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.

Earn Money Selling PADI Travel’s Dive Vacations

In the digital age, the old ways of doing business have been broadsided by a barrage of internet-savvy business models that have turned the world of commerce upside down. Among these are affiliate programs. Simply put, affiliate programs (sometimes called associate programs) are business arrangements in which an online merchant pays affiliates commissions to send them traffic or referrals that result in a sale. There are always three parties in this arrangement: the customer, the affiliate and the merchant. These affiliate sites traditionally post links to the merchant site and are paid according to a particular agreement.

Now, as the all-new PADI Travel™ Affiliate Program rolls out, PADI Dive Centers and Resorts are poised to take part in a growing digital marketing presence that stands to significantly raise the bar for how dive travel is sold. PADI® Members who’ve been on board with their own dive travel agencies get the concept. If selling dive travel is relatively new for you, look at the PADI Travel Affiliate Program and learn more about how it could transform your business and give you access to a brand new marketplace for your divers.

Key Benefits of the PADI Travel Affiliate Program

  • Commission: As a PADI Travel Affiliate, you can sell anything offered by PADI Travel and earn a commission. You even earn a commission for directly referring clients – if they book a trip, you get a commission.
  • Instore Sales: Once a diver you refer to PADI Travel books, PADI Travel will send them back to your store so you can provide further training or fulfill equipment needs.
  • Group Trips and Charters: receive unbeatable service, expert advice, group discounts, extra spots, dive show specials and free diver protection insurance when you book your group trips through PADI Travel. With a 24/7 customer support team, PADI Travel ensures your groups come back to you next time to book their vacation. The upcoming PADI Travel marketplace will even allow you to fill unbooked spots on your group trips.

You get full marketing support from the PADI Travel team. This includes training guides, webinars and POS (point of sale) materials including posters and business cards that really gear you up to maximize the revenue you can earn through the PADI Travel Affiliate Program. All your POS material is personalized with your unique tracking codes. If one of your customers takes a business card, logs on at home and makes a booking, you earn your commission.

PADI TRAVEL

PADI Travel Can Boost Your Business – Whether You Already Sell Travel or Not

  • Already Succesfully Selling Travel?

For those with in-house travel agencies, you now have access to the largest inventory of bookable scuba diving properties in the world – 400 and growing. Access new markets, new territories and new locations – all backed by incredible PADI Travel customer service – and earn new revenue.

  • Not Yet Selling Travel?

If you don’t already sell travel, now is the time to bolster your revenue – start today. You earn attractive commission on every diver you point towards PADI Travel. You don’t even need to organize a trip – just connect your customers with PADI Travel. All affiliates are provided tracking codes to automatically associate your customers with your account. This triggers a commission payment once the customer has made an independent booking.

Ready to take advantage of the PADI Travel Affiliate program? You can register here.

Last Call for 2019 Online Renewal

Time is running out to renew your 2019 PADI® Retail and Resort membership at a reduced rate. To receive the reduced 2019 PADI Retail and Resort membership rate you must renew before 15 December 2018. Here are a few tips to consider while renewing online:

  1. Online membership renewal is accessible on the My Account page of the PADI Pros Site.
  2. Renewing online before 15 December 2018 entitles you to a reduced membership rate for 2019.
  3. Choose the Automatic Renewal option when checking out to receive the lowest renewal rate for 2020.
  4. Follow the link below to renew now and continue enjoying all your great PADI benefits.

RENEW ONLINE NOW

Dry Suit Diving Safety Tips

Written by DAN Staff

In the Northern Hemisphere, temperatures are dropping as winter approaches and for many locations that means it’s time for dry suit diving courses to start. Dry suits are excellent exposure protection for comfort and safety. They provide warmth, redundant buoyancy and the ability to get in the water all year long, but they come with some specific safety concerns. Brush up on the hazards so you can better prepare your students for cool water diving.

Constriction Concerns

Tight wrist and neck seals aren’t just uncomfortable, they can cause real problems for divers. Neck and wrist seals should fit snugly but should not restrict blood flow. Wrist seals that are too tight can cause pain in the fingers and hands as well as numbness, tingling and loss of dexterity. They can also increase the risk of a cold injury due to decreased feeling and blood flow.

Tight neck seals have the potential to induce carotid sinus reflex. This reflex slows the diver’s heartbeat and the flow of blood to the brain and can make the diver feel dizzy or lightheaded or lose consciousness if left unchecked. You’ll size your student’s wrist and neck seals during a class, but double check them when you get to the dive site. Changes in temperature, position or stress can cause minor swelling and make a seal tight enough to cause a problem. Make sure seals are trimmed and stretched to the appropriate size before getting in the water.

Dermatological Concerns

There are many causes of diving-related skin conditions, and some of them have the potential to mask more serious concerns. This is the case with many dry suit-related dermatological issues. New divers who fail to add gas to their dry suits as they descend and experience a squeeze may get rashes, chafing or bruises as a result. While uncomfortable, these typically have no lasting ill effects. These bruises can be dramatic, however, and sometimes resemble cutaneous DCS, also known as skin bends. If one of your students appears to have bruises after a dry suit dive, always consider the possibility of DCS and respond based on the apparent symptoms (or lack thereof). Early recognition of skin bends is important and can significantly increase the likelihood of a positive outcome for an injured diver.

Urological Concerns

Urination systems are not common in many dry suits, especially rental suits,  because of hygiene concerns. However, if your student divers own suits with urination systems, it’s a good idea to teach them how to properly use the system. Pneumaturia (the passage of air during urination), urogenital infections and catheter squeeze can be caused by improper equalization or maintenance of these systems. Covering system-specific equalization, using balanced systems with one-way check valves to prevent water ingress, and covering thorough and regular cleanings as part of hygienic equipment use are critical parts of instruction.

For more information on dry suit safety, visit DAN.org/Health.

 

 

Engagement and Productivity

Over the last decade and a half, “employee/work engagement” and “productivity” have risen as hot, linked buzzwords in the business community. Though definitions and measures of “higher productivity,” “better performance,” “lower turnover,” “better quality” and similar concepts differ, studies consistently find higher engagement correlated with them. Studies also find it correlated with a positive customer experiences. In other words, “engaged” workers do more, better.

What Does “Engagement” Mean?

Schaufeli (2013) acknowledges that “work engagement” and “employee engagement” are used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings. Simplified, “work engagement” may be defined as being mentally and emotionally connected to work goals and performance in a manner that motivates the person to further both, beyond expected minimums. “Employee engagement” is work engagement, plus an emotional commitment to the organization for or within which the person works that motivates furthering the organization’s reputation and interests beyond expected minimums. It’s important to note that “engagement” is not “satisfaction,” “happiness,” or “workaholism,” which can be high without engagement.

Rising Importance

Measuring individual worker productivity is increasingly difficult as “knowledge-based” services make up more of the economy. In many countries, as many as half of all workers create and use intellectual property rather than physical property, making conventional productivity measuring methods obsolete and unreliable. Impraise, a management software company, notes that “knowledge-based employees simply can’t be measured by the output of their productivity.”

Engagement behaviors, however, can be observed and measured, and their effects can be seen on the bottom line. For this reason, more and more businesses concern themselves with encouraging and measuring engagement behaviors and overall results.

The Takeaways

Much of the dive industry falls in the knowledge/service domain, making engagement central to increasing and sustaining productivity. Creating engagement is complex, with entire courses on how to do so, but experts seem to agree on a few common themes:

  1. Communicate regularly and personally. Frequent one-on-one communication with the dive operation manager/owner should increase engagement. Focus on purpose and how each person’s purpose fits in with it. They also need to know and see specifically how their efforts make a difference.
  2. Quality is often more important than quantity. This especially includes instruction. Beyond the more important safety issues, well-trained divers are more likely to invest in gear, travel and more training, and more likely to refer friends. So, training fewer divers well in a given time is likely more productive from a business perspective than training more divers poorly in the same interval.
  3. Dive businesses thrive on customer experience. Diving is all about customer experience, especially in training and travel. Engagement and customer experience tend to go hand in hand. Engaged employees and instructional staff have a passion for what they do and with whom they work that contributes to this.
  4. Trust. Knowledge-economy workers need relative autonomy and responsibility for managing their own productivity. This doesn’t mean ignoring what dive center staff does, but providing guidance and goals that allows them to get their work done without micromanagement.
  5. Results over effort. Recognize when people work hard and for long hours, but for most tasks focus on doing the right things well over simply staying busy. Reward innovation that saves money/time, expands services or improves customer experiences.

Adapted from the 4th Quarter 2018 edition of The Undersea Journal®, written by Karl Shreeves.

Creating Advocates

Written by John Kinsella

It’s a damp and dreary morning, the traffic is horrendous and it’s backing up for a long way. Perfect. Clutching a handful of flyers promoting a two-for-the-price-of-one Discover Scuba® Diving (DSD®) experience, we move carefully between the rows of cars, making eye contact with the bored looking drivers. Most roll down their windows, curious no doubt about our colorful one-piece wet suits. We smile, hand them a flyer and give them a brief explanation: Forget about all the traffic, now’s the time to learn to dive. By the time we made it in to the dive shop at nine, the phone was hopping off the hook. It was the single most-effective promotion we had ever run.

For years, we made a point of finding out why new divers came in to the shop. Before the advent of high-end dive management software such as EVE, we kept a simple spreadsheet with the diver’s name and a couple of words describing how they heard about us and why they signed up. We tallied this up every month and, with only this one exception, every month the dominant reason was referrals. Running around in rush-hour traffic in wet suits, it appears, is the exception that proves the rule.

That was 30 years ago, and I doubt we’d get away with it today. So that leaves referrals squarely at the top of the list. And, to drive the point firmly home, during a recent Open Water Diver course, every single one of eight new divers was there because a friend or colleague had personally recommended the course. This is a great example of Word Of Mouth Marketing (or WOMM) at its best.

The importance of advocates – those people responsible for word-of-mouth marketing and referrals – for your business crosses all borders. PADI® Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) recently published a white paper titled, “Analysis of the UK Diving Industry.” This report summarizes the key findings of a comprehensive survey of PADI Dive Centers across the UK. It also offers advice, based on those findings, to help dive centers boost their business.

In the Marketing to New Divers section, the white paper points out that new divers are the lifeblood of your business. They are not just current customers, but future customers as well. It goes on to identify two pools of new divers: DSDs and potential trade.

For DSDs, the advice is to:

  1. Use the Discover Scuba Diving Participant Guide and system correctly.
  2. Include structured time during the experience to explain the benefits of full training and how to complete this.
  3. Give participants an incentive to sign up immediately.
  4. Make sure participants know that they can complete the skills from Confined Water Dive One during their DSD – they have already started the process.
  5. Incentivize your staff. The white paper notes that “Passionate PADI Professionals will convert students to the sport – be sure to support them and reward them for success.” If you can’t rely on staff to recommend your Open Water Diver course, and if you don’t help them do so and make it worth their while, you’re missing a cornerstone of new business development.

For potential trade (new business), the white paper advises to:

  1. Use the PADI logo.
  2. Make sure to use the dive center’s Facebook page effectively.
  3. Be innovative – reach out to your local community.
  4. Use your students – word of mouth is still the best way to attract new divers.

The white paper notes that “Personal recommendations are powerful recruitment tools.” Incentivize former students by offering them rewards for bringing you new trade. Examples include a free gift for each student they recruit; discount on their next course; or a discount on the course they persuade a friend to join.

Make sure to use tried and tested methods of creating advocates for your business and reap the rewards.

 

Meeting CPR and First Aid Requirements for PADI Courses

Some PADI® courses require first aid and CPR training within the past 24 months. You know that Emergency First Response® Primary and Secondary Care courses meet the requirements.

How do you determine what other courses qualify when a diver presents you with first aid and CPR qualifications from another organization?

Follow these steps:

  • Verify that the CPR and first aid training included student skill practice and demonstration of CPR and first aid techniques in person with a qualified instructor. A course that lacks this does not qualify, such as online only courses or self-study programs via any other media.
  • Check that the training taken meets current international emergency care guidelines as defined by the various resuscitation councils. For further information on layperson CPR and first aid training, visit the following ILCOR (International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation) Association websites:

American Heart Association

Australian Resuscitation Council

European Resuscitation Council

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

New Zealand Resuscitation Council

  • For PADI Divemaster candidates, include a copy of that CPR and first aid course completion documentation along with the Divemaster Application to avoid unnecessary processing delays. Documentation must be from the qualifying CPR/first aid organization. Certificates or completion documents provided by third parties that are not directly sanctioned CPR/first aid organizations are unacceptable. Look at the name of the CPR/first aid organization for whom the instructor is authorized to teach and ensure it matches with the name on the certification.

If you’re unsure, contact a Regional Training Consultant at your PADI Regional Headquarters for clarification before accepting documentation provided by the student or candidate for course requirements.

PADI Retail and Resort Automatic Renewal

PADI Retail and Resort Automatic Renewal begins 5 November 2018. Enrolling in automatic renewal provides you the least expensive annual membership rate available and ensures you receive uninterrupted access to PADI’s member benefits like online certification processing.

Along with reduced membership dues, automatic renewal also provides PADI Retail and Resort Members a chance to win an in-store marketing consultation with a PADI Americas Marketing Executive and $1,000 US in marketing co-op funds.

To enter the Marketing Consultation Contest, please ensure your store or resort is enrolled in automatic renewal and completes the short survey linked below before 5 November 2018. The in-store consultation will include a one-day review of your website, social media, email marketing, online advertising and $1,000 US in marketing co-op funds*.

Complete the following before 5 November 2018 and you will be entered in the Marketing Consultation Contest.

  1. Enroll in 2018 automatic membership renewal
  2. Access and complete this short survey.

The Heroic – But Failed – Rescue

Written by Al Hornsby

What do the following scenarios have in common?

  1. A certified diver surfaces near shore, gets swept onto rocks by the swell and spends several minutes submerged, regulator out of his mouth. The dive guide risks his life to reach the diver and tow him back to the boat. The deckhand quickly begins CPR and continues until reaching the marina, just minutes away. Unfortunately, the diver does not regain consciousness.
  2. A certified diver suffers a catastrophic injury at more than 30 metres/100 feet and becomes unresponsive. A nearby divemaster spots the incident and attempts to bring the heavily weighted, incapacitated diver to the surface, fighting a heavy swell and strong current. Reaching exhaustion, the buoyant divemaster loses contact with the victim before reaching the surface. The victim is found on the bottom deceased after a subsequent search.
  3. An instructor is asked by three certified divers to take them on a popular local dive. After non-eventful familiarization dives to confirm their skills, the instructor takes them on the requested dive. During the dive, at about 21 metres/70 feet, one of the divers indicates a regulator problem and begins rapidly heading to the surface. The instructor rushes to assist, slows the ascent and gets the diver up safely, then sorts out the regulator problem (which turns out to be imagined). The two other buddies, however, stay down and continue the dive. As the instructor takes the diver back down, the others pass them ascending rapidly with one completely out of gas. Upon reaching the surface, the out-of-gas diver begins to cough and panic. The instructor, who surfaced with the first diver immediately, manually inflates the victim’s BCD, and he floats high in the rough water, but nonetheless shortly loses consciousness. With a strong current carrying the group, by the time the boat and additional rescuers arrive, the victim has been unresponsive for an extended period. The diver is declared dead by EMS. The instructor who was attending him and the other divers throughout the several-hour ordeal ends up hospitalized for extreme exhaustion.

In all these (real) scenarios, there are various commonalities:

  1. The difference between what would/could have been a heroic rescue, at significant personal risk to the dive pro, and the diver fatality was heartbreakingly small.
  2. In the three situations, some combination of various errors and/or omissions could be alleged: an improper briefing/warning; improper rescue technique; improper rescue breaths; lack of available O2; etc.
  3. In addition to those common aspects, all three situations also resulted in the dive pro being sued, and all the cases resulted in negative verdicts or out‑of‑court settlements.

These, like any serious dive accident, were tragedies – for the victims, for the victims’ families and for the dive pros involved. Unfortunately in each, otherwise excellent, conscientious behavior and dive supervision had – or could be alleged to have had – small discrepancies that could be used in a lawsuit to attack the pros’ performance and/or response to the emergency.

Here’s a quick list of rescue-related issues to always stay current on and to use in a dive emergency to maximize the chances of success, but also to reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit that could reasonably allege that your conduct fell below accepted professional standards:

  1. Always provide a proper dive briefing, describing emergency and diver separation procedures and any special risks of the dive.
  2. Have operational, emergency O2 available, with all dive pros and applicable boat crew knowing where it is located and how to administer it, as well as being familiar with the dive boat/operation’s overall emergency plan and procedures.
  3. Stay current on and use the inwater, rescue-breath protocols you’ve learned, including when to give breaths, how frequently, when to remove the victim’s equipment, etc.
  4. Stay current on and use proper CPR protocols, including the sequencing and pace of inflations and compressions. Keep in mind that these processes have standards placed by dive and lifeguarding bodies, plus are supported by medical research and/or consensus of various sorts. These standards are mostly global, but there are a few that differ somewhat by region, so be aware of what is expected in your area. There are plenty of “experts” out there willing to allege that a nonstandard approach led to, or contributed to, a fatality: “If not but for the nonstandard, improper performance. . .”

Unfortunately, diving has risks that can never be fully eliminated, and the possibility of an incident occurring always exists. Stay prepared and vigilant, and ready to respond, using the procedures and protocols learned during your training. There will always be incidents that don’t have happy outcomes despite heroic, appropriate, individual efforts by dive professionals who do everything “by the book.” But even with real, human limitations, realize that diver rescues and assists occur every day, and the vast majority end without serious injury to the victim. Be and stay prepared for diver emergencies, but also be confident. What you know to do works and usually makes a difference.

Learning from the Statistics

Three Ways to Increase Diver Safety

Written by DAN Staff

Dive incident statistics show both improvements in diver safety and areas where divers may need more help. The DAN Annual Diving Report provides information about the most frequent causes of injury among divers. Dive professionals can learn from these statistics and continue to improve diver safety by reinforcing training concepts that encourage divers to follow safe diving practices. Knowing how to avoid common issues can reduce their chances of being involved in dive incidents.

Weighting

Overweighting is a common problem and a difficult issue to tackle. You may weight students correctly in class, but can’t control how they weight themselves after certification. Besides making a point to remind students that they should always use the correct amount of weight, you could address the issue with additional training, such as a PADI Peak Performancy Buoyancy course, or offer to help divers figure out proper weighting anytime the have an equipment change or just need a tune-up. Overweighting is a significant hazard to both new and experienced divers. Emphasize the need to develop good weighting habits to not only increase safety, but to also to add to their comfort and enjoyment in the water.

Buoyancy Control

With practice, every student should be able to attain neutral buoyancy and horizontal trim before finishing a course. You’re well aware that the inability to control buoyancy during ascent or descent can cause serious injury or death. Not being able to maintain their position or minimize drag in the water can cause new divers to become unaware of their depth or cause collisions with dangerous objects. It can also decrease visibility when they stir up the bottom and cause them to become exhausted due to excessive finning through the water. Focus on mastery of proper buoyancy techniques and encourage lots of practice in your courses. Keeping your students comfortably in control and happily finning through the water throughout their initial training will make them less likely to run into issues post-certification.

Checklists

The mandated use of checklists in aerospace, health care and other areas has significantly decreased the number of incidents and accidents in those industries. The same trend is coming into focus in diving. Whether you use the premade checklists from PADI materials or create your own, using a checklist is an excellent way to ensure that you have everything you need to run a class, board a vessel or get in the water, especially when managing multiple students and assistants. Checklists are an excellent resource for reducing errors. They should serve as reminders of key points rather than just to-do lists. Role model checklist use and encourage students to carry and use checklists for all their dives.

For more information about incident statistics, visit DAN.org.