PADI Foundation Awards $330,000 US to Grant Recipients

The PADI Foundation awarded more than $330,000 US in grants in 2019 to encourage and support research and education related to marine environments. Every year, the PADI Foundation funds worthwhile projects that improve understanding of: aquatic environments and encourage protection of ecosystems; people’s relationship and ability to survive in the underwater environment to benefit the scientific community and general diving public; hazards to humans and ecosystems related to climate change in coastal and ocean environments to advance response measures.

Since 1992, the PADI Foundation has awarded nearly $4.7 million US to almost 900 projects. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the PADI Foundation is a separate and distinct organization, corporately unrelated to PADI® and its affiliates, but was established and is funded by PADI.

In 2019, out of more than 400 grant applications 64 projects were selected to receive a total of $332,568 US in grant money. Projects in 20 countries around the globe were funded, including:

  • Exploring unique Omani kelp forests to transform global underwater forest conservation
  • Coral monitoring and restoration in Utila, Honduras
  • Spatial ecology from above: Incorporating drones in identifying populations and habitats of dugongs and sea turtles in Johor, Malaysia
  • PADI Foundation Leaders Initiative Scholarship: Developing diverse marine science leaders through education and mentorship
  • Implication to water quality in the context of climate change: Nutrients and potential mobility of phosphorus in mangrove sediments with different land use pattern in southern Vietnam
  • Assessing the conservation status and developing awareness of sharks and rays in the northern coastline of Cameroon
  • Partnering with the offshore sailing community to monitor marine microplastic pollution
  • Mapping and modeling of the Seattle Fault tsunami inundation in Puget Sound
  • Implementing disease intervention strategies on corals in the southeast Florida reef tract and assessing their potential impact on mucus microbial communities
  • Zooplankton plastivory: First approach on microplastics in Antarctic coastal environments

“The recipients of the PADI Foundation grants reinforce my hope for the future and share in our mission to be a force for good,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “These individuals are combining their unique talents and passion to identify issues, provide understanding and solutions to mitigate the problems that threaten our ocean planet, and further enable and encourage underwater exploration. The PADI organization is honored to support them in their efforts, both at the local level and on a global scale.”

Each year, the PADI Foundation Board of Directors and advisory council of subject matter experts consider proposals with budgets up to $20,000 US, although the average award ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 US. Applications for consideration in 2020 may be submitted beginning 1 November 2019, and no later than 10 January 2020. Learn more at www.padifoundation.org.

A Way to Pay It Forward and Make a Difference

Like most PADI® Members around the world, you’re probably aware that the 2017 hurricane season wreaked havoc in the Caribbean. And in 2018, other areas suffered from natural disasters: earthquakes in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Taiwan; Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit Guam, Marshall Islands, the Philippines and southern China; plus there were 11 other typhoons and a list of other disasters. Every year, natural catastrophes devastate -different parts of the world, including some of the most popular dive destinations. Each event costs hundreds of lives and billions in US dollars of damage.

If you live in an unaffected area you can help those affected – especially your fellow PADI Members. Here’s how: Go there, and go diving. Better yet, set up a group dive trip and take everyone you can there with you.

I don’t want to make light of the -tragedy wrought by storms and other natural disasters. Rather, I’m pointing out that economic damage from lost tourism can often have a lasting effect on dive operators in these regions. To use the Caribbean as an example, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reports that, overall, tourism accounts for 15 percent of the region’s gross economy – $56-plus billion US and 2.4 million jobs. But that’s the regional average – many islands’ economies are more than 25 percent tourism, with a few more than 90 percent! Lost tourism following the 2017 hurricanes is costing the Caribbean billions in US dollars beyond the physical damage costs.

Following a disaster, restoration has two stages: relief and recovery. Relief is the immediate aid to provide food, shelter, fresh water, medical supplies, etc., to the affected areas. Recovery is the much longer process of rebuilding businesses, structures, homes . . . and the economy, which is often the last to recover. That’s where dive travel comes in. The sooner tourism returns, the faster that part of the local economy rebounds, which also helps fund physical restoration. In many areas dive tourism is a significant part of tourism, and in some locations, it’s almost all of it. The more diving contributes to the tourist economy, the bigger diving’s role in recovery.

So, immediately after natural disasters, we can help by giving to relief organizations, and if able, by volunteering to go with these organizations to assist with relief. After, as things stabilize, we can help by restoring the diving portion of tourism. It’s important that we don’t stay away just because “everyone else is.” We find out what’s open and who’s still operating, and start going back as soon as possible. We spread the word.

Tourism and dive tourism often become functional again faster than the general public realizes. Using the Caribbean as an example again, although some areas and operators were and remain devastated, most of the top dive destinations are open and operational. Many dive operations that got hit hard are already back up. Others had very little or no damage and never really shut down, apart from the storms themselves. However, despite these facts, the WTTC predicts that it will be 2022 before visitor spending reaches pre-2017 levels.

Although I wish PADI and diving were big enough to knock down predictions like this single-handedly in every disaster-affected location, we’re not. But, with more than 130,000 professional members and millions of divers around the world we can sure make a difference and help recovery, just by going to these places to do what we love doing.

Good luck, good teaching and good diving.

Drew Richardson Ed.D.,  PADI President and CEO

 

Ocean Conservation Legislation – Recent Successes Around the World

SingleUsePlasticBottle_Shutterstock

While there’s no doubt that individual actions towards ocean conservation have the power to make positive impacts on our blue planet, legislation passed by city, state, and national governments also has the power to create big waves. As divers, we are deeply connected to the ocean as well as acutely aware of the many threats it’s facing. In recent years, as public knowledge about the declining health of the ocean grows, there has been an amazing surge of laws, bans, and policies passed around the world in order to safeguard the future health of the ocean. Here are some highlighted examples of locations making a difference for ocean conservation.

DiverReef_Shutterstock

Bali

This tropical island destination in Indonesia recently announced an all-encompassing ban of single-use plastics including styrofoam, straws, and plastic bags. On December 24th, 2018, Bali’s Governor announced the ban and hopes that the new policy will lead to a 70% decline in Bali’s marine plastics in just one year’s time. The ban will go into effect in June.

Hawaii

The Hawaiian island chain is the first U.S. state to ban sunscreen products containing chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate that are harmful to coral reefs and marine life. The bill, which was passed by state lawmakers in May of 2018, will go into effect on January 1st, 2021.

United Kingdom

In order to tackle the issue of single-use plastics and their potential to pollute waterways and oceans, in early 2018 the UK announced a 25-year plan to ‘set the global standard’ on eliminating plastic waste. Prime Minister Theresa May also announced a proposed ban on plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds. The Queen of England even joined in by banning plastic straws and water bottles from the Royal Estate.

Palau

In 2015, this small island nation in the South Pacific declared 80% of its waters as a ‘no-take’ marine reserve. Approximately 193,000 square miles (500,000 square kilometers) in size, this ocean sanctuary is about the size of California, even though the nation of Palau is smaller than New York City – meaning that Palau has set aside more of their nation’s waters than any other country in the world.

Seattle

Thanks to a city-wide ‘Strawless in Seattle’ campaign, on July 1st, 2018, Seattle became the first U.S. city to enact a ban on plastic straws, along with single-use plastic utensils. In an effort to reduce marine plastic pollution, Seattle’s 5,000 restaurants are now only allowed to offer reusable or compostable straws, utensils, and toothpicks.

European Union

Following a surge of public support (thanks in part to documentaries like David Attenborough’s BBC Blue Planet series), the European Parliament voted for a comprehensive ban of single-use plastics by 2021 in an attempt to reduce pollution levels in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The policy is set to include a wide array of items like plastic cutlery and plates, straws, polystyrene food containers, and plastic cigarette butts.

Antarctica

A remote and largely pristine stretch of ocean off the coast of Antarctica – the Ross Sea – was declared in 2016 as one of the world’s largest marine reserves. The unanimous decision was voted upon by delegates from 24 countries to protect an area approximately 598,000 square miles of the Southern Ocean from commercial fishing.

Key West

In early 2019, Key West’s City Commission voted to ban the sale of sunscreen products that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate in an effort to protect the corals and marine life of the Great Florida Reef. The ban is set to officially go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Vanuatu

In the summer of 2017, the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu announced a plan to ban the use of and importation of single-use plastic bags and bottles – making Vanuatu the first country in this ocean region to launch a policy of this nature.

Want more good news? PADI Pros and PADI Dive Centers and Resorts are poised to enact ocean conservation ‘legislation’ of their own. Dive shops around the globe are putting some amazing policies into place to help contribute to positive ocean health.

For example:

  • Rainbow Reef Dive Center in Florida is no longer using single-use plastic water bottles and is only using reef safe sunscreens.
  • Evolution Diving Resort in the Philippines is removing single-use plastics from their operations as well as installing solar panels on their accommodations.
  • Camel Dive Club in Egypt has banned all single-use plastic straws and cutlery from their hotel and restaurants.

Feeling inspired? Check out our Mission2020 Pledge to learn more about how you and your diving community can join us in safeguarding the health of our blue planet.

Eco-Tourism and Diving: An Opportunity and a Responsibility

By Danna Moore, Director of Global Operations, Project AWARE®

Eco-tourism is defined as environmentally and socially responsible travel, and dive operators are well positioned to provide services for this growing market. With continued threats to our ocean planet, it’s appropriate for the dive industry to encourage and inspire divers to travel responsibly and protect what they love. In areas where poor business practices and unchecked tourism development are damaging sensitive marine habits, divers have the economic strength and personal passion to make changes by demanding sustainable practices. As a dive professional, you can be an eco-operator who leverages your customers’ economic power to support ecologically friendly businesses, while encouraging others to follow your lead.

Consumer Demand Already Exists

A 2017 study by Unilever, a consumer goods company focused on sustainability, revealed that 33 percent of consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental effects. Customers, especially those in younger demographics, leverage their purchasing power to encourage businesses to make sustainability part of their operations; those that do stand apart in the market from those that ignore consumer concern for the global environment.

At Project AWARE, we’ve heard first-hand that divers choose 100% AWARE partners because they support conservation and protecting the environment. As these partnerships grow, so does the demand for a healthy environment. This means we must continue to reward responsible operators with new and returning customers, and those businesses in turn must continue to “up their game” with respect to sustainability, protection and restoration.

Divers Want to Participate

Beyond choosing sustainable operators, divers show increasing interest in participating in community actions while they travel. Many markets serve this growing demand by providing conservation courses and events that build a sense of community during their stay.

For example, partnered with the Curaçao Hospitality and Tourism Association, the Curaçao Dive Task Force marketed their annual World Cleanup Day event, attracting more than 140 divers across 18 dive centers to participate in 2018. The engagement didn’t stop after the event, however. Recognizing the link between conservation action and tourism growth, Curaçao divers have adopted more than 12 individual dive sites for debris collection year-round, as of this writing.

Other dive operators have tapped into this growing market by selling travel packs with a conservation angle. Brad Snyder, owner of Float N’ Flag in Ontario, Canada, successfully ran off-season warm-water trips by embedding an eco-theme through Dive Against Debris® and shark and ray conservation. “It gives people a secondary objective for the dive, helps keep our dive sites clean, and through the social media exposure broadens the impact of the activity,” Snyder says. These trips, along with continuous conservation events locally, give Float N’ Flag divers a purpose, keep them diving throughout the year and bring in new divers who want to do business with environmentally -responsible operators.

Linking Demand to Supply

As consumers demand more and yet even more sustainable options, suppliers work to meet this growing demand. At present, “eco-tourism” is difficult to define and this definition often differs across regions and travel destinations. This however, provides us the opportunity to more closely define “sustainable dive operator” and an “eco-tourist diver.” This ability to help redefine things is a huge opportunity for community collaboration. Simply put, this is because community lies at the very heart of sustainability.

By connecting our communities, educating consumers, agreeing upon best practices and promoting -environmental stewards, we can create positive changes for the ocean. As Snyder from Float N’ Flag pointed out: “While one little dive shop in Ontario can only have a little impact, uniting similar-minded shops around the world is critical to make the results scalable.”

Many resources already at your fingertips were created by divers for divers:

  • Responsible Shark & Ray Tourism Guide. Developed by Project AWARE, World Wildlife Foundation and Manta Trust, this guidebook provides practical, science-based information for shark and ray tourism operators who want to offer the best possible experience to their customers, while conserving species and habitats, and making a positive contribution to local communities.
  • PADI Travel™. Global online travel platform and full-service team dedicated to providing top-notch travel services that inspire divers to explore more of the underwater world and take care of our oceans. To find eco offering, select the Eco Travel tab on the main PADI Travel page.

Based on an article that appeared in the First Quarter 2019 The Undersea Journal®

PADI’s Mission 2020 Pledge: Join Us!

PADI’s long-standing commitment to ocean conservation began more than 25 years ago with the formation of Project AWARE® Foundation. In 2017, the PADI Pillars of Change were introduced to increase awareness of issues affecting our ocean communities, and to mobilize PADI® Professionals and divers to act together as a catalyst for positive change. Now, the PADI organization is integrating the Mission 2020 effort to reduce plastics in the ocean into its overall commitment to ocean health and corporate citizenship ethos.

Aligning with PADI’s belief that greater change can be affected when working together, Mission 2020 is a collection of pledges from organizations within the diving community to change business practices to protect and preserve the ocean for the future. With a primary focus on single-use plastics, the project sets ambitious targets of changes to be made before World Oceans Day 2020.

PADI’s Mission 2020 Pledge

As PADI moves towards a fully integrated and digital learning system, we will lessen our dependency on plastics and packaging, thereby mitigating the plastic footprint of PADI Professionals and the million divers certified each year. To broaden our impact even further, PADI is committed to rallying our 6,600 Dive Centers and Resorts to reduce their use of single-use plastics by the year 2020. We invite everyone to make a pledge and to change their business practices in support of a clean and healthy ocean.

“We are passionate about creating a preferred view of the future in healthier oceans. We have a strong legacy of environmental conservation behind us and a robust roadmap for continued progress that will drive our force for good responsibility well into the future. This is the foundation of PADI’s Mission 2020 pledge, and it is our hope that this project will inspire the PADI community to make immediate commitments that will lead to lasting change.’ – Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide

Why You Should Make a 2020 Commitment

It’s good for the planet – Changing your business practices to reduce plastics is good for the ocean and good for us too. Let’s protect the places we love to dive and make sure they are healthy for future generations.

It will enhance your business – Consumers are proud to attach themselves to a business with purpose. Show your customers that you care about the ocean and they will reward you with their loyalty.

It’s good for the dive industry – If we come together as an industry to protect our ocean planet, we set a good example for other businesses to follow. If a clean, healthy ocean is our goal, we need all the help we can get.

Plastic on Reef Shutterstock
PADI’s Mission 2020 pledge to reduce plastic with help restore ocean health. Join us in protecting the underwater world we love.

Impactful Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Use

  •  Prevent debris from getting into the ocean! Remove single use plastics like water bottles, plastic bags and plastic cups from your shop and dive boats.
  • Work with your local community to organize joint beach and underwater clean-up events. This effort brings awareness to everyone about how individual behaviors positively impact our environment.
  • Set monthly and yearly clean up goals for your local dive sites. Log the debris on the Project AWARE Dive Against Debris® App to contribute to data collection that could influence new ocean-friendly policies.
  • Protect your local waters and Adopt a Dive Site™. It’s the ideal way to engage in ongoing, local protection and monitoring of our underwater playgrounds.
  • Carry sustainably made merchandise in your dive center or resort. Make sure tee shirts, hoodies and other branded goods come from eco-friendly suppliers and are made from non-plastic materials or from recycled plastic fibers.
  • Make the switch to PADI eLearning® and improve your carbon footprint. Going digital reduces production of plastic materials and removes the need for shipping.

Make a Mission 2020 Pledge

All members of the dive community are encouraged to make a Mission 2020 pledge. And what a great time to align your pledge with your 2019 New Year’s resolutions! Whether sustainability is already a key component of your business model or you’re just getting started, we encourage you to join in by making adjustments (big and small) to your business practices in support of a clean and healthy ocean. See what others in the industry have pledged on Mission 2020’s Who’s In page.

We believe that the global PADI family is a force for good that can help play a critical role in protecting and preserving our oceans for the future if we all make conservation a priority at our places of business.

 

AWARE Week Successes and Stories

Article by Tara Bradley

As AWARE Week wrapped up on 23 September, the amount of dive operators, instructors, and dive communities that participated in events throughout the world was impressive. From Project AWARE Specialty courses, to neighborhood barbecues to Dive Against Debris® events collecting over 22,000 pounds of trash, here’s how our fellow dive operators helped make AWARE Week a success.

United Arab Emirates: Divers Down UAE

Divers Down UAE collected over 110 pounds of marine debris during their Dive Against Debris event. As a way of creating shark awareness, they also conducted an AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty course for 14 of their PADI divers.

Thailand: Crystal Dive Koh Tao

The team at Crystal Dive Koh Tao spent the week conducting Dive Against Debris and AWARE Shark Conservation specialties. To finish off the event, they celebrated with a free barbecue night for all of the participants.

Curacao: Blue Bay on Curacao

A group of volunteers came together in Curacao for a beach clean-up at Hole 6. In addition to the two full boats of divers and snorkelers, participants signed up for the PADI Invasive Lion Fish Specialty Course to assist in catching the invasive species.

Australia: Dive Centre Manly

The group at Dive Centre Manly gathered 30 people for their “Blue Backyard Cleanup.” The majority of the items retrieved were plastic wrappers, single-use coffee cups, straws, cutlery, Styrofoam, and hundreds of unidentifiable pieces of plastic. As an added reward, the nearby Hawkesbury Brewing Co. gave the participants a very well-deserved free beer.

Spain: Balky Sub

In Spain, Balky Sub’s group were on one of the area’s cleaner dive sites and still recovered more than 11 pounds of plastic in one day – mostly consisting of plastic bottles and bags. And since every day is AWARE Week for this team, they make an effort to pick up trash from the ocean and beach on a daily basis.

Philippines: Dive Funatics

Before they conducted their monthly Dive Against Debris event on 22 September, Dive Funatics, located in the Philippines held a peak performance buoyancy clinic to ensure all of their divers had a chance to polish up their buoyancy. To thank their divers, participants received a T-shirt in addition to a bracelet made of upcycled debris collected from their August Dive Against Debris event.

Jordan: Deep Blue Dive Center

Deep Blue Dive Center teamed up with the Tala Bay Resort team by hosting a Dive Against Debris at Tala Bay marina on 12 September. The result: The crew cleaned up over 140 pounds of waste in 20 bags. But they didn’t stop there. The following week, a group of 15 divers conducted another clean-up.

Bonaire: Dive Friends Bonaire

From 15-21 September, Dive Friends Bonaire organized a range of activities to fight ocean pollution. With seven locations and five house reefs on-island, the group worked to promote conservation with Dive Against Debris dives on every house reef.

Florida: Rainbow Reef Divers

Since Rainbow Reef divers host a Dive Against Debris event every month, they were quick to jump into action for AWARE Week. In September, their boat removed and recorded over 2,000 pounds of marine debris.

 

AWARE Week may be over, but there are countless ways to keep your local community involved all year long. Here’s How to Make Every Week AWARE Week.

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.

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. 

7 Ways to Support Sharks During Shark Week

Whether you love or hate Shark Week, there’s no denying its influence. Now in its 30th year, the annual hyperbole bonanza draws millions of viewers and has been likened to the Super Bowl.

For most Millennials and all of Gen Z, everything they know about sharks may have come from Shark Week. The author of a recent article in Fortune writes, “I once asked a class of 125 undergraduates how many had watched [Shark Week], and just about every hand went up. I then asked how many had ever actually seen sharks in the wild. Just a few hands were raised. For my students—and most Americans—this means that the overwhelming majority of our exposure to sharks is through Shark Week.”

Join PADI®, Project AWARE® and thousands of shark fans around the world by spreading a positive message about our finned friends during Shark Week 2018. Here are a few ways to show your support and chum for new customers:

  • Shout Out for Sharks

Post shark-positive articles on social media throughout Shark Week and encourage your followers to show their support for sharks by re-sharing to their social channels. Here are a few of our favorites:

10 Surprising Facts About Sharks
18 Things More Dangerous Than Sharks

Cristina Zenato – Shark Whisperer
Shark Attack Survivor and Shark Advocate Mike Coots

7 Species of Sharks You Should Know
Why Does Shark Finning Happen?

Awesomely Interesting Shark Facts

Don’t forget to use #SharkWeek in your Twitter and Instagram posts.

  • Petition for Shark Protection

Sign and share the #DiversforMakos petition to help end uncontrolled mako shark fishing in the Atlantic. Dive centers with customers in the United States can also promote the petition to ban the sale of shark fins in the U.S.

  • Offer Shark Certification Cards
    Issue a limited-edition silky shark certification card to students who earn a certification during Shark Week. When processing the certification in the Online Processing Center, choose the Project AWARE card option. If you are not a 100% AWARE partner, a donation of $10 per student is required. Proceeds benefit the shark conservation efforts of Project AWARE.

olpc

  • Host a Scuba Diving with Sharks Travel Night
    Shark Week is the perfect opportunity to promote shark diving experiences locally, or on your next dive trip. Host a Shark Week watch party preceded by a shark diving presentation, or schedule a shark diving info night and promote it during Shark Week.If you have shark diving in your area, check out Responsible Shark and Ray Tourism: A Guide to Best Practice from Project AWARE. If you have an active travel program, reference the guide to ensure you’re working with a responsible operator.

 

  • Promote the Shark Conservation Diver Specialty and Project AWARE

Any certified diver age 12 or older can enroll in the  AWARE – Shark Conservation Diver Specialty, and the certification counts towards the PADI Master Scuba Diver® Rating.If you’d like to offer something for nondivers, host a Project AWARE fundraising event. The fundraiser can be an athletic event where participants raise money (a “Finathon”), or it could be a donation challenge.

Set a goal and choose a fun incentive if the goal is met. The reward could be a stunt such as a staff member agreeing to wear a shark costume and hand out shark candy in a public place, or it could be a picnic or happy hour for fundraising participants.

  • Post/Host Shark Trivia
    Put together a list of 8-20 surprising shark facts. Use them as a daily trivia question to draw engagement on social media, or host a shark trivia night at a local pub or via Facebook live. Here are some question ideas to get you started:What is the largest shark on the planet?

True or false, “The Cookiecutter Shark”is real

How big is an average Megalodon shark tooth?

Check out the articles below for more fun shark facts:
Megalodon Shark Facts

7 Species of Sharks You Should Know
10 Surprising Facts About Sharks

Awesomely Interesting Shark Facts

  • Reward Customers Who Speak Up for Sharks

Issue a Shark Week challenge to customers and social media followers to share shark facts, sign up for a class or event, and donate to Project AWARE. Incentivize participation by giving away novelty items such as shark bite socks or a shark coffee mug to people who do all three. Or, buy random inexpensive items to create a sharky grab bag and invite shark challenge participants to come by the store and draw for a random prize.

Shark Week offers an unprecedented opportunity for shark lovers to cut through the hype and speak up for shark protection. Mark your calendar for Sunday, 22 July and spread the good word about sharks while promoting your business at the same time.

A New Wave of Ocean Protection

Support Project AWARE®’s next wave of ocean protection with your PADI® Member Renewal

ProjectAWARE_Remember_Renewal

With 25 years of ocean conservation successes fueled by an incredible network of supporters, governments, businesses, NGOs and conservation partners, Project AWARE has much to celebrate with PADI Members.

To highlight this incredible milestone and join in the celebrations, PADI is launching a special limited edition Project AWARE card – The 25 Years of Partnership for Ocean Protection limited edition card is available to PADI Pros from October 2017 and will be available to student divers throughout 2018 when it launches in January.

00606_AWARE_C_CardFINAL-300x188Two Ways to Support Project AWARE’s Next Wave of Ocean Conservation

  • Choose the new 25 Years of Partnership for Ocean Protection limited edition card as your PADI Membership card
  • Donate to Project AWARE with your PADI Member Renewal today!

Go to the PADI Pros’ Site to update your credit or debit card details and add your donation to support Project AWARE’s critical conservation work!

Your support gives the ocean a voice, help secure important policy advancements to keep shark and ray populations healthy and protect marine life from the onslaught of marine debris.

2018-Mask-StrapA

Special Offer: Limited Edition Project AWARE 25th Anniversary Mask Strap

Project AWARE’s special 25th Anniversary limited edition mask strap is now available as a special thank you gift when donating through your PADI member renewal. The gift is available to any PADI member donating $25/€15/£15 or more.