Scuba Stamps

Here’s something random I found whilst trolling the internet: offers real USPS postage stamps with either a dive flag, or customized with your logo. It’s $12.99 for a sheet of 20.

eLearning Enhancement Paks

PADI’s online course includes everything the student diver needs to complete their knowledge development – including a virtual RDP. Of course, the student needs a real RDP (and a few other things) to finish the course- so PADI has created an “enhancement pak.”

The enhancement pak includes:
– A student record file (10058)

– An RDP table or eRDP (60054, 70028)
– A blue log book (70047)
– A blue crewpak bag (60102)

The eRDP version is product number: 70823. MSRP: $37.82
The RDP table version is product number: 70824. MSRP: $35.84

Coming in mid-late2010: enhancement pack for dive computer option.

Is it possible to create your own enhancement pak? Absolutely.

Many of you provide students with a branded cordura logbook binder. In this situation, just order the enhancement pak items ala carte and substitute the adventure log start-up pages (PN 70035)* for the blue logbook.
Custom logbook binders are a simple yet powerful investment in customer loyalty. Every time your student logs a dive they will be reminded of your store. If you’re interested in custom binders, let me know. 
* We may be discontinuing the loose-leaf logbook  pages in 2010.

Will you be ready if an eLearner calls?

All PADI Dive Centers are automatically set up as eLearning providers. Last week we had three students sign up for eLearning within our region. Will your staff be ready when an eLearner calls?

Questions your staff should be ready to answer:
How much does it cost to finish up the course?
Who is my instructor?
Who do I call if I have questions?
Do I need to come in to the store?

Questions to ask the eLearner:
When can you come in for an orientation?
How did you find out about us?


Compressed Air Car

My friend Sebastian (PADI’s sales rep for Latin America) sent me an article about a car that runs on compressed air. Mexico City is looking into using the “air cars” as taxis.

The car’s top speed is about 70 mph and it can go for 125 miles without refueling. An on-board air compressor can refill its tanks – in about four hours.

The car’s manufacturer envisions compressed air filling stations where the vehicles can fill-up in a matter of minutes.

Compressed air filling stations . . . hmmmmm.

An Australian TV station produced this news report which shows the car in action as well as the chassis. The reporter gives us the major downside to this new invention: the car is essentially made of aluminum and glue, so importation to the US is unlikely.

In semi-related news, Mercedes-Benz has a concept car inspired by the Box Fish.

Devil’s Teeth book review

For those of you thinking about starting a diving blog of your own, it’s a good idea to occasionally include some “just for fun” content. In that spirit, here is a short book review.

On a recent flight from DFW to Portland, I read a book called: The Devil’s Teeth. I planned to only read a few chapters and take a nap, but I couldn’t put it down.

Penned by Outside magazine writer Susan Casey, this non-fiction story is set in the Farallon Islands just outside of San Francisco. Casey introduces us to a group of researchers who have dedicated every summer to studying a community of great whites. The scientists live in a haunted house at the brutal edge of the civilized world watching from a rickety lighthouse for blood stains in the ocean. At the sign of a fresh kill they jump in a motorized raft and rush to the scene – was it Stumpy’s score? Or has Cal Ripfin returned?

Casey’s writing style is amusing and insightful – think of a favorite English teacher you’ve had. Her observations and occasional moments of clarity are hilarious. She also includes colorful stories about the Farallon’s history to make the book appeal to a broad audience. That said, she doesn’t mince words when describing the carnage of a shark attack or the scientists’ views on cage-diving.

I’d recommend this book to anyone with a remote interest in sharks: both divers and non-divers. If nothing else, the book reminds you that – even on a bad day – you’re better off than an elephant seal.