MALDIVES DIVING HOLIDAYS

Life beneath the surface in the Maldives is an underwater Disneyland, perfect for dive enthusiasts. The Maldives is renowned as one of the very best diving locations in the world. There’s not only an abundance of reef life here but also spectacular coloured coral and crystal clear water.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

WHY CHOOSE THE MALDIVES FOR YOUR DIVING HOLIDAY?

The Maldives ticks all of the boxes when it comes to diving holidays. This tropical location boasts visibility levels of up to 40 meters, making it a great destination for advanced divers. However diving in the Maldives is not just for the experienced. The shallow lagoons and channels make it the perfect location to try diving for the very first time. Plus what better destination in the world is there to gain your scuba-diving certifications?

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

The Maldives is also home to protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The presence of currents in this island nation means that open water channels are perfect for drift diving and it’s also possible to swim with gentle ocean giants like manta rays and whale sharks. Don’t forget the Maldives has year round water temperatures of 26 – 29 degrees Celsius!

THE BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR DIVING IN THE MALDIVES

Fortunately, the diving season in the Maldives is open all year round with the calmest conditions from December through to June. As the Maldives is located in the tropics, it is susceptible to both wet and dry seasons. June to November is the south-west monsoon season, bringing with it with overcast and wet conditions, especially in June and July. During these months expect slightly less visibility and different currents, although there is still plenty of marine life on offer, as well as sunny spells. Generally reef life is more varied and visibility is better on the western side of any atoll from May to November and on the eastern side from December to April. Reef sharks, hammerheads and whale sharks are found in the Maldives year round, along with manta rays and sea turtles, you just need to know where to head at the time of year you plan to dive!

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

DIVING OPTIONS

There are a number of diving options when it comes to Maldives. For example at Secret Paradise, value for money diving holidays and tours will be offered that you will remember for a lifetime. Enjoy an all-inclusive guesthouse stay and be transferred by boat to incredible nearby dive sites, the same sites that you would dive from a resort but at half the cost! Our diving holidays are an affordable alternative to a resort stay and also allow you the flexibility of island hopping or if your budget is larger, atoll hopping to benefit from the best dive locations during your time of travel.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

Liveaboards are a popular dive holiday option, allowing you to scour the waters for the ultimate dive spot each day. These days most Liveaboards operate a year round schedule offering 7 night, 10 night and 14 night cruises not only in the central atolls but to the deep south and deep north offering opportunities to discover less dived sites and pristine coral.

SECRET PARADISE DIVING HOLIDAYS

 Secret Paradise, offers six diverse one island based diving packages, all in different atolls allowing you access to what are some of the best dive sites in the world. Our packages include Dharavandhoo, perfect if you want to encounter 100s of manta rays in Baa Atoll, Hulhumale if you need to stay close to the capital, Maafushi, South Male Atoll, Dhigurah home of the whale shark in Ari Atoll, Rasdhoo, the ideal location to spot a hammerhead and Gan in Laamu atoll.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Boutique Beach

Our island hopping itineraries in Male Atoll and Ari Atoll allow you to discover a range of dive sites and marine life whilst at the same time experiencing Maldives local life, tradition and culture, with or without a private dive guide.

DIVE TEAMS

All partners of secret Paradise are PADI affiliated dive centers and are operated by both local and European dive professionals. A personal interest is taken in promoting scuba diving in the Maldives, through education and awareness about the underwater environment here. Their objective is to encourage underwater conservation and safe diving practices

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

Dives are generally conducted from the beach within an island’s inner reef for beginners or from a local dive boat, a dhoni, for certified divers. Dive sites are chosen daily based on both the weather and current conditions as well as diver ability.

The teams will take you to the best dive spots and willingly introduce you to the characteristics of the underwater world of the Maldives. All offer boat dives, NITROX, night dives and a full range of PADI courses and will always ensure you get the best out of your dive. If you are learning to dive, you can do anything from completing a try dive or just the open water dive section of your PADI Open Water certification to completing the full PADI Open Water certification. Whatever you choose to do you can be assured of fun and safe diving with us and our partners.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

Secret Paradise Co-Founder, Ruth Franklin a diver herself with over 1500 dives in the Maldives is always happy to share her own diving experiences and is on hand for honest dive advice.

About Secret Paradise

Since 2012 Secret Paradise has been at the forefront of the Maldives local island tourism industry, promoting and supporting guesthouses, dive centres and activity operators based on locally inhabited islands throughout the Maldives archipelago. Offering group and private tours or independent travel packages, Secret Paradise holidays are designed to allow guests to engage with local people and experience the best from a paradise generally known as a luxury resort destination.

Responsible Tourism plays a very large part in what we do. We are mindful of ensuring we promote local tourism in line with Maldivian culture and beliefs and through education of both guests and locals we aim to protect the environment and limit where ever possible any negative impact to local life. We partner NGOs such as Save the Beach and marine charity organisations such as Maldives Whaleshark Research Program to provide opportunities for our guests to learn and support local conservation initiatives.

The benefit of travelling with us is that Secret Paradise guarantees you prompt and efficient personal service. We deliver high standards of service and professionalism and you can rely on Secret Paradise to provide expert local knowledge, clear communication and honest advice.

www.secretparadise.mv

“Person of the Year”

“Person of the Year” of the Republic of Maldives

Maldives First PADI Course Director Mr.Hussain Rasheed Sendi was named “Person of the Year”  at Maldives Travel Awards People’s Edition by Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tourators (MATATO).

Sendi who is also the Managing Director of Dive Oceanus has been among the active dive industry professionals who have worked hard in training the youth as dive masters and instructors. His contribution to keep the marine industry safe is remarkable while his experience and knowledge to keep the diving industry going ahead by awareness programmes on species and environment have benefited the tourism industry and the nation.

The first event of Maldives Travel Awards People’s Edition has been held on 13th July at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi in North Male’ Atoll.

Ten Individuals were honored with the title of “Person of the Year” at the special function. MATATO started the Nation’s first travel industry recognition brand in 2012 and succesfully deleivered Maldives Travel Award events in the country and a special edition in Dubai.

In 2017 MATATO has introduced 3 editions of Maldives Travel Awards, recognizing Guesthouses, People’s Edition and the Gala.

 

 

PADI Continuing Education – Specialty Courses

Since you started diving, I´m sure you heard your Instructor saying, at least once a day, that it is important to continue your education. I´m sure you did – otherwise you would not have become a PADI Professional… But what is Continuing Education and why is it so important for yourself and the diving Industry in general? If you are familiar with the PADI system, you should know and understand that the continuing Education is the backbone of the PADI System.

 

 

Are you already a Specialty Instructor?

The Power of Continuing Education (CON-ED)

The power of the PADI system of diver education is its diversity in courses

  • From entry level all the way up to professional
  • All are standardized
  • Aim is to improve specific skills
  • Specialization improves the market value
  • Enough choices for everybody

It adds variety in teaching… Which means that you are not only stuck with the core course like the PADI Open Water Course, the PADI Advanced Open Water course or the PADI Rescue course. It connects in the same time to the interest of the student and improves the skills and therefore the safety of the divers.

Specialty courses can create different tracks to follow; For example it can add-on sales of diving equipment, or it will open a road to the PADI Master Scuba Diver certification.

It is essential that an Instructor in these days can offer various Specialty courses.

How many Specialty Certifications do you have?

What if I tell you that Specialties are the reason to become very successful in the diving industry? The more specialties you can teach and the more languages you can bring into a new position for a Dive Center – the more valuable you will become in the whole industry.

I can only highly recommend that you follow the Specialty Instructor Training! It will certainly build up your confidence and it will give you new insights. The more specialties you offer, the bigger your income can grow!

 

It shows to the Dive Center owner and to PADI that you understand the PADI philosophy – and together with the new Elite Instructor program – it will also be recognized by PADI.

How can you apply to become a PADI Specialty Instructor?

There are two ways to obtain the Specialty ratings:

  • The first is completing a PADI Specialty Instructor course with a PADI Course Director. This reduced the number of dives you must have – 10 versus 20 – showing experience in the specialty area.
  • If you already have the experience (min. 20 logged dives), you can apply directly to your PADI Regional Headquarters. You will find on the PADI Prosite the Specialty Instructor Application.

To summarize – If you offer a variety of courses – this will have a direct impact in your Dive Center.

Why?

Specialty certifications have a direct impact on equipment sales, because the courses are creating a demand for new equipment and it also triggers the lust for more adventure. At the end of the day you will have more satisfied customers and happier staff.

To push the PADI Continuing Education courses is the foundation for success! Because your Customers are always aiming for new experiences and challenges.

Check out the newest challenges for 2017

PADI Elite Instructor

2017 – MSD My PADI Challenge

 

 

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Jordan Topkoski, PADI Master Instructor

Jordan Topkoski, PADI Master Instructor, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2016 – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world.

We spoke to Jordan to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to him, as well as learning about his achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.


 What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?                                                                 Recreational diving allowed me to see the most amazing things and having the most incredible time. It inspired me to share these extraordinary experiences with others, who as far as I was concerned were missing so much! And what a better way to do it than by becoming a professional diver!

How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor?                                                           Instructor I have always been eager to learn more and move up the PADI ladder. I always read the PADI updates and standards so I can stay up to date and maintain a good professional reputation amongst my diving peers. Personally I have become more adventurous, wanting to explore more and more each day, which certainly keeps me active on both a physical and a psychological level.

 Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why?                                  If I have to choose, I would say the PADI Open Water Diver course because this not only teaches diving but introduces people to the joys of diving! Seeing the smile on each student when they receive their certification card makes me feel proud that it was me who has introduced them to a whole new world.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?                My greatest achievement in diving has to be the day my PADI Instructor Examiner shook my hand and handed me my PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certificate. Of course since then there have been many other achievements since such as receiving my PADI Certificate for Recognition of Excellence and now the PADI Elite Instructor Award. At the end of the day nothing beats the achievement you feel when you successfully get a candidate through a PADI course.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?                                                   The feeling of freedom when exploring the underwater world truly amazes me and it is something I never get tired of.

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now in your diving career?                                                                                             Absolutely! For a long time I simply didn’t like being anywhere near water! Learning to dive and understanding how to see and breathe underwater definitely helped me to overcome this fear. Now I simply love being underwater and in fact I enjoy all types of watersports.

Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving?                                       Yes! Although it really isn’t that difficult to change lives out here in the Red Sea, especially in Dahab, where we have plentiful marine life and spectacular local reefs.

Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive? If they were an adventure seeking type I’d say we have something here they don’t have a chance to try every day, which I was absolutely certain they’d not only love- but that they’d be able to enjoy for the rest of their lives.

As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognised as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2016?                                                                                   The feeling is amazing. I never thought I would rise to be part of the “Elite” but it shows that with determination, hard work and passion anything is achievable. Proud is the only word I can use to explain my feelings.

What does “My PADI” mean to you?                                                                         PADI introduced me to the world of diving and ultimately changed the course of my life. Professionally I believe it’s a well organised system that imparts the required knowledge to dive safely in a simple, fun and easy package. As a result, it has rightly earned its place as the world’s premier training agency and through its accessibility brought fun and enjoyment to millions.

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors? If you are passionate about diving and love the lifestyle you lead as a PADI professional it shouldn’t be too difficult to put in that extra mile. Never give up on your students – and before you know it you will be well on your way to becoming an Elite Instructor.

 

Silver Sands Celebrate!

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Aquafanatics @ Anantara Dhigu Resort, Anantara Veli Resort, Naladhu Maldives

In 2016 Silver Sands is celebrating ten years since it opened its first dive, water sports and excursions operations in the Maldives.

In ten years, they have opened ten Operations and ten PADI Dive Centers J WOW that’s an incredible achievement.

Their first Maldives operation, called Down Under and Wave, opened at W Maldives in 2006 and they have gone from strength to strength since then.

Down-Under-Wave-at-W-Maldives

Down Under & Wave @ W Maldives

In 2007 their second operation Aquafanatics, started in the Anantara Dhigu Resort, Anantara Veli Resort and Naladhu Maldives complex of hotels. In the next five years they opened Immersion and Glide at Velassaru, FLOAT at Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi, Dive Centre at Shangri-La’s Villingili and Spa Maldives, Deep & Breeze at Robinson Club, Elements at Anantara Kihavah Villas and FLOAT at Per Aquum Niyama… PHEW they have been busy!

The next few years were spent consolidating these operations and their reputation for quality and customer service. In 2015 they opened Meradhoo at Jumeirah Dhevanafushi Resort & Spa and, to celebrate their tenth anniversary and 10 years of luxury services in the Maldives they opened their 10th Operation, Vommuli Dive & WS Centre at the ST. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort in Dhaalu Atoll in September 2016!

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Vommuli Dive & WS Centre @ the ST. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

 

 

 

But they’re still not stopping! In February 2017 they will open their 11th Operation in the Maldives at Kandima Maldives.

Recently, Aquafanatics was the first PADI Freedive Center registered in the Maldives followed in July 2016 by Elements also registering as a PADI Freedive Centre.  Showing that Silver Sands are constantly moving forward and embracing everything that the aquatic environment has to offer.

FLOAT @ Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi

FLOAT @ Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi

Silver Sands Operations currently employs over 250 employees including 65 PADI Professionals from many different parts of the world and owns over 70 vessels including several Yachts. Their reputation is built upon the core principles the company espouses:

“To be renowned as the Maldivian water sports and dive adventure company of choice amongst both local and international clients”.

Immersion Glide @ Velassaru Maldives

Immersion & Glide @ Velassaru Maldives

“To offer our clientele the best dive and water sports experience through activities designed uniquely for each client, delivered by a core of highly qualified staff using state of the art equipment”

What amazing goals to have and they highlight exactly the qualities that make PADI proud to have them as PADI Dive Centres!

Congratulations to Silver Sands and all their staff, we’re already looking forward to celebrating your twentieth anniversary!

Meradhoo @ Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

Meradhoo @ Jumeirah Dhevanafushi Resort & Spa

 

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Thomas Baum, PADI Course Director

thomas-baumThomas Baum, PADI Course Director and owner of PADI 5 Star IDC Center Fuldas Tauchertreff, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2015 earlier this year – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world. 

We spoke to Thomas to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to him, as well as learning about his achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.


What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?

I always wanted to give something special to others in form of training and courses – and to have my ‘office’ out in the natural world.

How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor?

The PADI system is the best in the market. If you use it correctly, you do not work for a system like most people – the system works for you. Therefore you have a more successful and enjoyable ‘working’ life.

Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why?

I still love conducting the IDC the most. This program has the most detail and facts, and I enjoy introducing others to the PADI system. To see that they all of a sudden can teach theory and skills that was, for most, not possible before. This development is always fascinating.

thomas-baum

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

I believe my greatest achievement within diving was to become a PADI Course Director. Also, to be part of the development of some PADI courses (i.e. Digital Underwater Photographer, business programmes, the new Freediver course) as well as building up a nationwide network of PADI Instructors and Dive Centers.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?

The freedom, the peace, and the weightlessness underwater.

Do you ever feel like you have reached the limit of your diving career?

No, I always evaluate the market very thoroughly, looking for new potential and using it. There are many unused opportunities, so there is always enough to do!

Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving?

Of course – once someone learns to dive and enjoys it, their whole life turns positive. You become an ‘astronaut’ when you are weightless underwater, and you can enjoy the beauty of the underwater world without any stress. While diving – versus other sports – you don’t have to compete; you don’t have to “beat” someone to achieve results. People have enough pressure in their daily life, other sports and even in their private life. Diving is different and you don’t have any stress. That’s why so many people do this wonderful sport.

thomas-baum

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

Most people want to enjoy nature in their leisure time, have no pressure and do sports with a lot of fun – diving supplies all of this. With the Discover Scuba Diving program we have a fantastic opportunity to get people into diving.

As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognized as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2015?

It is a good and nice feeling, and it reinforces you to do even more every day, and that you are sure you are doing the right thing.

What does “my PADI” mean to you?

“My PADI” is for me, to ‘stand behind’ the system and the association, and to support the most innovative and most successful system in the Industry.

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?

“Carpe Diem“ – use every day to plan how you can get people into diving. Without written down goals you only get a part of the results that you could do. You should know your strengths and promote the courses you like best. Then everything will move forward!

thomas-baum


Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Giuliana Prosdocimo, PADI OWSI

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Meet Giuliana Prosdocimo, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (354973). Giuliana works for PADI 5 Star IDC Center Bluetribe Moofushi Maldives. Not only is Giuliana one of our 2015 PADI Elite instructors, but she’s well on her way to smashing her amazing 2015 certification record in 2016.

Watch the video below to hear what it means to her to be a PADI Diver, Professional and Elite Instructor.


Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

Take The 2016 Elite Instructor myPADI Challenge!

EIC-BlogHeader1200x500Were you a PADI Elite Instructor in 2015?  If so, get ready for a little friendly competition!

Take the 2016 Elite Instructor myPADI Challenge from 1st July to 31st October 2016 and be in with a chance to win 2017 PADI Membership Renewal plus recognition in Undersea Journal, on PADI Social Media sites, the PADI Pros’ Site and (where possible) in local diving media. You’ll also win a personalised PADI Jacket and get featured coverage in the myPADI campaign.

What’s more, the individual Elite Instructor with the overall highest conversion rate during the Elite Instructor myPADI Challenge will also win a Suunto D6i dive computer.

How does it work?

To ensure a level playing field, you’ll be competing against others in your 2015 Elite Instructor category (50, 100, 150, 200 and 300 certifications), and the 2015 Elite Instructors showing the largest percentage growth in certifications (compared to the same time frame last year) will win. It’s as simple as that!

How do I apply?

You don’t need to take any action to enter or apply because PADI will track your growth for you! You’ll even be able to keep track of your progress via the PADI Pros’ Site throughout the campaign.

Click here for the Full Contest Rules

Now, get certifying and good luck!

Elite Instructor Interview: Chris Azab, PADI Course Director

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Chris Azab, a highly experienced PADI Course Director and Tec Deep/Trimix Instructor, has been diving “a long time” and was awarded the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2015 earlier this year, an award which recognises the achievements of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world. 

With an impressive 11,000+ dives in her logbook, Chris conducts Instructor Development Courses in the Netherlands and Egypt, teaching in her mother tongue of Dutch as well as English, German and Arabic.

PADI Regional Manager Teo Brambilla caught up with her to learn more about her achievements as a PADI Pro, and what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to her. 


chris-azab-studentsWhat inspired you to become a PADI Professional?

Ever since I started diving in 1998, I’ve loved the underwater world and its beautiful creatures. I wanted to show them to other people, so in 2001 I became a PADI Pro.

How do you think you’ve changed – personally and professionally – as you’ve moved up the ranks to become a PADI Elite Instructor?

Personally, I’ve changed my whole life! I was working for a banking and insurance company, and chose a different lifestyle. Since 2004 I have been working full time in the diving industry, making people happy. I’m always proud of what I’m doing; working as a professional teacher, thinking positively all of the time – that’s how I reached the PADI Elite Instructor status.

chris-azab-studentWhich PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most, and why?

I love to teach new PADI Instructor candidates, that’s why I became a PADI Course Director – I see so many positive changes in people. Another favourite is the Tec Sidemount course, it’s great to do dives with more tanks on the side before moving on to further Tec courses.

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

Becoming a Silver PADI Course Director and PADI Tec Trimix Instructor. One day I hope to achieve Gold status, and then Platinum. Teaching people is my passion!

chris-azab3What does diving give you that nothing else does?

During diving, it’s the silence… and then after each dive I love the smile on each diver’s face. And that’s the same for teaching, as well – seeing that smile.

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

When I started my PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, the Night Adventure Dive was mandatory, but I really didn’t want to do it. I reached two meters and quit the dive, but I still wanted to become an Advanced Open Water Diver… My PADI Instructor took me to Marseille, France, and let me try it again. I succeeded – not with pleasure, but I did it. The next night dive I booked was during a holiday in Egypt, and from that moment forgot my fears and I’ve found night diving great ever since.

chris-azab2Do you believe you change others’ lives through teaching scuba diving?

Absolutely. Students change from shy to confident, and I’ve had students suffering from depression turn into positive and active people. Some become PADI Instructors, quitting their jobs and travelling around the world. Some even started their own PADI Dive Center. I’ve given students the power to overcome any fear, I’ve given disabled students freedom, and helped people become positive. That’s why I want to do this job as long as I can – it’s amazing to change lives.

How does it feel to be recognised as one of PADI’s Elite Instructors in 2015?

It’s a result of hard work… being a real PADI Professional with quality teaching. I’m proud of it!

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?

Follow your heart and your dream. You are your only limit.

And finally, what does “my PADI” mean to you?

“My PADI” is my way of living. It’s a lifestyle, supported and promoted by PADI and I’m proud to be a part of it. I want to follow this lifestyle as long as I can. It’s not always easy, but I’d still choose this life. It’s an adventure as well, so let’s go for it. I remember the words from my PADI Open Water Diver course a long time ago and they still count; meet people, go places and do things. So, for now, I’m on my way to Malta…


Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

Find out more about Chris Azab via her website.

Congratulations to PADI’s Top Certifying Instructors in 2015

Go_Pro_CAY07_1136_TS_KingWorld_LGTop certifying PADI Instructors will soon be receiving their Elite Instructor Award. This award celebrates the achievements of PADI Instructors who issued 50, 100, 150, 200 or 300+ certifications during 2015.

The Elite Instructor Award distinguishes PADI professionals by highlighting their experience as PADI Members and gives them the means to promote their elite status to student divers, potential students, prospective employers and others. Elite Instructor Award recipients receive an acknowledgement letter and recognition certificate (both signed by PADI President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Drew Richardson), a decal to add to their instructor cards, and an e-badge they may use on emails, websites, blogs and social media pages. Elite award instructors may authorize PADI Dive Centres or Resorts with which they associate to display their Elite Instructor Award on the business’ digital site as well.

Check out the 2015 Global Elite Instructor Recipient List to see who earned an award for their 2015 certifications. Listed PADI Instructors can go to the “My Account” tab on this site to download their 2015 Elite Instructor e-badge, and should also be able to see their e-badge on their PADI Pro Chek results page.

Visit the PADI Elite Instructor information page to read about the program.

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