As diving changed in the 1980’s, the Sea Rovers stayed at the forefront of diving, and the flavor of the Clinics continued to evolve with the dive industry. Many of the science and technology presentations in the underwater world were by now being addressed by other professional annual conventions, such at the Marine Technological Society, the IEEE, and more. New developments in dive gear, travel, education and technology were by now mainstays, and one of the largest rooms was always dedicated to shipwreck discovery and exploration, a favorite of audiences for decades. The Clinic moved to the stately interior of the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel (built the same year as the Titanic, by the way), where we’ve continued to flourish and develop in conjunction with the ever changing dive business.
The diving world in the 1980’s was experiencing one of its greatest growth rates in history, and all aspects of the sport were changing significantly. Training organizations were streamlining courses, re-writing text books, and more people were being certified than ever before. Divers could now take specialty courses, and become Divemasters, Master Divers, Master Instructors, and just about anything in between. Equipment manufacturers were also expanding their product lines, not only with new colors, but with new designs, products, and materials.
Manufacturers were starting to integrate plastics into many of their products, reducing weight, and increasing design options. Colors had been introduced to the diving world back in the 70’s, but the early gear required color pigments to be added to the rubber, which significantly reduced the life expectancy of the product. With plastics, engineers could used be more flexible with design configurations, and more creative with colors. Silicone masks began to appear, removing forever the tunnel vision restrictions of black oval masks.
Equipment was changing significantly. Horse collar BC’s were soon to be obsolete as buoyancy design finally began to evolve as engineers shifted the bouyancy cells first to the back with wings style BC’s, and then around the sides and under the arms with jacket – style vests. Diving would never be the same. Features in these new BC’s would include dump valves integrated into the now-standard auto-inflation hoses, back pack harnesses used to secure the vest, and new nylon cam pack straps to make it easier to take tanks on and off.
The continuous evolution of dive gear was hitting the fast lane, and the place to find out about the latest developments was, as always, the Boston Sea Rovers Clinic!