• fluvannadivecenter

Why did we start a new dive operation?

Fluvanna Dive Center (FDC) opened in July, 2021. It represents the physical embodiment of something I said I would never do. Over the years, a number of people have asked why I did not start my own dive operation, instead of working for someone else. I always had an answer, although my responses varied a bit. In truth, I didn’t want to accept the burden, the hassle, the expense of starting a new operation from scratch, or paying for the privilege of taking over an existing operation. Yet, having said for 20 years that I would NEVER open a dive operation, that is exactly what Larry Antonacci and I did last July. Did I have a change of heart? Actually, no. Did I have a cerebrovascular accident which caused me to forget all of the reasons why I said I would never do such a thing? Nope. Did I inherit a financial fortune, and decide that I would like to diminish it by half? Not at all. Rather, Larry and I were confronted with what might be described as a Perfect Storm of opportunity. 1) We had worked / dove / taught together for 3+ years, and realized that our individual approaches to teaching, and our goals for our students, were very similar. 2) In part through our involvement in the public safety diving environment, we were already working with some customers who actively encouraged us to consider establishing our own operation; 3) We were unexpectedly presented with a unique opportunity, to use an existing physical plant with a HEATED, INDOOR POOL, a small retail area, and a classroom. One of the biggest challenges for dive stores today is finding an accessible, affordable, and appropriate location from which to operate: a) retail business space is unrealistically expensive; b) in particular, finding a site/pool to conduct Confined Water training - an essential ingredient in the development of student skills – is especially challenging. Quite often, available pool time is limited, or the usage fees are excessive, or the pool conditions (depth, temperature and clarity) are not adequate for training needs. Not infrequently, all three suboptimal conditions prevail. But, those problems were essentially solved for us - the best of all possible worlds. So, we created Fluvanna Dive Center. The name was purposefully chosen – it is a dive CENTER, not just a dive store. We started it because we wanted to share our love of diving WITH, and to teach others to develop AS, DIVERS, in a way that WE think is optimal. Our desired outcome is a level of student performance, NOT an arbitrary allocation of training time to check a box on a form, or a particular financial margin to achieve. Our Mission Statement – ‘We develop SAFE, competent, DIVERS.’ – is intended to reflect those goals. Going forward, we will share more about WHAT we do at FDC, and HOW we do it, about WHY our approach to diving, to diving instruction, and diving equipment may benefit you. I invite you to continue to follow this scuba ‘TripTik’, to learn more about FDC.


Bill Sawyer

Partner, Fluvanna Dive Center


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