Updated Dive Shop Locator Now Live

The updated PADI Dive Shop Locator (DSL) is now live in eight languages (with more to come) and makes it even easier for divers to find you. Here’s what’s new:

Responsive Design for Mobile Devices

The DSL was redesigned with mobile users in mind and is responsive to any device screen with familiar touch navigation.

Map function:

The map uses familiar mapping functions like dragging, zooming and selecting a map entry for more information. Users can redo searches in new areas and rest the map to their current location. Plus, hovering in the results pane highlights the dive shop flag for that particular dive center on the map as a visual indicator of its location.

Premium:

Premium upgrade listings are given higher priority in searches and are shown at the top of search results. These listings also provide a more detailed dive shop profile and display the dive store’s logo. Plus, you can now list the courses available at your dive center by editing the account tab under Premium Listing at the PADI Pros’ Site.

Sponsored Ads:

Sponsored Ads are now displayed with a yellow border in the results pane and yellow dive flag in the map area. As of 1 January 2019, advertisement display order will be randomized, which means anyone may be at the top of the results.

Search results:

While all dive centers and resorts are shown in an unfiltered search, Five Star and Premium listings are given weighted priority. There are numerous filters available but to improve search results, dive centers can purchase a Premium Listing or Sponsored Ad or upgrade to a Five Star membership level. The weighting system is a balance of Five Star status, Premium Listing status, distance from center and search keywords.

Check out the improved PADI Dive Shop Locator today and be sure to provide your comments by using the feedback button.

How Can We Protect More of Our Oceans?

For more than two decades, scientists have been telling us that Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are one of the keys to long term ocean health. While some debated their worth early on, today there’s little dispute. As reported by Smithsonian Magazine, MPAs with full protection have four times as much life (biomass). Species grow larger and reproduce proportionately more. MPAs and the areas around them recover more quickly from environmental damage, and (along with fishery management) have higher fish catches — so much so that commercial fishing comes out ahead despite the loss of fishable area.

While established as big wins for everyone, global governments are not on track to meet a U.N. goal to have 10% of the world’s ocean under full protection by 2020. Officially, we’re at just under 6%, but some say it’s really under 4% because some declared MPAs have no enforcement and nothing’s changed.

Moreton Bay Hope Spot Anemone Fish – Photo By Chis Roelfsema

But thanks to Hope Spots, we can help catch up and get ahead of the curve. Hope Spots, if you’re not familiar, were conceived by Dr. Sylvia Earle, with coordination and oversight by Mission Blue, a not-for-profit organization Dr. Earle founded to unite people and organizations for this cause. Hope Spots are unique marine areas identified as particularly distinct due to the diversity of species found there, the habitat’s importance for reproduction, threats from human activity, community economic needs or any other attribute that makes a location central to marine environmental health.

The idea is to conserve and preserve Hope Spots by leveraging public perception and attention so they receive appropriate protection (not necessarily becoming MPAs, and some Hope Spots are already MPAs). As you’d expect, the PADI organization formally partnered with Mission Blue in 2017, adding the weight of 26 million+ PADI Diver voices to the Hope Spot cause. Thanks to Dr. Earle, Hope Spots are a conspicuous example of how one person with a great idea can inspire millions to unite across borders and cultures for a common purpose.

Global Hope Spots map. Photo: Mission Blue

Today, there are almost 100 existing and proposed Hope Spots, and they are important, even though preserving them will not, in itself, halt global climate change, clean up the oceans, stop overfishing, etc. These bigger problems call for big, broad and deep social changes (that are not impossible), but we still need Hope Spots for several reasons:

  • By creating areas with proven biological productivity, they help us buy time addressing some of these challenges. For example, Hope Spots won’t solve overfishing, but by providing areas in which fish reproduction functions unchecked, we prop up fish populations as we sort through the management issues.
  • Hope Spots help preserve biodiversity. Some scientists see this as helping the ocean bounce back with as many species as possible as we make positive changes. Others, accepting that some change is permanent, see biodiversity as central to marine ecology. That is, some coral species tolerate heat better than others; having a diverse genetic supply of such species may be important in a warmer ocean.
  • Hope Spots are inspirational and visible. Hope Spots draw attention. They remind communities just how close and personal ocean threats are, but that we can (and must) act to offset them. As a source of local pride, Hot Spots inspire area divers and ocean advocates to speak up for and fight for them. Mission Blue, PADI and other supporters use social media to highlight Hope Spot stories to make and keep them in the broad public eye.

As a diver, you can support the PADI organization, Mission Blue and others united behind Hope Spots. You can nominate a Hope Spot, and you can participate in events promoting/protecting a Hope Spot (many led by PADI dive shops or instructors, and may tie in Project AWARE as well). Of course, you can contribute to Hope Spot funding – check out mission-blue.org. If you live near or visit a Hope Spot, talk about it in person and on social media – especially with those who may not be aware of it. Finally, get involved with Project AWARE and your local PADI dive operation to make every dive count. Millions of people like you and me passionately preserving, conserving and restoring the ocean is the best hope there is.

 

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

Earn Money Selling PADI Travel’s Dive Vacations

In the digital age, the old ways of doing business have been broadsided by a barrage of internet-savvy business models that have turned the world of commerce upside down. Among these are affiliate programs. Simply put, affiliate programs (sometimes called associate programs) are business arrangements in which an online merchant pays affiliates commissions to send them traffic or referrals that result in a sale. There are always three parties in this arrangement: the customer, the affiliate and the merchant. These affiliate sites traditionally post links to the merchant site and are paid according to a particular agreement.

Now, as the all-new PADI Travel™ Affiliate Program rolls out, PADI Dive Centers and Resorts are poised to take part in a growing digital marketing presence that stands to significantly raise the bar for how dive travel is sold. PADI® Members who’ve been on board with their own dive travel agencies get the concept. If selling dive travel is relatively new for you, look at the PADI Travel Affiliate Program and learn more about how it could transform your business and give you access to a brand new marketplace for your divers.

Key Benefits of the PADI Travel Affiliate Program

  • Commission: As a PADI Travel Affiliate, you can sell anything offered by PADI Travel and earn a commission. You even earn a commission for directly referring clients – if they book a trip, you get a commission.
  • Instore Sales: Once a diver you refer to PADI Travel books, PADI Travel will send them back to your store so you can provide further training or fulfill equipment needs.
  • Group Trips and Charters: receive unbeatable service, expert advice, group discounts, extra spots, dive show specials and free diver protection insurance when you book your group trips through PADI Travel. With a 24/7 customer support team, PADI Travel ensures your groups come back to you next time to book their vacation. The upcoming PADI Travel marketplace will even allow you to fill unbooked spots on your group trips.

You get full marketing support from the PADI Travel team. This includes training guides, webinars and POS (point of sale) materials including posters and business cards that really gear you up to maximize the revenue you can earn through the PADI Travel Affiliate Program. All your POS material is personalized with your unique tracking codes. If one of your customers takes a business card, logs on at home and makes a booking, you earn your commission.

PADI TRAVEL

PADI Travel Can Boost Your Business – Whether You Already Sell Travel or Not

  • Already Succesfully Selling Travel?

For those with in-house travel agencies, you now have access to the largest inventory of bookable scuba diving properties in the world – 400 and growing. Access new markets, new territories and new locations – all backed by incredible PADI Travel customer service – and earn new revenue.

  • Not Yet Selling Travel?

If you don’t already sell travel, now is the time to bolster your revenue – start today. You earn attractive commission on every diver you point towards PADI Travel. You don’t even need to organize a trip – just connect your customers with PADI Travel. All affiliates are provided tracking codes to automatically associate your customers with your account. This triggers a commission payment once the customer has made an independent booking.

Ready to take advantage of the PADI Travel Affiliate program? You can register here.

Last Call for 2019 Online Renewal

Time is running out to renew your 2019 PADI® Retail and Resort membership at a reduced rate. To receive the reduced 2019 PADI Retail and Resort membership rate you must renew before 15 December 2018. Here are a few tips to consider while renewing online:

  1. Online membership renewal is accessible on the My Account page of the PADI Pros Site.
  2. Renewing online before 15 December 2018 entitles you to a reduced membership rate for 2019.
  3. Choose the Automatic Renewal option when checking out to receive the lowest renewal rate for 2020.
  4. Follow the link below to renew now and continue enjoying all your great PADI benefits.

RENEW ONLINE NOW

Dry Suit Diving Safety Tips

Written by DAN Staff

In the Northern Hemisphere, temperatures are dropping as winter approaches and for many locations that means it’s time for dry suit diving courses to start. Dry suits are excellent exposure protection for comfort and safety. They provide warmth, redundant buoyancy and the ability to get in the water all year long, but they come with some specific safety concerns. Brush up on the hazards so you can better prepare your students for cool water diving.

Constriction Concerns

Tight wrist and neck seals aren’t just uncomfortable, they can cause real problems for divers. Neck and wrist seals should fit snugly but should not restrict blood flow. Wrist seals that are too tight can cause pain in the fingers and hands as well as numbness, tingling and loss of dexterity. They can also increase the risk of a cold injury due to decreased feeling and blood flow.

Tight neck seals have the potential to induce carotid sinus reflex. This reflex slows the diver’s heartbeat and the flow of blood to the brain and can make the diver feel dizzy or lightheaded or lose consciousness if left unchecked. You’ll size your student’s wrist and neck seals during a class, but double check them when you get to the dive site. Changes in temperature, position or stress can cause minor swelling and make a seal tight enough to cause a problem. Make sure seals are trimmed and stretched to the appropriate size before getting in the water.

Dermatological Concerns

There are many causes of diving-related skin conditions, and some of them have the potential to mask more serious concerns. This is the case with many dry suit-related dermatological issues. New divers who fail to add gas to their dry suits as they descend and experience a squeeze may get rashes, chafing or bruises as a result. While uncomfortable, these typically have no lasting ill effects. These bruises can be dramatic, however, and sometimes resemble cutaneous DCS, also known as skin bends. If one of your students appears to have bruises after a dry suit dive, always consider the possibility of DCS and respond based on the apparent symptoms (or lack thereof). Early recognition of skin bends is important and can significantly increase the likelihood of a positive outcome for an injured diver.

Urological Concerns

Urination systems are not common in many dry suits, especially rental suits,  because of hygiene concerns. However, if your student divers own suits with urination systems, it’s a good idea to teach them how to properly use the system. Pneumaturia (the passage of air during urination), urogenital infections and catheter squeeze can be caused by improper equalization or maintenance of these systems. Covering system-specific equalization, using balanced systems with one-way check valves to prevent water ingress, and covering thorough and regular cleanings as part of hygienic equipment use are critical parts of instruction.

For more information on dry suit safety, visit DAN.org/Health.

 

 

Engagement and Productivity

Over the last decade and a half, “employee/work engagement” and “productivity” have risen as hot, linked buzzwords in the business community. Though definitions and measures of “higher productivity,” “better performance,” “lower turnover,” “better quality” and similar concepts differ, studies consistently find higher engagement correlated with them. Studies also find it correlated with a positive customer experiences. In other words, “engaged” workers do more, better.

What Does “Engagement” Mean?

Schaufeli (2013) acknowledges that “work engagement” and “employee engagement” are used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings. Simplified, “work engagement” may be defined as being mentally and emotionally connected to work goals and performance in a manner that motivates the person to further both, beyond expected minimums. “Employee engagement” is work engagement, plus an emotional commitment to the organization for or within which the person works that motivates furthering the organization’s reputation and interests beyond expected minimums. It’s important to note that “engagement” is not “satisfaction,” “happiness,” or “workaholism,” which can be high without engagement.

Rising Importance

Measuring individual worker productivity is increasingly difficult as “knowledge-based” services make up more of the economy. In many countries, as many as half of all workers create and use intellectual property rather than physical property, making conventional productivity measuring methods obsolete and unreliable. Impraise, a management software company, notes that “knowledge-based employees simply can’t be measured by the output of their productivity.”

Engagement behaviors, however, can be observed and measured, and their effects can be seen on the bottom line. For this reason, more and more businesses concern themselves with encouraging and measuring engagement behaviors and overall results.

The Takeaways

Much of the dive industry falls in the knowledge/service domain, making engagement central to increasing and sustaining productivity. Creating engagement is complex, with entire courses on how to do so, but experts seem to agree on a few common themes:

  1. Communicate regularly and personally. Frequent one-on-one communication with the dive operation manager/owner should increase engagement. Focus on purpose and how each person’s purpose fits in with it. They also need to know and see specifically how their efforts make a difference.
  2. Quality is often more important than quantity. This especially includes instruction. Beyond the more important safety issues, well-trained divers are more likely to invest in gear, travel and more training, and more likely to refer friends. So, training fewer divers well in a given time is likely more productive from a business perspective than training more divers poorly in the same interval.
  3. Dive businesses thrive on customer experience. Diving is all about customer experience, especially in training and travel. Engagement and customer experience tend to go hand in hand. Engaged employees and instructional staff have a passion for what they do and with whom they work that contributes to this.
  4. Trust. Knowledge-economy workers need relative autonomy and responsibility for managing their own productivity. This doesn’t mean ignoring what dive center staff does, but providing guidance and goals that allows them to get their work done without micromanagement.
  5. Results over effort. Recognize when people work hard and for long hours, but for most tasks focus on doing the right things well over simply staying busy. Reward innovation that saves money/time, expands services or improves customer experiences.

Adapted from the 4th Quarter 2018 edition of The Undersea Journal®, written by Karl Shreeves.

PADI and The Reef-World Foundation Embark on a Global Venture to Make Sustainable Diving the Social Norm

PADI® and Reef-World have joined forces to promote sustainable diving practices for the protection of the marine environment. This partnership will raise awareness and deliver tools to implement the Green Fins standard of best practice, helping to ensure the long-term sustainability of coral reefs, recreational scuba diving and local livelihoods.

Green Fins is the only internationally recognized environmental standard for dive and snorkel operators, established through a partnership between UN Environment and The Reef World Foundation. Green Fins uses a unique and proven three-pronged approach; green certifications of dive centers, strengthening regulations and environmental education for dive staff, divers and government.

As the largest diver training organization in the world, PADI has the reach and influence to mobilize divers to be citizen activists. With 6,500 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts, 135,000 PADI Professionals and more than 25 million divers around the world, the PADI network has tremendous potential to make an impact on critical environmental issues.

PADI is committed to supporting social and environmental efforts through its Pillars of ChangeSM, designed to empower divers, and the dive industry, with information to get involved with causes they care about in tangible ways. With PADI’s support and more dive operators worldwide adhering to the best practices outlined by Green Fins, the dive industry can play a significant role in creating a more sustainable future.

“Reef-World is working in partnership with UN Environment on the front lines alongside business, government and the public to be the driving force for making sustainable diving and snorkeling the social norm globally. Our ultimate goal is to reduce local threats to coral reefs, allowing them to be more resilient to global impacts such as climate change. We’re thrilled to work with PADI, alongside other dive industry leaders, who can engage divers and diving businesses worldwide, helping us to scale solutions with the urgency that is required.” – JJ Harvey, Reef-World

Many locations are experiencing increasing numbers of tourists who are attracted by vibrant coral reefs. Ensuring that every diver and dive operator in all corners of the globe are equipped with appropriate training and knowledge will help relieve pressure on the marine environment.

“Unquestionably, there are serious and formidable issues threatening the world’s coral reefs. That said, I’m a firm believer in engagement, problem identification and mitigation. The PADI organization is committed to acting as a force for good. By empowering divers and connecting them to the PADI family and global issues relevant to our industry, we can help people be a powerful catalyst for change.” – Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide.

“Saving coral reefs as a source of livelihoods and as a business asset requires collaboration between industry, civil society and governments. This partnership is set to raise the sustainability bar of the diving industry and will help establish environmentally friendly diving as the global norm” – Jerker Tamelander, Head of Coral Reef Unit, UN Environment

The partnership between PADI and Reef-World aims to reach more divers and businesses with the Green Fins lessons and tools. This will be achieved by:

  • Collaborating to help scale the proven solutions of Green Fins: PADI supports market research efforts for the development of a new Green Fins online support system for broader global implementation and easy adoption.
  • Promoting the Green Fins approach: PADI Dive Centres and Resorts are encouraged to adopt the Green Fins Code of Conduct and, where available, seek Green Fins certified membership.
  • Help deliver on PADI’s Pillars of Change focusing on marine animal protection and sustainable tourism by raising awareness throughout the diving industry about available tools and materials to promote change in business practices and reduce environmental impact.
  • Promoting sustainable dive tourism and coral reefs protection through the development of new online media content that inspires environmentally friendly actions.

Working collaboratively provides greater opportunity for dive operators around the world to be better informed and equipped to apply sustainable dive practices, using Green Fins’ guidelines. Reducing environmental threats and pressure on the fragile marine environment will result in improved coral reef resilience and increased sustainable tourism at dive destinations. The partnership delivers on the goals of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations, specifically SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and 14 (Life below water).

 

About Reef-World:

Reef-World supports governments and communities in sustainable consumption and production of coastal resources and marine life. This is done through the Green Fins initiative, established and implemented in partnership with UN Environment. Green Fins is a free membership program for participating businesses that provide scuba diving or snorkeling activities and pledge to follow a set of best environmental practices. Within the 550+ businesses that have implemented Green Fins across nine countries, consistent reduction in threats to the marine environment has been measured, reflecting continued improvements in environmental practice. Specific areas of change are seen in reduced single-use plastics and chemical cleaning products, more responsible underwater behavior among divers and improved environmental awareness within our target audience. For more information visit reef-world.org and greenfins.net.

Get the Most Out of Black Friday

Black Friday has grown in the public imagination over recent years – it is common to see retailers offering huge discounts for their goods on the Friday after Thanksgiving in November.

So how does a small business capitalize on a big event like this?

We wanted to share some key ideas to help you make the most of Black Friday this year.

  • Create a sense of urgency:

The buzz around Black Friday only works because the offers you make are unique. There are lots of excuses for extending the event (Cyber Monday has essentially become a way of offering things throughout the weekend), but be sure to limit yourself – if your customers can get the offer any time, they won’t feel an urgency to buy from you now.

  • Reward loyal customers:

Your marketing efforts are probably going to be most effective at reaching your existing customer base. They’re the ones who have shopped from you before, and they are the ones most likely to recognize the benefits of your offers. PADI’s continuing education courses are best used for this.

  • Don’t just discount – upsell:

Simply reducing the cost of your courses on Black Friday is unlikely to truly benefit your business – you simply give away profit and end up working harder for less. Your best option is to encourage people to buy full price, and get something extra as a reward.

  • “Buy two, get one free”:

This is a classic sales technique that is easily deployed. Your customers choose two items and get a third item free. You need to look carefully at your profit margin on the first two items to ensure that the offer works, however used correctly, this can be a great way to encourage customers to increase their average purchase price.

  • Keep It Simple:

Too many offers can be confusing for you, your staff and your customers. Pick a couple of attention grabbing headlines and use these to encourage consumers to visit your store. Even if they don’t take the offer in the end, you have a chance for them to see all the other products you have available.

So how might these offers look in real life? We’ve put together a few simple ideas that you could use in your store. You can use these as they are, or you could use them as inspiration to then make more individualized offers:

The Upsell:

Target your Rescue Divers from the last two years and offer them a free gift if they register for a Divemaster course with you during Black Friday. They should be required to pay a deposit for the course over the weekend in order to secure the offer. You need to ensure that the price of the course includes enough profit to cover the cost of the gift.

Example promotion: Change your life and become a PADI Pro by completing your PADI Divemaster course with ABC Dive Center – BLACK FRIDAY OFFER! Register for your Divemaster course during Black Friday and receive a PADI towel valued at $35 completely free of charge!

The Buy Two Get One Free:

Target your Advanced Open Water Divers and offer them a free Oxygen Administration course when they register for their EFR and Rescue Diver course. O2 is an easy course to add on, with minimal extra time commitment, and a high perceived value.

Example promotion: Serious Fun! Become a PADI Rescue Diver today! BLACK FRIDAY OFFER! Register for your EFR and Rescue Diver course during Black Friday, and complete your PADI Emergency Oxygen Administrator Specialty free of charge!

The Customer reward / sense of urgency:

Target your Open Water Divers and offer them a reduced price on a Specialty course if they sign up within a certain time-frame:

Example promotion: Thank you from ABC Dive Center – BLACK FRIDAY OFFER! As a thanks to our loyal customers, we are offering a 10% discount on Dry Suit Specialties to everyone who has trained as an Open Water Diver with us in 2018. Limited spaces available – contact the store on Black Friday to book your training now!

Business advice is available to all PADI Dive Center owners – if you’d like ideas and support for promotions during Black Friday, contact your Regional Manager today!

Article written by Emma Hewitt

6 Ways to Keep Up With the Latest Marketing Trends

diving marketing trends

Does it seem like every week there’s a new marketing trend that’s going to revolutionize the way we do business? If buzzwords like: blockchain, chatbots, and the internet of things make your eyes glaze over, you’re not alone.

Keeping up with digital trends can be a full-time job. You need a virtual assistant just to sort through which ones are worth investing in and which are a waste of pixels. To help busy dive center owners keep their marketing skills sharp, we put together a list of our favorite blogs, podcasts and other ways to learn how to take advantage of new marketing trends.

Follow or Subscribe to Popular Blogs
The blogs below will give you a regular dose of marketing “vitamins.” Read news, updates and how to’s to help grow your business.

The Retail Doctor – recent topics include:
9 Ways To Get Better At Selling In Retail
8 Proven Steps for Retail Success
–  Quiz: How Engaging is Your Retail Experience,

PADI Pros North America – learn about:
Top Teaching Tips
Re-Doing Your Website
The Cost to Become a Scuba Instructor. Vs. Other Instructor Programs

Social Media Today – their daily brief includes topics such as:
Digital Strategy
Social Media Updates
Content Marketing

HubSpot’s Marketing Blog has great info and, even better, how long it will take to read the entire article. For example:
4 Easy Ways to Reshare Content on Instagram (11 min read)
Guide to Using Emojis in Marketing (12 min read)
Ultimate Guide to Marketing Terms You Should Know (31 min read)

Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are a convenient way to learn new things from subject matter experts. Tune in during your commute, or plug in at night instead of spending time in front of a screen. Here are a few to consider:

StoryBrand – Marketing advice focused around making customers the hero of your brand
Jon Loomer – Entrepreneurship with a focus on Facebook ads
Amy Porterfield –  Try Attracting new customers using YouTube or How to use Instagram stories to grow your customer list

Take a free online course
HubSpot offers a free online course in social media. Eight lessons breakdown social media fundamentals, latest trends, social media listening and how to use social media to manage a crisis.

Google Online Library
Learn how to get discovered by customers in your local area, how to get started with Google Analytics, Google Ads basics and so on. Use Google Primer to learn a little more everyday, even if you only have five minutes to spare. You can also complete Google’s free certification courses to become an expert in Google Ads, Analytics and other Google products.

Subscribe to Magazines
A few of our favorites include:
INC (the magazine for small business owners)
Forbes
Entrepreneur

and Fast Company

PADI Business Academy
Learn about business planning, how to increase engagement with Facebook followers, website optimization, staff training, pricing and sales – and more at PADI Business Academy in 2019. Visit the PADI Pros Site to find an upcoming PADI Business Academy near you.

A Force for Good: The Researchers

Everyone knows that global environments in general, and the oceans in particular, are threatened. Climate change, coral bleaching, overfishing, runaway plastics – it’s a long list and every day, another study makes the list longer and more daunting. It may seem like everyone’s jumping on the bad news bandwagon, but I look at these reports in a positive, enabling way: the future we don’t want must be predicted to avoid it.

So, besides studying current issues, marine and environmental researchers show us problems before they arise. For example, in August marine scientists Wortman, Paytan and Yao (University of Toronto and University of California, Santa Cruz) released a study that suggests that, beyond warming, elevated atmospheric CO2 would reduce oceanic oxygen, making the deeper depths toxic and significantly damage fisheries through it effect on the food web. Yes, that’s bad news, but thanks to these researchers we know now, while we still have time to do something about it.

And, this leads to the second reason researchers are a crucial force for good. It’s about predicting problems, but also finding the solutions and sharing them. In a previous blog, I mentioned Dr. Vaughan’s breakthrough in coral restoration – shared research that directly addresses a massive global challenge that’s close to the heart of all divers. In Cuba’s Guanahacabibes National Marine Park, biologist Dr. Dorka Cobián Rojas teams with global scientists and “citizen scientist” divers to research causes and implement solutions to coral loss and the invasive lionfish. There also, Dr. Osmani Borrego similarly researches plastic pollution. These are critical research efforts because Guanahacabibes’ reefs are healthy, making them a biological resource oasis needed to find the problems and solutions we need to protect, preserve and restore the world’s reefs and fisheries.

Let’s not overlook “citizen scientist” involvement, because it is vital. Professional full-time researchers like Rojás and Borrego do not have the time or resources to gather all the data and trial the solutions. Solving massive, world-scale problems calls for massive, world-scale participation – in the ocean, that means you and me. As Project AWARE likes to say, don’t let your dives go to waste. Every dive we make can contribute to research. Dive Against Debris, for example, isn’t simply about picking up litter underwater or pointing fingers – it’s part of finding out how we can stop it.

Another effort is Reef Life Survey, founded by Dr. Graham Edgar, which trains volunteer divers to survey marine organisms. More than 200 RLS divers have already surveyed more than 2,000 sites in 44 countries, creating one of the largest global biological databases in existence. Using these data, researchers expect a shift in fish and invertebrate distribution as the oceans warm – a conclusion only possible thanks to these citizen scientist divers.  India.mongbay.com reports that in India, scientists train fishermen and other volunteers to dive (if they’re not already divers) as citizen scientists for involvement in multiple initiatives, and it has another benefit – public support. “The research also gets community buy-in when their people are involved,” the report quotes University of Kerala’s aquatic biology department head A. Biju Kuma. Go online and you can find literally dozens of ways scientists embrace divers like you and me in researching the solutions to environmental threats.

There’s a lot to do, so let’s make every dive count. Join Dive Against Debris if you haven’t already, and/or any other citizen scientist effort. We can be researchers while still making images, exploring or doing everything else we love about diving. And, let’s be restorers who use what we’re learning to rebuild, revitalize and recreate a healthy global environment. Let’s be reachers and teachers who use diving to spread what we’re learning and doing, and pass it to the next generations.

Regardless of what today’s trends are, the future is not inevitable. With 25 million PADI Professionals and Divers helping lead the way, and with a new generation of divers to come, we’re already changing course to a different tomorrow with a thriving, healthy global environment. When it comes to gazing into the crystal ball, I like what author-educator Peter Drucker said:

The best way to predict the future
is to create it.

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO