Diving with Hazardous Marine Life

Written by DAN staff

Diving, swimming and even just going to the beach offers the opportunity to observe marine animals in their natural environment. Unfortunately, inappropriate or unintentional interactions with some marine life can lead to serious injuries. The good news is that most injuries are largely preventable with some forethought, knowledge and awareness. However, accidents do happen and each year a number of divers sustain marine life injuries. Below are best practices for dealing with some of the most common marine life injuries:


Sea urchins are echinoderms, a phylum of marine animals shared with starfish, sand dollars and sea cucumbers. They are omnivorous, eating algae and decomposing animal matter, and have tubular feet that allow movement. Many urchins are covered in sharp, hollow spines that can easily puncture the skin and break off, and may penetrate a diver’s boots and wetsuit.


Injuries caused by sea urchins are generally puncture wounds associated with redness and swelling. Pain and severity of the injury ranges from mild to severe, depending on the location of the injury and the compromised tissue, and life-threatening complications do occur but are extremely rare.

Divers can prevent sea urchin injuries by avoiding contact with good buoyancy control and being cautious of areas where sea urchins may exist, such as the rocky entry points while shore diving.

Treatment for sea urchin wounds is symptomatic and dependent on the type and location of injury. Application of heat to the area for 30 to 90 minutes may help. Sea urchin spines are very fragile, so any attempt to remove superficial spines should be done with caution. Wash the area first without forceful scrubbing to avoid causing additional damage if there are still spines embedded in the skin. Apply antibiotic ointment and seek medical evaluation to address any embedded spines or infection risk.


Stingrays are frequently considered dangerous, largely without cause. Stingrays are shy and peaceful fish that do not present a threat to divers unless stepped on or deliberately threatened. Stingrays can vary in size from less than 30 centimetres/one foot to greater than two metres/six feet in breadth, and reside in nearly every ocean.

From DAN_stingrays_iStock_000019476594_WEB

The majority of injuries occur in shallow waters where divers or swimmers accidently step on or come in contact with stingrays. Injuries from stingrays are rarely fatal but can be painful. They result from contact with a serrated barb at the end of a stingray’s tail, which has two venomous glands at its base. The barb can easily cut through wetsuit material and cause lacerations or puncture wounds. Deep lacerations can reach large arteries. If a barb breaks off in a wound, it may require surgical care. Wounds are prone to infections.

Injury treatment varies based on the type and location of the injury. Clean the wound thoroughly, control bleeding and immediately seek medical attention. Due to the nature of the stingray venom and the risk of serious infections, seek professional help for stingray wounds.

For more information on first aid and safe diving practices, visit DAN.org/Health


PADI Divemasters, Lend your Voice to Marine Conservation!

Dive against Debris

PADI Divemasters have the power to be the world’s most passionate advocates for marine conservation. With your unique underwater access and dive skills, you are a powerful movement – one that can seek out action and mobilise change for the better! So, with that in mind, here are 5 tips how you can lend your voice to promote marine conservation efforts.


  1. As a mentor to divers the focus of your dives should be on the education and understanding of local marine life you are hoping to see. PADI Divemasters supervise both training and non-training related activities by planning, organising and directing dives. You can use these attributes to empower divers to become ocean stewards in several ways, such as:


  1. You can partake in the development of environmental education and awareness programs! As a PADI Divemaster you can teach the Coral Reef Conservation and Project AWARE Specialist course on completion of the following: 1) the “Learning, Instruction and the PADI System” presentation from the Assistant Instructor Course. 2) a PADI Speciality Instructor Course taught by a qualified PADI Speciality Instructor Trainer. Make sure you ask your students to choose a Project AWARE version of their PADI certification card to support a clean and healthy ocean!


  1. Strengthen your ongoing commitment to global marine conservation activities by working for, or continuing your dive education with, a 100% AWARE partner. Across the world, PADI dive centres have committed to ocean protection through the 100% AWARE partnership. 100% AWARE partners support a healthy ocean by making a donation to Project AWARE on behalf of each student that they certify. Visit the 100% AWARE Dive Partner Map to locate a 100% AWARE dive centre or instructor.


  1. Inspire year-round action to remove, report and prevent underwater debris by organising Dive against Debris clean up actions. Check out the Dive Against Debris Event Organizer Kit to download helpful tools to recruit and organise your volunteers. The data collected helps influence policies and drive change needed to stop trash from reaching the ocean in the first place. Don’t forget to encourage your volunteers to upload their findings on the Dive Against Debris™ Interactive Map to further highlight the quantity and type of marine debris littering our seas.


  1. Spread the word about the importance of ocean conservation! One person can make a difference, but think how much greater an impact you’ll have if you recruit fellow divers to the cause!

So, what are you waiting for? Lend your support and your voice by becoming an active advocate for ocean conservation!

Expand into Instructor Training

Helping new EFR instructor candidates to gain instructor level knowledge and skill and then pass that on through positive coaching to their own students is the role of the EFR Instructor Trainer. As an EFRIT your own skills will also be polished as you role model instructor level teaching. You’ll also consider opportunities outside your normal market as you guide instructors considering work in a wide range of environments.

If you would like to be an EFR Instructor Trainer you will need to:

  • Be an EFR Primary / Secondary Care Instructor
  • Be an EFR Care For Children Instructor
  • Have registered at least 25 EFR students


  • Have conducted at least 5 separate EFR courses

And successfully complete an EFR Instructor Trainer Course. For dates and locations of these courses please click here.

Responders In Action

Emergency First Response would like to congratulate Samra Abd El Wahab (PADI OWSI and EFR Instructor # 372290) for providing much needed assistance when called upon.

Samra was on the way home from a Halloween party in the early morning of the 01.11.2017. She entered a subway station in Munich and at the platform she saw a group of young women (about 20 years old) screaming, and one girl was lying on the floor. Samra approached them and saw that the girl on the floor had white foam around her mouth and was already quite blueish in her face. She directed her friends to call the ambulance and to notify the police station in the subway about the situation. At the same time she checked the airways and found that the girl was not breathing. She started CPR and Rescue breathing for about 2-3 minutes until the girl started breathing again. The girl regained consciousness, and Samra stayed with her, keeping her calm until the ambulance arrived.

Well done, Samra!



Emergency First Response Manuals Go Digital

The first EFR digital student manuals are planned for release during 2018.

With more and more people using their tablets, phones and computers the option for online and offline digital study materials is increasingly popular and in demand.

The manuals will be accessed through the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) platform which offers a great online and offline experience. It also offers the ability to search for key words so that a learner can quickly find information to review or jump back to a specific topic or course content. Updates are almost seemless and each time the user logs in the most current content is available.

With such an exciting prospect we can hardly wait! Watch out for further information and announcements later in the year.

Adaptive Techniques

Written by John Kinsella

It’s five thirty on a Costa Rican morning and Georgia King is talking to me about the PADI® Adaptive Techniques Specialty. It’s quiet, she says, before the rest of the family wakes. I can almost hear the tropical dawn chorus. Georgia is a PADI Platinum Course Director in Costa Rica and her time is precious, but she’s absolutely committed to helping people with disabilities benefit from diving and happy to share her wisdom. Georgia was an advisor during course development and has extensive experience and expertise. In fact, before we finish, Georgia has made another significant time and energy commitment: She’s decided to run an adaptive techniques workshop for PADI Women’s Dive Day.


Georgia’s commitment is such that since the program launched she has run two Adaptive Techniques Specialty courses right after two IDCs. It was a natural fit. “I think it’s fantastic to be able to incorporate the training with the IDC,” she says quietly. “It makes sense to integrate it naturally with the various course elements. New instructors coming out of the IDC are super excited because we’ve been talking about it. It inspires them to take that next step.”

I ask what she’d say to PADI Pros with no prior experience, who may never have thought of taking or teaching the Adaptive Techniques Specialty.

“Get involved,” she advises, pointing out that one of the major benefits, even if you are not immediately going out and teaching people with disabilities, is that it will open your mind to various teaching techniques and ways to approach all PADI programs. This can completely change the way you teach. “It really does open your eyes to a whole world of possibilities,” Georgia says. “Even in something as simple as demonstrating a skill in the skill circuit, you really just think differently. You are not set in one way of doing something. A lot of people think, ‘You have to do it this way.’ You know? You don’t.”

Georgia feels that a lot of people may be apprehensive about getting involved and offers this encouragement: “It’s kind of like the EFR® program when people worry about helping others. They don’t think they’ll be able to manage it. But everybody who has done the Adaptive Techniques Specialty is absolutely blown away and amazed by it. There’s more to it than people realize. Sure, it’s helping someone in a wheelchair, but that’s just a tiny part of it. The program talks about the attitudes, and how you treat people.”


And the confidence that insight brings opens up the most significant benefit of the Adaptive Techniques Specialty: It’s so rewarding for everyone. “Just giving people the opportunity, that’s one of the biggest things,” Georgia believes. “In any teaching there’s opportunity for reward, but sometimes I find more so with this. I shed tears after my first Discover Scuba® Diving experience with a guy who was born without legs. It completely amazed him how he felt underwater. He came up and just cried. I was so overwhelmed. It’s an amazing thing.”

PADI Elite Instructor Award 2018

Elite Instructor Award 2018


The Elite Instructor Award started over with a clean slate as of 1 January 2018. As a PADI Instructor actively training and certifying divers, you can distinguish yourself by earning the PADI Elite Instructor Award, giving you the opportunity to tout your “Elite Instructor” status to student divers, potential customers, prospective employers and fellow PADI Professionals!

Program Summary

PADI Instructors who issue 50, 100, 150, 200 or 300 qualifying certifications in a
calendar year and who have no verified Quality Management violations within 12 months of the date of the award, will be recognized with the Elite Instructor Award.

  • Qualifying certifications: (Certifications issued by you which will included in your

    • Qualifying student diver certifications include Scuba Diver, Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, Master Scuba Diver and all student diver specialties including distinctive specialties. Junior diver
      certifications will be weighted on a one-to-one basis as well as Basic
      Freediver, Freediver, Advanced Freediver and Master Freediver.
    • Qualifying PADI Professional ratings include Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, Open Water Scuba Instructor, Master Scuba Diver Trainer, IDC Staff Instructor, Emergency First Response Instructor and all Instructor Specialty and Distinctive Instructor Specialty ratings. Freediver Instructor, Advanced Freediver Instructor, Master Freediver Instructor and Freediver Instructor Trainer will also be included and weighted on a one-to-one basis.
    • Emergency First Response Participant programs, ReActivate, Discover Scuba Diving experiences, Bubblemaker, Seal Team, Master Seal Team and Skin Diver will be weighed on a five-to-one basis. For example, five Discover Scuba Diving experiences well be weighted the same as one Open Water Diver certification.
    • Referrals will be counted on a two-to-one basis. If you have referred students to another instructor or business but didn’t get the paperwork back from the other party, please submit your completed documents to the certifications department and they will make every effort to see that you get credit for your referrals.

Elite Instructor Award Program, continued.

  • PADI Instructors achieving “Elite” status will receive a recognition decal to display on their PADI Instructor certification cards along with an e-badge to include on emails, websites, blogs and social media pages. Every recipient will also get a certificate recognizing them for the number of qualifying certifications they issued during that year: 50, 100, 150, 200 or 300.
  • PADI Pros in PADI Americas, PADI Canada, PADI Asia Pacific and PADI EMEA with a rating of Open Water Scuba Instructor or above will automatically be included in the program and their productivity will be tallied by PADI.
  • Certifications issued 1 January through 31 December qualify for the award program each year. All certifications must be processed by 15 January to count for the award.
  • The Elite Instructor Award qualifying certifications winners are tallied on an annual basis. Awards will be tallied and the winners will be notified during the first quarter of following year.
  • Instructors associated with a PADI Dive Center or Resort may authorize the business to display the instructor’s Elite Instructor Award on the business’s digital site pages.

For More Information

Will you be a PADI Elite Instructor? Visit the “My Account” tab and then “Awards” tab at
the PADI Pros’ Site to see how many certifications you garnered.

For more information about the Elite Instructor Award program, please visit the Member Toolbox at the PADI Pros Site to read a list of frequently asked questions, or email customerservices.emea@padi.com or call +44 117 300 7234. 



PADI“Congratulations to the PADI Pros who achieved Elite status during 2017. This is an outstanding achievement and a testament to your hard work and commitment to PADI. As an Elite Instructor, you are able to promote your success by showing your Elite Instructor e-badge on your Social Media pages. This is also an excellent opportunity for PADI Dive Stores to take advantage of the increased marketing potential that Elite Instructors bring to them.” – Mark Spiers, Vice President Training, Sales and Field Services, PADI EMEA.



PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa Applauds its 2018 Frequent Trainers

Congratulations to our 2018 Frequent Trainers

PADI Course Directors, the highest level of PADI Professional, are much sought after individuals within the diving industry.

Becoming a PADI Course Director is one of the toughest challenges an experienced PADI Professional will face throughout their career.  Many rigorous prerequisites must be met before the aspiring PADI Pro may submit an application to be selected for the Course Director Training Course (CDTC).  While many PADI Pros aspire to becoming instructor trainers, only the very best are selected.  The CDTC itself is intense, teaching prospective Course Directors everything from how to conduct an Instructor Development Course to how to market and grow their business.  Each candidate is subject to continuous evaluation in the classroom and in water, and it is not until the final evaluation on the final day that the individual knows whether they have made the grade.

This elite group of PADI professionals is responsible for creating the highest caliber of instructors around the world: PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors.  Course Directors also train PADI Instructors in their continuing professional development to become PADI Specialty Instructors, IDC Staff Instructors, and EFR Instructors.  The responsibility on Course Directors to keep standards high cannot be underestimated and PADI is proud to have the best instructor trainers in the diving industry.

To that end, each year PADI applauds and rewards its most productive Course Directors in the form of the Frequent Trainer Program (FTP).  Dependent on PADI Professional training productivity during the preceding year, PADI awards Course Directors who meet minimum FTP requirements with either Silver, Gold or Platinum status for the current year.

Join us in congratulating the 2018 Frequent Trainers, and find out more about the CDTC here.

2018 World ShootOut Winner Announced at Boot Show

World ShootOut was born in 2005 with the Eilat Red Sea ShootOut. In 2011 Producer David Pilosof initiated the first online World ShootOut competition. Each year hundreds of photographers from countries around the world take part in an annual World ShootOut competition, submitting thousands of stunning images and videos, ranging from the calm lakes of the Nordic to dramatic footage of white sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. Photographers are awarded prizes valued up to $1,000,000.

World ShootOut competition winners are announced during the Boot Show, Düsseldorf, each year and in 2018 PADI, one of the proud sponsors the competition, presented Florian Fischer from Germany, with the 1st Place Prize of $1,000.

Here is Florian’s breath taking video of the Angle of the Deep.

Emergency Care Refresher

Written by DAN Staff

Being able to quickly and correctly provide emergency care during a dive incident can be the difference between a positive outcome and a fatality. Regardless of your level of personal experience with emergency management and response, providing adequate care requires regular refreshers of even the most basic skills, such as measuring vital signs. Accurate assessment of an individual’s condition not only provides EMS personnel with a good baseline for care, but can also help expedite needed medical interventions, and provide a valuable timeline of a patient’s condition. How well do you know your basic life support skills? 



Time is a fundamental metric in emergency response. Regularly recording the patient’s condition and the corresponding time is important to creating an accurate timeline of the patient’s symptoms. A timeline can be used to determine whether the patient’s condition is worsening and can dictate medical interventions. Seriously ill patients should have their vital signs reassessed every few minutes, while patients who are stable may reasonably have their vitals checked less frequently.

Level of Responsiveness

A patient’s level of responsiveness (LOR) can be one of the most revealing indicators of well-being. LOR is generally measured with four basic questions:

  • What is your name?
  • Where are we?
  • What time is it?
  • What happened?

If an individual can answer all of these questions with reasonable accuracy, you can quantify the LOR as “Alert and Oriented to Person, Place, Time, and Event,” which is frequently written as “A+Ox4.” In the event that a person can’t respond to these, or is unconscious, you can further measure LOR by determining if the patient is responsive to verbal or physical stimuli. While this measurement may provide useful information to professional responders, it’s not likely to change the care  you provide as a dive professional.


Pulse can be a very effective indicator of an individual’s wellness, especially if you measure strength and regularity of the beat in addition to frequency. To assess a pulse, place two fingers gently on either the carotid artery on the neck, or on a patient’s wrist just beneath the base of their thumb. If you difficulty finding a pulse, first confirm the location of your fingers, and then make sure you aren’t pressing too hard or too gently. Note not just the speed at which the heart beats, but also the strength and regularity of the beat, these can be important factors when determining injury severity.



Constantly monitoring a patient’s breathing is a crucial emergency care step. Because many people will alter their breathing if they know you’re trying to count their breaths, begin counting respirations immediately after measuring the patient’s pulse. Pay close attention to the sound of breath and listen for wheezing, gasping, or labored breathing. These can indicate the existence of specific conditions and be valuable information for healthcare personnel.

For more information on diver health and safety visit diversalertnetwork.org.