PADI Master Scuba Diver™ Challenge

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Top Three Reasons Your Dive Center Isn’t Participating

Written by Megan Denny

The 2018 Master Scuba Diver (MSD) Challenge offers PADI® Retail and Resort Members the chance to win a free renewal and increase class and gear sales. If you’re not already participating in the 2018 Master Scuba Diver Challenge, ask yourself: Why not?

Reason #1: I Didn’t know about the 2018 MSD Challenge

No worries! Everyone knows you’re busy. Read on to learn more about this year’s contest and some proven ways to boost your MSD numbers. You can find additional details about the challenge or register here.

Reason #2: Too busy

Promoting the Master Scuba Diver rating doesn’t have to be time-consuming and the benefits are well worth it. If you’re posting to social media anyway, why not create a post about Master Scuba Diver? You can download Master Scuba Diver Challenge social media graphics from the PADI Pros’ Site and offer divers the chance to win a dive vacation for two to Anthony’s Key Resort.

Even if your store isn’t the big winner, your business will benefit from increased sales. Numerous industry studies have proven that the more certifications divers earn, the more gear they buy. Keep reading for additional ideas to promote the Master Scuba Diver Challenge – even if you’re short on time.

Reason #3: Don’t certify a lot of Master Scuba Divers

Whether you certified one, two or even zero Master Scuba Divers last year, you still have a chance to win. Your dive shop will compete against stores that certified a similar number of Master Scuba Divers in 2017. There are four competitor groups, and the first place winner of each group receives a free 2019 PADI Retailer & Resort Association Membership renewal.

Competitor Groups

  • PADI Dive Center or Resort with 0-4 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Dive Center or Resort with 5-9 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Dive Center or Resort with 10-14 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Dive Center or Resort with 15+ MSD certifications during the 2017 period

The Master Scuba Diver Challenge started 1 May 2018 and runs through 30 September 2018, but you can register at any point during the contest period. Any MSD certifications will be counted retroactively back to 1 May 2018. Why wait? Register now.

Not sure how to go about selling Master Scuba Diver?

Here are a few proven ways to increase all your certifications:


Promote the Master Scuba Diver rating to students in the classroom, instore and online. Visit the Marketing Toolbox on the PADI Pros’ Site to download Master Scuba Diver Challenge flyers, email headers, logos, posters, punch cards, vinyl banners, and Facebook and Instagram images. You can also use the Facebook and Instagram images in your email newsletter.

Ensure instructors explain (not just mention) the Master Scuba Diver rating to all their students. Here are some key talking points:

Students who earn their Master Scuba Diver rating between 1 May and 30 September 2018 are automatically entered to win a dive vacation for two to Anthony’s Key Resort in Roatan, Bay Islands (no registration required). The prize package includes round-trip economy airfare, airport transfers, seven nights’ lodging and a dive package at Anthony’s Key Resort.

Exclusivity – fewer than 2 percent of divers ever become Master Scuba Divers, it is the “black belt” of diving.

Advanced Open Water Divers and above are closer to their MSD rating than they may realize as each Adventure Dive can be counted towards Dive One of the corresponding specialty.

Ask all divemasters on staff whether they are MSDs. All of them will have the required 50 dives and if they don’t have five specialty diver certifications, they should be very close.

Bundle PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider with your PADI Rescue Diver course. The Emergency Oxygen Provider Specialty course can replace Exercise Nine (first aid for pressure-related injuries and oxygen administration), and it puts students one step closer to their Master Scuba Diver rating.

Create a Master Scuba Diver progress chart for your store. The chart can be something simple made out of paperboard and star stickers. Or create something a little classier. Here’s an example from New Horizons Scuba Diving Center in Kentucky, USA.

Courtesy of New Horizons Scuba Diving Center

Publicly recognize new Master Scuba Divers by sharing their photo on social media and adding their name to a plaque, wall of fame and/or page on your website. You could even create a Master Scuba Diver T-shirt, fleece or jacket.

Dive operations with access to a boat could offer a seasonal Master Scuba Diver-only charter. Alternately, invite MSDs to dive for free when the boat isn’t full – similar to airline employees flying standby or “Space-A” travel for the military. Remember, fewer than 2 percent of divers ever achieve the Master Scuba Diver rating.


Mine your student data to find customers who are just a few courses away from earning their Master Scuba Diver rating. Use a CRM/POS system such as EVE to search for all PADI Rescue Divers with two or more specialties, and for divers with multiple specialties who aren’t yet PADI Rescue Divers.

If you don’t have a student database, you can download your student data from the PADI Pros’ Site. Go to My Account, then click on PIC Processing Report. Copy and paste the data into a spreadsheet and sort.

Dive Centers and Resorts can also request their student data from PADI Americas. Contact your customer service representative using your email of record (check the dive center locator if you’re not sure). The message should be something like:

I, [Store Owner], request PADI to pull and deliver my entire student database in an Microsoft Excel file for [Store Name, Store Number].


Host a Master Scuba Diver Night and bring divers and instructors together for a fun, informative evening with special package deals. If you’ve ever hosted a Go Pro Night, it’s a similar idea.

In addition to promoting the event on social media, make personal invitations to divers who are just a few certifications away from achieving their “black belt.” Refer to the information in the previous section about how to mine your student data for potential Master Scuba Divers.

Prior to the event, create class and gear package specials for divers at various levels (Open Water Diver vs. Advanced Open Water Diver or Rescue Diver). Create specialty bundles such as Enriched Air + Deep Diver, or a photographer bundle including Digital Underwater Photographer + Peak Performance Buoyancy + Enriched Air.

If you have easy access to a pool, invite divers to try out specialty activities such as using an underwater camera, trying a DPV or swimming through a suspended hula hoop as part of a buoyancy challenge. Think of it like a Discover Scuba® Diving pool session, but for continuing education.

At the event itself, invite current Master Scuba Divers to talk about their journey. Promote your one night only package specials and be sure to mention the chance to win a trip to Anthony’s Key Resort. If you have special Master Scuba Diver T-shirts or jackets, encourage your MSDs and staff members show them off.

If you’re not already promoting the Master Scuba Diver Challenge, take the first step. Logon to the PADI Pros’ Site and download some Master Scuba Diver Marketing materials. Schedule a few social media posts and educate your staff about the basic talking points described above.

Learn more about the 2018 Master Scuba Diver Challenge for PADI Dive Centers and Resorts or review the official rules. Remember, you must register to be qualified to win.

Register for the 2018 Master Scuba Diver Challenge.

One Reply to “PADI Master Scuba Diver™ Challenge”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.