Ribbon Eels – the stars of Nakolhu Giri

Scuba diving in the Maldives brings with it the chance to see many ‘must-see’ creatures such as manta rays, sharks and turtles as well as huge shoals of tropical fish congregating on the reefs. All of these things are hard to miss and there is a whole lot more to see when you start diving very slowly and really looking at the reef, the critters that can be found can be just as mesmerising and special as the big stuff…

One such critter is the ribbon eel, also known as a ghost moray, Rhinomuraena quaesita, it is widespread in Indo-Pacific but not so common in the Maldives so finding one is a real treat. Divers in the Lhaviyani Atoll are in the fortunate position of being able to have a go a finding them on Nakolhu Giri where sightings have been occurring for many years.

Known to inhabit the same spot, once found the ribbon eels are easily found again – as long as they are not hiding in their hole at the moment the diver passes by. It pays to be patient and keep very still,just watching the area until it eventually pokes its head and neck out again. Patient observers will be rewarded with the distinctive flattened ribbon eel with its flared, extended nostrils. They reach a length of up to one meter but typically only the head and neck are seen. Their colour is very distinctive and eye-catching; males/juveniles have a black body with a bright yellow dorsal fin. As the ribbon eel matures it slowly turns to the more commonly sighted bright blue colour, also with the yellow dorsal fin and accents around the mouth. It’s not only the colour that changes as the ribbon eel matures, upon reaching a certain size, the body of the male starts to turn yellow and develop female parts until it can eventually lay eggs, making them sequential hermaphrodites. These completely yellow females are the rarest ribbon eels to spot.

For a chance to see these fascinating creatures come and dive with Prodivers and visit the beautiful underwater island reef of Nakolhu Giri.

PADI GO PRO Night 30 June 2018 – Giardini Naxos.

by Fabio Figurella – Regional Manager PADI EMEA.
Last June 30th I had the pleasure and the honour to attend like every year at a PADI Go Pro Night organized by Sea Spirit Diving Center in Giardini Naxos, one of the most active Italian Dive Center focused on training of divers especially for the professional levels, managed by the Course Director Carmelo Sgroi, and by Cilla Lentz – Diving Center Manager.
Every year I have always come with great pleasure to these events because there is always a large number of participants, very interested in the PADI Professional Career.
This year the event has been a huge success, organized in collaboration with the association MEGISS Dive Lab has focused on the topic of Naturalistic photography and Environmental awareness related to the world of PADI professionals.
Guests of excellence Francesco Turano, Naturalist photographer who projected photos that created strong emotions in the hall.
Also present was Dr. Laura Marroni Vice-President of DAN Europe Foundation, one of the youngest managers worldwide of the diving industry, who presented the DAN Europe foundation and its activities, telling of her experience during the IDC becoming PADI Instructor.
About 60 PADI Pros have attended the event, interested in their professional career.


I interviewed some of the most representative members of the Sea Spirit Staff:

Carmelo Sgroi – PADI Course Director.
Carmelo Sgroi, owner of Sea Spirit, PADI 5 Star Diving Resort, is also a skipper and PADI Course Director and has made from his passion a profession.
His career began as a PADI Dive Master in Mediterranean waters of the Ionian coast of Taormina. Later, he became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in Australia.
Then he developed himself into a PADI IDC Staff Instructor and PADI Master Instructor in Thailand. In 2018, Carmelo Sgroi completed the PADI Course Director Training Course in Malaysia with success and achieved the status of PADI Course Director. In 2015, Sea Spirit Diving Resort became a PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Resort and Carmelo Sgroi and Mark Soworka decide to bring their experience in Europe by organizing the first international PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) in Sicily and founded dive-careers-europe.com.


Cilla Lentz – Diving Center Manager.
Cilla Lentz, general manager, PADI IDC Staff Instructor and main instructor at Sea Spirit Diving Resort, started diving in 2010 during a holiday at diver’s paradise Koh Tao, Thailand. In 2012 she flew back to Koh Tao, Thailand to become a PADI Divemaster. During her internship, she became passionate about diving and decided to take the next step to PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in Thailand. In 2013, she moved from Koh Tao to Sicily and implement her experience in Sea Spirit Diving Resort. In 2014 she increased her experience in several PADI Specialties and got the PADI MSDT certification (Master Scuba Diver Trainer). After that she gained more experience in training on professional level during Instructor Development Courses and got the PADI IDC Staff Instructor certification. Nowadays she manages Sea Spirit Diving Resort and trains people how to become good or even better divers and trains people who want to take their first step in professional diving.


Amy.
Amy started diving in her homeland, the U.K. and she joined Sea Spirit as a Dive Master Candidate (2016) and grew into the role of main instructor in 2017. By now, Amy guided more than 100 people during PADI Discover Scuba Diving, PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver and PADI (Junior) Advanced Open Water Diver and from this year also PADI Rescue Diver, Divemaster and specialties. At Sea Spirit you will find Amy most of the time on one of our boats, teaching diving with all her enthusiasm and big smile.


Alina.
Alina started her professional dive career at Sea Spirit in 2017 as a Divemaster Candidate. In October 2017, she joined the IDC at Sea Spirit and became an Open Water Scuba Instructor. Now she teaches (Junior) Open Water Diver and (Junior) Advanced Open Water Diver. You will find Alina on one of our boats or in the office, organizing everything with perfection and always ready to take care of everybody with her sunny smile and pro-active attitude.


We then moved on to the presentation of the MAGISS Dive Lab Association, which is a summary of the words of its President Giovanni Laganà:
Joining the Pro Night of Giardini Naxos has taken for MEGISS Dive Lab – the Association of which I am President and Co-founder – an extremely important meaning in line with one of the projects that, together with the other members, we want to pursue: to contribute to educate the professional divers plays a decisive role in supporting the preservation of what is one of the most precious jewels of the Planet Earth: the Mediterranean.
In agreement with Francesco Turano, with whom we are sharing the AWARE DIVERS project, we are convinced that, also through the tool of naturalistic photography, the knowledge of biodiversity and the mechanisms that regulate the life of the Mare Nostrum must become the patrimony of the professional diver who, if properly informed, will be able to guarantee the noble interests of the whole underwater community, being able, at the same time, to support scientifically correct positions.
To do this, guides and instructors need specialized knowledge and accurate information on ecology as well as on the management and sustainability of the Mediterranean Sea. More. They must be able to translate this knowledge into practices that promote low impact diving.
The task now – if the goal is shared – is up to the teaching. We are here and if you want to follow us do it on our social profiles Facebook and Instagram.

Laura Marroni Vice President of DAN Europe closed the event. Here are her words:
Participating to the PADI Go Pro Night in Taormina was a great experience. I had the chance to talk to a group of passionate divers willing to become dive instructors and to tell them about my career in the diving business and how DAN can help and protect them. DAN has always been on the side of every diver, from the beginners to the most experienced. Dive professionals can count on our medical assistance and support in every step of their career, and they can in turn help us making diving safer by joining our research programs. All together we are a big community and we share a very important goal: diving safely, respecting the environment. As dive professionals, we have the privilege to guide people through the marvellous submerged world and the power to change people’s lives. Being diving instructors is much more than a job, it’s a challenging and beautiful mission!


Finally, as PADI EMEA we have given a special recognition to the Naturalist Photographer Francesco Turano “For the exceptional commitment to the dissemination of environmental sustainability through naturalistic photography” Here are his words:
The diver’s awareness is one of the main points people need to focus on. Everything comes from the fact that underwater tourism is no longer in balance with the marine environment, and people often take advantage of it, without knowing and respecting it. Diving centers should change the way they operate and dive management for large groups.
The scuba diving teaching has the task of introducing the use of the underwater world and must be accompanied, today more than ever, by adequate training on marine biology and ecology, through tools like naturalistic observation and photography. Only in this way it’s possible to avoid scuba diving alone just for fun and one becomes aware, through the knowledge of the submerged environments and therefore brought to the respect of life in the sea.
A life in the Mediterranean, studying and photographing in all seasons and in all conditions, allows me today to state that diving must evolve through proper environmental education, only possible with appropriate courses that allow you to learn important points in the practice of diving. I shared my thoughts with MEGISS Dive Lab, an association for the knowledge and protection of marine environments in the Mediterranean, and now I would like to try to share it with PADI, if you understand the importance and validity of the message!

 

Reporting Incidents

PADI Standards require you to report incidents that occur so that they can be appropriately tracked, identified and managed if the need arises. As part of your PADI Membership Agreement, you agree to file a PADI Incident Report Form with PADI for any incident relating to your activities as a PADI Member. Additionally, PADI Standards require you to “submit a PADI Incident Report Form to your PADI Office immediately after you witness or are involved in a diving or dive operation-related accident/incident, regardless of whether the incident occurred in or out of the water; is training related, recreational, technical or seemingly insignificant.”

While the Incident Report Form is largely focused on collecting information related to scuba diving incidents, it’s important to remember that you are also obliged to report incidents that occur during snorkelling, skin diving and freediving activities, as well as any incident that involves divers, dive customers, dive staff or anyone in or around a dive business.

Incident Report Forms should be submitted directly to the Quality Management department (preferably by email, to incident.emea@padi.com) as soon as possible following the incident. This ensures that important information is captured while your recollection of events is still fresh. Always use the most current version of the Incident Report Form, which can be found on the PADI Pros’ Site (Training Essentials/Forms and Applications/General) to ensure that all of the required information is recorded. If the incident occurred during a PADI training course, don’t forget that you will also need to submit copies of all of the student’s course paperwork alongside the Incident Report Form.

If more than one person from the same facility is involved in, or witnesses, the incident, it is acceptable to have one person complete the Incident Report Form and then either have each individual sign the summary, or complete a covering letter, signed by all, stating that they agree with all the details contained in the report (email statements to this effect from all Members involved, originating from the email address currently on file with PADI, are also acceptable).

If you have any questions regarding the incident reporting requirements, contact the Quality Management department directly on qm.emea@padi.com for clarification.

Diving in the fast line, DPV diving in the Maldives

Seeing the concerned and rather worried faces of divers before a DPV (Dive Propulsion Vehicle) dive, is part of the “game”. In contrast to this, seeing the smiles from ear to ear after the dive is just priceless.

PADI in conjunction with BluEmotion have conducted a series of very successful DPV workshops over the last few months. These workshops were powered by SUEX, an Italian manufacturer of reliable and affordable DPV’s, which are distributed and serviced by BluEmotion in the Maldives.

From the north to the south of the Maldives, a total of 13 workshops have been conducted and over 40 new PADI DPV instructors have been trained. Results show that these workshops have been highly successful and have created a new source of revenue for many dive operators.

by Virgilio Gabriele

Testimonies from some workshop participants include:

Manuel Tobolars, General Manager of Dive Butler Maldives:

“We are super pleased with the DPV’s and have in less than two months got our investment back. Staff are also excited as it gives them an alternative option to dive and ways to explore the surrounding reefs”

by Jessica Ogliar Badessi

Hussein Shifau, Dive Centre Manager Bandos Island Resort:

“We weren’t sure in the beginning if we should invest in DPV’s. However we made a move to purchase three machines and haven’t regretted this investment at all. We have issued over 30 DPV certifications at Bandos in less than three months, and we have actually just placed an order for another three units.”

by Virgilio Gabriele

The workshop will be complimentary and will be conducted by PADI Regional Manager Matt Wenger, who will be working with experts from BluEmotion who specialise in the use of DPVs in the Maldives. These workshops are aimed at your PADI staff and will include:

  • How to effectively teach this course
  • Marketing techniques for increasing certifications
  • How to integrate the use of DPVs into your business model
  • Pricing strategies
  • How to set up and run a DPV wing of your dive business
  • Specific details on the Suex DPV and their use
  • The opportunity to register as a PADI DPV Centre of Excellence and receive special prices on Suex products in order to facilitate an easy and economical way of integrating this equipment into your existing business
  • PADI instructors whom aren’t yet DPV instructors will have the opportunity to be trained, free of charge

If you would like to be included in this project, please send an email to matt.wenger@padi.com so that we can plan the event We will then be in contact with you to confirm specific details of your personalised training.

 

Are You Covered?

With litigation constantly on the rise, comprehensive liability protection is critical for today’s dive professionals.

Maintaining current liability insurance is not only good risk management, but it is also required in many (although not all) areas in order to remain in Teaching status. Although many members feel that liability insurance is only really necessary in the United States and maybe Canada, in recent years we have seen that this is not the case. These days, dive litigation is a truly global issue, with dive-related lawsuits being filed not only in the United States, but in many other locations.  Even in countries where civil litigation isn’t all that frequent, coroners’ inquests often are. Defending one’s self or business in a coroner’s inquest involving a diving death or serious injury can be an extremely expensive proposition without insurance.

Dive professionals need professional liability insurance to cover them for claims resulting from accidents while training divers and snorkelers, supervising and guiding dive excursions, or even assisting an instructor during a training course. In addition, those providing the equipment for their student divers and course participants also need equipment liability coverage, because professional liability coverage alone will not defend accidents in which the equipment provided was alleged to be the cause.

Dive operations should also maintain general liability insurance, covering accidents resulting from products sold, rentals and repairs, air fills, slips-and-falls and so on. In some areas, stores/resorts may purchase group professional policies that insure the store and all the store’s associated professional staff for teaching and supervisory liability.

Given the increasing frequency and global reach of scuba-diving lawsuits, it’s recommended that every PADI Member obtain the information necessary to make wise insurance decisions. Having insurance coverage when a dive accident occurs can make the difference between being properly defended or being financially ruined even when, as is usually the case, you have done nothing wrong. You can still be sued, and you still need to be defended. In today’s world, every active dive professional and dive operator can benefit from dive insurance.

Sign up for the PADI endorsed V Insurance Professional Indemnity Policy today.

PADI Elite Instructor Award 2018

Elite Instructor Award 2018

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE 2017 ELITE INSTRUCTOR AWARD WINNERS

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
    tally)

    • 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. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL PROGRAM SUMMARY

 


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.

Maximise Profitability with a PRO Night

Birgitta Mueck

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.

Interview: PADI Course Director Zoona Naseem

Zoona Naseem

Zoona Naseem is only the second Maldivian to have attained the rank of PADI Course Director, and the country’s first female to do so. She is the owner of Moodhu Bulhaa Dive Centre in Villingili Island, just 10 minutes away from the capital, and is passionate about getting young people diving. Here she shares her PADI journey, discusses what it’s like to be at the top of a male-dominated industry, and advises instructors on the best way to become a CD.

 What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?

I spent the first few years of my life in a small island in Noonu Atoll in the north of the Maldives, so I was always in the ocean as a child. I learnt how to swim at the same time I learnt how to walk. When I did my first dive at 17, honestly, I found it so easy that I thought to myself ‘Why isn’t everyone doing this? And why are there no female instructors?’ I think I knew after that first dive that I was going to become a PADI Pro.

How do you think you’ve changed as you’ve moved up the ranks to become a PADI Course Director?

I did my IDC when I was 18, straight after leaving school, so I’ve been a PADI Pro for my entire adult life. One of my first jobs was at a resort called Sun Island Resort & Spa and the dive centre was one of the busiest in the country at that time. It was like a dive factory! I got to teach every day and I really developed my skills as a teacher. Of course, later I learnt managerial skills as a dive centre manager but it’s my teaching skills that I am continually improving as I move up the ranks.

What will it mean to the Maldives to have its first female Course Director?

In the Maldives, there are still very few women working in the tourism industry, and I feel that this is down to a lot of lingering misconceptions about resorts amongst Maldivians. But in reality, resorts are fantastic places to work for women. You get exposed to so many different cultures, you save everything you earn and there are lots of opportunities for travel and training. So I think that with a female PADI Course Director working in the country, I can show people what a fantastic industry we are a part of, and what you can achieve as a PADI instructor. My greatest hope is that more women will follow my example, and I have set a personal goal to have two female Maldivian instructors working in my dive centre.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in your diving career?

Becoming a Course Director. It was a long journey to get here, and I didn’t really even believe it was possible until recently. Nobody ever told me that this was an option for me! So it definitely feels like a big achievement. And my other greatest achievement, the thing that gives me great happiness, is seeing so many of my students now owning their own dive centres. They are leaders in the Maldivian dive industry, and I’m extremely proud of them.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?

On a personal level, when I’m diving, I get a sense of peace and happiness that I can’t find out of the water. There’s nothing in the world like diving. But as a diver, I also have the chance to be an advocate for our environment, to be a marine ambassador, and that’s a privilege.

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now in your diving career?

When I was working for Banyan Tree International, I was managing five dive centres, plus five water sports centres – so it was a real challenge. And at first, managing all those male employees proved a little tricky. They found it hard to accept a local female as their leader, but I didn’t give up! With a little patience and perseverance, the team soon saw that I knew what I was doing.

Do you believe PADI instructors change others’ lives through diving?

For sure! When you take someone underwater for the first time, they will always remember you. One of my strongest memories was of taking a blind student diving. He simply wanted to experience how it felt to be underwater; to be weightless. We have the chance to create amazing experiences for people, and to educate them about our fragile underwater ecosystems.

Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?

Well in the Maldives, it’s pretty easy to convince people, because the best of this country is underwater. There’s not a boring second when you’re diving, and it’s extremely safe. Actually, being underwater is much safer than walking in the busy roads of our capital city!

PADI Course Director Zoona Naseem

What does “Be Best. Be PADI” mean to you?

 It’s simple. PADI is the best diving organisation in the world; there is no comparison. PADI changes lives!

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become PADI Course Directors?

 I would always encourage instructors to keep moving ahead, and to explore opportunities to increase their training, knowledge and experience. I tell everyone that becoming a PADI Course Director is an option open to them, you just have to work towards it.

What did you enjoy most about completing the PADI Course Director training?

The trainers were without doubt the best part of the course. Their presentations were so entertaining and creative that I honestly never lost focus. And just getting the chance to meet these incredible divers from all over the world and to work on group assignments with them was so enjoyable.

And lastly, what’s your favourite dive site in the Maldives?

Oh, that’s a hard question but I think I’ve got to say Embudu Express, which is a channel that we often visit with our dive centre. There can be dozens of sharks, huge schools of eagle rays, and abundant fish life. But every dive is different, and it depends on how you dive!

 

Welcome to our new PADI EMEA Course Directors

In July, the second 2017 International Course Director Training Course (CDTC) took place in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

During nine intensive days, working with PADI staff from Regional Headquarters, the selected Course Director candidates learn to market and teach PADI’s Instructor level training courses. Upon successful completion, candidates were awarded the esteemed rating of PADI Course Director.

We now welcome our newest PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa Course Directors and wish them much success with their Instructor Development businesses in 2017.

MARTIN PEDERSON DENMARK
CLARE DUTTON ENGLAND
MARGRIET SCHUUR ENGLAND
SU-LI WONG ENGLAND
ISABELLE TRUBLET FRANCE
OLIVIER CREYSSAC FRANCE
NAVEH HARRIS ISRAEL
JESSICA ROSSETTO ITALY
HAITHAM KHAIYAT SAUDI ARABIA
FOUAD AHMED ALHAKAMI SAUDI ARABIA
PEDRO A. C. MORENO SPAIN
NICOLAS LAATSCH SPAIN
MICHAL MOTYLEWSKI SPAIN
ANNA VIKER SWEDEN
JOSE CANCELA SWITZERLAND
MACIEJ GLOWALA-SLUPINSKI SWITZERLAND
MICHELINA COLELLA UAE
NICOLA LIDDEL UAE

To learn more about the Course Director Training Course or to apply for selection onto the programme click here