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.

(Megan)

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.

PREPARATION
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).

IN THE CLASSROOM
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.

TAKE ACTION
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.

. . . BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE
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.

(Megan)

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!

(Megan)

* 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.

Enjoy.

(Megan)

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.

(Megan)

Turn Your Next Dive Trip into an Eco-Adventure


It’s not a “dive trip” it’s an Eco-Adventure
Green tourism now accounts for more than 20% of international travel and is one of the fastest-growing travel markets. Islands magazine recently devoted an entire issue to eco-vacations and a recent survey by the Travel Industry Association showed that 50% of respondents would prefer a trip that offered conservation opportunities.

“Green” is in, and Project AWARE makes it easy to turn your next dive trip into an eco-adventure. Here are a few ideas:

In pre-trip emails. Challenge divers to “Make Your Dives Count. Monitor Coral Reefs”
(Link to: http://www.projectaware.org/americas/english/coral-watch/)

Offer the AWARE Coral Reef specialty in conjunction with a pre-trip meeting. This non-diving specialty is a great way for all your travelers to get more from their experience. The Coral Reef CD-ROM (70809) includes slides and videos for the two-hour knowledge development. You can also distribute Coral Watch Cards for students to use on their trip (more on this later).

Encourage Open Water Divers to try an Eco-Advanced class. In addition to the Deep and Nav adventure dives, the student can pick from “eco-AWARE” adventure dives such as: Fish ID, Peak Performance Buoyancy, or Digital Underwater Photography. When you process the student’s PIC, opt for the Project AWARE certification card (a $5 upgrade).

Invite divers to participate in CoralWatch:
Getting divers involved in CoralWatch activities reinforces their responsibility as ambassadors to the underwater world and allows them to participate in important research.

During dives or snorkeling excursions, participants match the color of the coral with a corresponding color on the CoralWatch card. Next they record the color code along on coral type on a data sheet. The data collected goes into the CoralWatch database which is used by scientists to study coral bleaching and recovery patterns.

For more information or to register as a CoralWatch Dive Operator, just visit the CoralWatch page at the Project AWARE website.

PADI Diving Society Members who enroll in an AWARE specialty qualify for a free gift from PADI (pictured right). 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.

Holiday promotional ideas

A 2006 survey of holiday shoppers by Advertising Magazine revealed:

75% of people do their holiday shopping before December 15th.

If you don’t have a holiday sales strategy, here are a few ideas you can put together in less than a day:

Create a holiday gift center – make a simple display by wrapping empty boxes in holiday paper and placing gift items on top or take an existing display and decorate with garland. Include products in a wide price range and don’t forget a sign promoting your gift certificates.

Make a holiday flyer – some shoppers need a helping hand when it comes to picking out gifts. Create a list of gift ideas under $20, under $50, and under $100. Add festive holiday images from clip art or google images, and you’re ready to go. On the back, promote an upcoming dive trip or a coupon such as, “spend $100 between 1-31 Dec and receive a free air fill card.” Remind your sales staff to offer a flyer to each customer and tuck one in every shopping bag.

Assemble holiday gift packs whether you put it all in a dive flag stocking or a plain old mesh bag, pre-packaged gift sets make holiday shopping a no-brainer for your customers. For divers: how about a “care and feeding” kit for their gear. For non-divers: a family first-aid package.

Secret weapons
PADI Diving Society has more than a dozen special offers you can pass on to your customers including: $100 back on a Sealife camera, $150 back from SCUBAPRO, free fins from Mares and more.

Try this, seriously: load up the “how tanks are made” video from our Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving Multimedia. Show this video to customers and I promise you will get takers. The tank video is the coolest (in my opinion) but there are more than 100 clips – four hours of video – on the disc. We’re also offering special pricing Encyclopedia Multimedia from now through the end of the year.

(Megan)

Encyclopedia Multimedia 2007 promotion


On 3 December 2007, PADI will roll out a holiday promotion for the Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving – Multimedia. The coupon above will appear on padi.com alongside sample videos and product highlights.

Our special offer to the consumer:
Buy the Encyclopedia Multimedia for $49.95 (approx $20 off suggested retail). The coupon can be downloaded from the special offers page on padi.com.

Our special offer to the dive retailer:
Buy five or more Encyclopedias and get them at level seven pricing.

The best way to sell this product is show and tell. There are more than 100 video clips on this disc – including several on how dive equipment is made. If a customer is looking at a wetsuit or a tank, you can show them how these products are made (the tank video is the best).

It’s also a great item for Divemaster candidates and students taking the equipment speciality course. If you have a student who’s confused about the difference between balanced and unbalanced pistons – there’s a video explaining both. Someone struggling with Boyles’ Law? We have two videos on that one.

Other key selling points:

  • 100 video clips on everything from how tanks are made to showing how air moves through a regulator.
  • Includes the Diving Knowledge workbook
  • Learn about the history and evolution of scuba diving and dive equipment
  • Explains how dive computers work and decompression theory
  • Includes discussion of scuba equipment care and maintenance

(Megan)