REPORTS from SDFSA Events

SA Scuba Week, 2019

We would like to thank everyone who championed SA Scuba Week 2019.

Well over 2,000 people were reached through our Facebook promotions and dive events throughout the week, not to mention the excellent coverage we received from the press – The Advertiser, the Messenger, and ABC radio. The event brought together dive shops, clubs and NGOs in a celebration of our sport and the beauty of SA’s underwater world.

Dozens of entries for our photo competition were received, with the winners to be published in an upcoming issue of ScubaDiver ANZ. During the week, divers joined in underwater cleanups and hunts for prizes, vintage dive gear experiences, immersion in virtual reality shows with Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries, and story telling at the “Splash Inn” with icons of South Australia diving (Ian Lewis, of the Cave Diving Association of Australia, and treasure hunters John Bent and Paul Lunn). Kiosks for shops, clubs and NGOs lined the boardwalk at Port Noarlunga on launch day (along with Surf Rescue’s sausage sizzle); and a big dance party and silent auction wrapped up the week.

Together, we achieved the following outcomes:

  • We were able to bring together many of the major stakeholders in diving (shops, clubs, NGOs), and established a base of good will and camaraderie for advancing our sport. In doing so, we increased recognition and support for the SDFSA itself as a peak body with the capacity to support the sector.
  • Everyone who joined in Scuba Week reconnected to the history of our sport in South Australia, with welcome reminders of the early days of vintage gear, the evolution of cave diving, and stories from long time and well-loved founders of the early dive shops and clubs.
  • We encouraged divers to look at our sport through fresh eyes. One of the key messages we heard from our Splash Inn speakers was how your hobby can change your own life and influence the lives of so many others: Ian Lewis helped to change the practice of cave diving around the world; John Bent and Paul Lunn’s efforts to locate the Spanish galleon “Pilar” led to more clarity on rights and rules around international treasure hunting — but also gave them the adventure of a lifetime.
  • Finally, we were very pleased to be able to make a donation to RECLink (“Rebuilding Lives through Sport”), to be used to train new snorkelers. And we were delighted to be able to give a cheque for $1450.00 to the South Australia Sea Rescue Squadron, who keep a welcome eye on all of us while we are out on the water.

We learned a great deal too, about the value of co-branding events (with Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries and with Sea Shepherd), about the challenge of extending our reach to regional South Australia, and the importance of ongoing engagement with all the dive shops, clubs and related NGOs. Over the coming months, SDFSA Committee members will be following up with shops and clubs to chat about how to strengthen even further the events that are organized on behalf of the SCUBA, free-diving and snorkelling communities across South Australia.