Sub Sea Systems — Our World is a blog dedicated to the unique experiences of Sub Sea Systems — Immerse yourself in our incredible adventures, company culture, and innovative programs and products.

Subscribe to our Blog

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Marvelous, Magical Manatees!


Manatee and snorkeler in Florida

If you’ve ever cruised along the coast of Florida, you may have encountered a gentle giant. The Florida manatee, the official marine mammal of the state of Florida, is a large aquatic relative of the elephant and is found in freshwater rivers, estuaries, and coastal waters.

The Florida manatee is a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. They are grayish brown in color and have thick, wrinkled skin, much like their dry land cousins. Their front flippers help them steer, or sometimes crawl, through shallow water. They also have powerful, flat tails that help propel them through the water. Despite their small eyes and lack of outer ears, manatees are thought to see and hear quite well. Manatees are calm herbivores that spend most of their time eating, sleeping, and traveling.

In 1973, the manatee was placed on the endangered species list, hovering on the brink of extinction. At that time, only a few hundred manatees resided in the state. Today, thanks to conservation and humanitarian efforts, there are estimated to be over 6,300 manatees living in Florida’s waterways. In 2016, manatees were moved from the endangered species list to “threatened” status, which allows the population to continue its recovery while federal commitments to its protection are maintained.

Manatee Mom and Baby swimming in Florida

Manatee populations continue to face two long-standing, serious threats:  fatal collisions with watercraft, and the loss of warm-water habitats that provide them with refuge during the winter. (Manatees lack an insulating layer of fat, so water colder than about 70 degrees can kill them.)

A variety of efforts are being made to protect manatees and ensure their continued survival and population growth. One unique approach is the development of an audio alarm called “the Manatee Alerting Device,” which emits a low intensity, highly directional, narrow band of sound directly in front of approaching boats. The selected signal exploits the manatees' best hearing and localization abilities, and is only audible to manatees in the direct path of an approaching vessel. The alerting device is showing great promise in trial- without the alarm, 95 percent of the wild manatees tested did not change their behavior as the boat approached them. They did not respond or avoid the boat, and the boat was forced to veer away to avoid a dangerous collision. With the alarm, 95 percent of the manatees moved away from the oncoming vessel! Read more about the Manatee Alerting Device. 

Additionally, a number of rehabilitation facilities exist to help manatees injured by boats. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has a rehabilitate and release program, where manatees are nursed back to health. Recently, a severely injured manatee mother and her calf named Pascow and Cotee were rushed to the facility. The manatee mother’s tail was sliced open by a boat propeller, creating deep gashes. The pair were then rushed to the zoo’s David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center for medical attention and around-the-clock monitoring. They recovered quickly and were released back into the wild.

Swimming Florida Manatee

North Florida Ecological Services Office also supports a manatee rescue, rehabilitation and release program, with a goal of rescuing and treating sick or injured manatees, then releasing them back into waterways. The Office transfers injured animals to several different facilities: Lowry Park Zoo, Miami Seaquarium, and SeaWorld Florida. Following treatment, the manatees are transferred to other Program partner facilities for additional rehabilitation, while awaiting release. These include the Cincinnati Zoo, Columbus ZooEPCOT's The Seas, the South Florida Museum, and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. 

You can help protect manatees! The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission offers a wildlife hotline and text line for boaters to report injured animals.  You can find these numbers and read about other ways that you can support manatees here.  Miami Seaquarium’s website also has helpful information on how you can contribute to the wellbeing of these amazing animals.

Keeping our waterways clean and free of trash also helps manatees and other sea life stay safe and healthy.  Join Sub Sea Systems, Inc. in the fight for trash free seas by participating in Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup on Saturday September 16th. Over 12 million people have participated in this annual effort, cleaning up over 220 million pounds of trash. Click here for this year's event and activities.

Manatee Rescue

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Part 2, Get to Know Sub Sea Staff!


SSS Regional Coordinator Javi diving

Operating and managing an international company is not an easy feat– from time zone differences to language barriers and distinct cultural customs, international business requires a global team with a diverse skill set. At Sub Sea Systems, we’re extremely fortunate to work with exceptional regional managers who oversee our widespread network of operators and seek out new business opportunities. Javier “Javi” Fortunato is the Regional Coordinator for the Riviera Maya and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, as well as Belize. His easy-going nature, sense of humor, multilingual abilities, organization and attentive communication make him a tremendous asset to the Sub Sea team! We interviewed Javi so that you could learn more about him. Clearly, you will see his upbeat attitude shine through!


What is your job title and what do you do?
My job title is “Regional Coordinator” and I represent (proudly) Sub Sea Systems in “my area,” which is southeast Mexico (Xcaret, Xel Ha, Cozumel) and Belize. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with operators in Curaçao and Cabo San Lucas. I’m in charge of training, ensuring operations meet standards, and some P.R.- mostly spreading our vision and promoting the high level of safety and customer service at which all Sea TREK locations operate. I strive to provide first class service while performing these activities, every single day.


How long have you been working at your current job?
Since March 2014


How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
Me: “Have you seen those white helmets used to walk under the ocean?”
Someone: “Yes!”
Me: “Cool! That’s what I do” :)


What is your favorite part of the job?
Hard to pick a part when you love what you do! I’m also a Scuba Instructor, so I’m going to go with training, (especially the underwater part!).


What is the most challenging part of your job?
Ensuring operators maintain our high standards.

Sub Sea Systems Regional Coordinator Javi

What do you do in your spare time, away from work?
Spend as much time as I can with my 5-year-old son and my wife. In other words, enjoying my family.


What kind of music do you like?
Rock, pop, oldies (I’m from the 80s!) – Argentinian and Mexican Rock, anything with good rhythm.


What are you most proud of?
My son, Luca

Javi in a Clear Lounge t-shirt

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Everything that my father taught me, and said, and did… he’s right!


If you happen to visit a Sea TREK destination in Mexico and you see a gentleman in a Sea TREK polo– it’s likely Javi! You may also spot him driving around town in his custom Sea TREK car. Give him a big wave and shout “hola, Javi!”



Continue Reading...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Different Kind of “Human Resources”



Visit Sub Sea’s Corporate Office, and you’ll likely be greeted with a wag of a tail and a sniff or two. That’s because SSS office staff includes furry companions who make our work environment far more interesting and definitely less stressful. Meet our canine colleagues, Oliver, Cali and Gunner!

Cockapoo Oliver at Sub Sea Systems

Oliver (Oli) is a cockapoo, but in spite of his small stature, is a force to be reckoned with. Smart and sassy, and about as cute as it gets, Oli struts around the office as if he owns the place.  The tiniest of security guards, Oli is always on high alert for a scary mailman or mystery vehicle.  However, in spite of being on guard against strangers and squirrels, Oli is easily bribed by an offer of treats from the FedEx delivery driver or regular UPS guy. Oli keeps us laughing with his Hollywood attitude and frequent downward dog yoga poses. Check out Oli's big screen debut!

Boxer Dog Cali at Sub Sea Systems

Cali the boxer can usually be found lying behind our lobby chair or stretching out upside down in the middle of the office. Living up to her name, Cali is typically laid back, although she’s not a big fan of the noises from the manufacturing bays. In spite of her woeful expression, we can count on Cali for a kiss or two to kick start our mornings. She enjoys foot massages and shared snacks. She’s a fantastic big sister to her new (human) brother, Wyatt.

Gunner, the chocolate lab, who just celebrated his first birthday, is full of boundless energy. Always eager to play or be petted, his huge personality lights up the room. Given the opportunity, he will play fetch non-stop. Gunner helps keep our office free of empty cardboard boxes by ripping them into smaller, more manageable pieces. Recently, Gunner was a pivotal part of his parents' engagement, carrying out the huge responsibility of helping his Dad propose. Watch Gunner keep our office in top shape.


According to research by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, about 20 percent of all companies in the United States allow employees to bring their furry friends along to the workplace. Expectedly, the most common pet guests at workplaces are dogs, at 76 percent.  Some of the most successful companies, such as Google, Amazon and Ben & Jerry’s, welcome pets on their premises. Pets improve teamwork, job satisfaction and lower employee stress levels. Who wouldn’t like to pet a cute pooch every now and then?

Want to learn more about Oli, Cali and Gunner? Of course, they have their own Instagram account! Check out their antics here: https://www.instagram.com/cali.oliver.gunner/.

Do you have an office dog or pet? Share a photo below!

Continue Reading...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Add Pinterest to Your Social Repertoire!



Unless you’ve been living under coral, you are already aware of the value of social and online marketing for your business. With over two billion active social media users globally, it is imperative that business owners and managers take full advantage of these growing entities. While Facebook still dominates the social landscape, Pinterest, which was launched in 2010, is one of the fastest growing social sites. Currently, there are over 100 million active Pinterest users!

So,.. What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social network that allows users to share and discover new interests by posting, or “pinning” images or videos to their own or others' boards (i.e. a collection of 'pins,' usually with a common theme), and browsing what other users have pinned. Using a visual orientation, the social network is very much focused on lifestyle, allowing users to share their tastes and interests. The social network's goal is to "connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting." Users can either upload images from their computer or pin things they find on the web.
As with most other social networks, users can perform typical social networking functions such as following their friends, liking and commenting on other users' pins, re-pinning content to their own boards, or sharing pins on Facebook and Twitter.

Pinterest is an ever-growing resource for information, advice, and inspiration. Users discover new trends, learn how to save money, and learn helpful DIY skills.

Pinterest for your Business
Everything people do on Pinterest leads them closer to action. Users do more than browse feeds: 70% search, save or click on a Pin. Since people use Pinterest across the consumer journey, your brand can play a role all the way from inspiration to purchase.

What does a Pinterest user look like?
Pinterest users’ demographics are important to note. 67% of Pinners are under the age of 40. Even more interesting, 54 percent are women aged 34 to 55, and 35 percent of them have household incomes of over $100,000. If you’re looking to target male-identified individuals, you might be surprised to learn that male users grew 120 percent in 2016.

A top traffic driver
If your goal is to increase traffic to your website, look no further than Pinterest. Pinterest accounts for approximately five percent of all website referral traffic, (second only to Facebook). For sea-trek.com, Google Analytics shows that traffic from Pinterest accounted for the highest percentage of visitors from social entities over the last year. In fact, twice as many users visited our site from Pinterest than from Facebook! Here are some other surprising Pinterest statistics:

40% of new signups are men; 60% of new Signups are women.
Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram.
Median age of a Pinterest user is 40, however majority of active pinners are below 40.
Half of Pinterests’ users earn $50K or greater per year.
30% of all US social media users are Pinterest users.
87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest.

Learn More About Marketing via Pinterest
If you’re convinced that you should give Pinterest a try, but aren’t sure how to get started, there are many guides available online that will help you get going.

Pinterest offers users a website with helpful information and guidance. Get your guide here.

Another great resource is The Ultimate Pinterest Marketing Guide from Kissmetrics. This guide focuses on Pinterest from a marketing perspective. Copyblogger.com also offers some useful guidelines.

Dipping your toe into the sea of Pinterest pins and boards can initially seem daunting, but it can also be fun…and rewarding for your business! Are you already a Pinterest fan? Share your favorite pin below! And don’t forget to follow Sea TREK on Pinterest!





Continue Reading...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

PART 4: Tips & Tricks for Travel Savings




Our previous ‘Tips and Tricks for Travel Savings’ articles offered valuable travel savings info, but there are so many more opportunities to save on your vacation! The cost of food, activities and even getting around can really add up! Here are some additional tips for ways to save…


travel - dining savings icon

Eat, Drink, Be Merry…and Save!
The cost of dining out can put a significant dent in your travel budget. Depending on your destination, happy hours may be available and can provide savings on drinks and dining.  If you’re willing to dine outside of a typical dinner time frame, you can take advantage of discounted cocktails, unique appetizers, and the opportunity to try out a restaurant that might otherwise be out of your budget.  There are apps to help you locate happy hour locations and offerings. Try out Hotspot Studios “Happy Hour” app or UMeTime’s “Hooked Deals” on your mobile phone for happy hours near your location.

Pre-planning can save you money on dining out, too. Purchasing discount gift cards from sites like raise.com, or checking out the deals on groupon.com (specific to your destination), can put more dollars in your pocket for fun activities or a fancy dessert.



Getting Around
Renting a car at your destination? You can save quite a bit of cash by shopping around for rental car deals. Utilizing websites like hotwire.com or orbitz.com can help you snag a great price. However, one additional step can help you save even more… AutoSlash, a site promoted by Conde Nast and The New York Times, provides a tracking system to ensure you get the best price for your rental. Enter your reservation number, and the Auto Slash system tracks the rental price on your reserved vehicle.  If the priced drops below your reservation price, they automatically rebook for you, at the lower price.  The website also offers coupons and travel tips.

Parking your own vehicle at the airport can be fairly expensive, but occasionally there are savings opportunities if you know where to look. Hotels located nearby airports offer parking spaces to travelers, and often a stay at the hotel is not a prerequisite. Check out airportparkingreservations.com. Enter your departure locale and your dates, and the site will create a list of parking options. The price difference can be quite substantial. For example, the cost of parking at SFO is $24-$36 per day. However, air travelers leaving San Francisco can park their vehicles at The Hilton Garden Inn for less than ten bucks a day! The hotel is next door to the airport and their free shuttle will take you right to your departure terminal.



See the Sights - at a Discount
Whether you’re headed to a museum or seeking the latest theatre production, vacation entertainment can be costly. Frequently, pre-booking your activities can save you not only money, but queuing time in lines as well. Many popular excursions offer pre-booking specials on their own websites or social media pages. Or, grab a coupon from the destination’s Chamber of Commerce site or printed guidebook. You can also check out destinationcoupons.com for discounts and deals.


Saving Your Hide
You’ve gathered your coupons, registered your rental car, and loaded your apps. You’re ready to take advantage of deals that will keep money in your pocket, and you’re excited to try out some new restaurants or indulge in an extra treat using your savings. But there’s one more tip that can keep you comfortable during your travels. While not exactly a money-saver, this tip can save you from an uncomfortable seat on your next flight.  While booking your flight, utilize seatguru.com, to ensure you’ve selected a seat worthy of your posterior. Enter your airline, flight number and travel date. You’ll get an image of the interior of your plane, and details of every seat on that plane. If you’re not too keen on having a seat that doesn’t recline, or you want to make sure you’ve got extra legroom, this site will be your new best friend!


Got an outstanding travel savings tip or trick? Share it with us below!






Terrie Carrozzella is the Web Designer & Social Media Manager for Sub Sea Systems. Want to contact Terrie about Sea TREK helmet diving, Clear Lounge underwater oxygen bar, or FunCat electric catamarans? Email her here!terrie@subseasystems.com
Continue Reading...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fire Up the Barbeque with Sustainable Food From the Sea



Whether you’re a great chef or just enjoy cooking for friends and family, ‘tis the season for great barbeque. And, if you’re looking for something outside of traditional burgers and hotdogs, fish and shellfish are great on the grill! Grilling your own catch allows you to boast about the one that didn’t get away, but your local grocery store also offers plenty of variety for fresh seafood!

Today’s environmental concerns include a focus on sustainable seafood, or, seafood that is caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of harvested fish species and the well being of our oceans. Beginning in the 1990s, a number of initiatives increased awareness concerning the way our seafood is obtained. Sustainable seafood represents a healthy relationship with our oceans that can endure forever. When humans consume seafood, we leave an indelible mark on the ecosystem. It’s important for our own well-being—and that of the oceans—that we understand the impacts of our choices. Luckily, today’s fish markets understand this need and focus, and sustainable seafood is readily available to the consumer.

How does one ensure that dinner includes a sustainable catch? You can get a great guide to sustainable seafood, offered by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website– seafoodwatch.org. The guide offers recommendations to help you choose seafood that's fished or farmed in ways that have less impact on the environment. 

Ready to get cooking with sustainable seafood? Check out two mouth-watering recipes below and heat up that barbeque!


Shrimp Kabobs with Pistachio Tarragon Pesto


For the pesto:
·      3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
·      1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
·      1/4 cup roasted and unsalted pistachios
·      5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
·      1 clove garlic
·      1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
·      1/4 teaspoon black pepper
·      1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
·      1 tablespoon water

For the kabobs:
 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
24 grape tomatoes
 1 medium zucchini
 1 large yellow bell pepper
 12 scallions
 Extra virgin olive oil
 Kosher salt
 Black pepper
 Lemon wedges
Instructions
For the pesto:
1. Combine parsley, tarragon, pistachios, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process mixture for one minute. With motor still running, slowly add olive oil. Continue processing until smooth, periodically scraping the sides of the bowl.
2. Transfer 1/3 cup of the pesto to a small bowl for brushing onto the kabobs before grllling. Pour remaining pesto into another bowl and add water. This portion will be for brushing onto cooked kabobs. Set both bowls aside.
For the kabobs:
1. Soak eight wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.
2. Cut zucchini lengthwise and slice each half into 12 half circles.
3. Cut bell pepper into 24 pieces.
4. Cut the white and light green part of each scallion into two pieces.
5. Thread shrimp, tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, and scallions onto skewers. Brush each kabob with olive oil, pesto, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Heat grill to 450 to 550 degrees.
7. Grill kabobs for two to three minutes on each side or until shrimp are opaque. Do not overcook.
8. Remove from grill and drizzle kabobs with additional pesto and top with lemon juice. Serve immediately.



Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa

From allrecipes.com 

2 cups cooked corn kernels

1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup peeled, diced jicama
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
 1 lime, juiced and zested
 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, or to taste
 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
 2 tablespoons salt, or to taste
 6 (4 ounce) fillets tilapia
 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 corn tortillas, warmed
2 tablespoons sour cream, or to taste
  1. Preheat grill for high heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together corn, red onion, jicama, red bell pepper, and cilantro. Stir in lime juice and zest.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, and salt.
  4. Brush each fillet with olive oil, and sprinkle with spices to taste.
  5. Arrange fillets on grill grate, and cook for 3 minutes per side. For each fiery fish taco, top two corn tortillas with fish, sour cream, and corn salsa.


Want more awesome seafood recipes? Check out our Pinterest board– Sea Foodie– here!



Continue Reading...