The New Year is quickly approaching and Sub Sea Systems is taking a moment to reflect on the developments and growth of 2013, while looking forward to 2014.
As you may know, Sub Sea Systems and SNUBA International have separated, and SNUBA has moved its offices to a new facility location (Jim Mayfield remains a principal shareholder in SNUBA and serves on the Board of Directors). Additionally, Jim Mayfield and his family acquired sole ownership of Sub Sea Systems at the start of 2013. Despite these significant changes, Sub Sea Systems continues to grow, diversify, innovate and further focus its efforts on its line of products and programs. Overall, 2013 was an exceptional year and Sub Sea Systems is already gearing up for the new adventures, challenges and successes of 2014.
Sea TREK® and Dolphin TREK®
Sea TREK has also excitedly welcomed new operators to our growing family, including: SEA LIFE Manchester —United Kingdom, Sea TREK Spain— Canary Islands, UnderWater World — Guam, and Resorts World Sentosa’s Marine Life Park— Singapore. Each of these locations has something special and unique to offer our guests. Here are some highlights from these new operations:
Sea TREK at SEA LIFE Manchester was the first Sea TREK location to open in Europe, and it's the first of many Sea TREK aquarium locations in Europe. In addition to locals and vacationers, SEA LIFE Manchester has also hosted a number of unique Sea TREK experiences, including: an underwater dance-off with celebrities Ashley and Ola from BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, a waterproof makeup test with a few of Manchester's infamous drag queens, and even an underwater Sea TREK proposal (she said YES!).
Sea TREK Spain is the second location to open in Europe and is the first open water Sea TREK location in Europe. World-renowned cyclist and two time Tour de France winner, Alberto Contador of team Saxo Bank, recently visited Sea TREK Spain and experienced his first underwater walk!
Sea TREK at Underwater World Guam — a Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) brand — offers Sea TREK in an aquarium with more than 2,000 animals and over 80 different species. UWW Guam offers one of the longest tunnel-aquariums in the world.
Sea TREK at Resorts World Sentosa Marine Life Park is held in the S.E.A. Aquarium which is the world's largest aquarium accredited by Guinness World Records™. The tank features more than 100,000 marine animals from over 800 species across 49 habitats, the aquarium is home to majestic manta rays, enormous goliath groupers, hammerhead sharks and other gentle giants of the sea. Resorts World Sentosa’s Dolphin Island also offers Dolphin TREK.
Additionally, this year Sea TREK developed a new lift system to assist Sea TREK Guides. The Balance and Control System allows Guides to use a powered lift system with touch controls to place Sea TREK helmets on guests’ shoulders. The pneumatic lifting device is an excellent way to ensure safety for Guides and guests. The Balance and Control System is already in use at a number of locations around the world.
The Sea TREK website underwent a significant facelift. The site features a brand new look, detailed information, links to locations, and much more. If you haven’t seen the website yet, be sure to take a look for yourself. Our photo gallery is amazing!
In addition to a new website, Sea TREK continues to develop its social media presence. From this blog, to our inspired Pinterest boards, and our growing Instagram, Sea TREK is becoming well known in the social media realm. We are also always on the lookout for stories… If you have an experience you’d like to share, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)! We’d love to recount your stories, feature your photos and share your experiences with the world!
2013 was also one for the record books… Sea TREK recorded an unprecedented month in July at Xcaret Park in Mexico of 12,798 Sea TREKKERS (that’s an average of 410 guests a day!).
With the assistance of Miami Seaquarium, Sea TREK coordinated the first ever Sea TREK outing with sales staff from Royal Caribbean cruise lines. Employees ditched their business attire for wetsuits that day as they stepped into the Sea TREK Reef Encounter aquarium for a first-hand experience. Post-tour, the VIP guests enjoyed a catered lunch while Sea TREK corporate staff presented an in-depth review of the Sea TREK program, including history, Guide training, equipment, guest qualification, tour standards, safety, and shore excursion ports of call.
A number of worldwide celebrities also participated in Sea TREK experiences across the globe: Genoa soccer team midfielder, Zaine Pierre, visited his native home of St. Lucia for a walk underwater with Anthony Leonce and the Sea Adventures team; cyclist Alberto Contador took a TREK with Sea TREK Spain off the coast of Gran Canaria; dancers — and BBC TV stars— Ashley and Ola tried their moves underwater at SEA LIFE Manchester; and Santa Claus was spotted thawing off the cold of the North Pole while TREKKING in the waters off the Canary Islands and at Discovery Cove in Orlando.
2013 was a developmental year for our FunCat electric catamaran product. We have been getting the word out about our amazing product! A new joint venture program has been developed to provide a low cost alternative for commercial water sports operations. The company is embarking on an aggressive marketing campaign in 2014 to grow knowledge about FunCats. On the production side there have been numerous improvements to the frame fit and finish, seat back, and there will be a new hull design in 2014. We have been working behind the scenes to build a new and improved website that will go live in 2014! Keep your eye out for the fun!
SHARKS! Interactive continues to be an intriguing and popular program, dispelling the negative perceptions about sharks and allowing guests to interact with the amazing trained animals — no cages, in the water, and face-to-face. About 35,000 people made friends with our nurse sharks this year. With excitement for 2014 the president of SHARKS! Interactive Eric Bogden explains, "Our two facilities in Jamaica are now offering 5 programs per day— just a few years ago it was deemed impossible to run 5 programs in one day — As our understanding of shark behavior and cognition increases we are able learn more about the behavioral capacity of nurse sharks." We know next year our SHARK! allies will grow, and we look forward to welcoming guests to our newest SHARKS! location in Saipan.
2013 also marked the development of a completely new product called Qgo. If you have not heard of Qgo, you will. This is the future of travel and technology. Qgo utilizes RFID and NFC technology to alleviate unneeded hassle and stress from your vacation. A Qgo wristband houses a microchip that can be activated and securely linked to the user’s credit card (all done through encryption, special codes, and techy geek magic). By tying a credit card to the Qgo wristband, the user is free from having to carry cash or credit cards while on vacation, on a cruise or exploring a port-of-call destination. The user can add additional wristbands (tied to the same account) with set credit limits for family members. While exploring vacation destinations, Qgo users can use the Tap’n’Pay feature of the Qgo wristbands at participating Qgo merchant locations (including restaurants, bars, shops, jewelers, parks and more). Tap’n’Pay allows the user to simply “tap” their wristband on the merchant’s Qgo tablet device to pay for their purchase. Additionally, each participating Qgo merchant is setup with a geofenced hotspot area that offers free wi-fi connectivity to Qgo wristband users. Free Wi-Fi on an international vacation?! BONUS! To help guests locate participating Qgo merchants, Qgo also offers a downloadable smartphone app that features an interactive map, along with special Qgo deals and coupons at participating Qgo merchant locations. Qgo has a lot in store for 2014!
This year Reef Alliance maintained its commitment to educate people about our environment and our oceans. Reef Alliance members participated in the 5th annual Reef Alliance Day beach and reef cleanup, in conjunction with Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day. St. Lucia’s Sea Adventures, Inc. and local volunteers amazed us with their outstanding cleanup project, earning its volunteers the Reef Alliance Award for the second year in a row. Reef Alliance members worldwide will continue to share our conservation message, and we look forward to more involvement in 2014.
Looking back on the incredible developments and achievements of the past year makes all of us at Sub Sea Systems smile. We have been a part of some amazing experiences and new opportunities, and continue to count our blessings and be thankful for our dedicated, hardworking Sea TREK, Dolphin TREK, FunCat and SHARKS! family worldwide…and we can’t wait to ride the wave into the coming year. 2014 will bring more challenges, more adventures, and more smiles. We look forward to it!
Wishing you all a very happy New Year!