Follow Us:

The Dive Industry and the Coronavirus Impact

Coronavirus around boy with mask

The Dive Industry and the Coronavirus Impact

The COVID-19 coronavirus has put the entire world in a situation unlike anything before in the last 50 years.

If you haven’t heard all there is to it on the news, on social media or when talking to your friends you must have been living at the bottom of the sea. Even there, however, it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Fishing rates have dropped immensely, pollution has dropped significantly and even the Red Sea reefs in Egypt are getting some time to recover.

In this article, I am giving you my thoughts and feelings about the dive industry and coronavirus in its current state.

This is not a ramble or issuing of conspiracy theories but a rundown of my perceived impact of the current corona situation on the diving industry.

Please note the time of writing and that many things may have changed in the meantime.

The impact of Corona on local dive businesses

The travel and sports industry are among those hit hardest by the currently imposed lockdowns.

Although many countries have started lifting them in recent weeks, it will be a long time for recovery. Here in Germany, we are just beginning to be able to meet in public places again in groups or open businesses to the public.

I know for a fact that many businesses in our surroundings struggle right now. Even with government stimulus payments, most of them have not had any income in the past weeks and months. A few online classes here and there and maybe a few more vouchers, but that is pretty much it.

The South of Germany does offer some decent diving, however, other places aren’t so fortunate. They rely on people who get their certifications at home before traveling abroad.

With no traveling going on for the foreseeable future, they have all but lost their mainstream of income.

Teaching scuba diving post corona

Diving is allowed again, however, the question remains when we will be able to go back diving as we used to.

When teaching courses, for example, we need to get close to our students. Not only for safety reasons but also, because we need to teach them skills and more.

The best example is the sharing of your octopus or primary regulator drill. Of course, we can pretend or simulate it, but that is never gonna be good enough to make students understand the importance of such skills.

Scuba diver checking pressure underwater
Teaching scuba underwater will not be the same after the pandemic.

Online learning is growing and that is a good thing, however, scuba diving is something that can only be really learned when doing it. Sure, if you are already certified, expanding your knowledge is easy online.

However, eventually, a beginner can only learn so much without doing it himself or herself.

The dive industry will have to come up with new solutions and adapt to the post corona situation by adapting their course curriculum, offering other types of training, and making sure to take the safety and health concerns of their customers seriously.

DAN has issued an article recently about how to properly disinfect dive gear for safe usage here.

Dive travel and excursions

Diving is a team activity. We don’t only go diving to look at pretty fish but for many other reasons, as well. Meeting friends, spending time, or achieving goals together.

When I go out with my dive buddies, apart from teaching classes and diving with clients, we are not purely focused on the diving itself but everything that goes with it.

Diving after corona will be limited for at least a few more months. Local clubs and dive communities will benefit from this, however, the travel industry will suffer even more.

Not only have they had to cancel thousands of bookings, but many of their customers might be in financially uncertain situations themselves. Therefore, the chance of getting bookings again is even smaller.

Opportunities

When there is distress, there is opportunity. That is the case even during the coronavirus epidemic. While many businesses will fail, others can make something new.

The dive industry has long been in need of a major change to battle dropping student numbers and generally lower interest in the sport.

Young dive professionals can seize this opportunity by coming up with interesting new concepts and ideas that can replace what was before. Of course, I am by no means suggesting that it is good that other business owners struggle.

However, it does force everyone to rethink their strategy and come up with new ways of earning money with scuba diving.

Selling scuba gear after Corona

Equipment manufacturers have long been trying to beat each other with lower prices, lower margins, and cutting out the small stores for their favorite large retailers.

It is time to rethink this strategy and create an environment based more on pluralism and giving everyone a fair chance and acceptable margins.

Backplate wing BCD at shop.

The first thing many manufacturers need to reconsider is their “storefront policy” which forces everyone who wants to sell their products to have a brick and mortar store. Online shopping is not the future, it is the here and now.

And despite many people repeating the mantra of “support local retail” it is more than unlikely that it will ever again reach the levels of online purchases.

Minimum purchases are of course a sensible thing for many manufacturers.

However, in times like these many companies need to reconsider the hurdles they set for newcomers to enter the industry.

Conclusion

This article came to my mind rather spontaneously when redesigning the Social Diving platform during the coronavirus outbreak.

It is not a fixed entity but rather a collection of thoughts and ideas that I have collected during the past two months. In time, I will add to it.

Feel free to leave your comments here or on social media and discuss with me!

Join the email list to get regular diving tips, tricks, insights, and news straight to your inbox!

Always dive with friends and happy bubbles. 😃

Cheers

Julius

Related Posts