15 Top Tips for Re-doing Your Website

According to a recent survey, 70-80 percent of potential customers will check out your website before phoning or visiting your dive shop. Having an attractive, informative, mobile-friendly website is more important than ever; unfortunately, many dive operations haven’t kept up with the times.

In addition to attracting new customers, a modern website can help retailers track the effectiveness of their online ad spend. Using a Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics and other tools, business owners can track which marketing efforts are driving sales and which are a waste of money.

Whether you need to update an outdated site or your free Wix/Weebly site no longer meets your needs, use the tips below to ensure your next website is the best it can be. In addition to the 15 top tips, there are three bonus ideas based upon evaluations of more than 50 dive center websites.

Evaluate Your Current Site Using a Website Grader
Not every website needs to be redesigned from scratch. Use a website grader such as Woorank to see what’s working on your existing page and what needs to be improved.

You’ll also be able to review backlinks (other sites that link to your webpage). If a prominent website such as a local TV station, newspaper or other large publication links to your Open Water page, you don’t want to lose that traffic because the URL changes and doesn’t redirect.

Check Your Search Engine Ranking
Open an incognito window in Google Chrome (this ensures your search history isn’t factored into the search results) and Google popular scuba-related searches such as:

scuba diving gear
scuba diving lessons
dive shop
PADI open water
scuba certification
scuba diving certification
padi elearning

Take note of where your current site ranks for individual keywords and where you’d like to rank higher. You’ll use this information when writing copy for your new site.

Establish Goals
Every business website should be designed around its core profit centers. For one dive center, that might be charters, for another it might be gear, or their IDC program. Also, jot down any new areas where you hope to grow (exotic travel, kids programs, etc.) to ensure there’s a home for these topics on your new site.

To prevent your new site from looking like a garage sale, create 3-5 sub-categories such as Equipment, Instruction and Travel. Give each sub-topic prominent placement on your homepage using a graphic so visitors looking for information on that topic can quickly navigate to what they need. In the example below, Project AWARE presents visitors with three images – each a portal to a different section of their website.

A recent study found 75% of website visitors form judgments about a business based on its web site and 94% of a user’s first impression is design-related.

In other words, even if dive equipment is your core business, don’t cover the homepage in pictures of dive gear. This is overwhelming to the eye and may confuse and intimidate new divers. Instead, use one attractive image on the homepage to act as a gateway to more information.

Who Are Your VIPs?
When deciding what content to put on your homepage, also consider who your core customers are and what they’re looking for. Here are a few ideas:

– People looking to get certified
– Travelers interested in booking boat dives
– Potential IDC candidates
– Certified divers who want to refresh or improve their skills
– Cruise ship guests
– Divers who need gear advice
– Parents interested in an summer activity for their kids

Size Up the Competition
Explore a handful of competitor websites. In addition to evaluating other dive operators, choose at least one non-scuba website. The non-scuba competitor might be a cycling store, a ski/snowboard shop or a yoga studio.

– Write down 2-3 things each website does well.
– Note 2-3 things the website does poorly (tip: check out their sites on a mobile device).
– Ask yourself, “if a competing dive center started running my business tomorrow, what would they change?”

Choose a Design That Promotes Your Profit Centers
After defining your goals, key customers, and what parts of your existing website you’d like to update, you’re ready to choose a design. Use the profit centers you’ve identified to narrow down the options. For example, a dive resort that caters to island guests and cruise ship passengers should choose a design that allows them to adequately address the needs of both website visitors.


A local dive center that wants to promote local diving and showcase activities should reserve space for both of those elements.

The site design should also be able to utilize Google Analytics and Facebook pixel code. If you’re not sure, do a quick Google search or ask your web designer.

Finally, responsive design (where the website content adjusts to the size of the user’s screen), is an absolute must. Design with mobile views in mind because there’s a greater than 50% chance your site will be viewed on a mobile device.

Customers should be able to easily navigate on a phone, tablet or desktop device. A mobile-friendly design also helps your business stay competitive; Google penalizes slow-loading, non-responsive pages with a low search ranking.

Compose Key Messages
According to a 2018 article in Inc, 70-80 of customers visit a small businesses’ website before contacting or visiting the store, so it’s critical your website 1) ranks highly in search 2) acts a 24/7 sales person.

Refer to your keyword research to identify the words or phrases where you’d like to rank at the top of Google search. Use keywords words in:

– Page titles and descriptions
– The page URL (ex. divecenter.com/learn-to-scuba-dive-your-city)
– As headlines

When a customer lands on your website, it should be 100% clear your dive operation is the #1 choice for dive equipment, instruction, charters, etc. Here are a few examples of key messages:

Small class sizes and all-inclusive pricing
Dive with the best! 5 Star ratings on Facebook, TripAdvisor and Yelp
The island’s most eco-friendly dive resort

Don’t Overbuild
There’s no way to fit all your knowledge and expertise into one website. Furthermore, the vast majority of visitors will only spend about 15 seconds scanning each page.

Make sure important info stands out by:

  • Using bullet points
  • Put key messages in bold
  • Using images or or sub-headers to break up long sections of text
    (long = 100 words or more).
  • Keep paragraphs short (2-3 sentences)
  • Avoid using industry jargon such as “confined water, knowledge development and acronyms DSD, RSTC, etc.)
  • Put important info “above the fold” in other words: don’t assume people will scroll down.

With websites, less is more. A flashy video can slow page load time and you should never assume a visitor will watch the whole thing.

That said, it’s a good idea to incorporate a few videos on your website. While only 25 percent of website visitors will read the majority of a webpage, 80 percent will watch a one-minute video in its entirety. Embed course promo videos from PADI’s YouTube channel, or create your own. In either case, make sure your webpage includes text with the same information the video provides, not everyone will watch the video, and if they do they might not have their sound on.

Make Contact Info and Hours Easy to Find
According to a study reported in Inc, 44 percent of visitors leave a website if they can’t find basic contact info such as an email address or phone number. The top right corner of the homepage is typically where a phone number should go. In the same corner, include a link to your Contact page.

The Contact Us page should include your store hours, all contact info and an embedded Google map. Your contact page is also a good place for social media icons and links if you don’t already have them in the website header or footer.

Connect and Be Compelling
Prevent website visits from being one-and-done by inviting visitors to start a relationship with you. Invite them to subscribe to your newsletter and be the first to know about trips and special offers – in addition to linking to your Facebook/Instagram/YouTube account(s).  If you don’t connect with new visitors, it’s like they were never there.

Compel website visitors to take the next step. Tell them what you want them to do and include a large, bold text link or a CTA (call to action) button.

– Schedule a free, no-obligation equipment consultation [CONTACT US]
– Small class sizes for personal attention, Reserve your spot! [SEND BOOKING INQUIRY]
– Download our guide to the top 10 local dives [GET THE GUIDE]
– What’s on your dive travel bucket list? [LET US KNOW]

Don’t Expect Website Visitors to Call for Answers
After working hard to optimize your website, you can easily lose a customer by not including key information such as how much your class cost or when classes are offered.

The age of customers picking up the phone to get this information is over. In a Sep 2018 Google article on best practices, Google shared the following findings:

More than half of smartphone users purchased from a company other than the one they’d originally intended to use because the information provided by another brand was more useful

If you’re concerned about stating the price of the course because the “guy down the road” offers it cheaper, educate customers why your course is worth the extra cost. Maybe you have smaller classes sizes, include rental gear, have a on-site pool, etc. Also consider whether the bottom-dollar customer is one you want in the first place.

Use Images of Smiling Divers
In addition to showing underwater images of your local environment, help customers visualize the fun they’re going to have and the underwater life they’ll see. Use some of your most liked images from social media, or visit the Toolbox section of the PADI Pros site to download images and videos. Quality images of divers having fun help new customers understand one of the main reasons people fall in love with diving: the people!

Create an About Us Page That Turns Visitors into Friends

The About Us page is the second most-visited page by new customers and it should leave no doubt in the customer’s mind that you are THE dive shop they should work with.

  • Include links to reviews on Facebook, TripAdvisor, and/or Yelp
  • Showcase smiling photos of your staff, list their certifications and experience  
  • Talk about why you LOVE running a dive shop
  • Share a few details about your hobbies, alma mater, pets, anything to help a website visitor relate to you as a person.
  • Reassure nervous new divers that their scuba class will be safe and fun.
  • Include testimonials if you don’t have them elsewhere.

Find the Right Web Designer
Identify some websites you like and scroll to the bottom of the page. You may find a link to the person or company who built the site.

As part of the vetting process, ensure you’ll have access to update the site whenever you want. Also find out about after-hours support and what happens if the person who built the site gets hit by a bus.

Lastly, ask if they can set up your Google Analytics/Tags and install a Facebook Pixel. These essential tools require installing small snippets of code.

Test Drive Your New Site
Because your website is likely the consumer’s first encounter with your business, make sure it makes a good first impression. Invite friends, customer spouses, grandparents, etc. to evaluate your new site, in person if possible.

Ask them to first look at your site for no more than 15 seconds. What is their first impression of your business? Next, ask them to accomplish an important task like finding out how to get certified, or reserving space on your boat. Watch their mouse movements, and most importantly keep an open mind when they give you feedback.

Website Boosters:
The ideas below will help your new website rise above the competition:

A Dedicated eLearning page
Explain how eLearning saves time and also what the additional costs are. An eLearning page is also a good place to link to the medical form and eLearning student login.

Blog
A blog can help your business establish authority in a variety of areas and crush the competition in online search. It’s important that your blog be included under your domain (ex. yourdiveshop.com/blog or blog.yourdivehop.com).

Testimonial Page
Testimonials establish trust and breakdown skepticism for website visitors who are unsure about taking the next step. They’re also a way to put some of your best customers in the spotlight. Be sure you get permission and include a photo.

AWARE Week: Activities & Events Around the World

By Tara Bradley Connell

With AWARE Week, 15-23 September, quickly approaching, it’s never too late to get your dive community in the conservation game. Here are some unique activities and events to check out for inspiration.

THAILAND: Crystal Dive Koh Tao

The eco-minded dive operator, Crystal Dive Koh Tao, plans on hosting a different event each day. Already on the agenda: beach and underwater clean ups, coral restoration, scientific research projects, and Project AWARE specialties.

AUSTRALIA: Geo Divers

This Sydney PADI 5 Star IDCs has never been shy when it comes to promoting Project AWARE Specialties. This year, the team is conducting a Kids Aware program at their local school and inviting them and their parents to participate in the shop’s Dive Against Debris® event on Sunday, 23 September, followed by a barbecue.

NEW ZEALAND: New Zealand Sea Adventures

Wellington’s PADI 5 Star IDC has always had a strong focus on rebreather and technical diving as well as educating their divers on the importance of ocean awareness. During AWARE Week, they are offering free Project AWARE Specialty Courses to their local dive community.

BAHAMAS: Bimini Shark Girl

Shark Girl Jillian Morris has been educating youth on the importance of conservation since she was a kid herself. Today, she’s a shark advocate, camerawoman, and Executive Director, Education at Oceanicallstars. This year, she’s going to continue spreading the message during AWARE Week with Sharks 4 Kids, her shark education program.

FLORIDA: Rainbow Reef Dive Center

It’s no secret that the dive community in the Keys is passionate about protecting their reefs and coastline. Rainbow Reef Dive Center, located in Key Largo, is going to host a Dive Against Debris event on 21 September for guests and local divers.

UNITED KINGDOM: The Fifth Point

Located in Northumberland, The Fifth Point has been incorporating conservation into their dive programs since they opened up shop four years ago. This year, they’re taking full advantage of AWARE Week with a beach clean up, snorkel clean, egg case hunt, Dive Against Debris, lobster release, marine talk and Dive Against Debris Specialty course.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Divers Down

We all know shark populations are rapidly declining, so Divers Down Fujairah is inviting its divers to take part in the Shark Conservation Specialty course on 22 September, in hopes of raising awareness of shark conservation issues.

 

Interested in bringing a unique event to your local dive community? For more info, or to download the AWARE Week Toolkit for help hosting an event in your area, visit the AWARE Week website.

Divers Already Make a Difference

When you hear reports about overfishing, global climate change, coral bleaching, shark finning . . . and the list goes on . . . it’s tempting to question whether the situation is hopeless. Will we have coral reefs in 30 years? Will anything be living in the seas in 50 years?

Yes, and yes. The seas face formidable challenges, but they have formidable allies – you, me and more than 25 million other divers around the world among them. It’s not just that you and your fellow divers can make difference, but that you’re already making a difference through personal efforts like recycling, responsibly consuming only sustainable seafood, reducing our carbon footprints and campaigning to protect endangered marine animals. These are vital efforts, none of which are wasted, with millions (and growing) of divers and nondivers doing these – which is great. But, compared to some outdoor groups, divers raise the bar for environmental stewardship and leadership. Beyond the forefront of conservation and preservation, divers are at the forefront of restoration.

Did you know that, working alongside scientists, divers help grow and replace coral? Use 3D printing to create artificial structures where real coral and coral species can live? Remove debris (like plastics!) from almost every dive site? Replant mangroves, sea grasses and other vegetation vital to coral and oceanic health? Use different methods to protect and repopulate turtles, fish and other species? Gather data we need to identify and implement ongoing and new solutions? Teach kids and cultures what we’re learning and that we do make a difference so that saving and restoring the planet continues, expands and strengthens? These are not small local experiments – these are fins-on-the-ground, proven-results initiatives in action.

The truth is, we face a much bigger threat than the issues facing the seas, and it is this: loss of hope. We don’t want our heads in the sand, but let’s not lose perspective amid the doom and gloom. There are thousands of healthy coral reefs and other dive sites around the world. By staying informed, innovative and engaged, we can not only visit these, but preserve them, learn from them and leverage them to rebuild and restore.

I believe in realistic optimism and hopeful future, partly because the data support them, but also because really, we have no choice. With hopelessness comes inaction, resignation and surrender, which solve nothing. Hope anchors our souls to what’s possible, to action, and to doing what needs to be done. This isn’t Pollyanna – no one expects the global environment to be like it was in 1618 – but it can be vibrant, healthy and growing. A healthy Earth with healthy seas can be the ultimate heritage we leave our children and theirs.

Literally every dive you and I make can be a step towards that goal — with that in mind, remember that 15-23 September is AWARE Week. Please join the 25 million (and growing) divers who are fighting to restore our ocean planet. If you’re not yet involved with an AWARE event, please click the link and join in: http://www.padi.com/aware-week/join.

 

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

Changing the Lives of Marines Through Diving

kathy peper at get wet scuba

By Tara Bradley Connell

As an instructor in Palm Springs, California, Kathy Peper had no idea that one day her future dive students would be some of the toughest people in the country – the men and women of the U.S. Marines Corp.

“I met some Marines that were interested in scuba diving, and for about six years I pursued the idea to the marine base, but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen,” she said. “Out of the blue, I got a call from the base asking me to teach. A week later I received a contract, and the rest is history.”

Without her dive shop on base, Peper started recruiting students at the PX – a common area on the base. Four years later, the 29 Palms Marine Base gave her a permanent location where she had access to everyone from just-out-of-boot camp to seasoned Marines and their families. To date, Peper estimates that the Marines make up 98% of her divers.

kathy peper at get wet scuba

“My goal is to service the Marines and to get them out of the barracks as a way of giving them something to do that they wouldn’t normally do,” she says. “We are a resource for the Marines but also a family. They come here and talk to me about everything.”

And she’s right. From engagement ring shopping and wedding invitations to career counseling and car repairs – with help from Peper’s boyfriend – Peper’s students tend to stick around long after their C-Card is signed. For Peper, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We keep in touch with a lot of our Marines, and many come back to dive with us for our Catalina trips,” she says. “When they’re away we stay in touch by texting or Facebook. When they’re back in town, we’ll do anything we can from storing their stuff to letting them stay with us while they get situated. It’s a community more than a dive shop.”

That family atmosphere has made such an impact that one Marine changed his last name to Peper, saying she was like a mother to him. Another credits her with saving his life by using diving to help him get out of a dark place. It’s that sense of community that has turned the base’s community of divers into a family.

With such a great response from Marines wanting to try diving, Peper was inspired to host a weekly Try Scuba event – a program that introduces Marines to diving.

How it works: After signing up online, 20 Marines are scheduled every hour for an academics overview and quiz followed by pool work to familiarize them with the gear and introductory skills.

But it’s not just about diving for this group. Peper and her team also give their Marines a little bit of old-fashioned love. Whether it’s having a peanut butter and jelly station during class or a lesson on how to make killer breakfast burritos in the barrack’s microwaves, the Get Wet Scuba team makes it their mission that the Marines feel at home. And with a 50% sign-up ratio for PADI Open Water certifications after each event, they’re making an impact.

“I could do this every month, but we have to limit the amount of students we can accept,” Peper says. “I could have 100 or 50 students a month if we had enough instructors.”

With such a high demand for instructors, Peper notes the need for other dive operators to consider reaching out and creating a positive diving community among their local Marine bases. And while it didn’t happen overnight for Peper, she couldn’t be prouder of the extended dive family she’s built through her journey.

“Once I got here I realized these people are up on the base and a lot of the guys are confined to it because they don’t have vehicles,” she says. “Many are right out of boot camp with nothing to do and away from home. They are looking for stuff to do.”

When asked how others can follow in her footsteps, Peper’s motherly advice resembles a pep talk for one of her Marines.

“You just have to reach out and find out what the opportunities are,” she says. “This is a job for someone that wants to make life better for the Marines, not just to collect a paycheck. If that’s what you want, don’t give up.”

It’s that never-give-up attitude which is why Peper has become somewhat of a matriarch for her little dive shop in Palm Springs – and been able to create a place many Marines can call home.

For more on Peper and her Try Scuba program, visit getwetscubadivers.com.

PADI® Dive Center and Resort Renewal

 

Don’t forget to mark your calendars!

PADI Retail and Resort Membership Renewal occurs every November and here’s  a few tips on how to save the most for 2019:

  • Lowest Renewal Rate – To secure the best annual renewal rate, enroll in Automatic Membership Renewal on the PADI Pros’ Site before 5 November 2018. You can find this feature on the My Account page or by using the Renewal button located on the Homepage.
  • Convenient and Cost Effective – You may renew your membership online by logging onto the PADI Pros’ Site and navigating to the Online Membership Renewal option under the My Account tab. Online Renewal provides you the ability to renew one year at a time and to enroll in Automatic Renewal for future years.
  • The Pen and Paper Method – Renewing with a paper form is still an option but why waste the paper and the time. If you’re not enrolled in auto renewal or have not renewed online, a paper renewal form will be mailed to you prior to the renewal deadline. This method will cost you more than the online methods, so strongly consider saving money and time with automatic renewal.

Don’t waste time worrying about annual membership renewals. Enroll in 2019 PADI Automatic Membership Renewal now by accessing the My Account page on the PADI Pros Site.

PADI Business Academy at 2018 DEMA Show: Google Ads Made Easy

Google’s advertising platform is getting a facelift and PADI’s Marketing Executives will be at the 2018 DEMA Show to help you discover Google’s newest advertising tools. This program, titled Google Ads Made Easy, will discuss the new changes and best practices for using this advertising platform. Stay ahead of curve by learning how to properly plan, prepare and implement Google AdWords, Display Ads and Video Ad campaigns, complemented with live demonstrations and workshops.

Sign up before 25 October 2018 and save $25 US off enrollment.

Google Ads Made Easy
Pavilion 4, Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino
Saturday, 17 November 2018
7:30 am – 12:00 pm

Register Now!

For more information, please contact Kyle Ingram or Claudia Sherry at PBA@padi.com

Leveraging PADI Travel™ for Your Group Trips

You already know that travel and scuba diving go hand in hand. You probably also know that the majority of scuba divers will take multiple international dive trips during their lifetimes. Using this fact to your advantage and offering group travel opportunities to your customers can spell success for your business.

Benefits of Organizing Group Trips

Embedding travel into your business is a proven way to engage new divers and to keep certified divers active. The promise of getting to use new skills and explore new places encourages divers to enroll in more courses and buy more equipment. Successful PADI Dive Centers sell group trips to fascinating scuba diving destinations to leverage their customers’ desire for adventure. Group trips fuel engagement by building a community of travelers who are loyal to your business. This makes dive travel a win-win for everyone involved.

Why Organize Group Trips Through PADI Travel?

Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to booking group travel. Partner with PADI Travel for your trips and get access to:

• Unbeatable group discounts – PADI Travel offers the best prices and terms around. As a global, wholesale travel agency with significant reach and purchasing power, PADI Travel is able to pass on competitive rates and terms to you when you book group trips. You have access to unbeatable group discounts (a.k.a. commissions) through PADI Travel that you can decide to pass on to your customers or to increase your margins.

• Special deals – The PADI Travel team negotiates special deals that may include anything from free enriched air nitrox fills to significant overall discounts. You can save big by securing available special offers on your next trip.

• Extra spots – One of our most popular promotions for group trips booked through PADI Travel is extra spots. Sometimes there are free cabins, rooms, equipment or other special terms for large group bookings. Again, you can decide how to manage these extras – increase your margins or pass spots on to your customers or staff.

• Diver medical insurance – Every diver in your group will benefit from the complementary diver medical insurance offered with each booking. This means reduced extra costs and more savings for your group.

Additional Benefits

If you end up with unfilled spots on your trip, PADI Travel can help you fill them. The future PADI Travel Marketplace will have global reach and help divers connect with you in order to fill your trips.

As an added benefit, PADI Travel acts as your personal tour operator. If any problems should arise prior to departure or after your customers are on the ground, the PADI Travel team will be in charge of handling issues. The 24/7 world-class customer support team is on hand not only to help you organize and fine tune your group trip, but also to deal with any problems or questions that may occur at any point. This essentially removes many of the hassles associated with organizing travel and reduces your personal workload.

You also can take advantage of the PADI Travel team of scuba travel experts to improve your knowledge of the world’s top dive destinations. Use this information to advise customers and increase your bookings. PADI Travel can help you organize, market and run successful group trips across the globe. Simply ask for a nonbinding quote the next time you organize a trip and discover new ways to thrill your customers.

Be Distinctive!

Tips for Preparing a PADI Distinctive Specialty Outline

Teaching your own distinctive specialty course has never been so popular. Since introducing the Dedicated Master Scuba Diver™ rating and PADI Freediver program distinctive specialties, PADI Regional Headquarters are receiving many new distinctive specialty outlines. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when developing a PADI distinctive specialty outline:

  • Take advantage of resources! Go to the Pros’ Site – Distinctive Specialty Course Templates for detailed information. Use the template provided as a guide when creating your outline.
  • Set learning objectives and performance requirements, then tell divers what they need to know and what they will do. Beyond information consistent to every dive, what learning objectives and performance requirements specifically relate to the distinctive course? Provide adequate information in the knowledge development section to educate the student diver in the subject matter and fulfill the learning objectives. Also provide sufficient information and descriptions of how to meet the performance requirements of the dives.
  • Stay standards-consistent. Follow ratios and supervision requirements from General Standards and Procedures for confined and open water sessions.
  • It’s all about the diving. Most outlines will be approved only if there are two to four required open water dives. Although there are a few distinctive specialties that may qualify for only one dive (for example, Pumpkin Carving, Easter Egg Collection and other unique specialty programs), and a few with no dives, the point of specialty diver courses is to introduce people to new areas of diving and increase their dive experience under supervision.
  • Identify why you qualify to teach. When you complete the Specialty Course Instructor Application (No. 10180), you must document your background and experience in the course subject matter on page three. Examples include your level of familiarity with a specific site (for example, logged dives on a specific wreck) or an educational background coupled with dive experience in the specific subject matter (for example, underwater archaeology or coral reef research).

EFR® Distinctive Specialties

You can submit an Emergency First Response distinctive specialty outline as well. Use the EFR dedicated application and specialty template for these subjects.

Freediver Distinctive Specialties

See related resources for the PADI Freediver program on the Pros’ Site and download the PADI Freediver Distinctive Specialty Course Application (No. 10338).

Take time to review PADI standardized specialty outlines for information on ratios, minimum age requirements, supervision, maximum depth limits and minimum dives required to meet performance requirements. This will help guide you in drafting this information for your course. If you need additional guidance on writing your distinctive specialty, please contact a Regional Training Consultant at your PADI Regional Headquarters.

Immersion Pulmonary Edema: What You Need to Know

Written by DAN Staff

As the number of divers of retirement age rises, dive safety researchers are increasingly interested in immersion pulmonary edema (IPE). Also called swimming-induced pulmonary edema (SIPE), the condition may occur in young and healthy swimmers and divers, but the risk increases with age and age-related health changes. While IPE can be fatal, divers who are able to recognize the symptoms early and exit the water often have good outcomes, and spontaneous resolution is common.

Here’s what you need to know about IPE:

What is it?

IPE is the accumulation of fluid in the air sacs of the lungs (alveoli) caused by immersion in water. The condition occurs when the pressure in the alveoli is less than that of the fluid pressure in the surrounding capillaries, which causes fluid to seep into the alveoli. Some fluid in the alveoli is normal, but when too much of that fluid is present it can obstruct breathing and cause chest pain, frothy pink sputum and dyspnea (difficulty breathing).

IPE symptoms typically begin to improve immediately after exiting the water, but the condition can cause serious complications, and advanced medical interventions are necessary in some cases.

What are the risk factors?

There are several risk factors that, when combined with immersion, can increase the likelihood of IPE. Exposure to cold water will exacerbate the shunting of fluids to the chest. High blood pressure, overhydration, heart conditions such as left-ventricular hypertrophy, and some genetic predispositions may increase the risk. High-intensity exercise and elevated work to breathe, which may occur with a poorly performing regulator or an inappropriate gas at a deep depth, can also increase the likelihood of IPE by disturbing the fluid balance in the lungs.

Divers can reduce risk by using appropriate thermal protection, avoiding extreme effort in the water, maintaining physical fitness and addressing any potential health-related risk factors before getting in the water.

How should you respond?

If you or your student divers experience symptoms of IPE during a dive, it’s imperative to end the dive as quickly as possible. If symptoms are mild, make a relaxed ascent. However, if symptoms are quickly worsening or are interfering with the ability to breathe, make a direct ascent, get out of the water and seek help.

A diver with symptoms of IPE should breathe 100 percent oxygen and be immediately transported to qualified medical care regardless of whether or not symptoms are improving. It’s possible that the symptoms may have been caused by an underlying cardiac issue that must be addressed by a physician. IPE is likely to reoccur if relevant risk factors are not identified and addressed.

For more information on IPE or safe diving practices, visit DAN.org/Health.

The Cost to Become a Scuba Instructor Vs. Other Instructor Programs

padi instructor course

A worldwide search for PADI IDC programs revealed prices ranging from $1798US all the way up to $10,000US or more for a “zero to hero” program. In the Americas, the cheapest IDC+EFRI programs were advertised for as little $2200US; however, these bargain-basement prices didn’t include materials, PADI application fees or the Instructor Examination (IE).

After accounting for all the required costs, the average price to become a PADI OWSI in North or South America is around $3500US. With that in mind, we asked: how does the cost to become a scuba instructor compare to the cost to become a certified yoga instructor, kayak instructor or ski/snowboard instructor? The answers may surprise you.

padi instructor

Yoga Instructor

The yoga industry doesn’t have strict training guidelines like the scuba industry, but they have a widely-recognized training organization called Yoga Alliance (YA). Most gyms and yoga studios recognize a basic, 200-hour YA certification as sufficient experience to hire a new yoga instructor. As with all jobs, additional experience and certifications are beneficial.

Similar price, larger class sizes
The average cost for a 200-hour Yoga Alliance-certified training program is around $3500US. As with scuba diving, cheaper programs are available outside North America. Aspiring yogis can become instructors in Costa Rica for $3500US, or in India for $1650US. The prices do not include airfare, but they do include shared lodging.

An “intimate” teacher training consists of 15-20 students. There can be up to 50 yoga instructor candidates in one class. Also, Yoga Alliance requires continuing education (75 hours every three years).

Average pay: a yoga instructor in North America can expect to be paid $30-$35US/class, or approximately $15US/hour.

Ski or Snowboard Instructor

A ski or snowboard instructor generally needs a Level 2 certification from an internationally-recognized organization such as the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors (CASI) or Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance (CSIA). First aid training is typically required, but not included in ski/snowboard instructor course price.

More expensive
A combination Level 1 & 2 course costs around $8132 – $10,300US and training takes place over 8-12 weeks. Prices do not include airfare to the resort destination or transportation to/from the mountain. The price typically includes learning materials and shared lodging.

Average pay: a ski or snowboarding instructor in North America can expect to earn $15-$20US depending on the location and their experience.

Windsurfing Instructor

Certifying organizations include CANSail, Royal Yachting Association (RYA), or U.S. Sailing. The course length ranges from a 5-day intensive to a 10-week part-time class.

Similar cost, fewer hours
The cost to become a windsurfing instructor is $2374 – $4779US depending on the candidate’s prior experience.

Average pay: a windsurfing instructor in North America will earn around $9/hour.

Kayak Instructor

The American Canoe Association (ACA) offers instructor certifications for a variety of paddle sports (canoe, kayak, SUP).

Lower cost, fewer hours
The cost for a kayak instructor course ranges from $495 – $799US. The course takes approximately 40 hours to complete over 4-5 days.

Average pay: kayak instructors can earn $15-$19/hr depending on experience.