Dive site topography in Lhaviyani Atoll – Part 1

The underwater topography of the Maldives is dramatic, varied and perfect for exploring. Scuba divers visiting the Lhaviyani Atoll in particular have a huge variety of reef formations awaiting them on the dive sites – the first glimpses of which can even be spotted from the seaplane window. In this, the first of a three part series, the underwater islands of giris and thilas are explored.

What is a giri?

Giris are shallow underwater islands with a top reefs lying at around 5 meters and appearing as blueish-green spots when viewed from the seaplane window. Typically found inside the atoll, they are perfect for beginner divers and macro lovers.

One of Hurawalhi’s favourite giris is Maa Giri. It means Flower Island and it is usually described as ‘fish soup’. On the front of the giri are thousands of lunar fusiliers catching food in the gentle currents that flow around the dive site. Once the divers descend a little deeper they can explore small overhangs and crevices where nurse sharks are sleeping or moray eels are getting cleaned. All around the giri are schools of yellow snappers, humpback snappers, and sweetlips. Occasionally, at the right time of the year, there is a glittering swarm of glass fish that divers can swim into the middle of – this is an enchanting experience that will be remembered for a very long time. Along the walls there are macro creatures like the mantis shrimp, whip coral shrimp and nudibranchs.

Picture by Ray van Eeden

On Tinga Giri, close to Hurawalhi, there is currently a large red frogfish that can often be seen fishing with the lure, which comes out from the top of its head.

What is a thila?

A thila is a deeper underwater island usually starting around 12-14 meters. Two of the Hurawalhi team’s favourite and most fascinating thilas are Anemone Thila and Fushivaru Thila.

Picture by Ray van Eeden

Anemone Thila gets its name from the incredible amount of anemones that have made themselves at home there. It is a very small thila and can be dived all they way round its circumference 2-3 times in one dive. This site is great for underwater photography and experimenting with macro photography. The most spectacular part of the dive is towards the end when divers arrive at the shallowest part of the thila and see the clownfish swimming above all the anemones along with bright blue and pink damselfish. For a good part of the year this site is also completely covered in ‘baitfish’ – so many that visibility can be reduced to 1-2 m with the fish parting to make way for the passing divers.

Picture by Ray van Eeden

Fushivaru Thila is a manta cleaning station and from November to January divers can witness the spectacular sight of the majestic mantas as they cruise in and hover over the station as small cleaner wrasse come and cleanse them of parasites. When the mantas are elsewhere, Fushivaru Thila is just as beautiful with huge schools of snappers and hunting grey reef sharks, nurse sharks sleeping under coral blocks, and large stingrays on the sand.

Picture by Ray van Eeden

There are many underwater island dive sites in Lhaviyani Atoll waiting to be explored. In Part 2 of the Dive Site Topography series all will be revealed about the differences between East and West sides of the Atoll.

 

 

Earth Hour

Earth Hour is an annual worldwide movement to encourage individuals, communities, and businesses to conserve our resources. Celebrating it is a symbol of our commitment to our planet.

At Gili we celebrated Earth Hour on March 24th with the rest of the world, we hosted a Coral Conservation themed day with multiple events leading into each other. For each event, all guests and hosts were invited to attend and take part.

Our first event was a coral workshop hosted for Marine Biologists and enthusiasts. In attendance were three participants from our local island Himmafushi who have a keen interest in protecting their reef and inspiring locals. Additionally, Marine Biologists from Four Seasons Resort, Bandos Resort, Atoll Marine Centre and Hurawalhi Resort attended. Jinah, a journalist from Hotelier Maldives covered our event celebrations.

Our coral lines project launched in 2014 and currently has 190+ lines, each containing around 50 coral fragments. The aim of the project is to rehabilitate our degraded house reef through direct transplantation of mature corals and through indirect coral spawning from the nursery. The project was the first low-tech and high efficiency coral recovery project that involves rope in the Maldives.
Due to the optimal location and care that goes into the project we had 68% survival after the El Nino event and the crown of thorn starfish outbreak. Due to the success of our project, many Marine Biologists are interested in learning more as they want to launch their own projects or further their current projects in other locations. This is why we invited them to join us in celebration of Earth Hour.

 

We felt that hosting a coral conservation themed day would create a platform for a discussion on possible project improvements and new project ideas. Overtime the coral line nursery will contain heat tolerant coral species, fragmenting these species and planting lines could lead to natural spawning of more heat tolerant species which will increase survival rate in future warming events. This will lead to the creation of more healthy reefs decreasing the pressure of predation, providing a healthier habitat, refuge and nurseries for marine organisms like turtles, juvenile fish and other fish species as well as conserving a key ecological ecosystem.
On the day the visiting Marine Biologists arrived at 14:00pm and a land based presentation was carried out, topics included an in depth overview of the project, project creation, management, challenges and future plans. This was followed by a practical demonstration of making a coral line, monitoring the lines and general maintenance including cleaning and removal of invasive species. To view the coral line made by the Marine Biologists click here. To conclude there was a group discussion on possible project improvements and a question and answer session.

 

Following the success of the coral workshop together with guests, Marine Biologists and hosts we designed and created a coral shape in the sand on Library Beach. In celebration of the official Earth Hour which is between 20:30 – 21:30 we turned off none essential lights and filled the coral shape with sustainably sourced candles – coconuts and used cooking oil. During the official event our coral shape was beautifully illuminated by flickering candle lights and guests, Marine Biologists and hosts were able to enjoy this display whilst attending our Earth Hour cocktail evening.

 

To conclude our Earth Hour celebrations we hosted the documentary Chasing Coral in our Jungle cinema and Host Village. Chasing coral is a fantastic documentary about a group of divers, photographers and scientists who set out on an ocean adventure to discover why the reefs are disappearing and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world. They found that coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate and documented their discoveries and explained them in a way that is accessible to everyone.
Overall the event was a huge success with all participants learning something new and being inspired to help conserve our resources. We hope that you will join us in celebrating Earth Hour next year!

PADI’s guest blogger Emma Bell introduces herself:

I am a marine biologist and scuba diver from England. I have had the privilege of working in Greece, Seychelles and Maldives. I have worked in an aquaculture research centre where I focused on hormonal manipulation of a pelagic fish species. In addition, I have experience with coral restoration projects including frames and ropes; habitat restoration – crown of thorns, drupella and invasive plant species removal; educational activities and social media updates including blogs. I have also monitored population dynamics of bird, turtle, shark and cetacean species to aid in their conservation. I started my career working in the Maldives and I have done a round trip via Greece, England and Seychelles, I hope to increase my skills set and knowledge further whilst I am at Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives.

Green Sea Turtles hatchlings on Kuredu

Guests at Kuredu Resort recently had a very cute surprise in the sand: a green sea turtle nest hatched! Late in the evening, while walking back to their villa, the guests spotted the tiny turtles making their way quickly across the beach into the ocean. A few hatchlings wandered astray and were collected by resort staff, soon to be released under the supervision of resident Sea Turtle Biologist, Stephanie, along with volunteers from the Prodivers Team.

According to previous reports, it takes green turtle nests 49 to 62 days to hatch here in the Maldives, but the baby turtles on Kuredu were a little slower – it took them 64 days to make their way out of the nest.

To evaluate the hatching success of the nest, Stephanie and a volunteer digging team from Prodivers went to exhume the nest 48 hours after the hatching event. After quite some digging, they successfully discovered the nest and out of 105 eggs laid, only three had failed to develop – that’s 102 more baby green turtles in the ocean! Such a successful nest is great news for the sea turtle population and we hope to see some of the hatchlings back on Kuredu to nest in about 10 to 15 years’ time.

Snorkelling or scuba diving at Kuredu Island Resort Maldives gives a very good chance of seeing turtles – the island is blessed with a large community of green sea turtles that can be seen at Caves, either on a Prodivers snorkelling excursion or dive trip. Turtles can also be spotted grazing in the lagoon.

Want to learn more about turtles? Visit Stephanie at Kuredu’s Marine Center and join her snorkelling on the reef for a turtle tour while she collects valuable data for the Olive Ridley Project.

Common crabs encountered in the Maldives: Part 2

Crabs are an underappreciated species. Whilst living in a harsh and arid environment they dedicate their lives to keeping the beach pristine.

Swift-Footed rock crab Laura Pola

Swift-Footed Rock Crab

The swift-footed rock crab can easily go unnoticed due to its elusive behaviour. It inhabits rocky shores at mid to high tide level and so can be found around beach rocks, boat ramps, rock walls and jetties. These crabs are fast moving and are generally only seen at night, unless disturbed. Then you may observe them jumping from rock to rock trying to find a new refuge.

Their colouration can be mesmerising with a multitude of blue, green, purple, orange, white and black. The crabs encountered on Gili are more blue, green and purple with white stripes. The shell (carapace) can be up to eight centimeters wide and is flattened, compared to other crabs which have shells that are more rounded.

Swift-Footed Rock Crab. Picture by Laura Pola

The crab feeds on algae, detritus, small vertebrates, barnacles, limpets and snails. They use their claws to break into the shells of other animals and to tear off pieces of their prey to be transferred into their mouth. This species is predated upon by a variety of animals including birds, octopus and fish, so it isn’t safe for them in the ocean or out of it!

Fiddler Crab. Picture by Carly Brooke

Fiddler crabs

Fiddler crabs are a small and short lived species of crab (up to two years) and are closely related to ghost crabs. They are found in mangroves, brackish water, mud flats, lagoons and swamps. The colouration of the crabs change in correlation with circadian rhythm – during the day they are dark and at night they are light.

Fiddler crabs are well known for their sexual dimorphism – the male’s major claw is much larger than the females. If the large claw has been lost the male will develop a new large claw on the opposite side, which will appear after molting. The female’s claws are the same size. The crabs use their claws in communication, courtship and combat. The male claw is used in waving displays which signals to the female that they are ready to mate. A more vigorous waving display indicates a healthier male and a larger claw indicates a wider burrow which will provide better temperatures for egg incubation. Females chose their partners based on claw size and the quality of waving. Once a female has been attracted she will reside in the male’s burrow whilst the eggs are being laid. The female will carry her eggs on the underside of her body for a two week gestation period. After this period the female will venture out of the burrow and release the larvae into a receding tide.

During feeding the crabs move their smaller claw from the ground to their mouth. This movement looks like the crab is playing the smaller claw like a fiddle – hence the name, fiddler crab. The smaller claw is used to pick up the sediment which is then sifted through in the crab’s mouth. Algae, microbes and fungus are the preferred diet of the crab. After the nutrients are extracted the sediment is placed back onto the ground in a ball. The feeding habits may play a vital role in preserving the ecosystem as they aerate the soil. The fiddler crab can be seen when visiting local islands, especially in the mangrove area at low tide

PADI’s guest blogger Emma Bell introduces herself:

I am a marine biologist and scuba diver from England. I have had the privilege of working in Greece, Seychelles and Maldives. I have worked in an aquaculture research centre where I focused on hormonal manipulation of a pelagic fish species. In addition, I have experience with coral restoration projects including frames and ropes; habitat restoration – crown of thorns, drupella and invasive plant species removal; educational activities and social media updates including blogs. I have also monitored population dynamics of bird, turtle, shark and cetacean species to aid in their conservation. I started my career working in the Maldives and I have done a round trip via Greece, England and Seychelles, I hope to increase my skills set and knowledge further whilst I am at Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives.

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.

Common crabs encountered in the Maldives: Part 1

Crabs are an underappreciated species. Whilst living in a harsh and arid environment they dedicate their lives to keeping the beach pristine.

The Maldives is rich in life and biodiversity, but the majority of this diversity is marine based. Due to the great distance of the Maldives from large land masses there are relatively few land based species. Crabs, are one of the most common. These shy little critters are abundant, entertaining to observe and vital to the island’s survival.

Hermit Crab. Picture by Laura Pola

Hermit Crab. Picture by Laura Pola

Land Hermit Crabs

Land hermit crabs are completely adapted to life on land, living under leaf litter or in other sheltered areas. A common error made by people is completely submerging these crabs in water, mistaking them for marine animals. Unfortunately hermit crabs can only survive for a few minutes when completely submerged. They are not true crabs because they do not have their own shell. Instead they use shells from dead gastropods in order to protect their soft abdomens. They are a long lived species – sometimes reaching the age of 40 years and older – so they go through a lot of shells!

Hermit crabs start their lives moving through a variety of larval stages whilst floating in the ocean. The larvae spend the first 40 – 60 days of their life alongside plankton until they change into a hermit crab/lobster shape. In this final larval stage they find a small shell and over the period of a month will spend more time on land until they finally molt and leave the ocean for good. By feeding on vegetation, insects, detritus, other smaller hermit crabs and microbes in the sand the crab grows in size. To accommodate this growth their hard exoskeleton must be shed periodically during the year and this process will carry on through-out the hermit crab’s life. As they grow in size the hermit crab molts less frequently and the molt process takes longer, during which time the crab will stay completely submerged in the sand.

When sexually mature the male will knock on the female’s shell to signal mating. Both genders will then extend out of their shells and the male will fertilise the female. After fertilisation the female will carry her eggs around on her abdomen where they are protected from predation. The bigger the female the larger the quantity of eggs. After one month the eggs are fully developed and the colour of the egg will have changed from brick red to grey. To hatch the eggs the female will enter the water at low tide. Upon contact with water the eggs burst open and the larvae are released.

Ghost Crab. Picture by Hans Hillewaert

Ghost Crab. Picture by Hans Hillewaert

Ghost Crab

Another common crab species is the ghost crab which is aptly named due to its nocturnal activity and sandy colouration, making the crab perfectly camouflaged into the beach backdrop. These crabs are found on sandy beaches and live in burrows. The narrower and shorter the burrow the smaller the crab. Their burrows serve a number of purposes: protection from predation, storage of their food, protection from drying out and other extreme weather conditions as well as a place to mate (although not all ghost crabs mate in burrows).

Young crabs and female crabs create burrows with sand scattered everywhere, with young crabs preferring to create burrows nearer to the water, whilst male crabs have burrows with a neat mound of sand outside – the larger the crab the larger the mound. Males produce mating sounds, squeaking noises, in a variety of ways; by rubbing their right claw on their leg, by rubbing their legs together, or by using their gill chambers, which they keep moist with saltwater.

After mating the females store thousands of eggs inside an abdominal flap. She will then venture into the sea when the eggs are ready to hatch. Since ghost crabs cannot swim the female will float upside down in the water allowing the eggs in her abdomen to breathe. Upon contact with saltwater the larvae are released and after two months return to land.

Swift-Footed Rock Crab. Picture by Laura Pola

The exoskeleton of a ghost crab is water tight, which prevents the crab from drying out in the arid and salty conditions on the beach. All ghost crabs have eye stalks with the males additionally having horns. These eyestalks enable the crab to see in any direction and can be stored in groves on their shells. The ghost crab’s eye sight is so good that they are able to catch insects’ mid-flight. They also have a well-developed sense of smell. They are very agile, capable of moving at 10mph, which makes them the fastest of all crustaceans.

Due to the erratic nature of their food supply ghost crabs are very protective of their food and will use their claws in combat displays. Male ghost crabs have one claw that is slightly larger than the other and combat is normally non-contact and ritualistic. Ghost crabs spend the majority of their day looking for food and particularly like to eat fish, seaweed, microbes in the sand, jellyfish, other crabs, snails, turtle hatchings and really anything they can get their claws on.

PADI’s guest blogger Emma Bell introduces herself:

I am a marine biologist and scuba diver from England. I have had the privilege of working in Greece, Seychelles and Maldives. I have worked in an aquaculture research centre where I focused on hormonal manipulation of a pelagic fish species. In addition, I have experience with coral restoration projects including frames and ropes; habitat restoration – crown of thorns, drupella and invasive plant species removal; educational activities and social media updates including blogs. I have also monitored population dynamics of bird, turtle, shark and cetacean species to aid in their conservation. I started my career working in the Maldives and I have done a round trip via Greece, England and Seychelles, I hope to increase my skills set and knowledge further whilst I am at Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives.

PADI Member Forum 2018

PADI, its global network of divers, professional members and dive centers have a responsibility to be a force for good in a constantly changing world.  To this end, PADI Member Forum 2018 promises to be truly inspiring as we share with you PADI’s vision for the future and your role in our mission to be best in and for the world.

We will look back at 2017 and then forward to a year that promises to be exciting and innovative for you and your divers.  Member Forum Topics* include:

  • 2017 Year in Review
  • New for 2018
  • PADI Standards and New Programs
  • Risk Management
  • Course Pricing
  • NEW My PADI Club
  • Project AWARE

Register Now

Attendance will count as one seminar credit. Registration is free but pre-registration is recommended.

Dates and locations are subject to change and are continuously being added, please check back frequently.

We look forward to 2018 and another year of striving to be best in and for the world.

*Topics subject to change

PADI Business Academy Returns in 2018!

PADI Business Academy

We are pleased to announce that the PADI Business Academy seminars will return in 2018. This series of two day seminars will kick off in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in March.

The PADI Business Academy is a combination of presentations and hands-on workshops. You’ll explore digital marketing strategies for your website and social media channels. As well as ideas and strategies for your business relating to sales and customer service to assist in supercharging your dive operation in 2018 and beyond.

Presentation Topics

Over the course of a PADI Business Academy, attendees have previously learned about and honed their knowledge on websites, social media and sales and pricing strategy. These core subjects are key to the success of a dive center as consumer journeys increasingly begin online. In addition to these core subjects, attendees will develop their awareness of in-store design, consumer behaviour and Customer Relationship Management systems.

PADI Business Academy Schedule 2018*

 

Day Month Location Language
4-5 May Stone Town, Zanzibar English
18-19 May Madrid, Spain Spanish
26-27 May Barcelona, Spain Spanish
TBD May Lisbon, Portugal Portugal
22-23 August Dubai, UAE Arabic/English
TBD October Maldives English
TBD November Dublin, Ireland English

*Dates and venues subject to change

Prices

PADI Five Star Dive Center: £225 / €275

PADI Dive Center: £279 / €350

PADI Course Director: £279 / €350

Individual PADI Member: £425 / €515

Additional Delegate Discount: 50%

Click here to download registration form

To ensure a custom-tailored learning environment, the number of attendees are limited, so don’t delay. If you haven’t attended a Business Academy before, we strongly encourage you to not miss out and sign up today.

Attendance at a PADI Business Academy will result in PADI Member Seminar credit for:

  • PADI Master Instructor applications.
  • PADI Course Director Training Course application.

PADI Business Academy includes:

  • PADI Business Academy polo shirt
  • Lunch and snacks/beverages in breaks
  • USB filled with materials and resources
  • Cocktail reception

*Price does not include airfare, hotel or transportation costs. All other expenses incurred will be the responsibility of the participant. Dates and locations are subject to change, please regularly refer back to this page for updated information.

Contact your PADI Regional Manager or email pba.emea@padi.com for more information.

To register, simply click here to download and complete the form and return it to David Protheroe in the Marketing department.

 

PADI Wins TAUCHEN Award for the 20th time in 20 Years!

For the 20th consecutive year, PADI has been awarded the prestigious TAUCHEN Award for Best Diver Training Organisation. The TAUCHEN Awards are often referred to as the ‘Oscars of the Dive Industry’ and each year the highly popular German diving magazine, which focuses on dive travel, equipment and industry news, invites its readers to vote for their preferences in 17 different industry categories. PADI has been the unwavering favourite diver training organisation, taking home the coveted bronze dolphin statuette for the Best Diver Training Organisation every year, since the award’s inception.

This award is a tribute to the excellence of PADI Members around the world and the quality training they deliver every day.

This year the awards were presented on 25th January, 2018, in conjunction with the BOOT Trade Show in Düsseldorf, Germany.

“I’d like to dedicate this award to PADI Members throughout the globe and thank them for their continued support of, and loyalty to, the PADI organisation. Thank you also for your expert diver training, contribution to diver safety and outreach to the diving community. Together we are the way the world learns to dive.”

– Mark Spiers, Vice President of Training, Sales and Field Services for PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa.

#wearepadi

Maximise Profitability with a PRO Night

Birgitta Mueck

In terms of advertising and selling PADI courses, your dive operation should be split into 3 divisions – acquisition, continued education and going pro. In this article we’ll focus on your dive operation’s pro development by sharing proven tactics that will help you successfully host a Pro Night and increase revenue through pro conversion.

First, decide on an event date with your PADI Regional Manager. This should be done well in advance of your proposed date to get maximum exposure and increase the chances of pro conversion. Check sporting calendars and school/college holidays to avoid social clashes in the diary.

4-6 Weeks Prior

Make the Announcement. Be loud and proud as you spread the word of your Pro Night across your newsletter, social media and blog.  Visit the PADI Pros’ Site for free graphics, an email template, a poster for your classroom, and customizable Pro Night invitations. Ask divers to RSVP via email. As part of the RSVP process, ask about their diving certifications and experience so you have an idea of the size and nature of your audience.

Speakers. Identify two, preferably three, members of your staff to speak at the Pro Night. Additional speakers from varying ages and backgrounds will resonate more with your audience. Video testimonials from your past divers who went pro are a powerful tool. Source “selfie videos” from your divers in exciting places to create the most impact

2-3 Weeks Prior

Start promoting your event in your scuba classes. Include flyers in crew-paks and shopping bags and continue posting reminders on your social media channels to keep the conversation alive.

Collect or buy raffle prizes. These could be gift cards, air fill vouchers, hats, t-shirts, or scuba accessories. Ask your PADI Regional Training Consultant for any donations, Go PRO DVD’s or other Pro Night-related material.

Create a slideshow to play in the background on the day of the event. The slideshow can include staff photos, images from dive trips, and slides promoting upcoming dive travel opportunities.

Run a pre-mortem with key staff. Imagine worst-case scenarios (a presenter is sick, it snows, there aren’t enough snacks or chairs, etc.) and identify how you’ll prevent and handle these problems.

Create your Pro Night specials:

  • Tiered training packages (basic package, mid-range and platinum) are the ideal way to go as most consumers will choose the middle way. You can create bundles of just classes taking divers to Pro level, or packages that include gear as well. Make sure your staff fully understand these packages and any finance options that may be available.
  • If you have an active travel program, have information available on your upcoming trips. Some attendees may want to complete their training in warm-water destinations.
  • Include a calendar, as a slide in your presentation and/or as a handout, showing your class schedule for the year. Help students see the path to Divemaster, Instructor, Master Scuba Diver, etc.
  • Require instructors to create a target list of at least five students who “have what it takes.” Compare the lists to cross reference and confirm the targeted students, then have instructors phone or email students a personal invite.

1 Week Prior

Send out a Pro Night email reminder, and tease your one-night only specials. Have instructors make follow up calls to students who expressed interest but haven’t RSVP’d.

Prepare your presentation. Ask your presenters if they have any photos or videos they’d like to share and put together a list of interview questions for your Pros in the spotlight.

Example questions:

  • What do you love about being a PADI Divemaster/Instructor?
  • When did you know you wanted to go pro?
  • What’s a common misconception people have about working as a Divemaster/ Instructor?

The Day Before

Post your specials to social media and emphasize they are one-night-only, no exceptions.

At The Event

Prepare a sign-in sheet to capture diver names, highest level and contact info (phone/email).

Plan for 30 minutes of mingle time/happy hour before the presentation. Play a slideshow/video playlist showcasing your travel adventures and smiling staff having fun with students. During mingle-time, invite divers to ‘Like’ your Facebook page (or check in on Facebook if they’ve already Liked your page) to earn extra raffle entries.

Limit your presentation to one hour to maintain energy levels. Engage your attendees with direct questions (e.g. How many Advanced Open Water Divers in the room?) and keep the excitement up with a raffling prize drawing between presenters.

After the presentation is over, allow time for divers and staff to socialize. This interaction is a powerful sales tool. Finalize as many sales as possible. Capitalize on the excitement of the presentation to sell training, trips and equipment.

After The Event

Meet with your staff to designate a follow-up plan for each attendee – and then follow-up! Evaluate the event and take notes about what worked well and what could be improved for future events.

Conclusion/Top Tips

This article is designed as a checklist to help you build a successful Pro Night. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, the most important tips are:

  1. Promote your event early and often.
  2. Require instructors to extend personal invitations to select students. Don’t count on email and social media to bring in a crowd.
  3. Create three tiers of specials and don’t compromise on the one-night-only deadline.

Additional tips and marketing resources are available on the PADI Pros’ Site.