It is quiet, very quiet, in the tropics. Too quiet? Probably not. This time of year tends to be a little slow for tropical development. But that is not sufficient reason to stay on guard. I look at tropical data at least every three days. Most days the National Hurricane Center report has been, “No New Tropical Cyclones Are Expected to Form During the Next 5 Days”, so checking about every third day make sense to me.
(POSSIBLE) COMING ATTRACTIONS
It is premature to disclose the specifics, but, in the spirit of continuous improvement, I have received preliminary approval from Captain Paul Beal, General Manager of the Florida Sea Base, to present a budget proposal that would add even more benefit to the Scuba Certification adventure. The projected hit to my cost center is less than $10k per year (maybe closer to $8k once I get more accurate projected attendance figures for 2015 next week).
Sailing Director Captain Luke Knuttel and Sailing Commissioner Richard Fallon are working on plans to revamp the Coral Reef Sailing schedule. While I can hear 30 Coral Reef Captains groaning right now, I have confidence that any changes made by Captain Luke will benefit the participants, staff and captains.
Like almost every business entity in the world, the management at the Florida Sea Base is constantly pressured to do more with less. And just like the saying goes, it often feels like we are doing way too much with way too little. But that does not seem to lower the expectation that we must find away to do still more with even less. Sometimes I feel like a sock that’s been turned inside out. Apparently this is called “improvement”.
A large part of the dilemma faced by Captain Scott Martin at the Brinton Environmental Center, Logistics Team Leader Tim Stanfill, Captain Luke and me is the lack of adequate housing for the seasonal staff. More efficient scheduling and more efficient use of the staff, are key components of our efforts for continuous improvement. Building more staff housing is not a financial issue, it is a restriction imposed by the local government.
The only realistic way to increase the quantity of Scouts served at the Florida Sea Base is by opening more satellite operations like the Bahamas and USVI operations. But does “continuous improvement” only mean serving more Scouts? Certainly not. I feel that Captain Scott, Captain Luke, Tim and I are focused on providing better adventures to the number of Scouts we are able to serve through better facilities, better opportunities, better programming. We have been successful in thinking outside our little box.
Sometimes “improvement” means taking a step back. Captain Scott Martin was effective in improving one of our most popular adventures, the Florida Fishing Adventure, by removing one of the program’s components and using that time, energy, money and resources to improve the program overall. Other programs will be tweaked, rearranged, reduced, revamped and remolded to make them better for the Scouts, the staff and the captains.
This need for improvement is internal. The Florida Sea Base is blessed to serve more Scouts almost every year. We could keep doing what we do. But our dedication to the Scouts and our customers pushes us to do better. I first heard the term “continuous improvement” from our former General Manager. Despite changes in personnel, that philosophy runs deep at the Florida Sea Base.
We will never satisfy everyone every day. But the number of patrons that depart the Florida Sea Base without having experienced an adventure of a lifetime is infinitesimal. We do what we can to plan and budget. But the success is in the presentation. The seasonal staff and captains make the adventures come to life day after day. We appreciate that fact, and never loose sight of this reality. Tim Stanfill, Captain Scott Martin, Captain Luke Knuttel and I all served as seasonal staff and/or captains at the Florida Sea Base before accepting our current assignments. We know first hand who makes the magic happen at the Florida Sea Base.
Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape