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START A LOCAL DIVE CLUB



Dive Clubs play a major role for many scuba divers around the world. Clubs are as important as they are fun. They give you an opportunity to meet divers in your area, find dive buddies, and even establish lifelong friendships. But clubs are also important in giving you an opportunity to stay active in diving, and increase your knowledge and training.

Clubs range from a handful of friends to large and organized clubs with hundreds of members. Some are privately run by elected officers, some organized by local dive centers, still others organized on university campuses and military bases with limited memberships. But all have a common goal, to bring divers together for the enjoyment of the sport they share a love for.

Clubs organize local dives and trips throughout the year. They commonly have instructors within the membership that can help you continue your diving education, or just to be there to help you feel more comfortable if you are fairly new to diving. Clubs are important locally for forming clean-ups or lending a hand in other community environmental events. Clubs meet regularly where members can share experiences (fish stories), hear guest speakers, and plan future events for the club.

Scuba Yellow Pages continually receives requests for information on clubs, and many ask how to start a local club. We have an extensive dive club listing and suggest that you first find out if there is another club in your area. Joining an established club is always preferred. They have the organization and experience, and by joining you will add your experiences as well. Establishing a new club can be a lot of fun, but there will be loads of work involved and you will need determination to see it through.

The Underwater Society of America has a manual on 'How to Form a Dive Club.'
Table of contents includes:
guidelines
sample bylaws
sample membership form
sample club newsletters
sample waiver of liability
etc

It is in 3 ring binder form. It sells for $20 including postage. If you are interested contact:
Carol Rose
President USOA
CROSEUSOA@aol.com

We have asked some dive clubs for their direction in starting a new club and have included their reponses below. We hope this will point you in the right direction. If your have been involved in starting a club, we would like to have your comments as well.

Dolphin Dive Club of Sacramento
My name is Jack Millard and I belong to the Dolphin Dive Club of Sacramento. We formed in 1980 as a nonprofit incorporated organization, since then the cost to incorporate has skyrocketed. We have about 100 members of which about 20 are very active and the rest vary in their participation, I think you will find this to be typical. We meet one night every month at a local pizza parlor with a large meeting area and a big screen TV and screen to present videos and slides. At our meeting last night we had about 50 members and guests. The best way to recruit new members and to keep those you have is to stage many activities the group enjoys. I will attach a copy of the introduction page we give out to explain our group. We try and maintain a good relationship with all of the area dive shops and encourage them to support us by referring new divers to us and by contributing to our various events. We also invite them to make presentations at our meeting about their trips and equipment without making a direct sales pitch which would turn off our members.

We charge dues for different classes of membership. An individual membership costs $30.00 per year, a family membership costs $35.00 and a student membership is only $15.00. We try to keep the kids active by organizing fun things for them to do while the parents are diving. Our major fund raiser every year is a charter to dive on a liveaboard in southern California which typically makes us about $3,000.00 per year. We use this money to subsidize other events so a member actually receives about $50.00 in benefits for the $30.00 dues if they participate in all of our activities. I hope this helps. Let me know if you would like to see a copy of our membership application an/or club bylaws. We hired an attorney to write our application to try and insulate us from liability. We have a web page at http://www.DolphinDivers.org

Jack Millard


HammerHeads Dive Club
I would like to first of all suggest that people look into starting a local chapter of the HammerHeads. As DEMA helps to sponsor it, the H-Heads are a good organization. However, if that doesn't appeal to some folks, then they might well benefit from a few other ideas. We, as divers, should feel privileged to be able to experience the underwater world. Scuba diving grows in popularity each year, yet we still belong to a somewhat elite group. There are things we can do to help maintain our own interest and to get other divers interested and excited. Do you have a local dive club? If so, get involved with it. New members are always welcomed and appreciated. However, if there is no club in your area, why not get with some of your dive buddies and start one? Dive clubs can be lots of fun and provide an avenue for divers to stay involved year round. Regular club meetings can provide a social activity, through dinner and a meeting, and new learning experiences through interaction with divers of various experience levels, guest speakers, and slide shows. Clubs can schedule monthly dives (or more often) to the local water hole, and schedule periodic trips to farther destinations. Clubs can get involved with the community with activities such as clean-ups in or around dive sites. The whole idea of a club is to bring divers together and provide a forum to pursue common interests.

If you think you would be interested in getting a club started in your area, you must be willing to invest the time and effort to make it work. Find others divers that share your excitement about diving and the prospect of a club. Plan out the details carefully, and divide the work among your initial core group. And even though it will be a lot of work in the beginning, the rewards of a club will be great.

A dive club should be a useful resource to its members, providing them with social interaction, a source of continued education and dive buddies. Clubs provide a common focus for members who have common interests such as spearfishing, wreck diving, trips to tropical islands, or other such specialized interests. Clubs should pass along safety and environmental information and provide incentive for active participation in diving activities.

Unlimited Sunshine & Blue Waters,
Dennis Vines


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