Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Travel

When people talk about things to avoid before diving, sitting still for too long doesn’t usually make the list. However, when divers fly to dream destinations that are several hours away, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can be a real concern. DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the body’s deep veins, usually in the legs, and can result in a pulmonary embolism or even a stroke. With a little knowledge, this condition is easily identifiable and more importantly, preventable.

Risk factors for DVT include prolonged bed rest or immobility, injury or surgery, pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, obesity, smoking, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, age (being over 60), height (being shorter than 160 centimetres/5 foot 3 inches or taller than 190 centimetres/6 foot 3 inches), personal or family history of DVT and sitting for long periods of time, such as when flying.

Most cases of DVT related to air travel occur within two weeks of a flight and are resolved within eight weeks. In about half of all cases, individuals experience no noticeable symptoms before the blood clot forms, and many asymptomatic cases resolve spontaneously.

If apparent, symptoms typically begin in the calf and, if left untreated, spread to the thigh and pelvis in about 25 percent of cases. An untreated DVT of the thigh and pelvis has about a 50 percent chance of leading to a pulmonary embolism, the most serious complication of DVT. If you or someone you know is at risk for developing DVT and experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Swelling in the leg, ankle or foot
  • Pain in the calf that spreads to the ankle or foot
  • Warmth in the affected area
  • A change in the color of the skin to pale, red or blue

To reduce your risk, avoid sitting still for prolonged periods: get up and walk around on the plane, and if you can’t, flex or massage your feet or calf muscles regularly. Wearing compression socks can also help to improve blood flow and prevent clotting. To further reduce your chance of experiencing DVT, exercise regularly and stay hydrated. If you’re at high risk for the condition or exhibit multiple risk factors, consult your physician regarding the potential benefit of taking a medication such as aspirin that may limit clotting. Divers who have been diagnosed with acute DVT or take anticoagulants should refrain from diving until cleared by a physician.

PADI’s Mission 2020 Pledge: Join Us!

PADI’s long-standing commitment to ocean conservation began more than 25 years ago with the formation of Project AWARE® Foundation. In 2017, the PADI Pillars of Change were introduced to increase awareness of issues affecting our ocean communities, and to mobilize PADI Professionals and divers to act together as a catalyst for positive change. Now, the PADI organization is integrating the Mission 2020 effort to reduce plastics in the ocean into its overall commitment to ocean health and corporate citizenship ethos.

Aligning with PADI’s belief that greater change can be affected when working together, Mission 2020 is a collection of pledges from organizations within the diving community to change business practices to protect and preserve the ocean for the future. With a primary focus on single-use plastics, the project sets ambitious targets of changes to be made before World Oceans Day 2020.

PADI’s Mission 2020 Pledge

As PADI moves towards a fully integrated and digital learning system, we will lessen our dependency on plastics and packaging, thereby mitigating the plastic footprint of PADI Professionals and the million divers certified each year. To broaden our impact even further, PADI is committed to rallying our 6,600 Dive Centers and Resorts to reduce their use of single-use plastics by the year 2020. We invite everyone to make a pledge and to change their business practices in support of a clean and healthy ocean.

“We are passionate about creating a preferred view of the future in healthier oceans. We have a strong legacy of environmental conservation behind us and a robust roadmap for continued progress that will drive our force for good responsibility well into the future. This is the foundation of PADI’s Mission 2020 pledge, and it is our hope that this project will inspire the PADI community to make immediate commitments that will lead to lasting change.’ – Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide

Why You Should Make a 2020 Commitment

It’s good for the planet – Changing your business practices to reduce plastics is good for the ocean and good for us too. Let’s protect the places we love to dive and make sure they are healthy for future generations.

It will enhance your business – Consumers are proud to attach themselves to a business with purpose. Show your customers that you care about the ocean and they will reward you with their loyalty.

It’s good for the dive industry – If we come together as an industry to protect our ocean planet, we set a good example for other businesses to follow. If a clean, healthy ocean is our goal, we need all the help we can get.

PADI’s Mission 2020 pledge to reduce plastic with help restore ocean health. Join us in protecting the underwater world we love.

Impactful Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Use

  •  Prevent debris from getting into the ocean! Remove single use plastics like water bottles, plastic bags and plastic cups from your shop and dive boats.
  • Work with your local community to organize joint beach and underwater clean-up events. This effort brings awareness to everyone about how individual behaviors positively impact our environment.
  • Set monthly and yearly clean up goals for your local dive sites. Log the debris on the Project AWARE Dive Against Debris® App to contribute to data collection that could influence new ocean-friendly policies.
  • Protect your local waters and Adopt a Dive Site™. It’s the ideal way to engage in ongoing, local protection and monitoring of our underwater playgrounds.
  • Carry sustainably made merchandise in your dive center or resort. Make sure tee shirts, hoodies and other branded goods come from eco-friendly suppliers and are made from non-plastic materials or from recycled plastic fibers.
  • Make the switch to PADI eLearning® and improve your carbon footprint. Going digital reduces production of plastic materials and removes the need for shipping.

Make a Mission 2020 Pledge

All members of the dive community are encouraged to make a Mission 2020 pledge. And what a great time to align your pledge with your 2019 New Year’s resolutions! Whether sustainability is already a key component of your business model or you’re just getting started, we encourage you to join in by making adjustments (big and small) to your business practices in support of a clean and healthy ocean. See what others in the industry have pledged on Mission 2020’s Who’s In page.

We believe that the global PADI family is a force for good that can help play a critical role in protecting and preserving our oceans for the future if we all make conservation a priority at our places of business.

Thinking Like a Diver When Wreck Diving

The PADI® Open Water Diver and Advanced Open Water Diver courses provide a strong foundation for teaching divers to think through diving scenarios to make sound decisions. As you mentor divers at all levels, you can build on this by providing dive scenarios relevant to the course you’re teaching, and offer questions that help them think like a diver as they evaluate the scenario and share their decisions with you. This helps you assess understanding and how they apply what they’re learning. It’s a great way to coach thoughtful and deliberate decisions. In this example, the scenario promotes using sound judgment in deciding whether to enter a wreck in the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty course.

Entering a Wreck

When a diver wants to enter a wreck, the primary-decision-making goal must always be to have a safe exit. That means being able to find a way to an exit, and being able to handle any emergency situation that could arise while in that overhead environment. Wreck-entry methods include two classifications: swim-throughs and penetrations.

  • Swim-throughs – In a swim-through, the diver enters through one opening and exits through another. In a basic swim-through, the diver will always be able to see two exit points to open water using natural light. The path between them will be free of significant obstacles, entanglements or silt. The combination of the distance to an exit point and up to the surface should not exceed 40 metres/130 feet for Advanced Open Water Divers and higher, and in other circumstances the distance should be the depth for which the diver is qualified.
  • Penetrations – In a penetration, the diver enters more than a few metres/feet into the wreck intending to return to the entry point, either because there is no other exit or the diver is not sure there is another one. The diver may go beyond the point that the entry is still clearly visible and must run a line to ensure a safe return to the exit. The path should be well lit and free of obstacles, entanglements or silt. As with swim-throughs, the distance to the exit and then to the surface should not exceed 40 metres/130 feet.

Using Sound Judgment

Either situation calls for good, reasonable judgment. Answers to the following questions can help a diver shape an appropriate decision:

  • Are the exits big enough to allow my buddy and me to swim through side by side?
  • How much light is there? Is there enough that I will always be able to see the light of the exit?
  • Is there anything big enough to be a dangerous obstacle?
  • Is there enough silt to have potentially obscure my vision to the extent I couldn’t find my way out?
  • For my planned maximum distance, is the nearest exit close enough to allow me to leave the wreck and with ample time to handle an emergency?

Also factored into the decision should be the diver’s experience, training, skill and equipment. Two different divers looking into the same wreck can make two totally different, yet appropriate decisions. For example, divers with little wreck experience entering a silty environment could obscure visibility creating a potential hazard. A diver trained in non-silting kicking techniques may not have a significant issue with silt. A diver with excellent buoyancy and trim skills can pass around obstacles that could challenge a less‑skilled diver.

Good judgment can also allow divers with more experience and training to go beyond some of the penetration guidelines. A diver with technical training, such as cave training that includes effective use of suited lights, will be able to work in areas without clear daylight.

When teaching the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty course, mentor your divers on how to think like a diver and make good decisions regarding wreck penetration based on the specific wreck circumstances and their individual training and experience. Apply similar decision-making mentorship in all courses as appropriate to the diver level, environment and course topic.

Reference the PADI Wreck Diver Instructor Guide (Product 70232) for information about this specialty diver course.

A version of this article originally appeared in the 3rd Quarter 2018 edition of The Undersea Journal®.

Our Unshakable Foundation

Amid everything the PADI® organisation does in a rapidly changing world, we need to always build on the foundation for everything the PADI family does. It’s what John Cronin and Ralph Erickson laid down first when they established PADI in 1966, it’s our foundation today and it will carry us into the future. That foundation is, of course, education: diver training. What we teach and how we teach have, will and must continue to change. But, that we teach will never go away. It can’t, because it’s not what we do, but who we are.

Training is PADI’s foundation, but the heart of it is not the PADI System, eLearning, instructor cue cards and the like. These are powerful modern tools, but in 1966, several years before all of these existed, you could take PADI courses and earn PADI certifications because our training foundation was already there, entrusted where it is today – in the hands of you and your fellow PADI Instructors, Assistant Instructors and Divemasters. Without you, the PADI System – the best education system in diving by a long shot – can’t do what it does so well, much as a Steinway piano can’t sound like a Steinway without a master at its keys.

Even with all the innovations in instructional technology, such as the rise of artificial intelligence and dynamic online learning systems, human teachers still bear the weight of the best education. Innovations are important to keep PADI training relevant in today’s dynamic, personalized online world, but you still need great instructors to have great training. As American author William Arthur Ward explained it: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

That describes the PADI family – more than 130,000 people who inspire others to learn, to dive and to care. Together we motivate divers to rise to new challenges, to have underwater adventures, to heal and help others with scuba, and to protect our fragile world. PADI Course Directors shape the future by passing our collective -wisdom to a rising generation of dive leaders, who will in turn inspire divers to do things we have not even imagined yet. Everything the global PADI organisation does today has its roots in training, and that training has its roots in you, me and the rest of the PADI family.

Aristotle said, around 2,300 years ago, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all,” and that hasn’t changed – the PADI family doesn’t “teach diving”; we educate the heart and transform lives. That’s what makes PADI’s training foundation solid.

Good luck, good teaching and good diving,

Drew Richardson Ed.D.
PADI President and CEO

This article originally appeared in the 4th Quarter edition of The Undersea Journal.

Why Paperwork Matters

New PADI Instructors sometimes comment that they spend more time checking paperwork than they do actually diving. So why is paperwork so important?

Firstly, it informs divers of their responsibility to be honest in disclosing and evaluating their medical condition and the risks of diving – even when operators do their very best to provide an enjoyable and relatively safe experience. It also establishes the guidelines all divers are expected to follow when participating in this transformational activity. Paperwork is also used as evidence to help defend dive professionals if an incident occurs and legal action is filed, and is usually a key requirement of your professional liability insurance policy. Each form has its own unique purpose:

Liability Release / Statement of Risks – This document explains the risks of scuba diving to the participant and ensures they are aware that it is possible for something to go wrong. It’s important here to ensure that all the blanks are filled in properly before the diver signs the form. Do not alter the document after the student signs the form, and always confirm the form is signed and dated properly.

Non-agency Acknowledgment – This form explains to your customers that PADI Member businesses are not owned by PADI, that dive professionals are not employees of PADI, and that PADI does not and cannot control the day-to-day operations and decisions of your staff and your business. As with other forms, ensure all the blanks are filled in and that the form is signed and dated.

Safe Diving Practices Statement – This document is designed to inform divers of their responsibility to dive safely – not only while a student diver, but after certification as well. Again, all blanks should be completed, and the form must be signed and dated.

The Medical Statement discusses the risks of diving and asks the diver to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions. Any ‘yes’ answer requires the approval of a physician before participating in any in-water activities. Always have the diver answer a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on each line and again, sign and date the form. 

Invariably, one of your divers will answer ‘yes’ to a question on the medical statement and then want to discuss it with you, or change the answer to ‘no’. If the diver chooses to change their answer, think carefully about the reasons they might do so before allowing this.

  • Was it a simple oversight? If someone who is biologically male answers yes to, ‘are you pregnant or trying to become pregnant?’ it’s acceptable for the diver to change their answer. Be sure the diver initials and dates the change.
  • Did the diver truly misunderstand the question? If a diver initially answers ‘yes’ there must be a reason for it. Counsel the diver to be truthful about medical issues for the benefit of their loved ones, their dive buddy, and their own health and safety. If in any doubt, they should always consult a medical professional.

It is important to schedule sufficient time at the beginning of each course for student divers to fill out the required forms and for you to check them thoroughly – ensuring student divers complete paperwork properly and accurately can be key to your legal protection in the event of an incident.

An Action Packed EUROTEK 2018 Awaits

EUROTEK 2018

EUROTEK – the European advanced and technical diving conference – takes place 1st-2nd December 2018 and you’re invited. You don’t need to be a technical diver to attend, just an enthusiastic one, keen to learn more about our amazing sport.

Wondering why you should head to EUROTEK?  Here are five reasons;

  1. EUROTEK is a top quality professional learning event – this is your opportunity to engage with world class experts and get the low down on cardiac issues in diving, Immersion Pulmonary Oedma and changing concepts in decompression
  2. Network with like-minded divers from 22 countries and make valuable connections, both personally and professionally. It’s the perfect place to get invited on exciting dives
  3. Learn about the latest diving equipment without getting the hard sell. Our exhibitors have time to discuss what kit solutions you need for your current diving and future adventures
  4. Keep pace with the latest information on Hypoxia (the silent killer) and CO2 monitoring in rebreathers from an outstanding keynote presenter: Professor Simon Mitchell
  5. Hang out with explorers – our speakers are receptive and helpful. Come with questions and leave with answers

Hang on! We’ve got even more reasons…

Thai Cave Rescue Team

  • Want to know what really happened in Tham Luang cave this summer? Rick Stanton and Dr Richard Harris tell you the truth about the Thailand cave rescue
  • Are you are training disabled divers? Wheelchair user Tom Hughes recounts the challenges he faced to become a tech diver
  • Next year is the 100th anniversary of the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow. Renowned skipper Emily Turton gives us the low down these iconic wrecks and reveals survey secrets from HMS Hampshire and Vanguard.

Wow!  What an awesome line up.  And if that has whet your appetite, how about starting your weekend early at the Big Fat EUROTEK Friday night curry. Then celebrate friendship and success at the UK’s biggest scuba diving party on Saturday night. You could win a KISS Rebreather, an Otter Drysuit, an awesome goodie bag or a holiday to Buddy Dive Bonaire whilst raising money for the British Cave Rescue Council.

This opportunity is too good to miss so to find out more, or book your delegate pass log onto www.eurotek.uk.com.  Choose to attend for a day or the weekend. If you come on Saturday and love it so much, you don’t have to buy a Sunday pass, just upgrade to a weekend pass by paying the balance.

See you next weekend at The Rep Theatre in the heart of Birmingham, UK.

Learning from the Statistics

Three Ways to Increase Diver Safety

Written by DAN Staff

Dive incident statistics show both improvements in diver safety and areas where divers may need more help. The DAN Annual Diving Report provides information about the most frequent causes of injury among divers. Dive professionals can learn from these statistics and continue to improve diver safety by reinforcing training concepts that encourage divers to follow safe diving practices. Knowing how to avoid common issues can reduce their chances of being involved in dive incidents.

Weighting

Overweighting is a common problem and a difficult issue to tackle. You may weight students correctly in class, but can’t control how they weight themselves after certification. Besides making a point to remind students that they should always use the correct amount of weight, you could address the issue with additional training, such as a PADI Peak Performancy Buoyancy course, or offer to help divers figure out proper weighting anytime the have an equipment change or just need a tune-up. Overweighting is a significant hazard to both new and experienced divers. Emphasize the need to develop good weighting habits to not only increase safety, but to also to add to their comfort and enjoyment in the water.

Buoyancy Control

With practice, every student should be able to attain neutral buoyancy and horizontal trim before finishing a course. You’re well aware that the inability to control buoyancy during ascent or descent can cause serious injury or death. Not being able to maintain their position or minimize drag in the water can cause new divers to become unaware of their depth or cause collisions with dangerous objects. It can also decrease visibility when they stir up the bottom and cause them to become exhausted due to excessive finning through the water. Focus on mastery of proper buoyancy techniques and encourage lots of practice in your courses. Keeping your students comfortably in control and happily finning through the water throughout their initial training will make them less likely to run into issues post-certification.

Checklists

The mandated use of checklists in aerospace, health care and other areas has significantly decreased the number of incidents and accidents in those industries. The same trend is coming into focus in diving. Whether you use the premade checklists from PADI materials or create your own, using a checklist is an excellent way to ensure that you have everything you need to run a class, board a vessel or get in the water, especially when managing multiple students and assistants. Checklists are an excellent resource for reducing errors. They should serve as reminders of key points rather than just to-do lists. Role model checklist use and encourage students to carry and use checklists for all their dives.

For more information about incident statistics, visit DAN.org.

Creating Advocates

Written by John Kinsella

It’s a damp and dreary morning, the traffic is horrendous and it’s backing up for a long way. Perfect. Clutching a handful of flyers promoting a two-for-the-price-of-one Discover Scuba® Diving (DSD®) experience, we move carefully between the rows of cars, making eye contact with the bored looking drivers. Most roll down their windows, curious no doubt about our colorful one-piece wet suits. We smile, hand them a flyer and give them a brief explanation: Forget about all the traffic, now’s the time to learn to dive. By the time we made it in to the dive shop at nine, the phone was hopping off the hook. It was the single most-effective promotion we had ever run.

For years, we made a point of finding out why new divers came in to the shop. Before the advent of high-end dive management software such as EVE, we kept a simple spreadsheet with the diver’s name and a couple of words describing how they heard about us and why they signed up. We tallied this up every month and, with only this one exception, every month the dominant reason was referrals. Running around in rush-hour traffic in wet suits, it appears, is the exception that proves the rule.

That was 30 years ago, and I doubt we’d get away with it today. So that leaves referrals squarely at the top of the list. And, to drive the point firmly home, during a recent Open Water Diver course, every single one of eight new divers was there because a friend or colleague had personally recommended the course. This is a great example of Word Of Mouth Marketing (or WOMM) at its best.

The importance of advocates – those people responsible for word-of-mouth marketing and referrals – for your business crosses all borders. PADI® Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) recently published a white paper titled, “Analysis of the UK Diving Industry.” This report summarizes the key findings of a comprehensive survey of PADI Dive Centers across the UK. It also offers advice, based on those findings, to help dive centers boost their business.

In the Marketing to New Divers section, the white paper points out that new divers are the lifeblood of your business. They are not just current customers, but future customers as well. It goes on to identify two pools of new divers: DSDs and potential trade.

For DSDs, the advice is to:

  1. Use the Discover Scuba Diving Participant Guide and system correctly.
  2. Include structured time during the experience to explain the benefits of full training and how to complete this.
  3. Give participants an incentive to sign up immediately.
  4. Make sure participants know that they can complete the skills from Confined Water Dive One during their DSD – they have already started the process.
  5. Incentivize your staff. The white paper notes that “Passionate PADI Professionals will convert students to the sport – be sure to support them and reward them for success.” If you can’t rely on staff to recommend your Open Water Diver course, and if you don’t help them do so and make it worth their while, you’re missing a cornerstone of new business development.

For potential trade (new business), the white paper advises to:

  1. Use the PADI logo.
  2. Make sure to use the dive center’s Facebook page effectively.
  3. Be innovative – reach out to your local community.
  4. Use your students – word of mouth is still the best way to attract new divers.

The white paper notes that “Personal recommendations are powerful recruitment tools.” Incentivize former students by offering them rewards for bringing you new trade. Examples include a free gift for each student they recruit; discount on their next course; or a discount on the course they persuade a friend to join.

Make sure to use tried and tested methods of creating advocates for your business and reap the rewards.

Meeting CPR and First Aid Requirements for PADI Courses

Some PADI® courses require first aid and CPR training within the past 24 months. You know that Emergency First Response® Primary and Secondary Care courses meet the requirements.

How do you determine what other courses qualify when a diver presents you with first aid and CPR qualifications from another organization?

Follow these steps:

  • Verify that the CPR and first aid training included student skill practice and demonstration of CPR and first aid techniques in person with a qualified instructor. A course that lacks this does not qualify, such as online only courses or self-study programs via any other media.
  • Check that the training taken meets current international emergency care guidelines as defined by the various resuscitation councils. For further information on layperson CPR and first aid training, visit the following ILCOR (International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation) Association websites:

American Heart Association

Australian Resuscitation Council

European Resuscitation Council

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

New Zealand Resuscitation Council

  • For PADI Divemaster candidates, include a copy of that CPR and first aid course completion documentation along with the Divemaster Application to avoid unnecessary processing delays. Documentation must be from the qualifying CPR/first aid organization. Certificates or completion documents provided by third parties that are not directly sanctioned CPR/first aid organizations are unacceptable. Look at the name of the CPR/first aid organization for whom the instructor is authorized to teach and ensure it matches with the name on the certification.

If you’re unsure, contact a Regional Training Consultant at your PADI Regional Headquarters for clarification before accepting documentation provided by the student or candidate for course requirements.

Business Development Opportunities using Emergency First Response Distinctives

Does your local marketplace have a need for additional first aid training that is not immediately available through the current suite of EFR courses?  As an example, is there a local regulatory first aid requirement that businesses or industries require?  You may think the EFR program cannot cover these gaps in the market but by using the Emergency First Response Distinctive Speciality route, these gaps may be filled and your first business may indeed grow.

So how does the EFR Distinctive Specialty route work?  Once you have an idea for your EFR Distinctive Speciality simply download the EFR Distinctive Template, and use it to write your own Distinctive Specialty.  The template makes writing your course a very simple process for you.

To give you some food for thought, examples of EFR Distinctives include:

  • Primary and Secondary Care at Music Festivals
  • Diabetes Awareness and Treatment

Once you have written your EFR Distinctive Speciality, email it to us for review.

A Training Consultant will work with you to answer any questions you have and provide feedback, should your outline need revision.  Once you and your Training Consultant are satisfied with the Distinctive Specialty, the Outline, and application, will be submitted to a review panel for consideration.

It’s that simple.  EFR Distinctives are an excellent opportunity to add something unique, that prospective clients need or want, to your business model and will support your business plans for your EFR business growth.