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.

PADI Digital Products Expand Reach

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

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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, Freediver and popular Enriched Air Diver 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.
  • PADI Enriched Air Diver – 22 languages: English, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, French, Finnish, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, with Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Indonesian, Thai, Hebrew and Polish soon to follow.
  • Advanced Open Water Diver – Coming soon!

Important to note:

  • 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.
  • The affiliate links are now universal and are not specific for each course.  After clicking on the affiliate link, the student view defaults to all courses and languages.  For this reason, be sure to update eLearning preferences in your account and deselect the courses and languages you do not support.

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

The Individual Member Master Scuba Diver Challenge is Coming 1 May!

 

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Get ready for a friendly competition! Enter the 2018 Master Scuba Diver™ (MSD) Challenge from 1 May 2018 through 30 September 2018 and you could win a 2019 PADI® Membership renewal. You’ll also gain bragging rights and receive special recognition in PADI’s eNewsletter, Surface Interval.

HOW TO WIN 

The PADI Instructors showing the most percentage growth in Master Scuba Diver certifications (as compared to the same time frame last year) will win. You’ll only compete against others in your competitor group:

COMPETITOR GROUPS

  • PADI Individual Members with 0 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Individual Members with 1 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Individual Members with 2-4 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Individual Members with 5+ MSD certifications during the 2017 period

Each competitor group listed above will be awarded one 1st place winner, for a total of four prizewinners! In addition, you will receive a downloadable suite of tools to help you market the challenge to your students and students will have the chance to win a grand prize too! All students who earn the Master Scuba Diver rating from 1 May 2018 through 30 September 2018 will be automatically entered to win a dive vacation for two to Anthony’s Key Resort.

Keep an eye out for more details and challenge registration via e-mail and the PADI Pros’ site coming soon!

View the Official Contest rules here.

The 2018 PADI Retail and Resort Master Scuba Diver Challenge Starts 1 May!

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Get ready for a friendly competition! Enter the 2018 Master Scuba Diver™ (MSD) Challenge from 1 May 2018 through 30 September 2018 and you could win a 2019 PADI® Retailer & Resort Association Membership renewal. You’ll also gain bragging rights and receive special recognition in PADI’s eNewsletter, Surface Interval.

How to Win

The PADI Dive Centers or Resorts showing the most percentage growth in Master Scuba Diver certifications (as compared to the same time frame last year) will win. You’ll only compete against others in your competitor group:

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

Each competitor group listed above will be awarded one 1st place winner, for a total of four prizewinners! In addition, you will receive a downloadable suite of tools to help you market the challenge to your students and students will have the chance to win a grand prize too! All students who earn the Master Scuba Diver rating from 1 May 2018 through 30 September 2018 will be automatically entered to win a dive vacation for two to Anthony’s Key Resort.

Keep an eye out for more details and challenge registration via email and the PADI Pros’ site coming soon!

View official contest rules here.

Ready to ramp up your PADI Master Scuba Diver™ program? Get ready for the challenge by checking out these tips on how to put your Master Scuba Diver program to work here.

PADI Member Forums 2018

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While remaining committed to safe and responsible diver education, PADI® has deepened its commitment to the environment with the PADI Four Pillars of Change initiative, focused on making a significant impact on key issues facing the dive industry and the ocean planet.

Member Forum 2018 reviews PADI’s Pillars of Change and what you can do to help facilitate its objectives. In addition, we will review the globalization and revitalization of all digital products, as well as two new initiatives for 2018: the new PADI Club, and PADI Travel.

Member Forum

As always, your knowledge of PADI Standards will be tested, and you’ll gain insight into better risk management while reviewing dive-incident scenarios. Registration is free and recommended. Click the link below to register for an event near you!

United States – 2018 Member Forum Schedule 

Canada – 2018 Member Forum Schedule

Caribbean and Latin America – – 2018 Member Forum Schedule

*Dates and locations are subject to change.

If you are unable to attend a live event, click here to attend a Member Forum online.

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How to Get the Divemaster Job of Your Dreams (Part 2)

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Put yourself in the Winning Seat

Your PADI Divemaster certification can open the door to a fun and rewarding career anywhere in the world, but landing a great job takes work. Last month, in Part 1, we highlighted different skills you can add to your CV to help you stand out from the crowd and put you in the winning seat.  Below are some more strategies to help you outmaneuver the competition and snatch up your dream job.

How Will You Bring in New Customers?
New customers are the key to the success for any business, and dive operations are no exception. If you have personal connections or new ideas to help the dive shop owner bring more people through their doors, you’ll have a leg up on other job applicants. Here are a few ideas to consider:

– Build relationships with the concierge at local hotels
– Suggest ways to bring lapsed divers back into the shop with PADI ReActivate™
(a program DMs can conduct)
– Pitch a kids scuba summer camp program

– Do outreach to local businesses who might want EFR training
(you can even become an EFR Instructor)

Take Advantage of Online Tools

Visit the employment board on the PADI Pros Site to learn what skills employers are looking for and how you stack up to other PADI Divemasters looking for work.

Promote your skills and passion for diving on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels. Take time to learn how using social media can boost your scuba career.

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Every Day is a Job Interview
The dive industry is small, and developing a bad reputation can quickly bring your scuba career to a halt. The diver next to you could be friends with a shop owner, and the server at a restaurant might work part-time on a dive boat. Always present yourself as a professional, trustworthy person online and in real life.

Your appearance can be an important factor in getting hired. Imagine two job applicants with equal qualifications: one who looks like they just washed up on shore and another who has clearly put time and effort into maintaining their hair and clothes – who do you think gets the job?

It’s also important to maintain physical fitness. A dive operation entrusts Divemasters with the safety of their customers. Do you have the strength to help someone back onto a boat? Could you egress someone during a shore dive?

Once you land that Divemaster dream job, act professionally and follow through on what you agreed to during your interview. If the job doesn’t work out, give as much notice as possible.

We hope the tips above help you take advantage of new opportunities in the New Year! For a list of dive operators looking to hire PADI Divemasters, visit the PADI Pros’ Site and choose Employment/Classifieds from the Online Services dropdown menu.

Top 7 Mistakes New Dive Center Owners Make

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As a new or aspiring dive center owner, here are some things to keep in mind before solidifying your game plan.

Choosing the Wrong Location
Finding the right balance between affordable rent and a location in a high-income area is a struggle for many new dive shop owners. Generally speaking, it’s better to pay a little more for a location in a high-income area near a reliable pool. Cheap rent is often a double-edged sword. If getting to the shop is inconvenient, customers may choose to pursue a different recreational activity.

Carrying Too Many Product Lines
By limiting the number of product lines, a shop owner shop can maximize their financial resources. Buying “deep and narrow” is a safer, more economical choice than carrying too many brands. This doesn’t mean signing an exclusivity contract, but it does mean saying, “no,” or “not right now” to manufacturer reps.

Not Understanding Business Strategy
“One of the biggest mistakes people make is not spending the time to make a decent business plan and get advice about costs, profits, turnover overhead, etc.,” notes PADI EMEA Regional Manager (RM) Matt Clements.

Christian Ambrosi, a PADI Americas RM echoes Clements’ sentiments, “Everyone should understand how to analyze an income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flow. Without this knowledge, you can’t measure the health of your company.”

Pricing is another common struggle, “Some dive centers price everything based upon what the dive centre down the road is charging rather than costs, or what the product is actually worth. Other dive shops mistakenly focus on having the greatest number of customers rather than being profitable.” said Tosh Tanner, Territory Director at PADI Asia Pacific.

Sporadic Business Hours
When a dive shop publishes its hours to Google, Facebook, etc. it’s important to adhere to the posted hours. Regional Manager Ambrosi asks, “How many times would you stop at a store with a sign that reads ‘be back in 30 min’ before you find a shop that provides that service when you want?”

Fernando Martins, RM for PADI Latin American notes, “I’ve seen excellent dive pros open a store that later fails because they have another job and try to run the shop too, so the business becomes like a hobby.”

Poor Hiring Choices
“Hire for personality, not skill set,” recommends RM Nick Jenny. “You can teach skills, but a million-watt personality is something you’re born with. The next time you’re shopping and someone goes out of their way to help you, or adds special something to the experience, consider whether this person might want to sell travel and adventure instead of clothing or electronics.”

Not hiring individuals with a sales-oriented mindset is another big mistake. “I repeatedly see instructors who are afraid to close a sale as they are afraid of being pushy. The people who work in your shop should be both eager to sell and provide great customer service,” said Clements.

Insufficient Marketing
The number one mistake new shop owners make is failing to invest in marketing efforts. “I’ve seen people open a shop thinking their personal dive associates will keep them in business,” said PADI Americas Regional Manager LeRoy Wickham.

“They overlook the fact that the majority of these friends already have most of their gear and only bring in small business like air fills and maybe some repairs. It’s not enough to keep the doors open,” Wickham explained.

Successful dive business owners spend as much time developing their web presence as they spend building out their physical location. A dive shop’s website is typically a new customer’s first impression of the business. It should be designed by a professional and feature inviting photos of smiling divers on a mobile-friendly platform.

For outdoor signage, a simple design with a dive flag and “Scuba and Snorkel” is an effective choice. As supplementary tactic, business owners should allocate capital to online search advertising such and Facebook ads targeting local users interested in scuba diving (not post boosting).

Not Asking for Help

If you’re interested in opening a dive business, involve your PADI Regional Manager early on. Your RM can help you choose a good location, conduct staff training, and take advantage of PADI’s marketing resources.
Attend PADI Business Academy to strengthen your business with pricing and fraud avoidance workshops plus hands-on experience with web and social media marketing tools.

Further Reading:
Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill
PADI Business Academy information and schedule
Does Your Business Project a Professional Image?

Junior Scientists in the Sea Inspires Young People to Get Certified, Stay Involved

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Photo: Junior Scientists in the Sea

Junior Scientists in the Sea (JSIS) is a year-round program that helps young people gain real-world job skills while fostering an interest in scuba diving, science, engineering, and the underwater world. Any student age 12 or older is welcome to participate. Founder Les Burke explains:

“Whether or not you are certified does not matter. If you cannot swim, we will teach you. If you want to stay on shore or in the boat, we still want you to join us. In addition to scuba diving, we have drones, remote operated submersibles and remote camera equipment. We have something for everyone.”

Les Burke became a PADI® Instructor in 1983. Les spent 33 years in the Navy, including 28 as a Navy diver, and worked as a Navy diving instructor at the Naval Diving & Salvage Training Center in Florida. Altogether, Les has certified more than 2,000 divers at all levels of diving.

Les founded JSIS with the goal of creating new divers, scientists, and engineers with the skills and passion to protect the ocean. “JSIS is designed to expose kids to a meaningful, educational program combined with on-the-job training, hard work, and opportunities to solve real-world problems right in their own backyards. The new experiences, new places, new people, and new approach will create new hope, new ideas, and new attitudes. Instead of choosing from well-traveled, often-overcrowded trails, JSIS is blazing new ones,” Les explained.

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Photo: Junior Scientists in the Sea

JSIS activities can include:

Coral reef surveys and restoration initiatives
Fish and invertebrate identification
Invasive species surveys
Maritime heritage and underwater archaeology activities
Safe Boating and navigation classes
Public Speaking, communications, and “writing for a purpose” workshops


JSIS Partnerships

“Our programming is used by high school activity clubs and other after school programs, County Parks and Recreation, and as a stand-alone program at dive centers,” Les said.

Teresa McKinna VP/CFO Key Largo Undersea Park home of Jules’ Undersea Lodge said, “We love Les here at Jules’ Lagoon and his work with Junior Scientists. Les is one of the hardest working advocates for the education and betterment of our youth I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. His mind is always working and looking for new interest for his students.”

Why Become a JSIS Chapter?
“Training the next generation of aquatic stewards is key to the future of our industry and a great way for dive shops to give back to their community.” Les said. “If we don’t take care of the rivers, lakes and oceans, that source of livelihood could go away, and teaching SCUBA to under-represented and low-income youth can generate more return on the investment than is imagined. This kind of work is rewarding and can open other doors if done with passion and honor.”

“For the bottom-liners, JSIS is good for business. Junior Scientists are very active and as they improve their diving competency and level, they’ll need gear as things are lost or worn out,” Les explained. “JSIS can also complement community service requirements and attract more college-age divers.”

“We have empirical data showing parents will invest in their kids when they see them in an active program with educational and ecological benefits,” Les said. “And JSIS delivers results. We monitor our students’ grades (where allowed) and have found an across the board increase in 95% of our students. We also have 8 students now attending post-secondary programs.”

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Photo: Junior Scientists in the Sea

How PADI Dive Shops Can Become a JSIS Chapter

Many JSIS chapters started when dive center owners realized they had passionate young dive students and not enough for them to do. Whether you have an existing group of divers, or are looking to grow your business with youth programs, here’s what you need to know about starting a JSIS chapter:

– The first step is to contact Les to create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between JSIS and the dive organization

– Monthly meetings are required (more frequent meetings are encouraged, but monthly is the minimum)
– All programs must be safe, ethical and legal
– JSIS encourages diversity among students and chapter leaders

JSIS recommends need-based free or reduced rate SCUBA instruction, but does not mandate it. JSIS partners with various organizations for activities and fundraising to support its chapters, and shares any grant money received. “The more kids we are serving, the more funding we are eligible for, so growth begets growth,” said Les.
For more information on becoming a JSIS chapter, contact Les Burke at les@jsisinc.org. Read more about JSIS on PADI’s blog and connect with Junior Scientists in the Sea via their website or on Facebook.

Aligning with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is the first global alliance working to solve the worldwide problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear, known as ghost gear. Founded by World Animal Protection in 2015, the GGGI works to reduce the volume of ghost gear, remove and recycle it, and rescue entangled animals. By aligning with the GGGI, the PADI® family can help mobilize divers to look for and report harmful ghost gear that annually entangles and kills marine life including hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, turtles and birds.

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PADI joins GGGI as a member of its global solutions group to help develop new ways of mitigating the ghost gear problem. This complements the efforts of Project AWARE®, which actively works as a GGGI member to build evidence through its Dive Against Debris® program. Working together, the goal is to develop and implement projects to reduce and remove ghost gear from the ocean. This includes equipping PADI Divers with the knowledge and techniques to identify, report and, with proper training, safely remove ghost gear from waters, creating a global movement of millions of underwater eyes on the lookout for ghost gear.

More than 640,000 tons of fishing equipment is left in the world’s oceans each year, with reports showing that this debris affects more than 800 species of marine life. Many nets lost in global waters are enormous – often far bigger than football fields – trapping and killing marine life under the surface. Mostly made of plastic, ghost gear is also highly durable and can persist in the oceans for up to 600 years.

“We are happy to team up with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative,” says Drew Richardson, PADI Worldwide President and CEO. “PADI is committed to protecting the ocean planet and, with our unique underwater vantage, the dive community can play a significant role in locating marine debris. Along with Project AWARE, we look forward to working with the GGGI to empower and mobilize PADI Divers to join the fight against ghost gear.”

“We are proud to welcome PADI, with its millions of underwater eyes around the world looking out for ghost gear, as a pivotal new member for the GGGI,” says Elizabeth Hogan, U.S. Oceans and Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection, the GGGI’s founding participant. “Ghost gear is a true global problem that knows no borders, and PADI will surely play a crucial role in helping us to locate, remove and recycle ghost gear, which causes such immense suffering for marine animals.”

To learn more about ghost gear and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, visit www.ghostgear.org.

Be Best. Be PADITM. The Way the World Learns to Dive®.

 

Going PADI – The Best Decision

Switching training organizations is rarely an easy decision, but when a business becomes a PADI® Dive Center or Resort, the results can be truly outstanding. Last year, more dive centers and resorts joined PADI than ever before.  A case in point is Dive West, in Dallas, Texas, USA, that chose to go PADI in December 2015 and has since become a thriving PADI Retail and Resort Association member. Dive West’s management was motivated to join PADI after experiencing a decline in satisfactory customer service from another dive training agency.

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“Top-flight customer service is an essential element of the PADI Member experience,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “Life in a PADI Dive Center is often hectic, so quick and efficient service is imperative to allow dive center staff to deliver the same to their customers. That’s why PADI Regional Headquarters puts so much emphasis on exceptional customer service for members.”

Dive West finds PADI customer service outstanding. “PADI staff are always Johnny-on-the-spot,” says Brandi Farch, Dive West Store Manager. “We never have a problem accessing PADI services or reaching the right person on the phone.”

After joining, Dive West took advantage of PADI’s business consultation services, which has been an important factor in the store’s success. Like many businesses, Dive West had struggled to find the right pricing for their services and had been stuck on the same course pricing for more than eight years. However, trusting in the power of the PADI brand and PADI’s innovative marketing programs, Dive West instituted what they felt was more realistic, value-based course pricing and has thrived as a PADI Member ever since. “In less than two years with PADI, we’ve already exceeded the number of diver certifications we completed in the previous three years with our prior training agency” says Farch. “Joining PADI was the best decision we ever made for our store.”

Not surprised, Richardson says, “The PADI System of diver education brings student divers through the doors of PADI Dive Centers every day around the world. PADI’s proven marketing strategies and innovative marketing tools, such as a free annual marketing tool kit, also bring in customers.”

“We love the marketing tool kit and look forward to it each year,” says Farch. “I’m excited to decorate the store with all the new banners, flags and other point-of-purchase items, and I put it all up as soon as the kit arrives.”

“We’ve also enjoyed an increase in both walk-in and drive-by traffic since we switched to PADI. I believe this is partly attributable to our PADI-designed window wrap,” Farch explains. “Previously, we had a simple marquee sign that said ‘Dive West’ on our storefront. Many people didn’t even realize we were a dive shop. However, the window wrap dramatically changed all that. Now we’ve got ‘LEARN TO DIVE’ in great big letters, the PADI logo and other attractive graphics on our windows. People know we’re a dive shop and they drop in to check us out.”

Farch also appreciates the name recognition PADI enjoys. “People recognize PADI; we no longer have to spend all day explaining the difference between the various dive training organizations to potential customers.”

Closely tied to this recognition is the increased availability of instructors. “One of the best things about switching to PADI has been the increase in the number of qualified dive professionals who can work for us,” says Farch. “We used to have a lot of trouble getting instructors; nobody wanted to pay the money to become an instructor for our former training organization because it simply wasn’t beneficial enough for them. Now, we not only have seven or eight PADI Instructors on staff, we are also growing our own divemasters. In fact, we’re nearly finished training our first class of four PADI Divemaster candidates.”

Be Best. Be PADITM. The Way the World Learns to Dive.