Insurance Renewal Coming Soon

My painful insurance lesson.

I worked for a dive operation that catered to high-end customers. We were a team of four – two instructors and two divemasters. On one particular trip, the thing we all dread occurred – one of the divers was severely injured. Jack was participating in a specialty training dive with me as the instructor and Jane (also an instructor) was serving as a certified assistant. Divemaster Bob was with our group and Divemaster Brad was aboard the boat helping divers enter and exit the water.

As Jack was boarding the boat following the dive, the fingers of his dominant hand ended up between the ladder and the boat, resulting in one amputation and de-gloving of three other fingers. We were able to provide immediate first aid and Jack was transported to the nearest medical facility for treatment.

Jack was hospitalized for a couple weeks as he contracted a severe infection while in the hospital. In addition, there were months of physical therapy and it was unknown whether Jack, the father of three, would be able to return to the operating room where he was chief of neurosurgery at a large hospital.

Obviously, worry set in. While our team did everything we could, and our actions did not contribute to the severe infection, we were concerned. We talked openly with our insurance and risk management team and prepared for the worst.

Jack’s annual income was more than $500,000 US. And, he was the sole breadwinner for his family. Estimates were that if a suit were to be filed, the damages (loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement, etc.,) would be well in excess of $1,000,000 US. However, with potentially at least four of us listed as defendants (not considering the boat, boat owner, tour booking company, etc.), we expected our collective insurance policies would place $4,000,000 US on the table. Being responsible, prudent dive pros, we had each purchased our own insurance coverage, paying the full premium, with a Certificate of Insurance and Declarations Page saying we each had $1,000,000 US in coverage. . . until you read the fine print.

We were told (and shown in black and white) that the policy language stated, regardless of the number of insureds (four of us), the most the policy would pay was $1,000,000 US for any one incident. WHAT?!?!?

So, what did we pay for? We were not insured under a group policy, but each submitted our application and our premium to the insurance team with the expectation that we would each have $1,000,000 in coverage.

As it turned out, Jack did not file a lawsuit. He acknowledged that he had some contribution to the incident, but he did suffer terribly and it was nearly a year before he was able to fully work again. During this time we also suffered – the emotional stress of not knowing if and when the axe will drop.

Lesson Learned

Read the fine print. If you don’t understand something – ask. Ask for a comparison of the insurance policies you are considering. Do your homework. Don’t just blindly buy the cheapest or the newest insurance offering.

Note: In the above scenario, the PADI-endorsed program would provide $1,000,000 US in coverage for each dive pro, plus unlimited defense costs.*

*Subject to policy terms and conditions.

Coming Soon – Insurance Renewal

PADI® Dive Centers and Resorts deserve the industry’s highest rated and most affordable insurance available in the industry. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t take the time to really understand their policies – regardless of the provider. Those who don’t fully consider their business needs can make the wrong choices and end up with sub-par coverage offered by other industry carriers. Take a moment to stay informed and avoid costly mistakes. You’ll thank yourself later!

Here’s a scenario that shows what can happen when a dive center owner did not take advantage of PADI-endorsed Dive Center and Resort Insurance:

“I have been a dive center owner for six years, and like many dive operations I have never had a claim and never paid much attention to the coverage details of my property policy. Unfortunately one morning our compressor malfunctioned and started a small fire. This fire destroyed $50,000 US worth of my property. Due to the coinsurance provision (a detail I did not pay attention to), our claim payment was significantly less than the amount of the property I lost. Over the last six years my business has grown, but during the renewal periods I always told my broker to use the same coverage limit for our Business Personal Property. I had more rental equipment and a larger inventory of retail equipment. I had a coverage limit of $100,000 US, but the replacement cost of all my property was actually $200,000 US. I originally thought I was fully covered (less my $1,000 deductible) because the loss was only $50,000 US and I had a $100,000 US coverage limit. However, I quickly learned about the 80 percent coinsurance requirement and that it meant I was required to have a coverage limit of at least 80 percent ($160,000 US) of my total Business Personal Property replacement cost value. I was only insuring to 50 percent ($100,000 US) of my total property replacement cost value. Because of the coinsurance penalty being assessed, I only received a $30,500 US claim payment instead of the $49,000 US claim payment I expected. Not paying attention to, and not understanding, coinsurance cost me $18,500 US. I will make sure to purchase a property policy without a coinsurance requirement from now on.”

Stay protected and profitable by choosing PADI-endorsed Dive Center and Resort Insurance, which doesn’t have a coinsurance clause. The 2019-2020 policy details and applications will be sent to each PADI Retail and Resort Association Member prior to the renewal deadline of 30 June 2019.

A Way to Pay It Forward and Make a Difference

Like most PADI® Members around the world, you’re probably aware that the 2017 hurricane season wreaked havoc in the Caribbean. And in 2018, other areas suffered from natural disasters: earthquakes in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Taiwan; Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit Guam, Marshall Islands, the Philippines and southern China; plus there were 11 other typhoons and a list of other disasters. Every year, natural catastrophes devastate -different parts of the world, including some of the most popular dive destinations. Each event costs hundreds of lives and billions in US dollars of damage.

If you live in an unaffected area you can help those affected – especially your fellow PADI Members. Here’s how: Go there, and go diving. Better yet, set up a group dive trip and take everyone you can there with you.

I don’t want to make light of the -tragedy wrought by storms and other natural disasters. Rather, I’m pointing out that economic damage from lost tourism can often have a lasting effect on dive operators in these regions. To use the Caribbean as an example, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reports that, overall, tourism accounts for 15 percent of the region’s gross economy – $56-plus billion US and 2.4 million jobs. But that’s the regional average – many islands’ economies are more than 25 percent tourism, with a few more than 90 percent! Lost tourism following the 2017 hurricanes is costing the Caribbean billions in US dollars beyond the physical damage costs.

Following a disaster, restoration has two stages: relief and recovery. Relief is the immediate aid to provide food, shelter, fresh water, medical supplies, etc., to the affected areas. Recovery is the much longer process of rebuilding businesses, structures, homes . . . and the economy, which is often the last to recover. That’s where dive travel comes in. The sooner tourism returns, the faster that part of the local economy rebounds, which also helps fund physical restoration. In many areas dive tourism is a significant part of tourism, and in some locations, it’s almost all of it. The more diving contributes to the tourist economy, the bigger diving’s role in recovery.

So, immediately after natural disasters, we can help by giving to relief organizations, and if able, by volunteering to go with these organizations to assist with relief. After, as things stabilize, we can help by restoring the diving portion of tourism. It’s important that we don’t stay away just because “everyone else is.” We find out what’s open and who’s still operating, and start going back as soon as possible. We spread the word.

Tourism and dive tourism often become functional again faster than the general public realizes. Using the Caribbean as an example again, although some areas and operators were and remain devastated, most of the top dive destinations are open and operational. Many dive operations that got hit hard are already back up. Others had very little or no damage and never really shut down, apart from the storms themselves. However, despite these facts, the WTTC predicts that it will be 2022 before visitor spending reaches pre-2017 levels.

Although I wish PADI and diving were big enough to knock down predictions like this single-handedly in every disaster-affected location, we’re not. But, with more than 130,000 professional members and millions of divers around the world we can sure make a difference and help recovery, just by going to these places to do what we love doing.

Good luck, good teaching and good diving.

Drew Richardson Ed.D.,  PADI President and CEO


Take Responsibility, Own the Dive, Gain Confidence

Not many adventure sports occur in alien environments. In that regard scuba diving is less like skiing or rock climbing and more like playing ping pong in outer space. Divers have to learn knowledge and skills as well as how to properly kit up to simply breathe while participating in and enjoying the activity. To be captivated by diving, an individual needs to engage deeply in diver training. How do we get people to do that?

PADI® courses, while remaining true to their roots, are continuously refined toward moving the diver beyond elementary knowledge and skills to being and thinking like a diver. Your personalized, patient instruction, coupled with PADI training programs and materials, not only sets divers up for success, it also helps them take ownership of their decisions and experiences. For example, they can make diving adventurous or Zen-like because they develop the ability to make sound diving decisions.

Open Water Diver Course – Being a Diver

In the Open Water Diver course, student divers transition from discovery and learning to actually being divers. Each knowledge development section begins with “Being a Diver” and covers topics from understanding what happens to our bodies and our equipment underwater to understanding dive environments and conditions, equipment fit, function and maintenance, taking responsibility for oneself including health and fitness, actively diving, refreshing skills and taking continuing education courses. Students think about what they want out of diving, and they ease into the dive lifestyle through the dive center and dive social media.

At the start of inwater training, students begin purposefully evaluating personal comfort levels using the Skill Practice side of the PADI Skill Practice and Dive Planning Slate so they learn to:

  • Recognize when a skill has gone well and feel confident in their ability.
  • Understand that if a skill has not gone well yet, repetition and practice will develop their ability until they can recognize success and feel confident about the skill.

Use of the confidence self-checks enhances learning directly and indirectly:

  • Indirectly – The instructor recognizes mastery, but finds that students don’t express confidence. If instructor and student assessments don’t match, through this discovery the instructor can use repetition and encouragement to create confidence that matches competence.
  • Directly – The diver learns that it’s good to express emotional discomfort to guide learning. It indicates the need to take extra time to repeat, slow down and review. After certification, the diver has learned how to take responsibility when presented with a diving scenario in which confidence is lacking. This encourages the diver to appropriately step back and evaluate readiness. It might motivate the diver to ReActivate®, take a continuing education course, get professional guidance, etc., depending upon the situation.

This is why the PADI Skill Practice and Dive Planning Slate is required. Using it, student divers take more responsibility for their training. It’s a tool that gets them to speak up if they need to slow down or need extra practice, or to say they’re ready because they know that they are. This approach not only lets them enjoy learning more because they grow in ability as well as confidence, but also because they learn that their choices will affect what happens in the water, which is certainly the case once certified.

Though Open Water Diver students have always been part of the dive planning process for open water dives, the 2013 revision enhanced this by putting them in the lead for Open Water Dive 4. Flipping the slate, divers use the Dive Planning side to work in teams to plan and execute the dive. Ideally, the instructional team is there only to oversee and help when required.

Building upon what they practiced during Confined Water Dive Five’s minidive, students transform into divers under your supervision. They “own” the dive because they show you that they can do it without your instructions. What better way to measure if students have the skills needed for certification than to watch them carry out a dive?

During the debrief, you can reinforce their ability to dive without supervision by using guided discovery questions about what went well and according to plan, how the dive could have gone better, and what they would do differently next time. They are beginning to think like divers.

Advanced Open Water Diver – Thinking Like a Diver

With the 2016 revision of the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, the required Thinking Like a Diver knowledge development section illuminates the path to diving proficiency. By building on previous knowledge, divers focus on four central dive skills:

  • Planning dives with secondary objectives
  • Developing and applying situational awareness
  • Managing task loading
  • Maintaining good dive habits

This section applies to all Adventure Dives. Regardless of experience coming into the course, Thinking Like a Diver gives students even more ownership of their dive experiences. They do this through awareness, by knowing how to think through problem situations, and by recognizing the value of good habits that might have gone unnoticed before.

Thinking Like a Diver, when fully applied, not only boosts diver skill level, but also creates an earned and appropriate sense of confidence. Putting this into practice on each Adventure Dive and reflecting on it with the instructional team during the debriefing instills the responsibility divers must take for themselves.

As with many activities, people sometimes rely on others to make the experience go smoothly, and skilled PADI Pros play an integral role in helping divers do this. Yet, ultimately, divers must take responsibility for their diving decisions (even on a guided dive). The more they do so, the more they make better decisions that reduce risk, increase enjoyment and boost their emotional investment in the diving experience.

IDC – Thinking Like an Instructor

The revised IDC refinements put our most experienced educators – PADI Course Directors and IDC Staff Instructors – more squarely front and center when it comes to mentoring, and that includes helping new instructors to “own” their instruction and to take responsibility for their teaching decisions.

IDC eLearning exposes instructor candidates to concepts underpinning instructor training. When they come to class, they spend more contact hours in workshops with seasoned instructor trainers. Through training-based scenarios, both dry and inwater, candidates practice the art of teaching in simulated experiences. In this environment, candidates are free to make mistakes, learn from them and adjust accordingly.

The revised IDC (in development now) embodies the thinking-like-a-diver concept turned pro. While candidates hone and develop decision-making skills critical to teaching people to dive, they also acquire the knowledge they need to be successful, not just at the IE but more importantly when they step in front of their future students.

This article appeared in the Fourth Quarter 2018 The Undersea Journal®, written by Julie Taylor Sanders

Responding to Neurological DCS

Neurological symptoms are not the most common symptoms of DCS, but their onset can be rapid and their consequences serious. These symptoms can also be difficult to manage in the field. Much like a stroke, neurological DCS requires a rapid response, so it’s critical for you to be able to identify and respond quickly and correctly. These symptoms can be both highly variable and undetectable to the person experiencing them, so knowing how to assess a diver after a dive can make all the difference.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of and proper response to neurological DCS are very similar to dealing with a stroke. DCS that affects the brain and nervous system can manifest in many ways, but here is a list of the most common neurological symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Numbness
  • Paresthesia (a “pins and needles” sensation)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Problems with physical coordination or bladder control

You’ll notice that many of these are also symptoms of stroke, so following the FAST (face, arm, speech, time) model for identifying a stroke is an effective way to begin analyzing someone with suspected neurological DCS. Whenever you suspect a stroke or neurological DCS, assume the worst-case scenario and respond accordingly.


Once you’ve identified symptoms of suspected neurological DCS, your first response should always be to activate emergency medical services. Whether you’re offshore and need a complex evacuation or you’re diving minutes from the nearest hospital, it’s critical that the injured diver reaches qualified treatment as quickly as possible.

The American Heart Association (AHA) currently recommends a 60-minute door-to-door policy for suspected strokes. For example, no more than one hour should pass from the time a stroke is identified to the time that stroke victim receives treatment in a hospital. This same window of time — or an even smaller one — should be the goal for injured divers. The biggest factor in promoting positive outcomes for injured divers is rapid access to definitive care.

After emergency services are activated, provide care for the injured diver to the best of your ability. Administer emergency oxygen and make the diver comfortable while waiting for help, and if you have additional training, perform a neurological assessment and provide a detailed report to first responders. As long as you act within the limits of your training, your quick response and care will ultimately help the injured diver get the best possible outcome.

For information on neurological assessments, DCS response, or advanced first aid training visit

Plastic eRDPML™ Retires

The blue plastic version eRDPML™ calculator will no longer be produced and supplies will run out soon.

The popular eRDPML eLearning (70031-1), accessible in the PADI Library, will continue to be available. If you’ve been providing student divers with the blue plastic eRDPML, please switch to providing students with the digital version.

As with all digital products, the eRDPML works on both Android and Apple products, accessible on smartphones and tablets. You provide students divers with a digital eRDPML via a code, either as part of a crew-pak or purchased separately.

Contact your PADI Regional Training Consultant if you have any questions about the digital eRDPML.

Save the Date – PADI Women’s Dive Day 2019

For the past four years PADI® Dive Centers, Resorts and Professional Members have hosted thousands of events in more than 100 countries to celebrate PADI Women’s Dive Day. With record-breaking participation in 2018, the day brought together divers of all genders, ages and experience levels.

Be part of the fifth annual PADI Women’s Dive Day on 20 July 2019. Promote your business and strengthen both the local and global dive community by hosting an event.

Registration will open soon.

PADI Business Academy Lite – New Jersey | 28 March 2019

If you haven’t heard the news, PADI® Business Academy (PBA) Lite just launched a new curriculum and is currently touring the Northeast US. The next stop is Secaucus, New Jersey on 28 March 2019, just one day before Beneath the Sea. Complement your trip to Beneath the Sea by attending this PBA Lite and remain focused on growing your business with these great seminars.

  • Science-Based Selling – Scientifically backed tactics that will take your sales game to the next level.
  • Course Linking Conversions – Learn how to increase profitability through bundling, selling and teaching multiple course at once.
  • 2019 Facebook Update – Stay up-to-date with the leading social media platform and benefit from the power of Facebook Insights.
  • Data-Driven Marketing – Learn how to properly segment your database to improve conversions through marketing and communications.

Venue Details

Date – 28 March 2019

Time – 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

Embassy Suites by Hilton Secaucus Meadowlands
455 Plaza Drive
Secaucus, NJ 07094

Don’t forget!

  • If you recently upgraded your PADI Dive Center or Resort to PADI Five Star, you’re entitled to one free seat at any PADI Business Academy during the first 12 months of Five Star membership. Simply complete the registration form linked below and check the Five Star promotion box to reserve your space.
  • PADI Pros applying for a 2019 Course Director Training Course receive three seminar credits for completing a PBA Lite.

Don’t wait to sign up, there are limited seats available and many are already reserved.

Reserve Your Seat

First Aid for Burns

Written by DAN Staff

A serious burn — even a sunburn — can bring a quick end to an exciting dive trip. You can take steps to reduce the risk of burns, but you can’t always prevent them. On a busy dive boat, accidental contact with a hot compressor or stove, or someone just spending too much time in the midday sun can occur. Knowing how to address injuries and keep divers comfortable can make the difference between a minor hiccup and a ruined vacation. Brush up on your first aid skills for burns and keep your customers happy on your next trip.

Types of Burns

Burns occur when tissues are subjected to more energy than they can tolerate. This energy can come from chemicals, heat, radiation or electricity.

  • Chemical burns, for example, are caused when a caustic chemical touches the skin. If the chemical is dry, assist the victim in brushing off the substance and consult a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which can often be found on the back of the chemical’s container. Otherwise, flush with copious amounts of water unless the MSDS indicates otherwise.
  • More common in diving scenarios are thermal burns resulting from contact with heaters, hot water or fire, but even these pale in comparison to the number of radiation burns divers experience.
  • Sunburns are the most common burns seen among divers. They result from radiation from the sun, rather than heat, and represent the single largest source of burns faced by outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.

First Aid

After safely removing the source of a burn (caustic chemical, unprotected skin under the hot sun, electrical current or source of significant heat), the first step is to assess the injured diver’s airway, breathing and circulation. Barring any medical emergencies this assessment uncovers, the next step is to douse the burn with cool water (either fresh or salt) for at least 15 to 30 minutes. It can be difficult to cool deeper tissues after a burn, and spending a significant amount of time dousing the area in water can prevent further injury. Clothes, boots or shoes, and jewelry or accessories in the area of the burn should be removed while dousing the wound.

Assessing the Injury

Once a burn has been cooled, begin wound assessment and dressing. Burns are typically classified as superficial, partial thickness or full thickness.

  • Superficial burns can be identified by redness, warmth and minor swelling around the site of the burn.
  • Partial-thickness burns involve deeper layers of tissue and often have blisters and cause severe pain.
  • Full-thickness burns are the most serious and affect all layers of the skin, destroying nerves and fatty tissue. Full-thickness burns may appear either black and charred or white and waxy, and are sometimes described as painless due to the nerve damage caused by the burn, but are almost universally surrounded by areas of partial-thickness burn that cause intense pain.

You can treat a superficial burn by gently washing it with clean, soapy water, rinsing it thoroughly and patting dry. The wounds can be cleaned up somewhat, but avoid breaking any intact blisters. Take care not to irritate the wound further before dressing with a nonadherent dressing and double-antibiotic ointment. Change dressings daily.

Small partial-thickness burns can be treated in the same way, but any substantial partial-thickness or full-thickness burns should be evaluated and treated by a physician. These burns can be difficult to manage in the field and present a risk of significant fluid loss and infection. In the case of partial-thickness burns covering more than 15 percent of a person’s body or a full-thickness burn, immediate evacuation to advanced medical care may be indicated.

For more information on treating burns and other injuries, visit

Help Divers ReActivate

Keep skills proficient, review key dive information, and seek a refresher after a period of inactivity are all phrases divers hear throughout their training. It’s solid advice, and not only important for diver safety but also for comfort and enjoyment in the water. Some divers do refreshers every year. For others, it’s an upcoming trip to an exotic dive destination that motivates them to refresh their dive skills after remaining dry for several years.

One of the best features of the PADI ReActivate® program is that it accommodates PADI® Divers who want a refresher, whether it’s a minor yearly tune-up or a major dive skills and knowledge review. ReActivate is convenient, prescriptive and allows each diver to progress at a personal pace. You provide only as much guidance and coaching as the diver needs.

How It’s Done

  1. Follow ReActivate standards in the PADI Instructor Manual when conducting the program.
  2. Have divers complete a knowledge refresher with PADI ReActivate eLearning and schedule a water skills session in either confined or open water.
  3. During a predive interview, make sure to check diver log books. Then, ask divers these questions:
  • How many dives have you made, and in what conditions and environments?
  • When and where did you make your last several dives?
  • How did your last dives go?
  • What would help you to improve your last few dives?
  • What skills do you want to practice? You can use the Skill Practice Slate to have divers indicate the skills they are unsure about.

  1. In your briefing, remind divers that they should do a predive safety check. Also go over special entry and exit techniques, if there are any, for the dive site.
  2. Observe divers before and during the dive. Based on your observations, provide reminders, demonstrations, adjustments and other remediation as needed to restore mastery.
  3. Have divers specifically demonstrate and practice these skills: Remove, replace and clear the mask; neutral buoyancy and hovering; emergency weight drop; alternate air source ascent and controlled emergency swimming ascent (in confined water only).
  4. Have divers practice any skills they said they wanted to practice during the predive interview and those skills that require more practice based on your observations.

Use your judgment to make the dive prescriptive to what divers need. A PADI Diver who completes both the knowledge and dive skills review earns a replacement certification card with a ReActivate date. Log on to the PADI Pros’ Site and go to the Online Processing Center to request a replacement card. A ReActivate date can be placed on any PADI diving certification card the diver has earned.

Use ReActivate and your teaching skills to help divers get back in the water. Check the ReActivate Instructor Guide in your PADI Instructor Manual and the ReActivate pages in PADI’s Guide to Teaching for more details.


Based on an article that appeared in the First Quarter 2019 The Undersea Journal®