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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Year in Review — 2014: Plans for the Future



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 experienced a lot of exciting developments this year. We have had some pretty amazing milestones, and made some new friends, including Delfina — Dolphin TREK’s new mascot (and Trekker the iguana’s new buddy). Dolphin TREK also opened a new location at Resort World Sentosa’s Dolphin Island in Singapore. New locations will open in the first quarter of 2014 at Dolphin Discovery Grand Cayman, Dolphin Discovery Cozumel, and Delphinus Riviera Maya, Mexico.

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 (info@subseasystems.com)! 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. 

FunCat 


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 


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.






Qgo 


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!



REEF ALLIANCE 


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!
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Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours


Whether you are in a log cabin covered in snow or sunbathing on the beach, Sub Sea Systems wishes you a very Merry Christmas. This is the time of year for reflecting and treasuring all of the good brought by 2013, and it's the time for looking forward to the New Year.

We are so thankful for everyone who has participated in making Sub Sea Systems and all of our companies (Sea TREK, Dolphin TREK, FunCat, SHARKS! Interactive, Reef Alliance, and Qgo) into the growing businesses and programs that they are. Each time someone takes that breath underwater with Sea TREK, or experiences the touch of a dolphin 10 feet beneath the sea; each time someone enjoys the vastness of the oceans from a FunCat; every nervous giggle while petting a nurse shark; each Reef Alliance moment that empowers someone to make a difference in taking care of our world; and every time Qgo takes the hassle out of a vacation — our family grows. Thank you for helping us grow; we love being a part of your experiences, memories, and vacations.

We look forward to next year with excitement as our programs, and companies continue to make a difference in people's lives. We look forward to offering many more locations, and many more memories. For everyone who has been a part of our family, thank you, you have helped us grow. For anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity — 2014 is the year for you; we welcome you.

Wherever you are — We hope your Holidays are filled with magic and peace! Please enjoy Sub Sea Systems' version of the 12 Days of Christmas. 


Merry Christmas • Feliz Navidad • 圣诞快乐 • Sretan Božić •
Veselé Vánoce • Glædelig Jul • Vrolijk Kerstfeest • Maligayang Pasko • Joyeux Noël • Frohe Weihnachten • Καλα Χριστούγεννα • Mele Kalikimaka • Buon Natale •  메리크리스마스 • Feliz Natal  • с Рождеством Христовым • Mừng Chúa Giáng Sinh • God Jul • メリークリスマス • শুভ বড়দিন • Hyvää Joulua • Merry Nollag




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Monday, December 16, 2013

Caribbean Dreaming on Such a Winter's Day


Do your 2014 plans include a cruise to the Caribbean? Do you want to take your family on an unforgettable vacation? Sub Sea Systems has a lot to offer in the Caribbean, and we’d like to help check off the people left on your Christmas list (or perhaps even check off items on your bucket list!).

This year give your family a gift that will last a lifetime — an unforgettable experience. The rust on the red wagon, the holes in the Christmas sweaters, and the broken toys of past Christmas mornings have already been forgotten or discarded, but a memorable experience will be forever cherished.

Sea TREK is that once-in-a-lifetime experience. The first breath your loved ones take as they walk under water will be ingrained in their hearts forever. The wonder of the ocean floor, the sound of bubbles, and their own amazed giggle (can you imagine laughing underwater?!) — these are the unforgettable memories you can share with your family.

Sea TREK tours are offered in nearly every port-of-call in the Caribbean. As you book your cruise or plan your vacation this year, make it extra special and give your family the gift of a guided Sea TREK helmet dive. (Book with your travel agent or cruise line).
OR if your family has already experienced Sea TREK, do they want to interact with nature in a new way? Dolphin TREK is the latest Sea TREK experience. Your family will feel the rush of water as dolphins speed past; they will interact with these intelligent creatures in their natural environment, and they will learn hand-signals to communicate with the dolphins. Dolphin experiences have never been this up close and personal. Instead of enjoying them from the surface or behind glass, you can pose right next to the beautiful mammal with you arm over their back, while standing on the sea floor. Check out our Caribbean Dolphin TREK locations, and plan your itinerary now!



For the thrill seekers on your list, how about a hands-on interaction with the world’s most feared sea creature–– SHARKS! You’ll give them a memory that can conquer fear itself. SHARKS! Interactive is an educational and entertaining program that brings you face-to-face with nurse sharks. You’ll have the chance to swim, touch, feed and hold these amazing animals. Can you imagine sitting next to your children with a nurse shark sprawled across your laps, touching its sand-paper like body and peering into its inquisitive eyes?! Now THAT’S an experience of a lifetime! Add SHARKS! to your vacation itinerary and check the thrill seekers off your list.

From your 8-year-old aspiring marine biologist to your daredevil 16-year-old, and even your 93-year-old grandfather — Sea TREK, Dolphin TREK and SHARKS! have got you covered! Your whole family will be able to share these extraordinary experiences together!


This holiday season, try something different and give the gift of a memory. Share your precious time with your family, and experience our amazing ocean and its incredible sea life.
We hope your Christmas plans are full of joy and lasting memories.


Need some inspiration for planning your vacation or cruise excursions? Check our Caribbean board on Pinterest to see what we have to offer!
Follow Sea TREK® Helmet Diving's board Caribbean Dreaming on Pinterest.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Elf on the Shelf Goes on a Helmet Dive and Other Fantastic Adventures


This holiday season Sub Sea Systems received a special visitor–– Mia, an elf all the way from the North Pole. Mia is an elf on the shelf; she helps keep track of the naughty and nice list for Santa Claus. During her vacation this summer Mia went on a cruise in the tropics and met Trekker the iguana, Sea TREK’s mascot. He does a lot of traveling and helmet diving, and he helps kids learn about Sea TREK safety and communication techniques. He also teaches them about the environment, and local sea creatures. Trekker and Mia hit it off right away; after all, they both love children.


Trekker taught Mia the rules of helmet diving, and then took her for a guided walk underwater in a Sea TREK helmet! She bounced around in an aquarium, and her hat didn’t even get wet. Mia even got to pet a goldfish!



After this fabulous, bubbly experience Mia wanted to know more about Sea TREK. Trekker told Mia about the many Sea TREK locations, and how each one is unique–– from coral reefs, to sunken planes, enclosed aquariums and even animal encounters with stingrays and dolphins. Then he told Mia about Sub Sea Systems and its family of companies, including Sea TREK, SHARKS! Interactive, FunCat, Qgo, and Reef Alliance. Mia was so excited that she decided to do some traveling and check out all of Sub Sea Systems’ products and programs.

First, Mia tried the SHARKS! Interactive, hands-on nurse shark encounter. She was terrified; these sharks could eat her in one bite! But, after she conquered her fears she became best buds with the friendly nurse sharks, and she now knows a lot more about their anatomy, habitat and diet (which thankfully, doesn’t include elves!).


After her SHARKS! adventure, she went on a FunCat electric catamaran ride. She loved the freedom of cruising on the water and, relaxing in the gentle waves and warm breeze. Even at her tiny size she was still able to drive the FunCat all by herself.


Then Mia came to the corporate office of Sub Sea Systems in California. She came at just the right time too, because she added the last ornament to the office Christmas tree.


She also posed with a helmet diving statue that is just her size (but we think she is much more hip in her space age Sea TREK helmet!).


After that Mia got to test out some gadgets from another company called “Qgo” and learned about RFID/NFC technology. Mia played with the system a little bit and plans to bring back the  information to the head elf at the North Pole — Qgo is a perfect solution for keeping track of all of the elves on shelves around the world!

Lastly, Mia learned about Reef Alliance and Sub Sea Systems’ recycling plans for the holidays. She recycled a bottle while she was there, and is going to take some repurposing ideas, like brown paper bag gift wrap, back to Santa himself. Mia even showed Santa how to follow Sea TREK’s “Sustainable ‘Sea’son” Pinterest board so he can stay up–to-date with all the latest trends!


Mia and Trekker plan on meeting up again this summer; Mia’s #1 present on her Christmas list is a Dolphin TREK tour (hint, hint Santa!).
Mia left this note for the Sub Sea Systems’ office as she headed out…


So we are passing the message to you! Merry Christmas & TREK on!

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Monday, December 2, 2013

The Reef Alliance Guide to a Sustainable 'Sea'son



This year Reef Alliance is compiling unique and inspired ways to recycle or upcycle (reusing in a way that creates a product of higher value than the original) for the Holidays. Reef Alliance is a program committed to protecting the most fragile and endangered eco system in our world—our coral reefs. Sub Sea Systems, its programs (Sea TREK, Dolphin TREK and SHARKS!), and its licensees are proud, active members of Reef Alliance.

The Reef Alliance program requires sustainable diving practices by its operations; additionally, the program’s key goals include: environmental responsibility, consumer awareness, participant education and pro-active conservation.

Through education, awareness and action Reef Alliance members aid in the survival of both Mother Nature and eco-tourism. Staff members have the responsibility to educate as well as entertain. In addition to taking an interest in their local environment and its familiar marine inhabitants, it is mandatory that all staff take the Reef Alliance pledge. The final line of the pledge states the goals of Reef Alliance the best:

“I will endeavor to educate each and every guest about endangered species, reef 
conservation, and responsible diving practices. 
It is my responsibility to respect and share the privilege of exploring our ocean realm with each and every guest. I pledge to take only photos and leave only bubbles. I am committed to behavior that assures the least amount of impact on our ecosystem.”
Reef Alliance members educate people about native fish, sand dollars, sea stars, crabs, rays, corals, snails, and many more sea creatures. They share interesting details about feeding habits, anatomy, habitats, and other unique facts. They also educate people about the importance of not freely touching the marine life or coral, and keeping our oceans clean and debris free.


The Reef Alliance pledge helps spread knowledge concerning the impact we have on the environment— both good and bad.



Additionally, Reef Alliance holds an annual event called Reef Alliance Day shore and reef cleanup. Reef Alliance members and many other local business get involved. Since its debut in 2009, Reef Alliance has recovered thousands of pounds of debris, and each year an award is given to the Reef Alliance Member that organizes and participates in the best project. Sea Adventures St.Lucia has been the award recipient for the last 2 years!

Here at Sub Sea Systems’ corporate headquarters we also participate in the cleanup, and although we do not go to the ocean, we are still stopping trash from reaching the sea. This year we helped clean up trash along Hangtown creek in Placerville, Ca. Our efforts removed 260 lbs of rubbish; all garbage that could have reached the ocean. Understanding that all waterways lead to the sea is very important. Being aware of how our waste affects not only our local environment, but also the world— is the first step. Even when trash goes to the dump, there is no guarantee it will stay there. Wind, rain and erosion take a lot of trash from the dump to the sea.

This Holiday season Reef Alliance is focusing on ways to keep as much trash out of the environment as possible. As we all know, the Holidays generate a lot of trash. From the boxes and packaging that come by mail, to the wrapping paper, ribbons and tags that fill the bins Christmas morning, it is apparent there is a lot of garbage. Here at Sub Sea Systems we reuse or recycle all of our shipping materials, but at home you may not have as many ways to use your materials as we do. Some simple ways to reuse and upcycle during the holidays, include:

  • Keep a box to save all of your bows, boxes and bags (the ones that survive the kids) — they can be used to wrap gifts again!
  • Use the reverse side of paper grocery bags for wrapping. Everyone does a lot of grocery shopping over the holidays; why not use those bags to wrap your gifts? Allow kids to decorate them with markers and glitter or add your own style with sharpies or paint. Some stores even print tags and Christmas décor on their bags!
  • Still get the printed paper? A very Chic way to wrap gifts is in newspaper; you could even make sure the crossword is on the front and write in the recipient’s name.

For our complete guide to reducing waste this season, visit our Pinterest board— Sustainable 'SEA'son.

Follow Sea TREK® Helmet Diving Sustainable 'SEA'son on Pinterest
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