of popularity was normal, it was not.
    It’s my opinion that we are actually getting down to the real percentage of what a real diving population actually is. There are not that many people who really like to be underwater, regardless what PADI says.
    Graeme Fraser likes this.
  6. Rickk

    Rickk Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines
    I won't say my age, just that I have 46 years experience being 18.

    When my generation grew up we had limited choices, we only got 2 TV channels reliability and another one about half the time, we watched when it was broadcast and if we missed it we missed it. Today a couple hundred channels, DVRs to time shift and you can always watch Netflix, YouTube any time. Much more choice.

    Kids in my generation were much more free range. I was told get out in the morning, don't come back until lunch unless you are bleeding but have fun. (Later it was unless you cannot stop the bleeding yourself.) Today mothers are charged with child neglect if their kids are in the yard and they are not right there with them.

    We had to make a lot of our own fun. This lead to organizations like the Boy Scouts being massively popular. Just about every kid in my cohort was in either Scouts or Guides ( Girl Scouts for you Americans). As a Scout my patrol would actually plan and execute our own camping, we would decide and make the plans and get permission and go. Permission was as easy as just telling our Scouter and parents we were going and we were never turned down. Three day backpack hikes where we would not see an adult were our norms in the summers.

    Today Scouting is almost non existent. 25 years ago I was a Scout leader and the rules in place for even a simple outing are overbearing, multiple written permission forms, rules about what age can go how far from civilization, adult to youth ratios to be maintained, cell phones mandatory. etc.

    We boomers have created a culture where there is a threat being every shrub and tree and tried to keep the kids safe, result they were at home on a screen of some description and never learned the joys of facing and defeating a hardship.

    Younger people face a gig economy, life is not a career where they put the effort into it and over the long run have a satisfying comfortable and secure life. They have to float from gig to gig, never sure if a bad review and reference will stop them from getting the next gig. They tend to be more afraid to commit to anything simply because the world does not commit to you. Much easier to commit to a career if you know in the long run it will pay off.

    They want to sample more of the variety out there. Where we wanted to become divers, they want to do diving. We identify as divers, work towards being better divers, they are just as happy going parasailing, sitting on the beach, taking the guided excursions on a vacation as they are going diving.

    Diving has to compete as just one of a wide variety of activities that are available to the younger generation.

    We see young people who dive after the resort course in the pool and naturally they do it badly, they are not trained , buoyancy control is awful, and they get discouraged about it pretty quickly. I have also seen older divers make disparaging remarks to new younger divers about kicking up silt, ending the dive early due to low air etc.

    It is no wonder that faced with the resentment of older divers, many other options available to them for entertainment, low financial stability because of the gig economy, and a culture of low commitments, that they do not want to fully commit to an activity like diving.

    As divers we can encourage the younger generation to partake in the diving, Don't rag on them for kicking up silt, tell them politely that they might want to try a frog kick because it helps not only with visibility but is less effort and uses less air so it is a bonus all around. Then demonstrate it for them spend a few minutes on the next dive helping them learn it and just perhaps they will become not only better divers but will enjoy the sport more and return to diving more. Don't yell at them for dragging their console in the mud, show them how to tuck it in and become more streamlined.

    Dive shops need to adopt a better, more friendly to new divers, business model. When I took up diving I asked about the difference between the $1,200 complete gear set up and the $2,000. I was told $800 and the dive shop owner laughed and went back to talking with his buddies about last weeks dive. I simply said oh, my budget was $3,000 and walked out. ( That dive shop is now closed.) I still see that sort of attitude in some dive shops.

    Take the time to explain, in a positive way anything that they ask about diving. Don't laugh about them when they say that they are scared of sharks, tell them that sharks are rare in most places and generally you have to go out of your way to find one. Even then you only find sharks that pose no threat to humans.

    Tell them about the wonder that you have seen. My favourite dive story is about my first night dive. My buddy and I stayed on the bottom until the other buddy pair got on the boat. They were back lighted by a full moon and the luminescent plankton gave the illusion that they were swimming in the milky way.
  7. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    Who here is yelling at younger people for kicking up sand or dragging consoles?

    I just try to stay away from them (old or young) and try to model for them, if they notice. Then if they engage me in conversation and the chance arises, then I'll share. Young people don't always want to hear from us.
    Bob DBF likes this.
  8. Rickk

    Rickk Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines
    No one here as this seams to generally be a pretty supportive group, but I have seen it on dive boats.
  9. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    Well, in that case, who is yelling about it on dive boats? smh
  10. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    If people choose to live in a place where they don’t need a car or choose to be car free, then that’s their responsibility to get where they want to dive. I have no patience for the sob story. If diving is a priority, they’ll find a way to get there. If it’s not, then they’ll use any excuse.

    I’ve had experience locally from multiple young people expecting me to drive miles out of my way to pick them up and drive them home with no outlay on their part at all. They expected a ride to be provided to them for free. I had an entire thread on this. Screw that.

    This is a good use of social media - find someone who lives near you and offer cash and maybe lunch/post dive beers, etc., in exchange for the ride.

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