Egyptian Divers of the future at Red Sea Diving Safari – Marsa Shagra !

In February 2017, Red Sea Diving Safari had a visit from 55 students and staff from the New Cairo British International School (NCBIS) in Marsa Shagra.

For students at the NCBIS, the last week in February means ‘challenge week’, where students get to choose from a variety of trips and experiences. With some students opting for skiing and others choosing Bali, these kids all opted to stay much closer to home in Marsa Alam.

In recent years, Red Sea Diving Safari has seen a sharp increase in the number of Egyptians taking up scuba diving and, more importantly, getting PADI certified. In 2015, 35% of entry level certified divers in Marsa Shagra were Egyptian, while in 2016 the number increased to 57%. So far in 2017, Egyptians have made up a quarter of Shagra’s entry level certified divers vs. 16% for the same period in 2016. The past few years have seen internal tourism to Marsa Alam boom due to increased internal marketing for the Red Sea as a destination as well as issues with currency exchange rates, which have made it expensive to travel abroad.

The students from NCBIS ranged from 11-18 years old with 36 students totally new to diving and starting their PADI journey with the Open Water Course, or Junior Open Water Course. The rest of the group opted for either the PADI Advanced Open Water Course or Enriched Air Diver course to continue their diving education. Students were divided into groups: Turtles, Dolphins, Nudibranches, Stingrays, Remoras, Clownfish, Octopus, Seahorses and Sharks, and then the fun began!

On the first day, students went through the process of getting their equipment. For some this was the first time they had tried on a mask or seen a BCD! Then it was off to Shagra’s restaurant for a group session to watch the PADI Open Water Course DVD.

All the students were immediately taken in by this new adventure and learning curve, whether it was something their parents had signed them up and sent them away for, or it was something they had heard about and dreamed of learning one day. They practiced assembling and dissembling equipment until it was second-nature and tackled the PADI Open Water Course skills one by one. Advanced Students opted for adventure dives including Fish Identification and Peak Performance Buoyancy alongside their compulsory Navigation and Deep dives.

Groups were coordinated to carry out different parts of the course to make sure each group had space to learn and do activities in an unrushed, constructive but fun learning environment. For the confined water activities, the different groups were divided between the local swimming pool and Marsa Shagra’s shallow sandy-bottomed bay, which is ideal for training.

Working through the skills, the students gradually became more and more comfortable underwater, with the help of Shagra’s dedicated instructors. While the Open Water students worked through their open water dives on the house reef, the Advanced Open Water students went to dive Marsa Egla, a local shore dive site, and explored the outer parts of Marsa Shagra’s vast house reef by zodiac.

By night, other activities were on offer, including a campfire on the beach and a guided Astro Tour at the Bawadi Bedouin café to learn about the night sky and take advantage of the unpolluted, clear skies of the Southern Red Sea.

On one evening, a team from HEPCA (Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Agency) visited to conduct a workshop with the students, talking about their valuable activities in the region, including their new Red Sea Defender educational vessel. They then collected plankton from Marsa Shagra’s bay and examined their findings under the microscopes, giving them an insight into the science behind what they were seeing underwater and the importance of protecting the fragile environment.

On the final day students celebrated all their hard work and certifications with a trip into the desert close to Marsa Shagra, with sunset camel ride and traditional Bedouin dinner.

By the end of the week, it’s fair to say that students, teachers and the team at Marsa Shagra were exhausted but thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone, many new divers were born and buzzing about what adventures their PADI certification will take them on in their future.

On behalf of PADI, congratulations to NCBIS students and staff! 

…. and special thanks Red Sea Diving Safari’s Team : keep up the good work!

www.redsea-divingsafari.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet Dive Business Management Graduate, Natasha Robinson

Meet UK based PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Natasha Robinson, one of our first  Dive Business Management graduates. We caught up with Natasha to find out more about her experience and what she wanted to get out of the course.

On 10th September 2016 I started my PADI Instructor Development Course with Course Director Steve Prior. This wasn’t an ordinary IDC – we were amongst the first to participate in the new combined PADI IDC and Oxford Cambridge and RSA curriculum (OCR) Level 3 Dive Business Management course!

This was a perfect course combination allowing me to not only become a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor but also achieve a Level 3 Diploma in Dive Business Management, giving me the skills I would need to run a successful dive business.

The Dive Business Management course consists of online self-study in addition to classroom based workshops. There is a good cross over between the IDC sections and the OCR modules. For instance the modules Principles of Business, Managing Physical Resources, Manage a Project and Procure Products and/or Services built very nicely onto the IDC chapters on Marketing Diving and the Business of Diving.

 

 

 

 

Another key part of the Dive Business Management course was learning about how to manage staff professional development. We explored how employees have different needs depending on their work motivation, their tenure in role, their own personal aspirations and how being aware of these helps adapt your management style to avoid conflict and be a more supportive and successful manager.

During my IE on 3rd – 4th December 2016, my IE Examiner, Erika Hoffman, assessed our wet and dry presentations for our OCR portfolio – another good example of how closely linked the courses are. The IE was a busy but overall enjoyable weekend and I was thrilled when Erika finally shook my hand and congratulated me on becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.

Over the following weeks I worked through the remaining on-line topics, ready for final evaluation.                   On 9th January 2017, White Rose confirmed that I had successfully completed my OCR Level 3 Diploma in Dive Business Management!

Incorporating the OCR Level 3 Dive Business Management course with the IDC equipped me with skills needed to run a dive business. My Course Director also found the experience rewarding and is excited about the new elements we can bring to teaching to help better develop future instructors.

Since completing my IE, I have been working with Ocean View to see how my Dive Business Management diploma can be used to support them and my teaching schedule.  Getting involved in the business side of diving interests me just as much as teaching, so I am excited about my future and where my diving career will take me!

Natasha Robinson

 

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2Q17 Training Bulletin Live Webinars

The Second Quarter Training Bulletin Live webinars are coming soon. As always, we will be discussing the latest standards changes, providing background information on the updates and insight into how these can be integrated into your training.

Join us live in your chosen language on the dates below. If you miss the live event, registration will ensure that you get a follow up email linking you to the recording.

2nd Quarter:

English 24th April
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2930584796547312898

Arabic 25th April
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8078102415043403522

Spanish 26th April
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4983843597163215618

Portuguese 2nd May
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4845453566301593603

Dutch 3rd May
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8403878914260496386

German 4th May
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1890275274292197890

Italian 8th May
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7181304446396351745

Polish 9th May
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1550473404751347458

French 10th May
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3810743856017004290

Scandinavian/Nordic 11th May
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2391023655907111170

Russian 17th May
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5136911009142065922

If you have any questions regarding the webinar you can email training.emea@padi.com. We look forward to speaking to you during the webinar.

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How Good is Your Emergency Action Plan?

Article written by DAN staff

In the middle of an emergency is not the time to think about how you’ll respond or whether your emergency action plan (EAP) is up to snuff. An effective EAP can be a powerful tool when an emergency arises.

Breathing Check

As a busy dive professional, you have to keep track of students and their individual needs, prepare for and organize training logistics, evaluate water conditions, etc. Adding the burden of responding to an emergency is task loading, but with an entire class of students in the water you need to make sure your emergency response plan is mentally and physically engrained. Knowing the dive site and having the appropriate equipment to deal with the emergency are necessary steps in setting you up for success. When was the last time you stepped back and considered the logistics of managing a real emergency?

DAN_EAPflowCommit Your Plan to Memory

Having a plan on paper is great, but you also need to know your plan and be ready to act on it under pressure. Use DAN’s EAP guideline to create your plan and practice it until it becomes an automatic response. By the time you identify the need to deal with an injured diver, you don’t have to think about your response – your EAP training should automate your response to evaluate the situation and continue down the planned steps.

Manage the Scene

Once an emergency occurs and you respond, it’s vital to your safety and the safety of the injured diver that you effectively manage the scene. Be aware of bystanders, boat or car traffic, or anyone who may be interfering with your response. Emergency response requires firm but respectful commands. Control the crowd and have a perimeter created around the injured diver so you have a safe space in which to provide care and prevent further harm to everyone involved. Use direct orders to get specific bystanders to contact emergency services, block traffic or help you move the patient. Talking to a crowd rather than an individual is confusing. Task specific people in order to get an effective response.

Communication and Logistics

Effective communications between all parties involved in an emergency can decrease stress and improve patient outcomes. Improving your communication with emergency medical personnel can increase the effectiveness and speed of their response, and help relay valuable patient information to the receiving physician. Whether you supply handheld radios to your staff, carry a satellite phone on a remote expedition, or have a fluent native speaker relay information to healthcare personnel to avoid translation issues, make sure that your communication is short, gets directly to the point and is as clear as possible.

For more information on EAPs and safe diving practices, visit DAN.org

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New Course Director in Egypt – Wael Elshahat

IMG_6012<< I started diving in 1998  …I always dreamed to dive, especially after seeing some underwater videos; therefore, as soon as I had a chance I did my PADI Open Water Course!

In 1999, I finished my university and started working as an accountant in a big diving company in Sharm el Sheikh / Red Sea; this gave me the opportunity to keep on diving and, at the same time, continue my education …until I became Divemaster and consequently PADI Instructor in 2002.

I love teaching and the feelings you have when you share your knowledge and experience to help others to become good divers and love scuba diving!

My ambition, as PADI Course Director, is to teach candidates how to be good Instructors and sustain them during their career so that they can become not only great ambassadors but also role models as PADI professionals >>.

Congratulations to Wael for successfully completing his CDTC !

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Sharks, Rays and Turtles – Your PADI Speciality with Prodivers Kuredu

Photo by Stefanie Wagner

Photo by Ray van Eeden

You got to love sharks, rays and turtles! In fact, at Kuredu Prodivers we love our residents so much that we’ve compiled everything we know about them and created two specialty courses that you should put on your must-do list: Maldivian Shark & Ray Distinctive Specialty Course, and Sea Turtle Diver Course. These two courses provide the best way for you to learn more about these incredible animals – and of course see them in their natural environment, at reefs around Kuredu.

Photo by Stefanie Wagner

Photo by Stefanie Wagner

During the Maldivian Shark and Ray course you will find out more about the incredible sensory system that sharks and rays possess, learn how to identify the different species, determine their gender and understand the mating behaviour, as well as the need for us to preserve and protect the current populations of sharks and rays. The narrow channels, where the currents flow in and out of the atoll and the deep out reefs around Kuredu are the ideal habitat to get encounters with sharks and rays.

Photo by Marek Machinia

Photo by Marek Machinia

For those of you prefer the sleepy headed sea turtles, the Sea Turtle Course will surely be of interest to you, especially since Kuredu is home to the largest known population of Green Sea Turtles in the Maldives. With over 63 identified individuals resident around the island, this makes it the perfect place to enrol in the course. It offers the chance to learn more about how turtles have adapted and evolved through their fight for survival, and you will also learn how to identify the different species and to distinguish whether they are male and female, and how they reproduce. Are you familiar with the famous Kuredu Caves, a.k.a. Turtle Airport? The course is also available to snorkelers.

Photo by Stefanie Wagner

Photo by Stefanie Wagner

The PADI Maldivian Shark & Ray Distinctive Specialty Course was developed by Prodivers to help increase the awareness about these magnificent creatures. Get in touch with us to find out more about diver qualification requirements for the courses.

Visit www.prodivers.com or drop us an email via info@prodivers.com

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PADI Pioneers: Generating Ocean Warriors in the Maldives

In a quiet corner of a luxury resort in the Maldives you’ll find an PADI Five Star IDC centre quite unlike any other.

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Teaching Maldivians to scuba dive might seem to some like selling coals to Newcastle. Wherever you stand in the Maldives, you’re always barely a stone’s throw from the ocean, and many Maldivians can swim before they can walk. Diving is in the country’s DNA.

It could come as a surprise to some then, that until the mid-2000s, there were only a handful of places offering PADI Instructor Development Courses in the country, with many aspiring instructors actually having to travel to Thailand to complete their certifications.

Founding an Institution

Luckily, this didn’t go unnoticed by Hussain ‘Sendi’ Rasheed, the Maldives’ first and only PADI Course Director and in 2006, he decided to do something about it. Working at the time as the operations manager of Holiday Island Resort & Spa, part of the Villa conglomerate, Sendi approached the company chairman – the Hon. Qasim Ibrahim – and shared his concerns about the lack of educational opportunities for local dive and water sport professionals.

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The conversation would not only change his own life, but would ultimately change the face of diving education in the Maldives. Convinced by the lack of Maldivian educational facilities for divers, Mr Ibrahim asked Sendi to oversee the development of an institution that would change all that. Like Sendi, he wanted to provide a space for Maldivians to become qualified leaders in the diving field. And with that, The Villa Institute of Water Sports and Hospitality was born the same year.

A Place in the Sun

Purpose-built in a quiet corner of Sun Island Resort & Spa (another Villa Hotel), the institute quickly became a hub for young dive and water sports enthusiasts hoping to make a career in the industry. With spacious student and teacher accommodation and modern classrooms overlooking a lagoon that welcomes whale sharks and manta rays to its outer reef, the establishment is enough to make any Course Director drool.

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But what makes the institute really special is what it aims to achieve. Its objective? To equip a new generation of certified PADI Dive Masters and Instructors with the skills needed to become not only leaders in the field of recreational diving tourism but also trailblazers in ecological advocacy.

Expansion and Diversification

Lofty goals to say the least, but within a few short years it has managed to do just that. After a restructuring to become the founding faculty of Villa College, (now the Maldives’ leading private education provider offering courses in everything from marketing to law) and an expansion to include facilities in the capital, the reigns were handed over to Dr. Sham’aa ‘Anna’ Hameed. Under her leadership and the close involvement of Sendi, the institute is well on track to realise its vision.

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Not only does the faculty run multiple PADI Instructor Development Courses throughout the year, it now offers Certificate Three, foundation and even degree courses in marine studies that offer PADI electives as course credit.

Ocean Warriors

These courses provide students with the tools to become innovators in the field of marine studies. As a result, graduating students go on to enter the Maldivian workforce in a number of roles: as dive and water sports instructors of course, but also as researchers, marine biologists, wildlife rangers, even government environmental officials and legislators.

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What started as an initiative of affirmative action to provide quality education and training for locals has now developed into an educational model that is forward thinking on an international level. As such, they are arming a legion of self-titled ‘Ocean Warriors’ with the skills to be the next generation of environmental guardians and leaders in the Maldivian diving industry.

 

About the author: Adele Verdier-Ali is a freelance travel writer and content marketer who has been living in the Maldives for over six years. She’s a certified PADI rescue diver and when she’s not underwater, she writes about Maldivian culture and tourism. You can read more of her thoughts over on www.littlebirdjournal.com

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No Limit Diving

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Cast your mind back to that moment when you decided that you wanted to become a PADI Pro. It may have been what got you started diving or it may have been during one of your courses when you had that Eureka moment and decided that teaching divers to dive was for you. No matter when you started you immediately had that thirst for knowledge and wanted to learn  more.

Generally most people start their professional path with the rescue course. Besides learning many important rescue skills you would have also learnt many new Physiological terms that you may not have previous encountered. Things like Arterial Gas embolisms, Sub Cutaneous Emphysemas and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. Your quest for knowledge was unending and you sought out seasoned instructors to feed you with the knowledge you craved.

Then you started your Divemaster course. Again there was so much to learn, both in the classroom and underwater. Theory became even more daunting, physics was a nightmare and would you ever master decompression theory and the Recreational Dive Planner? But you studied hard, practised your diving skills repeatedly and that day finally dawned when you could stand proud as one of the elite, a PADI Divemaster.

Onwards and upwards, next came your \instructor development course. Seven to ten days of early mornings and late nights, cramming in as much knowledge as possible. From knowledge development presentations, Dive Theory, General Standards and procedures you worked late into the night to get it all perfected for the Instructor Exam.

Once again you stood proud, this time as a PADI Instructor. Ready to start teaching people how to dive. And so you did. And you are a good instructor, training divers the way they should be taught. But what have you done to further your knowledge since becoming an instructor?

Its important that as a PADI Instructor that you should continue with your own personal development. The more knowledgeable you are, the better an instructor you will be. Its easy to stay up to date.

Make sure you register for the quarterly training bulletins. Ensure that you download the latest instructor manual as part of your yearly renewal benefit. Read the PADI blogs that appear monthly. Further develop your training. Sign up for speciality courses with a PADI Course director thereby ensuring that you gain from their knowledge. Read diving magazines and publications. Do equipment servicing courses with equipment manufacturers.Make the effort to develop yourself and your students will ultimately be the ones to benefit the most.

Do not stop learning. Do not limit yourself. No limit diving.

How to Perfect Your Dive Briefings

Article by John Kinsella

“I’d have given you a shorter briefing, but I didn’t have the time”
Comprehensive, to the point, dive briefings take focused effort.

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Sometimes little things pack a big punch. Consider the ubiquitous dive briefing. This common, short, presentation has a huge influence on a dive’s outcome and, especially in light of the Risk Management article in the 1st quarter 2017 The Undersea Journal, it’s a good idea to make sure that dive briefings get looked at, critiqued, and improved regularly.

The legal case mentioned in the UJ article hinged on a dive guide’s failure to include information on potential environmental conditions. Not mentioning the existence of these inherent, potential environmental conditions became a key factor in the court’s decision: The guide received the majority of the fault; in spite of the fact that the diver signed a release and made a simple procedural error.

So what do you include in a brief? A good start is a review of the Divemaster materials, particularly the slates. There are 10 points to cover:

1 – Dive site name
2 – Site description
3 – Your role
4 – Entry and exit techniques
5 – Dive procedures
6 – Emergency procedures
7 – Signal review
8 – Roster and buddy check
9 – Environmental orientation
10 – Predive safety check

Some of these are simple and self-explanatory, others are a bit more involved and overlap. For example, under site description, make sure to cover topography, points of interest, hazards, conditions, depth, compass headings, facilities, emergency equipment, etc. Without dwelling on the negative, cover hazards and conditions thoroughly. If, say, there are tidal currents at a particular site, mention them (and how to avoid or deal with them) even if you’re diving at slack water.

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Some of these will blend in with dive procedures, especially if there are recommended procedures for dealing with specific local hazards or environmental conditions. Under dive procedures cover such topics as suggested course, how to avoid any problems that may occur due to site hazards and conditions, safety stops, air reserves, group control, etc. Many of these will vary from site to site.

Emergency procedures should deal with local protocols, separation, low on or out-of-air, diver recall procedures, surface signaling devices, and so on. Again, there’s no need for exhaustive scare mongering, but it’s vital to be comprehensive.

How do you get all this into a nice tight brief? Ironically, it takes some time to eliminate unnecessary technicality, jargon and detail, which is the surest way to kill a brief.

A great start is write this information down for each dive site you visit, not only so you have something in hand to make sure you don’t forget anything, but also because the process of writing it down is a great way to focus thinking and make sure nothing is forgotten. And there’s no better way to gather input from staff or clients than to hand them a copy of the briefing and welcome their feedback.

Brevity, relevance and impact matter hugely: take the time and make the effort to achieve them.

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Monitoring Vital Signs

Article by DAN Staff

Being able to quickly and correctly perform emergency care skills can be the difference between life and death for a student diver or buddy. Regardless of your level of personal experience with emergency management and response, providing the utmost in care requires regular refreshers on even the most basic skills, such as the measurement of vital signs. Through your training, you received an introduction to vital sign monitoring, but likely haven’t had much need to practice those skills. Accurate measurements of an individual’s condition not only provide EMS personnel with a good baseline for care, but can also expedite needed medical interventions and provide a valuable timeline of a patient’s condition. How prepared are you to use your basic life support skills to monitor a patient?

Time

Time is the fundamental metric in emergency response. Regularly recording the patient’s condition and the corresponding time is vital to creating an accurate timeline of patient symptoms. Timelines can be used to determine whether a 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 have their vitals checked hourly.

Level of Responsiveness

A patient’s level of responsiveness (LOR) can be one of the most revealing indicators of wellbeing. 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.” If a patient can’t respond to these, or is unconscious, you can further measure LOR by determining responsiveness to verbal or painful stimuli. However, while this may provide useful information to professional responders, it’s not likely to change the care you provide as a dive professional.

Pulse

Pulse can be a very effective indicator of an individual’s wellness, especially if more than just heartbeats are measured. To assess a pulse, place two fingers gently on either the carotid artery (lateral to the trachea on the neck) or on a patient’s wrist just beneath the base of the thumb (radial pulse). If you can’t find 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 of heartbeats, but also the strength and regularity of the beat because these can be important factors when determining injury severity.

Respiration

A body can’t survive for more than a few minutes without oxygen, so you must constantly monitor a patient’s respirations. 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 the breaths and listen for wheezing, gasping, or labored breathing – these can indicate the existence of specific conditions for healthcare personnel.

For more information on diver health and safety for the dive professional, sign up to receive DAN’s eNewsletter for dive professionals, Bottom Time.

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