In 1989, the Catalina Chamber faced the very real prospect of losing L.A. County funding, vital to its operation. Roger Hess, then owner of Charisma Charters, came up with the idea that all the boats should band together for a day of diving and donate all the proceeds to our Chamber. And thus, Chamber Day was born.
The first event attracted about 200 divers and netted around $15,000 for our Chamber. Over the past quarter-century, the event has grown to have over 1,000 participants; added Chamber Eve, the Flying Dutchman, and the Chamber Challenge; and last year raised just over $136,000 for our Chamber. We are justifiably considered the largest single-day scuba charity event in the United States and perhaps even the world.
2013 marks our Silver Anniversary—Chamber Day 25. We hope it will be the most successful yet. But we can't do it without you.
So once again, we as a diving community must band together for the benefit of our Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber. The date this year is Wednesday, May 1.
Our Catalina Chamber is the ONLY hyperbaric chamber in SoCal dedicated solely to the treatment of diving accidents, on a 24/7/365 basis. Although we all hope we'll never need it, having our Chamber available provides divers with a vital safety net when something goes wrong. And while the Chamber has some other sources of income, Chamber Day provides a significant portion—over 50%—of the Chamber’s annual budget.
It’s important to know that all monies raised go to the Chamber. No administrative fees are deducted from the proceeds, the local SoCal boats donate their time and services, the manufacturers donate gear for raffle prizes, the Aquarium of the Pacific donates their facility for the evening event, hundreds of volunteers donate their time, and you (hopefully) donate your money.
Here’s what’s happening:
· The main event is Chamber Day, which includes a full day of diving (two dives) at Catalina, plus a walking tour of the Chamber at the Isthmus. Cost is $95 (plus $30 for food and airfills, which goes to the boat). This gets you the diving, the tour, a T-shirt, and 5 daytime raffle tickets.
· For those who can't take the day off but would still like to participate, we have the lucky 13th edition of the Flying Dutchman—a mythical boat, yes, but a big part of Chamber Day and the perfect option for those who can't attend in person. “Diving” the Dutchman will get you 5 daytime raffle tickets and a special limited-edition T-shirt available only to folks who sign up for the Dutchman.
· There’s also the Chamber Challenge, which “challenges” the diving community to raise extra funds for our Chamber through direct donations (mostly $100 pledges, but also $500 and $1,000, and even $5,000 and $10,000). You donate, and then—we hope—you challenge your friends to match your generosity.
· This year, every donation to the Challenge of $250 or more will receive a special limited-edition poster (suitable for framing) of ALL 25 Chamber Day logos from 1989 through 2013. This poster will NOT be available for sale by itself. Only a $250 or more Challenge donation will put this collector’s item in your hands.
· Raffle tickets, anyone? Whether you're going on a boat or just looking for a chance to win some fabulous prizes, daytime raffle tickets are the way to go—because you don't need to be present to win. Tickets are $1 each, with discounts when you buy more.
· Chamber Evening, co-sponsored by the Aquarium of the Pacific, wraps up the day. The event features full access to the Aquarium, a sit-down dinner in the Great Hall (under the life-sized model of a blue whale), a few speeches—we try to keep them short—a raffle, and finally, the presentation of the Chamber Day check to Karl Huggins, Director of the Chamber.