DVDs: to rent, loan or sell

PADI Open Water DVDUsing DVDs in your classes is a no-brainer. The tough part is deciding whether to loan, rent, or sell the DVD to your student.

First let’s look at the loan option:
Most instructors quickly realize that loaning out DVDs is a waste of time and money. Free stuff is just not valued the same. If you’ve ever made the mistake of giving your friend a free scuba class, you know what I mean.

Inevitably your DVD’s will be lost, scratched, broken or just never returned. Now you have to buy a new one. Plus there’s the cost of your time trying to chase down those DVDs that never find their way home. When it comes down to it, loaning the DVD is more like paying the customer to borrow it.

PADI Advanced Open Water DVDOkay, how about renting the DVD?
Renting DVDs is light years ahead of loaning. We recommend charging a deposit which covers the cost of the disc plus administrative time ($25-$30 seems to be the norm). This way, if a DVD is never returned, you haven’t lost any money. If the customer brings the disc back in good condition, their deposit is refunded.

So what’s the downside to renting? The opportunity cost of profit that was not made by not selling your student the DVD in the first place.

PADI Rescue Diver DVDSelling the DVD is by far the smartest approach:
Selling removes the administrative and opportunity costs associated with loaning and renting out DVDs. Moreover, you don’t have to deal with “it was scratched when I got it” or “I’ll bring it back next week I promise” (when you need the DVD for another class the next day).

Paying for convenience is extraordinarily common these days. Don’t forget: your customers expect to buy things from you and owning the DVD adds both convenience and value. If you want to avoid “nickel and diming” include the DVD in your course price or consider the Open Water multimedia crewpak (manual + DVD = multimedia DVD-ROM).

The PADI Open Water DVD is product number 70821MUL (includes English and Spanish). The multimedia crewpak is 60314 (adventure log) or 60316 (blue log book).

Thanks to Randy Giles (PADI Canada) for letting me bastardize his original article.


New Oxygen Provider Specialty

Emergency oxygen is the primary first aid in dive accidents but statistics show that less than half of divers in need actually receive it. By teaching the PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider course, you can help close this gap – making sure your divers are ready to provide emergency oxygen.

PADI’s Emergency Oxygen specialty course takes about two hours and may be conducted in lieu of exercise nine in a Rescue Diver course. Many of your Rescue students may be close to achieving their Master Scuba Diver rating, and the Emergency O2 specialty counts as one of the five they need.

Here are the available products:

PADI Oxygen Provider ManualFor the student:
Emergency Oxygen Provider student package (82219)

Includes: 70019 Emergency Oxygen Provider student manual and 50051 O2 “At a Glance” reference card. MSRP is $31.40.

For the Instructor:
Emergency Oxygen Provider instructor guide (79118).

Here is the lowdown on crossing over:

Crossover an O2 Provider Distinctive Specialty Rating to a regular PADI Specialty Instructor Rating at no charge. Just trade it in!
Here’s how: Fill out and FAX a Specialty Change Form to PADI Customer Service (FAX # 949 267 1259). We will not send a new instructor card, but the distinctive specialty will be removed from the instructor’s record and the PADI Emergency O2 Provider Instructor Rating will be added.

If you would like to keep your Distinctive Specialty Rating:
Instructors may keep their distinctive rating (and continue teaching it as usual) and add the PADI course to their credentials. Apply using our standard specialty instructor application form (method 2), and include the specialty instructor application fee. List the O2 distinctive rating as proof of experience (no other experience necessary).

If you have a DAN certification:
Both the DAN O2 Provider and DAN O2 Instructor Rating may be used as proof of experience toward the PADI Emergency Oxygen Instructor Rating.

Assistant Instructors and Divemasters
AI’s and DMs may apply for the O2 Instructor rating by completing specialty instructor training with a course director.

For additional questions about applying to be a PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor, read our Oxygen course Instructor FAQs or contact PADI’s Training Department at: 800 729 7234 ext. 2540.

Scuba Diving Video Game for Wii

Last week Endless Ocean was released for Nintendo Wii.

The game is receiving fairly good reviews, but most of the kudos are for the graphics – not the action. The object of the game is to swim around and gather information about the underwater world. Sometimes you’re leading underwater tours, sometimes you’re just collecting data.

The game designers populated the world with an impressive variety of sea life: hundreds of fish, hard and soft corals, etc. The only downside is that you ID the critter by rubbing it with an over-sized hand. Clearly the designers were not AWARE divers. Also, the world of Endless Ocean is a world without gear clips. Watching the characters’ hoses going everywhere makes my inner divemaster very agitated.

I poked around on the web and found some more gameplay videos. Looks like there’s a night diving scenario and a cave dive. It’s all tropical diving from what I can tell. Personally, I would have included an advanced level where the character has to do a California shore dive on day with 4-6 ft. swells.


Slideshows are SO 2007 – make a music video

I would like to apologize to my family for every boring photo slideshow I ever sent. I promise that from now on I will only send slideshows created with Animoto.com.

Animoto.com is ridiculously easy to use and it’s free. I took photos of my desk and they look pretty darn great, eh? Here’s what I did:

Step one: upload photos to animoto
Step two: pick a song from their library
Step three: enjoy your bitchin’ video

If you have 15 minutes and 15 photos you can make a video. This would be great for a dive trip recap -here’s one I did using photos from Coral Sea Scuba’s Cozumel trip. You can email the finished product, or it will give you code to embed the video on your website.

How about a commercial to promote your Advanced Open Water class? Find 10-15 photos of students doing various adventure dives, upload them and voila.

I promise you, it’s really really easy. Give it a try, the results will make you feel like a techno-wizard.


EFR Emergency Kit in a bottle

I was at Fred Meyer’s last month and stumbled across a cool little item: an emergency kit in a bottle. The kit includes: band-aids, an emergency blanket, a distress flag and some little packets of antiseptic wipes. The whole package is stuffed into a shatterproof water bottle and it looks really nice on the shelf.

Okay, I just have to point this out – the kit is meant for auto emergencies and it includes sting relief. So even if you crash your car into a tree full of angry bees – you’ll be prepared. Har har.

The company (Nalgene) has a whole line of bottle kits and it got me thinking. It would be really easy to make an EFR kit just like this. It “merchandises” really well and is so practical even my mother would fork over $25 for it.

Here’s a sample list of contents:

EFR bottle kit

  • 32 oz polycarbonate bottle
  • EFR bandage pack (product no. 67055)
  • EFR Care-At-A-Glance card (product no. 53007)
  • band-aids (5-7 in assorted sizes)
  • first aid wipes (antiseptic and burn care)
  • laytex gloves
  • bandage tape
  • a card listing the bottle’s contents
  • an EFR sticker (inside the bottle facing outward)

I strongly recommend putting your logo or contact info on the bottle. Every time your customer sees that emergency kit, they’ll be reminded of where to go for first aid training. You can do this with a sticker, but a custom imprint is much classier and the additional cost isn’t too bad. For vendors, google “custom polycarbonate bottle.”

Teaching the Project AWARE Specialty

2008 is the International Year of the Reef and, in support of this worldwide initiative, the PADI Northwest Newswire will feature a series of articles about promoting and teaching Project AWARE’s specialty courses. Today we’ll focus on teaching tips for the Project AWARE Specialty.

Both PADI Instructors and AI’s can teach the Project AWARE specialty and the recommended minimum course duration is four hours.

The purpose of the Project AWARE Specialty course is to familiarize divers and non-divers with the plight of worldwide aquatic ecosystems and describe what individuals can do to protect them. It’s also a fun way to keep divers active during the winter and help non-diving spouses feel like part of the scuba family.

To prepare for the course, you’ll want to review the AWARE Our World Our Water manual (product no. 70241) and the Project AWARE instructor outline (product no. 70239). As you read through the material, jot down a list of how the topics relate to your local environment (contacts).

All you really need to teach the Project AWARE course is a room and some comfortable chairs. But here are some things you can use to make the course an interactive learning experience:

Utilize slides from the AWARE Coral Reef Instructional CD-ROM (product no. 70809)

Localize it! Show video / photos of your favorite dive sites*

In section VII (Fisheries concerns) – distribute Seafood Watch Guides (available from Project AWARE) that remind students which fish are okay to eat.

After section X (Marine Pollution), take a snack break and invite students to brainstorm a list of everyday actions they can take to lessen their impact on the aquatic world (cut up 6-pack rings, use reusable grocery bags, divers – practice good buoyancy, etc)

* The DVD Into the Deep has some beautiful footage of the Channel Islands. You can get it from amazon.com or Netflix.

Offering the Project AWARE specialty a few weeks prior to a beach clean-up is a great way to recruit volunteers. At the end of class, pass out a sign-up sheet. No clean-up scheduled? Invite students to sign up for your email list so they can stay up-to-date on what’s going on in their local marine environment.

Award all students with a Project AWARE certificate of completion and a flyer with information on your next AWARE course. As you pass out the certificates, remind students they are now ambassadors for the underwater world. They are responsible for sharing what they’ve learned. Invite them to tell a friend about your programs and (for non-divers) you might want to offer a free Discover Scuba Experience.

PADI Diving Society Members who enroll in an AWARE specialty (Fish ID, Coral Reef or Project AWARE) qualify for a free gift from PADI. Students must submit a redemption form and a receipt showing proof of purchase (training and AWARE manual) from a PADI Dive Center or Resort during 2008.


What’s your favorite BWRAF?

Here at PADI we love acronyms. New employees are often baffled by abbreviation-speak such as: When is the CDTC in AP and will they cover DUP?

My favorite is when people call in and say, “someone named DAN called and told me I need to speak to PADI, is she there?”

Though acronyms can be confusing, they can also be quite handy. Laurie and Ken at Pacific Watersports have a great one for remembering the five options in a low-air situation: NACBB.

No Air Can Be Bad
(Normal ascent, Alternate Air, CESA, Buddy breathe, Buoyant emergency ascent)

Got a great acronym? Whether it’s entirely new or your own creative version of Begin With Review and Friend* let’s hear it. Leave us a comment below!


* remember to keep it clean, people.

Fun Holiday Greetings

Here are a couple of fun holiday greetings I’ve received this year.

The first one is a rotating tree that displays a custom message. You type in whatever text you want, and it spins around to display the greeting. It’s easy to make one, but you need to download the most current version of Flash.

We also received a special greeting from Kosrae, Micronesia. Christmas tree worm + Photoshop = a lovely holiday greeting. You can click on the photo to see a larger image.

Lastly, I’m sure you’ve seen the popular “Elf Yourself” eCard. I couldn’t help it, I just had to make a special PADI Northwest Holiday Greeting. Sorry, Barry!!!

Happy Holidays everyone.

– Megan

P.S. I’ll be out of the office starting Friday 21 December and returning Monday 7 January – PADI re-opens for business on Wednesday 2 January.

I’m Dreaming of a GREY Christmas

I’m headed back to Portland/Vancouver for the holidays which means revisiting my favorite indoor activities.

Watching movies
Reading Sci-Fi
Sitting as close as possible to the fire without setting myself ablaze
… and surfing the internet

Here are some of my favorite time-wasters of 2007: (hey, I get stuck on hold just like you do . . .)

Instructor Bruce in Northern Cal got me hooked on this addictive geography game. It’s a “travellers IQ test.” The game gives you a city name or world landmark and you have to click where it is on a map. Level one is easy (Las Vegas, The Tower of London, etc). By level four you have to find Fenway Park, Sydney Australia, etc. At level nine it’s East Timor and Azerbaijan. I made it to level nine, can you beat me?

Another popular one here at PADI is a vocabulary quiz that helps fight world hunger. For every question answered correctly, the United Nations will receive a donation for free rice. The website is appropriately called freerice.com.

I’d also like to thank Todd from Coral Sea Scuba & Watersports for sending this video of the World’s Trippiest Aquarium.



Project AWARE: Specialty of the Year 2008

2008 has been designated the “International Year of the Reef.” In support of this worldwide initiative, PADI’s 2008 Specialty of the Year will be Project AWARE.

All three “AWARE” specialties are included in our promotion (Project AWARE, AWARE Coral Reef, and AWARE Fish ID). Over the next few months we’ll post tips on promoting and teaching the AWARE courses here on the blog. PADI will promote the AWARE course to students through emails and advertisements in Sport Diver magazine.

Our first article is How to Turn Your Next Dive Trip into an Eco-Adventure.

PADI Diving Society Members who enroll in an AWARE specialty qualify for a free gift from PADI. Students must submit a Specialty of the Month redemption form and a receipt showing proof of purchase (training and AWARE manual) from a PADI Dive Center or Resort.

This offer is good starting December 2007 and runs through December 2008. Student will receive a set of FishFlips (pictured above). Students may choose from Caribbean Sea, Hawaiian Islands or South Pacific.