January 13th, 2010

Made in the U.S.A: Does It Really Matter Anymore?

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Made in the USA has become more important than ever in the dive community. As the economy slows and the unemployment rate rises, we’re seeing boutique scuba gear brands appear. The problem is that these guys are often buying directly overseas and have no QC procedures in place. If you don’t have a reputable manufacturer overseas, eventually there will be a product quality issue and it can be serious. If the product fails, the boutique guy simply closes his garage door or moves to another apartment. There’s no recourse for the consumer. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen in the past 25 years in the business.

We try to build as many products in the USA as possible. That’s not to say that every product that is manufactured overseas is a problem. Take gauges, for example. These come out of Italy and are excellent. However, when we get products overseas we scrutinize the production process and make sure our vendor adheres to our quality control standards. In some cases, we even ship proprietary parts overseas rather than accept knock-offs. This means the external look of some of our gear might look like another overseas brand, but internally it’s not. We’ve got our OEM parts inside. We’ve tried off-the-shelf products years ago and learned quickly that the extra investment is worth it. You won’t find a Dive Rite product distributed in the original box it was shipped to us in either. We personally inspect and QC our products, whether it be from the USA or overseas.

The reason I bring this up in my blog is that Dive Rite is receiving more and more customer emails from dissatisfied customers of these boutique brands. They’ve found a good deal on the Internet and when the product fails, they aren’t getting the support they need. Thankfully, they turn to us and we’re able to help them.

This isn’t to say that all boutique brands are bad. Do your research and ask questions. A busted hose or delaminated wing isn’t worth the savings when your safety is at stake.

Lamar

3 Responses to “Made in the U.S.A: Does It Really Matter Anymore?”

  • Lamar,

    I applaud you and your company for building as many of your products in this country with legal residents/citizens as possible. I will always buy a product made in the USA before a product made somewhere else. I feel that Made in the USA

    Jim Clark, January 14th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

  • Lamar,

    I applaud you and your company for building as many of your products in this country with legal residents/citizens as possible. I will always buy a product made in the USA before a product made somewhere else. I feel that Made in the USA has as big an impact on our national security as a strong military.

    Thanks,
    Jim Clark

    Jim Clark, January 14th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

  • Lamar,

    I am first and foremost an American who is happy to serve my country in a way few will ever understand. I was pleased to see the made in America tag sewn into my BC when it arrived in the mail to me in Italy. I understand the “global economy” and how important it is to the U.S. and indeed the rest of the world. I have seen Italian divers using your products. Thanks for making a quality product that makes each and every dive more enjoyable then the last.

    Sincerly Yours,

    Chris Bender

    Chris Bender, May 8th, 2010 at 9:27 am