Dwayne Beggs, one of the early pioneers of SNUBA International Inc., spoke to the Club about exploring the underwater world by snorkeling with their latest  product. SNUBA is the perfect cross between snorkeling and scuba diving.

The world-wide company, headquartered here in Shingle Springs, just off Durock Rd., has provided recreational surface equipment as well as partially submerged vessels since 1985 at resorts throughout the world. The idea originated in a ski shop in Soda Springs by Michael Stafford.  Michael had the idea to develop a “short ski” (an innovation that made it easier to learn to ski) for diving.   Already leaders in the water transportation industry, Michael contacted his brother Patrick, CEO of Sea Shuttle Systems. The rest is history. 
Dwayne brought one of the company's SNUBA units to the Club.  The user wears a small harness and a simple-to-use regulator that is connected by up to a 20-foot-long hose to an air tank that floats comfortably at the water's surface.  Learners can use the hose to keep themselves at a depth they feel comfortable with.  Typically, two divers are connected to one floating tank, so there is a built-in buddy system.  
This local company has a distributed manufacturing process: the floats are made in Washington state, the harnesses are made in Grass Valley, and the assembly of the final unit is done in Placerville.
Individuals cannot purchase the SNUBA unit.  It is typically sold to snorkel/dive tour companies, who then sell the use of a SNUBA unit as part of a training and tour package.  Use of SNUBA typically runs $70-90 per hour, but if bought as a cruise excursion, it is often over $100 per hour.  Resort chains such as Sandals and Club Med are typical customers.  The biggest collection of SNUBA operators are in Hawaii, but places like Australia and Riviera Maya Mexico also have several operations.  In Dwayne's opinion, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is one of the most spectacular places to SNUBA.  On average, a new SNUBA operation starts up every month.  SNUBA has 90 operations in 60 countries.

Thanks, Dwayne, for a fascinating introduction to SNUBA.