Why Florida Scuba Schedules?
Q. Why did you feel the need to start Florida Scuba Schedules?
A. Frustration mainly. Whenever I wanted to go diving on my days off, I would have to ask myself a bunch of questions: “Where can I go diving? Which charters are going out? Where are they going? What time do they leave the dock? Are there spaces left?”
The only way I could get the answers and begin planning my trip, was to visit a dozen different Florida scuba diving websites in the hope they had some sort of calendar or dive schedule on their site. Otherwise, I had to call. Either way, I still had to compare all the dives that I’d found and eventually pick one. Too much research for one day’s scuba diving. I always had the same thought: “Why can’t all this data be in one place?” And that’s how it began.
Q. What’s the ultimate goal of Scuba Schedules?
A. To make dive planning easier for divers. ScubaSchedules.com is a one-stop shop for planning a trip. It’s a no brainer if you’re looking to figure out “who’s going where” on your days off. Our wider goal is for everyone to benefit, because it’s great for dive operators too. Our site gives them greater exposure and visibility.
Q. Is it free?
A. Yes, right now it’s free to add your calendar – so no excuse not to. It’s a beautiful thing! We can even provide the calendar code to retail organizations and clubs, so that those who don’t already have calendars can use ours – but show only their own dives.
Q. So how does Scuba Schedules work?
A. Each dive operator uploads their schedules for the week / month, and we aggregate all the dive trips onto a master calendar which displays on the site. Since there are way too many calendars for a single master calendar, we had to break Florida up into different regions so that we could display them all. That worked out well since each area of Florida has different diving experiences to offer and most divers know exactly which area they are planning to dive.
Q. Does’t it hurt dive charters to compete with other charters?
A. No, because they’re competing on sites like Trip Advisor anyway. The only way to lose is to fail to compete. ScubaSchedules is just one more place they can be seen – and because we’ll get more traffic than each individual operator could ever gets, it’s a win-win. The more charters that post their calendars, the more divers visit our site to get the daily scoop – all of which sends paying customers right back to the folk doing the hard work of taking out the boats and organizing the trips.
Q. Do you have to be a charter operation to list your dives?
A. Not at all. That’s the great thing about it. You can be a local dive club, a retail store or a charter, it doesn’t matter. So long as you have a bone fide scuba diving trip planned that is open to everyone, then you can list your trips. Could be the usual charter, but maybe you’re club is going to Bonaire for the week and you’re looking to fill the last few spots. The smaller operators will appear right alongside the larger ones – and in the end, everyone benefits.
Q. Can retail stores add their classes and teaching schedules?
A. The Scuba schedules calendar is for dive trips only – but – we have some very inexpensive advertising on the regional pages for that. We also have the Scuba Schedules Blog, and one of the best features of the site is that all of the clubs, charters and retail stores can discretely include their training links on our pages. And if they really want to push a particular event, then there’s always cheap advertising space of course. We have bills to pay after all!~ The blog is also a place where clubs and retail operators can post photos and talk about their most recent trips which is another great way to drive traffic back to the retailer.
Q. How does the Florida Dive Connector work?
A. That’s easy. It’s really just a bulletin board that allows community interaction. If you’re a solo diver most of the time like I am, then I can use the bulletin board to find out if any of my buddies are also able to dive on that day. It’s also a great way to meet new friends. It beats getting paired up on the boat with someone you’ve never met before and may have a completely different diving style. After all, a bad buddy can sometimes be worse than no buddy at all.
Q. Do you have any plans for expansion?
A. If things keep going as well as they have, then we hope to be able to expand into the Caribbean, which is just down the road for Floridians. They have the same issue there. When I was in the Cayman Islands as a tourist with zero local knowledge, I had a hell of a time trying to look up all of my potential choices for the few days I was there. Instead of wasting time on Trip Advisor to try and research all the dive charters, I could have figured out my choices for my exact dates and times in about five minutes if I’d had Scuba Schedules. If the Caribbean goes well then ideally, we’d then expand back to California and finally, the remaining coastal areas.