Johnson Outdoors has decided to issue the first dividend in its history as a public company as its net earnings rose to $8,268,000 from $6,563,000 in the same period a year ago in spite of certain extra charges for the 3rd quarter ended June 29.

Good growth in scuba diving and paddle sports helped the group to report an 11 percent sales increase to $150.6 million in the quarter. Excluding military sales, which declined as expected, total sales would have increased by 13 percent, and the growth would have been even higher without certain delivery problems in all its divisions that are now being addressed.

Sales of diving products jumped by 14 percent to $25.5 million, generating a higher operating profit of $3,014,000, thanks in part to the improved performance of the Scubapro brand in Europe and the successful European launch of a new Uwatec dive computer. The April acquisition of Seemann Sub in Germany added sales of $2.3 million for the period.

Watercraft sales grew by 5 percent to $37.1 million, driven by new products such as the Ocean Kayak Prowler Trident and the Necky Eliza Ultralite kayak for women. There was growth in international markets, including the recently acquired Lendahl Paddles in the UK, but a $4.4 million legal settlement with Confluence Watersports led to an operating loss of $1,199,000 for the division.