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Report from DEMA 2003

What is DEMA?

DEMA - Diving Equipment and Manufacturing Association is the main industry organization for the diving industry. DEMA's mission is to help the industry grow and thrive.

Each year DEMA holds a meeting, really a huge trade show, where the industry gathers from all around the world.

Thousands of people come to buy, sell, find jobs, set up businesses, order equipment, and decide which trips their shops will offer to their divers.

About a thousand businesses display, from a small booth to a huge extravaganza.

The show is intended for industry people so many efforts are made to keep the public from attending however all PADI Dive Masters and higher can attend.

For perspective, this has been a very hard year in the dive industry, this was even reflected in the show theme "get your business out of the red and into the blue".


As a result, there was not a lot of innovation this year. It was easy to hear vendors and shop owners complain about the year.


Following are some of the highlights from this years show...

On the large side, Scubapro always has one of the largest and nicest booths.
Destinations come to attract dive shops to bring trips to visit there. Some of the larger locations gather their displays such as the South Pacific and Mexico.

From the Arctic Circle to Egypt, they're all here and you can talk to them in person.
PADI always has a major presence at DEMA. Instructor updates and trainings are held in conjunction with DEMA to make the travel easy.
This years largest announcement from PADI is a working relationship with National Geographic magazine.

Dive shops will begin to theme themselves as National Geographic partners and National Geo will be advertising for PADI.

This is finally a significant piece of marketing from PADI which hopefully will help to grow the industry.
  PADI released the latest in the Tech Rec classes, Trimix. In case you don't already know, Trimix is diving with a gas other than air, made up of Oxygen, Nitrogen and Helium. It makes very deep diving safer.

The Nitrox (air with extra oxygen) course has also been updated with a reduced emphasis on tables and an increased emphasis on computers. A good change.

DUI - Divers Unlimited International - makers of some of the finest drysuits released new wrist and neck seals. I know this doesn't sound very exciting now you can add on integrated dry gloves in a few minutes.

Dry gloves now remain air equalized with the rest of the suit.

Replaceable wrist and neck seals allow dry suits to be resized quickly for rentals.

These new seals are retrofitable to existing suits in many cases.


Apollo release a new version of the wonderful Bio Fins. The new version is stiffer and designed for uses such as strong currents where you need more maximum thrust. They also introduced optional tech straps for those times when you just can't have fin straps just break.

The Bio Fin is the one piece of gear that we've seen almost universal agreement on by instructors.

You may have read a rumor recently (in Undercurrent) that Bio Fins showed up on airport x-rays as explosives. We've checked them dozens of times with no trouble.

Regular Bio Fins are now available in several colors

DAN - Divers Alert Network was at DEMA in force as usual. DAN provides insurance, coordination of emergency medical evacuation and treatment, medical research for divers.
A new DAN product this year is called REMO. It provides oxygen rich air for diving accident treatment. The unique part of REMO is that it does this by filtering rather than bringing a tank of oxygen. This is an alternative to tanks of oxygen for locations where this isn't practical.

This can be important in remote locations where the weight of a number of oxygen calendars is not practical.

Old Friends

Julie Clarke works for DAN now and is doing very well.We enjoyed her company on several occasions while at DEMA.

Captain Frank and Melanie from the Fling, our hosts for the Flower Gardens trips.
Tillie (Fisher) Hergert - has been working at Ocean's Window in Texas. About now she is moving to the Miami area!

AquAudio - horror of horrors, you can now have your MP3's playing while you dive. The headphones attach to your mask strap.

These are distributed by Oceanic.

Let's hope they aren't audible to other divers nearby.

Some companies even bring dive boats such as this example complete with DPV launchers and front ramp like a military transport.
5000psi introduced Scuba Skins. Artwork (whatever you want) that is printed and then sealed behind a full-tank shrink-wrap. It leaves a space for inspection and content stickers.

Keldan - HID lights. This has to get my vote for innovation where it is really needed.

They are from Switzerland and are very refined HID (high intensity discharge) lights. HID produces a LOT of light and uses much less energy than other lights.

They are both handheld and also external batteries. The innovation comes in the electrical engineering which removes the main problems of HID lights:
reliability - battery drain protection - overcharge protection - charge level indication - over temperature protection - fast charging - built-in backup light in case of failure - etc.

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