NEW YORK, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- To aid in providing vacationers and water sports enthusiasts with accurate and current first-hand information of water conditions and proximity of oil emanating from the recent spill, and to counter misconceptions that the entire Gulf coast is contaminated and closed to water-sports activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling, the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, DEMA, recently launched a new website- www.gulfstatediving.com. The site is updated with "real-time" posts by dive stores, dive boat operations and other dive industry related businesses in the Gulf State region to demonstrate that divers are still active and dive sites remain open and free from oil.
"The entire recreational diving industry has been impacted by this environmental tragedy – by the actual damage to sensitive wetlands and aquatic resources, and also by the perception that all recreational diving and fishing has been halted due to the spill. This perception is far from the reality. A great majority of Florida Gulf Coastal waters are clear, clean and oil free and most of the area in the Gulf region is 'open for business' for scuba diving, snorkeling and other water-sports activities," stated Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA.
The website allows dive related businesses to post links to videos, store websites, the latest dive site information and more. DEMA is also providing scuba divers and water sports enthusiasts with an outlet to share accurate and current news of the water conditions they experienced with its recently launched Gulf State Diving Facebook page. The inaugural link on the site is to video taken on June 13 during a calm and clear underwater dive to the aircraft carrier Oriskany, the world's largest artificial reef, located 22NM off the Pensacola, Florida coastline. "The weather was beautiful, the seas flat calm, the visibility was clear at depths greater than was 80feet, the fish were abundant, and there was no oil to be found! I have made this particular dive more than 100 times and this one ranked in the top three!" stated certified scuba diver Michael Day of Pensacola, provider of the video.
"Scuba diving and snorkeling in Florida account for 8.8 million visitor-days annually and more than 4,200 chartered dive trips are taken to the Oriskany. Dive-related expenditures drive an economic impact of $3.6 million in local output, hundreds of jobs and $1.4 million in local income. The negative economic impact to local dive businesses and the $60 billion Florida tourism industry overall can be devastating if the negative perception continues and in turn, the trend of cancellations continues to increase. The accurate and real-time information provided on the Gulf State Diving website should help put the image of actual conditions back into proper perspective," stated Ingram.
DEMA, the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, is an international organization dedicated to the promotion and growth of the recreational scuba diving and snorkeling industry. With more than 1,600 members, this non-profit, global organization promotes scuba diving through many initiatives including consumer awareness programs, media campaigns and sponsorship of the DEMA Show, a trade event open only to companies doing business in the scuba diving, action water sports and adventure/dive travel industries. For more information on DEMA, call 858-616-6408, visit www.dema.org or www.beadiver.com
SOURCE Diving Equipment and Marketing Association