4 Tips for Hosting AWARE Week Activities

Written by Tara Bradley

In celebration of AWARE Week, a co-branded PADI® and Project AWARE® initiative aimed at empowering more divers to look after the underwater world, PADI dive operators and shops around the world will join together in a global movement for ocean protection by running conservation-minded events and activities from 15-23 September.

Whether it’s becoming a debris activist, saying no to single-use plastics or making responsible seafood choices, no action is too small to protect and preserve our ocean planet. AWARE Week provides you with the tools and inspiration to encourage positive actions for the health of fragile underwater environments, fins on and fins off.

Interested in planning an AWARE Week event in your area? Here are some ways to get ready and bring together your student divers, friends and family to act for change in your local community.

  1. Get ready to teach Project AWARE specialty courses: If you’re not a Dive Against Debris® or AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Specialty Instructor, apply for your rating today. One hundred percent (that’s right, 100%!) of your application fee is donated to Project AWARE. Not a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor yet? No worries, PADI Divemasters can apply to teach the newly revised Project AWARE Specialty course after taking a Project AWARE Specialty Instructor Training course from a PADI Course Director.
  2. Mark your calendar and start promoting your AWARE Week activities:
    Download AWARE Week social banners to spread the word. Create a Facebook event and use the #AWAREWeek hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to encourage participation and join the online conversation.
  3. Make your dives count and help clean the ocean: If you want to make your dives count for ocean protection during AWARE Week, conduct Dive Against Debris surveys. Download your Dive Against Debris survey toolkit, which includes the must-have materials you need to successfully plan and conduct a survey dive including tips to choose your survey site.
  4. Display the AWARE Week video in your local shop and gather interest for the Project AWARE specialty courses: Dive Against Debris Specialty, AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Specialty, and the newly revised Project AWARE Specialty. Ask people visiting your dive shop to leave their contact details if they’re interested in taking part in AWARE Week. Closer to the date, send them an invitation to sign up for a Project AWARE specialty course during AWARE Week or to any other event you may organize, a club night, a fundraising challenge – you decide.

Whatever you do during AWARE Week, make it fun and make it count for ocean conservation. If your students complete a course during AWARE Week, make sure they receive the PADI limited edition card supporting Project AWARE’s conservation work, and use this opportunity to celebrate the beauty and wonders of the ocean!

From kids to seniors, non-divers to pros, we can all make a difference in our global community. Join the AWARE Week celebrations!

For more info or to download the AWARE Week Toolkit for help hosting an event in your area, visit the newly launched AWARE Week website.

PADI Digital Products Expand Reach

With more languages added to Open Water Diver and Freediver™ courses, and the PADI eLearning® experience becoming even more fluid, PADI® educational materials continue to claim the lead for diver training.

dop release

Because scuba diving bridges borders and cultures, bringing people who speak different languages together to enjoy the underwater environment, PADI diver materials need to account for this, including eLearning products.

PADI Divers have access to a wider variety of learning materials with a digital suite of core courses that are easy to purchase, download and use. Now, these materials are offered in more languages than ever – further demonstrating that PADI truly is the way the world learns to dive.

Here’s what’s new for Open Water Diver and the popular Freediver courses (with more languages in more courses to come).

  • PADI Open Water Diver –  Seven new languages: Czech, Croatian, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Russian and Turkish.
  • PADI Freediver – 10 additional languages: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish, with Korean, Thai, and Russian soon to follow.

The PADI Library app will reflect these new language additions. If divers have automatic updates turned on in their device settings, the app will update automatically.  If not, they need to update their app to be able to see the new language options.

To be sure student divers know what services you offer, PADI Dive Centers and Resorts should update eLearning preferences in your account on the PADI Pros’ Site to reflect the courses and languages you support.

Keep an eye out as more updates to the eLearning experience are coming soon.

Dive Shops: The Heart of the Dive Industry

Scuba diving shops are the heart of the dive community. Owned and operated by good folks who have dedicated their lives to keeping the porch light on for all of us in diving, they ensure that we always have the service, training, travel, equipment and advice we want and need as divers. It’s the dive shop around the corner that establishes and nurtures long-term relationships with divers and the same shops we go back to time and time again because they’ve earned our trust and we see them as our neighbors. They best embody the diving lifestyle, having sacrificed a great deal to be there for us at a local level across the world, and they deserve our support and loyalty.

These days, it’s not easy to be a specialty retailer, with many stresses and threats to their survival and prosperity. What separates those who do survive and prosper? A million variations, but basically its embracing the eworld coupled with products/services/customer experiences that are impossible or substantially disadvantageous online. Easy example – Starbucks. You order your iced Macchiato online, but do you have it shipped? No, you pick it up – central to the Starbucks experience. You can buy their coffee online, but it’s not the same at home, nor likely would you without your prior in-store experiences.

Dive shops are the same. Like diving itself, learning to dive, investing in dive gear, interacting with other divers and getting ready for a group dive trip are personal experiences, not online experiences. You can start courses, set up schedules, order equipment and do a lot of other things online with your retail dive shop. But eventually you end up there because you want to. The people there are fun, they know their stuff and they make your dive experiences personal, rewarding adventures. They hook you up with the best gear for you, tailored to you (again, personal), and show you the best diving for what you love about diving (personal yet again). Diving is way better because of them.

The bottom line is that dive shops are the center of the diver experience where everything comes together. That’s not changing, and neither is the PADI philosophy of keeping divers connected to them. Dive retailers need our support and loyalty as they stand against ever-changing threats and pressures.

I don’t want to see a world where the local dive shops cannot survive. They are the stewards of local diving lifestyle and culture. In my book, that is precious and rare. It is supremely worth protecting.

 

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

PADI® Women’s Dive Day 2018 Events to Remember

By Tara Bradley Connell

With PADI®Women’s Dive Day 2018 earning a media reach of over 236 million viewers worldwide, this is one event that not only increases awareness but also inspires more and more divers each year. From hosting an underwater treasure hunt to offering new diver specials for women, there are countless ways for dive operators and instructors to get in on the action – and gain new business along the way.

This year, the social media channels exploded with #padiwomensdiveday events from all over the world. For a look at this year’s activities, check out the PADI Women’s Dive Day 2018 Facebook photo album. Want more? Here are some locations that helped make this year even more special.

Here’s a look at some locations that helped make this year extra special.

  • Nassau, Bahamas

In the Bahamas, the Perry Institute for Marine Science collaborated with Stuart’s Cove to teach the PADI Reef Rescue Diver Specialty course. After a study on covered coral education, conservation, recovery processes and coral nurseries practices, the ladies enjoyed two dives where they learned how to maintain the nurseries. They also got to plant coral with personalized tags so they can monitor future growth.

  • Grand Cayman
  • Photo: Drew McArthur
    Photo: Drew McArthur

This year was all about breaking world records. To celebrate PADI Women’s Dive Day, a group at Dive Tech broke the world record for the longest underwater female human chain with 84 women in the water. The group also raised more than $3,000 US to support breast cancer research

  • Grenada

Sandals Grenada and Sandals Foundation celebrated Women’s Dive Day by focusing on controlling the lionfish population. The event kicked off at Sandals Grenada with a lionfish eradication dive to help protect the reef and threatened marine life. Post-dive, the group met at Grand Anse Beach with the Sandals Foundation, Grenada Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Environment, and the Grenada Chapter of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network  where they enjoyed a lionfish luncheon, lionfish cooking demonstrations, music, and exhibits – all set beachside.

Photo by Alicia Ward
Photo by Alicia Ward
  • Kauai, Hawaii, USA:

The calm, clear waters of Kauai made for the perfect spot for freedivers. As a way to build the female diving community on the island, the weekend included an all-girls freediving class. After their three-day course, some participants achieved more than two-minute static breath holds and depths of 21 metres/70 feet. Bonus: an impromptu visit from a pod of dolphins.

  • San Diego, California, USA:

The California coastline provided the backdrop for divers celebrating with Ocean Enterprises in La Jolla Shores, San Diego. The day’s itinerary was packed with diving, snorkeling, sand castle making, and an underwater photo booth with props to showcase all of the day’s events.

  • Quintana Roo, Mexico:

Finding some Zen mixed with diving was the ambiance found at Takata Experience in Majahual, Quintana Roo. With a focus on conservation, mindfulness and fun, the list of events included a relaxing yoga session, fresh ceviche, a coastal ecosystems talk, food, music and a beach cleanup.

Thank you to all who took part in this year’s celebration to inspire new divers and build a stronger, more active dive community.

Mark your calendars. Next year’s PADI Women’s Dive Day is scheduled for Saturday, 20 July 2019.

Pro Tip – PADI® Membership Renewal

Don’t forget to mark your calendars!

PADI Professional 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 6 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 are 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 My Account page on the PADI Pros Site.

5 Tips for PADI Divemasters Looking to Become Instructors

Written by Guy Corsellis, PADI Regional Training Consultant for East Thailand

I recently received recognition for 20 years as a PADI Professional – a proud moment for me. Now, as a PADI Regional Training Consultant, I look back at two decades in the industry and am grateful for the journey I have been on. It has been a passion that becomes a wonderful career.

Prior to this role, as a Course Director, most of my career has been focused on instructor level training, which brings me to my question – have you thought about becoming a PADI Instructor?

Getting this ticket truly allows you to travel the world and meet some incredible industry colleagues. It is still the dream job for young and/or innovative people. If you feel comfortable helping others, if you love the ocean as much as I do and if you’re ready to be a student for life, you will have a bright future as a PADI Instructor.

Once you have decided to take this step, please allow me to share of few tips on how to become successful.

  1. Remain humble and stay positive. Being positive and optimistic and smiling by default, will motivate and inspire others around you. You will touch the lives of so many as a PADI Instructor, so make sure it’s a positive memory you leave them with. Be more than a role model – be a mentor. Remember, that the PADI system of diver education is student-centered. So display proper attitude at all times and leave your ego at the door.
  2. Persevere and expand your knowledge. Stay updated on new diving techniques, advancements in technology and equipment changes. Continue your own education and be a student yourself. That will help you understand how your students may feel under your tuition. Consider enrolling in programs that make you a stronger ambassador to the underwater environment. Divers today want to learn from those who care about something bigger than themselves.
  3. Be punctual, organized and adaptable. People depend on your choices. You are there to show our future divers proper attitude. Arrive early for classroom or confined sessions. Make sure everything is set up and ready to go when your divers arrive. Accept that logistics in your PADI Dive Centre do change and are dependent on many factors. Dive Center owners need flexible instructors that know how to adapt to unexpected situations or when under pressure.
  4. Be sociable and available. It is important to spend time with your diver students. Not just in a classroom or in the water, but during surface intervals and breaks. Remember that sociable and professional often go hand in hand (more on professionalism later). Take and make the time to have lunch with your divers. Your body and brain need food to perform at an optimum. Lunch with your students is the perfect moment in time to share experiences with your divers and become friends. At the end of the day don’t run home when the clock strikes 5:00pm, take the time to debrief and listen to your student’s needs.
  5. Be professional. You will be judged against expectations and standards. Your image and competence is important. Respect your students and pay attention to how you communicate with them. Be committed, courteous and supportive. We all learn differently, so listen to their needs.

I strongly believe that these few tips will help you to have a long and successful career. If you’re currently a part-time Divemaster, it may be a challenge for you to leave behind another career that you’re attached too. I made the choice to become a full time Instructor some time ago and never regretted it. Change is positive.

With the right attitude becoming a PADI Instructor will be a life changing event. Get out there and visit a PADI IDC or CDC near youand earn the most sought-after credential in the diving industry.

Best of success!

View the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor landing page for more information and to research your next steps.

Grow Your Business with the New PADI Travel Affiliate Program for PADI Dive Centers

The PADI Travel™ Affiliate Program – a benefit for all PADI Dive Centers – is now available.

PADI TRAVEL

Divers want to swim with beautiful fish, see colorful reefs and explore unique underwater environments. Travel is a proven way to keep them engaged, active and, ultimately, have them continue their education and invest in dive equipment.

In January, PADI Travel™ launched with the goals of growing the dive industry and keeping divers more engaged and active. Today marks the launch of the new PADI Travel Affiliate Program as a powerful new service for you to grow your business.

The Travel Affiliate Program enables you to earn generous commissions by referring divers to PADI Travel. It increases your in-store sales by driving more divers to your store and helps you become even more successful with group trips.

Learn more about the program and activate your account today on affiliates.padi.com.

Save the Dates: AWARE Week is Coming 15-23 September

Written by Lori Bachelor-Smith

From 15-23 September 2018, the PADI® family will join forces with Project AWARE® to celebrate the environment and education. The week’s focus is on teaching the three AWARE specialty courses – Project AWARE, AWARE Shark Conservation Diver and Dive Against Debris® – and inspiring divers to act on what they learn to protect the aquatic environment. Based on the successful 2017 AWARE Week project in the United Kingdom, this year’s AWARE Week has gone global.

WHY YOU NEED TO TAKE PART

Perfect Timing – As the dive season slows in northern climates and ramps up in the southern latitudes, divers are ready for reasons to get  in the water. The bonus is they get to learn more about things that matter to them and are able to contribute by diving against debris or observing sharks. It also helps them step up the continuing education ladder. Participating in AWARE Week allows you to really connect with customers while boosting your September certifications.

Build Advocates – The more divers know about the state of the ocean and the threats to aquatic resources, the more likely they’ll be to make better personal environmental choices and become advocates for change. Education is the key to supporting PADI’s Ocean Health and Marine Life Protection Pillars and furthering Project AWARE’s efforts. Training Dive Against Debris divers not only expands your participant list for your monthly Dive Against Debris surveys, but it also creates more people who will say no to single-use plastics. Showing divers the continued pressure being put on the shark populations will create more people to defend sharks on both the local and global level.

Personal Improvement – If you already can offer all of the AWARE specialties, then teaching them during AWARE Week will help you build certifications toward your next professional level. If you aren’t authorized to teach Dive Against Debris or AWARE Shark Conservation Diver yet, then this is a great time for you to add to your professional qualifications. Get the training you need and/or send in your application soon so that you’re ready to teach in September. Also note that your instructor application fee is donated to Project AWARE.

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO

Fill the Week – Connect courses with events to fill the week. Offering a big Dive Against Debris survey at your local dive site is obvious, but also plan to offer other activities. Invite local environmental experts to speak to your divers about sharks, rays or any other endangered or threatened species in your area. Show environmental videos that explain the extent of plastic pollution or highlight how to make better choices to protect the environment. Try to focus on what’s occurring locally because that’s where your divers can make the biggest change.

Download Tools – Go to projectaware.org to get all the tools you need to teach AWARE Specialties along with supporting promotional graphics from the AWARE Week host page.

One more important thing: The Project AWARE Specialty is being updated to guide divers through the “10 Tips for Divers to Protect the Ocean Planet,” including discussions about how to take personal action. Watch for announcements about the release of the new instructor guide as you prepare for AWARE Week.

For more information, visit the AWARE Week host page for PADI Members. 

Career Freedom is at Your Fingertips

Navigating through life is a chore on its own so why not enjoy the ride?

Becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor gives you career freedom, ignites new passions, provides meaningful challenges and opens up endless opportunities to travel abroad while making a living.

If that isn’t enough, consider this:

  • Three out of four divers choose PADI certifications – providing you with the largest market share of new customers in the diver training industry.
  • PADI Dive Centers and Resorts are located in 183 countries and territories  – providing you with the ability to travel and work around the globe as well as to explore local leadership opportunities.
  • There are more than 300 active classified listings seeking instructors for employment on the PADI Pros’ Site (updated daily) .

Contact your local PADI Instructor Development Center or Resort to determine the easiest path to becoming a PADI Instructor and use these resources to learn more.

Diving with a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

Written by DAN Staff

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is a perennial topic of interest to divers as indicated by DAN Medical Services fielding dozens of PFO-related calls every year. This is understandable based on the fact that the heart is a complex and critically important organ, and more than a quarter of all adults have a PFO. With uncertainty about the condition’s implications, and divers’ desire to reduce risk in the water, some amount of consternation is entirely reasonable.

As a dive professional who experiences greater frequency of exposure to decompression stress and may rely on fitness to dive to make a living, it’s especially important to understand how a PFO could affect your work and health.

Take a moment to improve your understanding of the condition, and learn how it could affect your risks and your students’ risks while diving.

What is a PFO?

A PFO is an opening in the wall separating the upper chambers of the heart – the left and right atria. The opening is a remnant of a flap valve present in developing fetuses that shunts oxygenated blood from the mother directly from one atrium to the other. In most cases this flap closes permanently after birth, but in as many as 27 percent of adults, this flap never shuts completely. The defect is relatively benign and rarely detected. It typically poses little or no risk to otherwise healthy adults in the normal course of life.

What are the risks?

Complications from a PFO are rare in otherwise healthy adults. Most people with a PFO will never be diagnosed with or experience complications from the condition. For divers, however, PFOs can present problems because of the inert-gas bubbles that arise following dives. Gas bubbles that occur in venous blood after a dive can potentially pass through a PFO of adequate size and bypass the pulmonary filter (the lungs), which may cause decompression illness (DCI).

This hazard is the source of much of the concern surrounding PFOs, but people with a PFO can reduce their risk through behavioral or surgical modification. Practical risk-management strategies for cardiac defects exist, but each case is unique. If you are diagnosed with a PFO, your physician will help you determine the best course of action and risk-management practices.

Should I get tested for a PFO?

PFOs are typically identified by injecting a small quantity of bubbles into a vein and monitoring the bubbles’ travel through the heart using contrast echocardiography. During the test, the patients will be asked to sniff or perform a Valsalva maneuver to attempt to open a PFO, should one exist, and allow blood to travel directly from the right to the left atrium. There are a few ways this test can be performed, but all are invasive and are not considered the first step in managing a potential PFO, particularly if you have never had DCI.

For most divers, it is not worth the risk or expense to get tested for a PFO. Many divers with a PFO will never experience DCI, let alone DCI that might have resulted from bubbles shunted through a PFO. If you experience serious neurological DCI or repeated instances of cutaneous decompression sickness, however, discuss your options with a qualified physician.

For more information about PFOs, visit DAN.org/Health.