SOS 1000 Islands – 2018 Dive Ambassador Report

SOS 1000 Islands Dive Ambassador
Summer Student Position Report 2018

On July 19th Save Ontario Shipwrecks (SOS) Ontario Board informed the 1000 Islands Chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks (SOS), that there was funding available to be used to hire a summer student. Since the 1000 Islands Chapter had been thinking about trying to create a “Dive
Ambassador” summer student position at Centeen Park in Brockville Ontario. Where just off shore from the east end of Centeen Park is The
Memorial Sculpture Park & Training Facility. The underwater sculpture park and training facility was created by SOS 1000 Islands to give scuba divers a training location to practice & improve their scuba diving related skills before venturing onto the areas fragile wooden shipwrecks. So when the board informed the 1000 Islands Chapter that funding was available, the chapter was in a position to move forward extremely quickly. The 1000 Islands Chapter decided to make this work, there needed to be a min of 5 weeks to be effective and to gather the required amount of data. So with only 7 weeks left in the summer until the Labour Day weekend the chapter decided it needed to move fast to realize the opportunity. Nathalie Landry & Tom Scott took on the responsibility of formalizing the request, position description and then advertising locally for a individual to fill the position of SOS 1000 Islands Dive Ambassador.

There were 3 individuals interviewed (more would have been interviewed had time permitted), during the week of July 23rd, 2018. In addition Tom & Nathalie ensured that the Dive Ambassador had all the required tools, ie brochures, maps, tokens to be successful. SOS 1000 Islands provided a canopy, table, chair & whiteboard. The Dive Ambassador would report to Tom & Nathalie. SOS Ontario took care of all
payroll issues, including issuing the biweekly pay to the Dive Ambassador.

Some criteria that was used to identify the best fit for the Dive Ambassador was;
– Outgoing be able to initiate contact with people in a friendly inviting manner,
– be returning to school in the fall,
– have some diving experience,
– good communication skills,
The goals & objectives of the Dive Ambassador summer position were;
– Meet & greet scuba divers
– Provide information on the Save Ontario Shipwrecks mandate of preserving marine heritage.
– Gather scuba diver data related to scuba diving tourism.
– Sell Centeen Park Diver Tokens.
– Keep a daily head count of scuba divers.
– Complete Scuba Diver surveys.
– Do regular posts on the SOS 1000 Islands Facebook Group page.
– Provide information on the purpose / layout of the underwater sculpture park & training area to scuba divers and non divers curious about         the scuba diving activity.
– Provide information on other attractions, areas restaurants, camping, B&Bs, hotels, etc that visiting scuba dive tourists would be interested in.
– To do whatever he / she can to “improve the scuba diving experience” out of Centeen Park.

On Monday July 30th Dalton Rogers was hired to act as the SOS 1000 Islands Chapter Dive Ambassador.

Dalton in our opinion was the perfect fit. He was going into year 4 of university, has a very impressive volunteer history, was a newbie diver and is extremely outgoing and friendly.  Dalton was given the opportunity to choose his work hours upon his hiring and choose to work four 10 hour days instead of five 8 hour days. The position called for working Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Mondays for 5 weeks from Friday August 3rd, 2018 through Monday September 3rd, 2018.  During Dalton’s five weeks working as the Dive Ambassador he shook hands with and met over 700 scuba divers, 736 logged to be exact. Also keep in mind that the weekend of the 1000 Islands Poker run Saturday August 18th Centeen Park was closed to scuba diving and the Sunday (August 19th) saw a very low number of divers compared to previous & subsequent weekends.  Dalton also sold 80 Centeen Park Diver Tokens and completed over 100 (103) dive surveys gathering information directly from the scuba divers. Dalton also edited and created (video only) a short movie on the underwater sculpture park, the Muscallonge and Robert Gaskin wrecks.  These videos will have voice narrative added and be used for marketing/advertising of the SOS mandate.

  • Survey information results found that;

– 85% of the divers came from over 100 kilometers away, 12% from 20 to 100 km and 3% from less than 20 km from Centeen park.
– They came from the following areas;
– Quebec / Montreal – 46%
– Ontario – 20%
– United States – 15%
– International (ie. UK, Australia) – 11%
– Canada (other) – 8%

  • Group Size;

– 42% of the groups were 3 to 5 divers,
– 27% of the groups were 5 to 10 divers,
– 19.5% were 10 or more divers,
– 11.5% were 2 or less.

  • Centeen Park Diver Tokens

– A full 81% of the divers had already purchased their Centeen Park Diver Token.  15% purchased their token at Centeen Park from the Dive Ambassador and 4% did not purchase a Centeen Park Dive Token.
– It was the first visit to Centeen Park & The Memorial Sculpture Park & Training Facility for 61.5% of the divers and 38.5% had been before.
– 88.5% were aware of Centeen Park, The Memorial Sculpture Park & Training Facility before they arrived at Centeen.
– 46% of the scuba divers had not heard of SOS and the SOS mandate before coming to Centeen Park. With 54% of the divers knowing of SOS
and its mandate.

  • Centeen Park Diver Tourism

– 85% of the scuba divers stayed overnight in the Brockville area. 15% were from the area or on a day trip.
– of the divers that stayed overnight;
– 68% stayed in a hotel / motel,
– 18% in a B&B,
– 14% camped.
– length of stay;
– 7% stayed 1 night
– 63% stayed 2 nights,
– 25% stayed 3 to 5 nights,
– 5% stayed 5 plus nights.
– 92% had at least one meal at a local restaurant.
– 81% visited a local dive shop.
– 77% of scuba divers visited a local coffee shop.
– 40% visited the Railway Tunnel.
– 27% took a scuba charter or a island cruise.
– 11% visited the Aquatarium.

  • Additional feedback comments;

– “I would like to thank Dalton and the SOS-1000 Islands for all the great work done at Centeen Park, both above and underwater.
Every candidate enjoyed their day of diving. We are looking forward to our next visit in Brockville and we will gladly guide anyone who wants to discover wrecks in Kingston.
Best Regards”
– “Wonderful job Dalton, thanks for your help this weekend. It was great meeting you.”
– “The SOS Dive Ambassador was very helpful in telling us about the areas shipwrecks and SOS’s work at Centeen, very informative keep up the
good work!”
– Thank you Dalton you were very helpful. I also greatly appreciate you helping me carry my gear.”

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