Take Active Steps to Keep Your PADI Pro Career Fresh


By John Kinsella

It’s hard to beat the excitement and anticipation of that first job as a PADI® Instructor. Mine was on St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands. It lived up to my every expectation: great colleagues, truly staggering location and best of all actually making a (modest) living in the dive industry.

The core of the work was running Discover Scuba® Diving experiences for cruise ship visitors. We’d go down to the dock to pick up the guests on our custom trucks, complete with fringed sunshades, bring them by the shop for the dive briefing and then drive over to this magical little sandy beach where we had a tour laid out. It was an extremely well organized system and ran like clockwork. It was great fun, at first.

Six months later, let’s just say that I didn’t look forward to the next DSD® with the same enthusiasm. For PADI Pros, and for professionals in any line of work, it’s important to take active steps to keep things fresh. Here are a couple of ways to do just that.

The big one is to simply mix it up. Variety, as the saying goes, is the spice of life. In my case in the Virgin Islands, I positioned myself to get assigned to Open Water Diver courses. All it took was letting my boss know I wanted to and a bit of persistence. While the opportunities were not as abundant, the difference it made was staggering and as a bonus, I went back to the DSDs with renewed vigor. I also, with some success, looked for every opportunity to enthusiastically promote the Open Water Diver course. The result was good for everyone: DSD participants became divers, the shop benefitted from return customers, and I staved off ennui.

This approach works at all levels and in all locations. Later, running a fledgling dive business in Ireland, the dominant course was, as you might expect, Open Water Diver. The solution in this case was to prioritize continuing education. The joy of running the first Advanced Open Water Diver course was memorable. It made use of different dive sites, was much easier and more profitable to run (all that stuff in the IDC is true!) and the participants went on to become long term customers and firm friends. Everybody wins.

Another great way to keep enthusiasm high is to take another, different, course yourself. Recently I bumped into a friend and part time colleague in the coffee shop. Hugh is a PADI Divemaster and a great coxswain. He’s one of those people you are always happy to see when teaching a course or running a dive trip. He mentioned he had just signed up for the Tec 40 course. He said he was really looking forward to being the student for a while instead of the divemaster. He was also just curious to see what the TecRec® courses were all about and felt that even if he didn’t go down the hardcore Tec road, the skills and knowledge would certainly not hurt his recreational deep dives. He’s still going to become an instructor (and I know he’ll be a great one) but this little “detour” is nothing if not fun.

Do everyone a favor, especially yourself, and just do something different once in a while as a PADI Pro. It’s not hard to find something fun to do underwater.

7 Tips for Turning Discover Scuba® Diving Days Participants Into Certified Divers

From PADI surveys, we know that nearly 90 percent of Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) participants say they enjoyed the experience and are interested in becoming certified divers. It’s estimated that around 15 percent of DSD participants enroll in a course within a short time after the experience.

St. Croix_2012_2114

Here are some best practices recommended by PADI Dive Centers and Resorts that have been successful at converting DSD participants into PADI Open Water Divers and beyond.

  1. Schedule at least one event per month and advertise it. Your customers are actually the best source of advertising. Encourage them to bring friends to your DSD events.
  2. Social media is great tool to spread the word about your DSD event. Have a designated person responsible for snapping cool and fun pictures of the event and ask participants to tag you and post on their social channels.
  3. Always highlight the free benefits in the Discover Scuba Diving Participant Guide, especially Open Water Diver Online – Section 1.
  4. Have a special offer for enrolling in a course that day, especially for current customers who bring in their friends/family to try scuba. Have a designated and well-trained “closer” to take course sign ups as participants exit the water. Be sure to offer some incentive for the closer.
  5. Create a social setting and offer snacks to get people to spend more time with staff after the experience.
  6. Follow up with all participants who didn’t enroll in the course within two days and extend the special offer.
  7. If your participants are short on time but really want to become divers, the PADI Scuba Diver rating might be a good choice for them – particularly if they expect to go scuba diving primarily with a dive guide.

Visit the My Account section of the PADI Pros’ Site to schedule your Discover Scuba Diving Days events today.

Discover Scuba Diving Days marketing tools are also available at the PADI Pros’ Site.

Discover Scuba Pre Registration How To

If you conduct a lot of Discover Scuba® Diving experiences, you can save time by having participants pre-register themselves. Students type in their address information, email and birthdate online and these details are automatically populated into PADI’s system. Once the DSD is complete, you won’t have to re-enter their information.

The first step is to find and share your unique pre-registration link. To obtain your link, go to the Online Processing Center on the PADI Pros Site.

How to set up DSD pre registrations PADI


Locate the sub-menu that says My Preferences (it’s at the bottom of the page). On the new screen that opens, choose the Preregistrations tab. There you will find the unique link for your store.

Independent PADI Pros can also have DSD participants pre-register. Send students this link: https://apps.padi.com/PADI/DSD along with your instructor number. The student will be required to include your instructor number to pre-register online.

PADI Discover Scuba pre registration settings

Below is an example of the form the student completes online. The store information and logo is pre-populated and the student can type in a date when they would like to do their DSD. The date is an FYI only; when submitting the student information for processing, you’ll be asked to enter when they actually completed their DSD experience.

PADI Discover Scuba pre registration online form
online form


When someone registers for a DSD through your link, you’ll receive a notification email from padi@padidiver.com (see example below). If you start to get a lot of these messages, you can update your settings to receive a daily summary instead.

Subject: You Have a Discover Scuba® Diving Experience Lead

PADI Discover Scuba pre registration confirmation email
confirmation email for stores

The DSD participant also receives an email from padi@padidiver.com

Subject: Thank You for Signing Up for your Discover Scuba® Diving Experience

Discover Scuba Diving pre registration email

When the program is complete, you can quickly process any student who has pre-registered via the Online Processing Center.


From the home screen, scroll down until you see the box for DSD pre-registrations. A green box will indicate if you have any in queue.

PADI Discover Scuba pre registration

Select a student from your queue and click Continue Processing Selected Student. This is where the time savings begins!

DSD pre registration processing

Confirm the date and location where the DSD took place, and that’s it. You’re done! No need to type in all the student information (they already did it for you).

process PADI DSD


If you know there are pre-registrations, but the results page says No student record found, adjust the drop down to show registrations farther into the future.

In the screengrab immediately below, the filter is set to 1-Week and there are no student records shown, but when adjusted to 3 Weeks, the student appears.

Discover Scuba pre registration
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Discover Scuba pre registration

For other issues, try using a different browser or device. Generally speaking, using a desktop or laptop device and either Chrome or Firefox as your browser will work well. Using a tablet, or Apple’s Safari browser may cause issues.

If you have questions about this process, please contact customerservice at padi dot com or phone: 800 729 7234 ext 2495 or +1 949 858 7234 ext. 2495.