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.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Part 4, Get to Know Sub Sea Staff!




Next in our series, "Get to Know Sub Sea Staff" we'd like to introduce you to Tiffany Bishop! Tiffany has been working for Sub Sea Systems for 3 years. She and her partner, Tyler work together at SSS Headquarters with the awesome responsibility of making sure all of our Sea TREK and Clear Lounge locations are equipped with everything needed to run smoothly. She was also involved in the intense process of helping to get the new 3,000 pound Aquaticar shipment from California to Orlando in time for the IAAPA trade show!



What is your job title?
Officially, my title is "SeaTREK Technician"- but I’d like to think of myself more as a “Sub Sea Systems Technician.”

How would you describe your job to someone you just met? 
Gosh, this one is a difficult question… I usually start off with “we make underwater diving helmets for the less experienced diver.” Which is always followed by a look of bewilderment. That’s when I look down hoping that I have one of our SeaTREK t-shirts on, so that I can just point to the helmet- which is still followed by a crazy look. I just summarize it: “we have awesome underwater diving helmets in many locations all over the world, and we have also been creating new things that would just blow your mind in the form of underwater entertainment.” My part in all of this includes managing inventory, shipping awkwardly shaped items to locations, and handling whatever else needs assembling. Everything from putting logos on Sea TREK helmets to making sure we’ve got the right parts for our products, and that they get where they need to, when they need to.


What is your favorite part of the job?
Honestly, my favorite part of working here is being able to work with my better half, Tyler. I never imagined that we'd get the opportunity to work together, and for a company that is like no other. Words can’t even describe what it means to us to be part of this adventure. The different, amazing concepts that I have seen come to life before my eyes- its almost hard to call it work.

What do you do in your spare time, away from work?
Well depending on the weather, I like to go camping way out in the backcountry, away from any people or cell phone service- with just my best friend, our 2 dogs, Jack and Dewy, and our gold mining equipment. It is always a lot of work and we never find as much gold as we hope, but its still the thrill of the hunt. Once you find that first glimmer of gold in your gold pan, you’re hooked!



What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 
Something I have come to realize is that life is really short, and time is the one thing you can never get back once it has passed. So, with this in mind, I try to make the most of the time that I have with my loved ones, no matter how crazy they can be!

What are you the most proud of?
I guess I would have to be most proud of how versatile my work skills are. If there is something I don’t know how to do, I want to learn how to do it. I like to be open-minded and I try to learn new things everyday.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I would like to be able to freeze time. I always thought it would be cool to do that.

Beer or wine?  Cocktail- or just an Original Smirnoff Ice.



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Thursday, November 9, 2017

"Thanksgiving" Around the World



In just a few days, Americans will spend quality time with friends and family, watch some serious football, and “gobble down” way too much food. It’s time for a celebration of gratitude… and every recipe imaginable for leftover turkey!

While Thanksgiving is considered an American tradition, you might be surprised to learn that several other countries celebrate similar holidays. Their dates, meanings and customs may differ, but they all revolve around the celebration of gratitude.


Erntedankfest- Germany
Germans participate in Erntedankfest, a religious holiday that typically takes place on the first Sunday of October. Ermtedamlfest is a harvest festival that celebrates “a good year and good fortune.” In rural areas the harvest is taken more literally, but cities also hold festivities. Celebrants don an Erntekrone, a harvest crown made of grain, flowers and fruit. The feast favors chickens, hens, geese and castrated roosters.



August Moon Festival-China
The Chinese population celebrates August Moon Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month on the Chinese calendar. The Chinese believe that the moon is roundest and brightest on that day. The holiday is alternatively known as Women Festival, as women are considered similes to the warmth of the moonlight. Gifts of fertility are often shared, including the Chinese moon cake. Friends and relatives convey their love for one another by gifting the delicacy.

Brazilian Thanksgiving
The Ambassador of Brazil created a contemporary version of the traditional U.S. holiday in the 1940s. After visiting the U.S., he fell in love with the concept of the American holiday. Celebrated on the last Thursday of November, Brazilian Thanksgiving begins with a church service to give thanks for the fall harvest and ends with an autumn carnival. The meal served in Brazil is almost identical to the U.S. dinner, including turkey (called “peru”) and cranberry sauce.


Vietnam- Tết Trung Thu Festival
In Vietnam, people celebrate the Tết Trung Thu Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival) in September or early October. This fall celebration is also known as the Children’s Festival. The Vietnamese believe children are symbols of innocence and purity - the closest connection to the sacred and natural world. Children light lanterns and perform lion dances as part of the celebration. This is the second most important holiday tradition in Vietnam! Tet Trung Thu is very much like a combination of the U.S. holidays – Halloween and Thanksgiving; children parade on the streets, while singing and carrying colorful lanterns of different sizes. One of the most popular shapes is a lantern that spins when a candle is inserted, representing the earth circling the sun. Dances, including the traditional Vietnamese dragon dance, are also part of the festivities.



India-Pongal
Pongal is a 4-day festival celebrated January 12th through the 15th, to mark the beginning of the end of the winter season in India. The second day, Surya Pongal, is the most important day of the festival. On this day, people throw their old clothes into the fire, have an oil massage and then wear new clothes, to worship Surya, the sun god. During the festival, cattle are bathed, dressed and served pongal (rice boiled in milk), women of the house perform puja for the prosperity of their brothers, and families decorate their floor with decorative patterns using rice flour.

Barbados: Crop Over
The Crop Over, a traditional harvest festival in Barbados, features singing, dancing, climbing a greased pole, feasting, drinking competitions and calypso music competitions. The celebration starts in June and ends on the first Monday in August. With street parties, craft markets, food tents, Crop Over has evolved into Barbados’ biggest national festival -- similar to Carnival in Brazil and Trinidad.


Israel: Sukkot
Sukkot (Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles) is a biblical holiday celebrated between late September and late October. On this special occasion, Jewish people reflect on how the Israelites felt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the exodus from slavery in Egypt, as referenced in the Bible. The 7-day tradition includes special prayer services and holiday meals. Structures called “Sukkah”, constructed of natural materials including fruits and vegetables, are an iconic part of this holiday. If you visit Israel during Sukkot, you will see sukkahs built in yards and balconies throughout Israeli neighborhoods.

There are several other countries that observe their own versions of Thanksgiving, with a wide variety of engaging celebrations and traditions.  What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Share with us below! 

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

A New Adventure- Introducing...Aquaticar!



The weather may be cooling down, but things are HOT! here at Sub Sea Systems. That's because this month, we are revealing something new and extra exciting for our company. With many months of work behind us, we are revealing our latest invention, Aquaticar™, at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) expo November 14th through 17th in Orlando, Florida!

Aquaticar is the world’s first underwater driving experience. Guests drive futuristic, submersible vehicles powered by a Bubble Engine™, through a themed underwater world. The theme can be anything one could imagine-from a coral reef environment teeming with fish, to a rugged Mars landscape.

We interviewed Hannah de Bie, VP of Marketing and Communications, to learn more about this unique amusement park attraction:



Artist Rendering, Aquaticar


Why was Aquaticar developed?


Sub Sea Systems’ mission has always been to make the underwater world accessible. The creation of the Sea TREK® guided helmet diving experience has enabled millions of guests to walk on the seafloor, face-to-face with fish and sea life. The program, however, is limited to a relatively small number of guests each tour. This makes it difficult to incorporate the experience into large water parks or theme parks where volume is critical.

The Aquaticar concept was developed to integrate a unique underwater experience similar to Sea TREK, into a high-volume setting. Depending on the number of cars on the track, the Aquaticar ride can accommodate 400+ guests per hour, making it a viable consideration for water parks and theme parks.

Additionally, the Aquaticar environment provides a blank canvas for water parks to tell a story. Traditionally, the main attractions at water parks are water slides, wave pools and lazy rivers. These staple rides don’t lend themselves to telling a unique story or engaging customers in the theming of the park. Aquaticar will immerse guests in the story the park wants to tell – perhaps a treacherous drive through a desolate landscape, or a spooky ride through a "haunted" underwater world.


Artist Rendering, Aquaticar Track

Who came up with the original concept?

Sub Sea’s president, Jim Mayfield, came up with the original Aquaticar concept. (The man never sleeps!).


What stage of development is Aquaticar in currently?

After 2 years of development– from concept, to engineering feasibility and drawings, to months of testing in the community pool with numerous prototypes– we finally have our first production vehicle and segment of track. We’re excited to debut the product at the largest industry trade show in the world – the IAAPA expo in Orlando, Florida (Booth #467!).

Underwater Testing


 What are some of the challenges of building a product like Aquaticar?

As with most of what Sub Sea Systems creates, there has never been anything like it before. And with a never-before-seen product, there are very few components that can be purchased “off-the-shelf.” Goodyear surprisingly doesn’t make tires for an underwater vehicle! The majority of the components have to be custom fabricated, which is time consuming (and expensive).

Another challenge, however much more fun, is the R&D. For example, our production team built a custom acrylic water tank, just to test the rotors for Aquaticar. Our engineers would fill the tank, drop in the rotor, turn on the air and count rotor rotations, while measuring torque. We went through 4 iterations of the rotor before developing a version that harnessed the right amount of bubble power with the least amount of water drag.

We also found a very supportive partner in a local community parks department, who granted us access to a heated pool during winter for our test drives. On some mornings, we were even driving the car among very patient water aerobics class participants!


Aquaticar Wheels and Rotors

How will Aquaticar “work”?

A proprietary Bubble Engine™ that harnesses the uplift force of air bubbles powers the Aquaticar vehicle. The vehicle travels along a specialized track, where it triggers a mechanical air register every 10 feet, releasing air beneath the vehicle. The air powers the engine and provides fresh breathing air to the canopy. Drivers can steer the vehicle within the track, but cannot steer outside of the course.

The underwater ride time will range between 2-5 minutes. Drivers remain dry from mid-chest up, and wet from the chest down.

How can I find out more about Aquaticar?
You can see an Aquaticar vehicle on display at the IAAPA trade show in Orlando, Florida, November 14-17th – booth #467. Follow the Aquaticar Facebook page for a live video during the show! Also, visit aquaticar.com for more information on this exciting new underwater adventure.


Jim & Kyle Mayfield; Aquaticar in Production


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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Don't Be Scared...It's Only Día de los Muertos!



In the U.S., kids are getting ready for a beloved October holiday, where they can dress up as their favorite super hero, princess, or scary ghoul. Halloween has an ancient history that started with the Celts over 2,000 years ago, and has transformed into a celebration of all things creepy, yet fun. Who would think up a holiday where one would decorate with spiders and cobwebs?

Day of the Dead Art

In Mexico and Puerto Rico, the celebration has some similarities, but also has some distinct differences. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated throughout Mexico, particularly in the Central and Southern regions, and Puerto Rico. This multi-day holiday has a rich history, which dates all the way back to the Spanish colonization in the 16th century!

Ofrenda

Día de los Muertos is a celebration of death as just another stage of life, and not to be feared.  Rather than mourn the dead, Día de los Muertos celebrates with joy and positivity.  Altars, or “ofrendas”, created in memory of friends and family who have passed on, are decked out with offerings, gifts, and decorations that reflect the personalities of those celebrated. Ofrendas also feature salt, water and traditional Mexican dishes to nourish the departed souls who are being welcomed back home for this holiday. Festive colors, floral wreaths and brightly colored marigolds often decorate each unique ofrenda.

La Calavera Catrina
La Calavera Catrina

Skeletons and skull figurines called “calaveras” are staples of Día de los Muertos decor, and are accented with bright colors and flowers, to demonstrate how death can be beautiful. The famous skull figure, La Calavera Catrina, is an iconic element of Día de los Muertos. Her design reflects a female skull dressed in brightly hued costume, which blends cultural traditions with the legendary artwork of artist Jose Guadalupe Posada. Today, La Calavera Catrina is an exquisite and meaningful element of the holiday's decorations and commemoration. Some celebrants even apply skull-inspired makeup to evoke the appearance of La Calavera Catrina.

In Puerto Rico, a traditional parade called “Paseo de las Animas”, or Parade of Souls, is a large part of Day of the Dead celebration. Each year, hundreds of costumed participants journey from the general cemetery to San Juan Park. Along the route, they visit 130 different altars while enjoying music, food, and theater performances. This tradition is also celebrated in Merida, Mexico and is considered a high point of travel to the area. The weeklong festival brings in tens of thousands of travelers who participate in the jubilant celebration. Visitors can walk the parade route, or enjoy traditional dishes such as pollopibil, a special seasoned chicken tamale wrapped in banana leaves and cooked underground.

dia de los muertos
Dia de los Muertos Celebrants
  

Have you participated in Día de Los Muertos? Share your experience below!
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Part 3, Get to Know Sub Sea Staff!





We continue our series, "Get to Know Sub Sea Staff" by introducing a new, yet perhaps familiar face! Carl Hanson is new to the Sub Sea Systems team, but he has been a member of our "family" for some time. Hailing from the waters of OdySea Aquarium, Carl has had his flipper print in Sea TREK experiences for quite awhile, and has even been mentioned in past blog posts! We asked Carl a few questions about his experience and his upbeat personality shines through his responses:

What is your job title?
My job title is Sea TREK, Director of Field Operations and Safety


What got you interested in your career choice?
I have always had a love for animals from watching The Crocodile Hunter as a child. Once I got a job caring for animals, I learned I really enjoyed working with people and bringing them into my underwater world. When Sea TREK came to Miami Seaquarium, I knew this is what I was meant to do. I was able to show people (many for the first time) how humans can interact with such magnificent creatures. 


How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
To someone I just met describing my job is so difficult, I’d pull up the sea TREK website or youtube page on my phone and say, “I teach people how to do that”. If I wanted to be fancy I would say, my job is to provide knowledge regarding safe helmet diving operations worldwide, and to provide the operators with the equipment and training necessary to fully operate a Sea TREK tour. 




What is your favorite part of the job?
It’s not work if you love what you do. My favorite part of this job is that it doesn’t feel like work. I have the opportunity to travel the world and meet people from so many places and backgrounds. On top of that, I get to go underwater and teach people how to have fun.



What do you do in your spare time, away from work?
In my spare time, I love to work out. I have been a competitive athlete my entire life, so I enjoy watching sports. Anything from American football to curling, (yes, the winter Olympic sport where they slide a rock on some ice). My friends live all over the country, so I spend time with them playing video games online.



What is the weirdest/scariest/funniest underwater encounter you’ve experienced?
Weirdest underwater encounter would be when I was asked to a high school prom while guiding a tour. It was weird because I had to figure out what she was trying to say since no one could talk underwater.

Scariest underwater encounter was when I accidentally swam with bull sharks. I was recovering a trap that some fisherman had cut loose, I was not aware it was bull shark season in the area. Around 20 meters from the exit point heading back in I saw the shark fin pop up out of the water about 1 meter in front of me. When I made it to shore I realized I never let the trap go, so everybody won!

The funniest underwater encounters happen often. It is when I am diving Sea TREKs and the guests don’t realize you can hear them while on SCUBA. They sing, scream, talk to themselves, and say some of the craziest things.


What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
The best advice I have ever received was, “Nothing in this life will ever be given to you, you need to earn it.” That drove me to accomplish what I have so far, and what will continue to push me going forward.


Know Any good diving jokes?
I know a few diving jokes.
-What happens when you cross a shark with a snowman? You get frostbite!
-Why do mermaids wear sea-shells? Because b-shells are to small and d-shells are to big.
-What be a pirates favorite letter? “Arghh!" (if they say R, "ye think it be R but it really be the sea!”… if they say R or C, “Aye!” Its a triple threat answer, you can never go wrong).





Beer or wine?
Beer - cheap beer, nothing fancy just give me a Miller.
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

(Trick or) Treat Yourself


At Sub Sea Systems, we love to offer up tips and tricks on how to save money when traveling. From valuable points programs to dining discounts, we’ve clued you in on how to have a great vacation without bruising your wallet.

But what about those no holding back, extravagant trips that we all deserve to experience at least once in a lifetime?  If you’re ready to travel without considering the price tag, we’ve got some ideas for you! When money is no object, consider one of these outstanding options.



Privacy to The Max
Want to get away from the crowds? How about an island of your own! Private Islands, Inc. offers over 200 island rentals from Tanzania, Africa to Ontario, Canada. Sip champagne on your private beach, or take in amazing views without tripping over other travelers. Check out Gladden Island in the British Virgin Islands. For a mere $2,950 per couple per night, your all-inclusive stay will include meals prepared by a gourmet chef, fine wines, spa treatments and helicopter transfers to and from the island.



“Rich” History
For just $1,400 a night (top suites at $5,000 per night), the Villa d’Este in Como, Italy is a true luxury hotel. Steeped in history, the hotel was built by a Renaissance Cardinal, and was once the home of an English Queen! This 5-star Eden, with its incredible views of Como Lake, boasts two palaces. Each of the 152 rooms is decorated with antiques, rich velvets and luxurious marble. Visit the hotel’s sporting club for a round of electronic golf, or hang out at the unique pool that floats on the lake!

Regent Seven Seas Suite

Costly Cruising
If cruising is on your agenda, consider the luxurious ship, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer. This suites-only ship features indulgent touches, such as marble and stone bathrooms, rainfall showers, European Sleep Slumber beds and high-end linens. You’ll be in the lap of luxury in the ship's Regent Suite, which is a mind-blowing 2,917 square feet and features a 958-square-foot wraparound balcony. The master bedroom highlights a gorgeous Savoir Bed (price tag, an estimated $90,000 plus another $60,000 in linens), and the separate living area includes a $250,000 Steinway piano. Two Picasso paintings hang just outside the suite. Your personal butler will see to your every comfort. Enjoy blue lobster tail at Chartreuse, then, visit the ship’s indulgent spa for a top-dollar massage. All of your shore excursions are included, so you can explore one of the 16 ports the ship reaches, including Lima, Peru (approx. $11,000 per person); or sail in luxury from Venice to Barcelona, (approx.$15,000 per person). 


Glamping It Up
Camping can be glamorous if you’ve got a big budget! Take in a concert at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio, California, then slumber in a safari tent, thanks to Marriott Hotels. Camping takes on a whole new meaning when your tent is air conditioned, and included private showers and concierge service.  For all the comforts, you’ll pay a mere $7,995 per night!


Hugh Hefner's Sky Villa

Live it Up Like A Playboy (or Girl)
If Vegas calls, you can live like a high roller by resting your head in Hugh Hefner’s Sky Villa at the Palms Casino. Complete with a personal glass elevator, this 9,000-square-foot, two-level palace features jaw-dropping highlights such as a private balcony overlooking the Strip. When you tire of your own private, glass-enclosed pool you can hang out in the private media room, which includes three TVs, a DVD player, multi-speaker system and Creston control system. Or, relax after a night at the tables in in the $700,000 Jacuzzi, or rotating bed. At $34,000 per night, you’d better hit a lucky streak. 



Regal Abode
At $83,200 a night, the Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson in Geneva is the most expensive hotel room in the world. The suite, which is 18,000 square feet, houses four bedrooms, multiple living rooms, a library and a dining room that seats 26 people. A private chef and butler are at your service. Inside the suite you’ll find a billiards room, a Jacuzzi, a Steinway grand piano, and a $130,000, 103-inch Bang & Olufsen flatscreen TV. Host a meeting in the  “royal boardroom” or lounge on your own private 1,680 square foot terrace, which includes a telescope in case the panoramic views of Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc. If your worried about security for your pocket change, you will rest easy knowing that this opulent suite is equipped with bullet-proof windows, armored doors and a human-sized safe.


What was your most extravagant travel experience? Tell us below!

http://www.sea-trek.com/






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


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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Diving Helmet History




At Sub SeaSystems, we’re proud of the history and innovation that allows just about anyone to explore underwater. Our Sea TREK helmets are utilized in treks across the world and in the fun and funky Clear Lounges in Cozumel and Kuwait. Hundreds of thousands of people each year don a Sea TREK helmet and head into a new and exciting adventure!

But, our helmets were not the first utilized by daring thrill seekers. For centuries, many iterations of the diving helmet were used around the world!

Halley Diving Bell

Edmond Halley created the first-known diving helmet in the late 17th century. The bell-shaped helmet drew air from a larger bell, which was dropped into the ocean. Air trapped inside this larger bell was fed to the diver through a tube. However, the air supply needed to be replenished with air in barrels sent from the surface and juggled by the diver, making it difficult to remain underwater. A few other attempts to create a suitable diving helmet were made throughout the 17th century, with mixed results, including one design that utilized an airtight wooden barrel.

Brothers Charles and John Deane produced the first successful diving helmet in the 1820s. The initial purpose for the helmet was actually not for underwater use, but for firemen to utilize in smoke-filled areas. This helmet, made of copper, had an attached, flexible collar and long leather hose. The hose supplied air via bellows. A short pipe allowed breathed air to escape. The original patent for this design was sold to a British engineer, Augustus Siebe. However, the brothers did not give up on their product. In 1828, they produced another version of the helmet and remarketed it as a “diving suit” for underwater salvage workers. In 1834, Charles used his diving helmet and suit in a successful attempt to recover items from a shipwreck.

Siebe's Diving Helmet


Meanwhile, Augustus Siebe produced his own design; a helmet fitted to a full-length watertight diving suit. The unique feature to this equipment was a valve in the helmet. The closed diving suit was connected to an air pump on the surface. This version is considered to be the very first functional suit.

Fast forward to the 1900’s, where diving suits and helmets took a “futuristic” turn. Aluminum, which was quickly recognized for its superior properties, began to appear in diving suit and helmet designs. In 1911, Chester E. Macduffee created a 550lb diving suit that was successfully used at a depth of 213 feet. The suit was not watertight, however, and required a water pump to remove water from the leg sections.

The 550 lbs. Macduffee aluminum alloy suit 1911 (courtesy, Reddit)

Free-flowing Air
Production started on the Desco “air hat” in 1968 and production on this model continues today. The Desco is a metal free-flow helmet, with a simplistic design, making it popular for shallow-water operations and hazardous materials diving. The Desco is secured to the diver by means of a "jock strap" which runs between the legs, and its buoyancy can be fine-tuned by adjusting intake and exhaust valves.


DESCO Commercial Diving Helmet
The Sea TREK helmet, developed by Sub Sea Systems in 1998, was the first helmet in history to use lighter weight, modern materials such as fiberglass, acrylic and stainless steel. Like the Desco helmet, Sea TREK also uses free-flow air supply and is intended for shallow water use. Unlike previous helmets, however, the Sea TREK helmet features a look and design never before seen; it has sleek lines, a glistening white finish, acrylic lens, and overall futuristic aesthetic. It’s friendly and approachable – which was the company’s strategy as it targets the consumer tourism market, especially families, kids, non-divers and non-swimmers. 

Sea TREK helmet
Sea TREK continues to be the world leader in recreational helmet diving. The helmets are now injection molded out of a nearly indestructible material, and components such as the lens, seal, air input mechanism, and air flow calibration continue to evolve with the latest technology. The Sea TREK guided touring program is offered on 5 continents, 25+ countries, at more than 50 destinations… and holds the record for introducing the highest number of non-divers and non-swimmers to the magic of walking and breathing underwater!




Interested in discovering more about the history of diving helmets and other underwater equipment? Check out the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada, Florida.

And, check out the “Deane” diving helmet from 1828 – on display for the public for the first time in history at the DivingMuseum in Hampshire, UK. 


Want to don your own helmet and take a TREK underwater? Check out our Sea TREK locations here! Or visit a Clear Lounge and enjoy family-friendly, underwater activities!



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