Diving Into the Scuba Business, Times Community, 12/15/05
By Layla Wilder
Article Source: Times Community Newspapers
Responsible diving is the new mission of Adventure Scuba Co., a 10-year-old Chantilly business.
New owners Bob Potterton, Peter Juanpere and Henry Johnson, who took over the business last summer, have recently partnered with three ocean conservancy groups so they can better teach their diving students to care for the ocean.
“We really want to give what we do here for fun some meaning,” said Potterton, 46, who has been diving for 10 years.
Adventure Scuba used to be a ski and diving shop. About eight years ago, the shop began specializing in scuba diving, offering instruction, exotic dive travel opportunities and equipment sales.
Environmental Education Foundation, Conserve Our Ocean Legacy, and the Coral Reef Alliance.
“We feel like we have a responsibility to the environment we live in to preserve what we enjoy,” Potterton said.
“We want to teach people how to enjoy diving and to show them how not to bang into corrals and touch the animals,” Juanpere said.
Juanpere, 49, who has been diving for almost 20 years, said he likes to teach children diving and ocean conservancy. He has designed a class for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to earn merit awards for taking classes with Adventure Scuba.
“If they start learning about the environment when they are young, it makes a larger impact,” Juanpere said.
What Adventure Scuba is doing is not new, according to Rick MacPherson, program director for CORAL.
“More conservation organizations are paying more attention to businesses for achieving what we are all collectively trying to do, and that is to protect the environment,” MacPherson said.
Ocean conservancy groups often team with interested businesses to get their message to tourists and clients, MacPherson added.
“It's a growing trend,” he said.
The company is not actively promoting ocean conservation; it is just providing information and training to people who are interested, according to Potterton.
“We are not a political activist group,” Potterton said. “We just wanted to add a mission and humanitarian aspect to our business.”
Adventure Scuba instructors teach about 400 students, according to Johnson, a 44-year-old retired Marine who enjoys diving for wreckage.
The instructors range in background from local police officers to retired Navy divers and teach everything from recreational diving to technical diving, Johnson said.
Students can customize their classes and schedules based on their needs.
Adventure Scuba has about 250 people enrolled in basic courses and 150 in more advanced classes. The owners said they also plan to add classes on such topics as coral reef ecology and fish identification.