Project AWARE and Hilton team up to support Emille Artigas’ Thrive Sabbatical Project:
At the end of March, Emille Artigas ( Hilton’s Director – Marketing and Communications) in partnership with Teo Brambilla (PADI Regional Manager) organized and underwater cleanup – DIVE AGAINST DEBRIS – few miles out of Hilton Al Hamra in Ras Al Kaimah (in UAE), as part of her Thrive Sabbatical Project:
At the beginning of March, PADI staff travelled to UAE to hold a series of events aimed to meet and support PADI Members – PADI Dive Centers and boost the diving industry by promoting divers acquisition.
The team was composed by: Mark Spiers (Vice President) – Jonas Samuelsson (Territory Director) – Teo Brambilla (Regional Manager) – Sascha Engeler (Regional Manager) – Firas Jundi (Training Consultant & Examiner) – Jessica Armishaw (Senior Marketing Manager) – Amber Swan-Hutton (Marketing Executive – Events) – Cathy Evans (Marketing Consultant – Social Media) – Fraser Bathgate (Advisor Adaptive Techniques).
Here the busy agenda:
PADI BUSINESS MANAGEMENT PPROGRAM:
11 owners and managers of different Diving and Freediving Centers in UAE and KSA attended the program aimed to equip PADI professionals with the core knowledge and skills necessary to operate a cutting edge PADI dive business.
Participants gained an all-round understanding of how dive businesses and managers should function in a domestic environment while also developing analytical, problem solving and strategic planning skills that are attractive within the dive industry.
Dive MENA Show:
Part of the Dubai International Boat Show, the dive show was a great chance for PADI members to catch up with the ‘PADI Middle East Team’ to discuss business support, receive free consultancy or simply have a friendly chat. PADI presence at the show was also used to promote diving activities to newbies and motivate divers to continue their education.
More than 150 PADI members attended the 2019 PADI Member forum. The update was a fantastic opportunity to ask questions and source all new information needed to further enhance the courses taught but also stay tuned with ‘what’s new’ with PADI.
This live event was a great opportunity to update Course Directors and IDC Staff Instructors on the latest standards changes to the Instructor Development Course revision, and provide a broader overview of PADI developments planned for 2019 and beyond. The attendance at this event enabled participants to teach the revised IDC curriculum when launched later in 2019.
PADI BEACH DAY:
The PADI Beach Day was held on Dubai’s famous City Beach on Friday the 8th March!
With plenty to do all day, from beachfront yoga at sunrise, to talks throughout the event from a selection of PADI professionals, Project AWARE and our inspirational PADI Ambassadivers participants had no shortage of entertainment.
Entertained by live performing DJ, delicious food, underwater treasure hunts and water sports on offer, attendees settled in for a day of fun in the sun!
The presence of 10 Diving Centers gave also the opportunity to chat to local Instructors about PADI certification courses or find out more about the best places to dive in the UAE. The icing on the cake a pool where people could try to dive or freedive all day long!
A distinctive specialty is a member authored outline that has been reviewed and approved by PADI.
The purpose of a distinctive specialty is to offer diver training in areas where PADI doesn’t have a standardised course.
Based on this concept, Ocean Diving Center in Abu Dhabi – UAE has received approval to teach the PADI RNLI Diver Sea Survival specialty course.
Here a brief description:
If you’re in danger at sea, knowing what to do can make the difference !
You could be rescued more quickly or may not even need rescuing if you have the right diving survival skills and kit.
The PADI RNLI Diver Sea Survival course specialty will provide you with the skills and knowledge to survive.
During the course ( which includes 2 Open Water Dives) you will learn:
navigation and safety equipment on dive boats
diving in low-visibility conditions
how to deal with out-of-air emergencies
use of surface marker buoys (SMBs)
ways of calling for help
how to deal with an emergency on the surface.
Teaching your own distinctive specialty course has never been so easy!
Check the concept:
send email@example.com a few sentences describing the course you would like to write. This gives us the opportunity to let you know if it is outside the scope of PADI training and guide you in the direction of a course that can be approved.
Take advantage of resources!
See Pros’Site/Training Essentials/Curriculum/Diver Training/Specialties/DistinctiveSpecialty Course Templatesfor detailed information.
At the end of November, a group of PADI Instructors, in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia, gathered together and organized a Discover Scuba Diving event for people with special needs.
The aim of the event was to foster participant’s confidence in their abilities as well as providing basic information about diving, the training involved but most important …to share how scuba diving can help those with the most serious of physical injuries!
Twelve adults and two children from different regions of Saudi Arabia attended the event.
Here some testimonials:
Mazen Zahrani, 14 years old: “Thanks to God and with the support of my mother, I was able to overcome these obstacles … it was a successful experience by all means and will allow me to experience other possibilities in life”
Mazen’s mother commented: “It was the dream of my dreams to see Mazen diving; I was very happy when I heard about a diving program for people with special needs: my happiness increased when I saw him in the water and I saw the ecstatic joy bursting out of him’.
Laila Al-Khawaja, mother of 13 years old Rawan Al-Khawaja: “I do not want her to feel different from the rest of her peers. She is capable of doing everything and she will do an amazing job if we encourage her as well as the community …. diving helped to increase her strengths and determination but also contributed to the elimination of fear …which is our first concern “
Khalid al-Aqeel: “What an experience: after the diving experience I felt like movement in my feet”
Muhsin Al-Ismail: “Wonderful and unique, I would like to send a message to all members of society that there is no such thing as impossible: we are able to succeed in any area of service to society and the nation”
Hani Al-Nasser: “I hope that diving will become a recognized sport for the special needs people and give them the opportunity to dive more”.
Abdullah Al Shahrani: “We never expected that those who were not able to walk on their feet would be able to experience diving; I thought that only those with feet and legs are able to dive, I would repeat it whenever I have the opportunity”.
Congratulations to all the partecipants to the event:
1. Mamdouh AlBalawi -KSA- Tabuk. 2. Jafar Al-Hleil -KSA- Qatif. 3. Khalid Al – Aqeel -KSA- Riyadh. 4. Mohammed Al-Assadi -KSA- Riyadh. 5. Abdullah Al-Shahrani -KSA- Riyadh. 6. Mohammed Al-Ghazawi -KSA- Qatif. 7. Bassam Al-Ruwaili -KSA- Arar. 8. Abdullah Al-Qallaf -KSA- Sihat. 9. Amr Dawood -KSA- Riyadh 10. Mazen Mohammed -KSA- Qatif. 11. Yousef Jamea -KSA- Riyadh. 12. Hani Al – Nasser -KSA- Qatif. 13. Rawan AlKhawaja 14. Mazen AlZahrani
And special thanks to all the PADI members involved:
Kasim Saeed – PADI Master Instructor Mohammed Abo-Abdullah – PADI instructor Hussain AlAbbas – PADI instructor Aqeel AlKhamis – PADI instructor Abdullah AlSadiq – PADI instructor Ali AlSalim –PADI Assistant instructor Ali AlBahrani – PADI Divemaster
On the 13th of November, a group of divers from Doha , leaded by PADI MSDT Edison Marinda, were enjoying their holidays in Seychelles.
While sailing South East of Mahe, the crew noticed a huge splash in the distance; curious about it, the skipper steered the boat towards it and suddenly a baby-whale broke the surface and slapped the fins on the water while another whale – bigger in size – from below the surface kept on spraying form her blowhole.
Here below Edison words ….
<<It looked like the baby-whale was alerting us that her mother was in trouble; everybody on the boat started shouting “whale – whale” … we grabbed our freediving gear and cameras and we all jumped in the water, leaded by the local dive guide. As soon as we approached the whales we could see the tragedy that was taking place: the whale was entangled in a massive fishing net, more than 50 meters long, filled with dead fish …including a juvenile shark. I felt sad and angry in seeing a gigantic 16-meter humpback whale, together with her calf, hovering powerless!>>
The team immediately headed back to the boat: in few minutes a rescue plan was in place, everybody knew what to do and they all jumped back in the water equipped with scuba gear and knives.
It was an hard mission that lasted more than one hour, as the distressed whale kept on swimming and diving to depth carrying the group of divers, who were holding on to the net, to 30 meters. At first, the rescue team was able to cut the net surrounding the mouth but there was still more entangled on the caudal and pectoral fins. It seemed that they couldn’t do any more than that and, due to dive profile and air consumption, the divers surfaced and went back to the boat. Few moments later the whale surfaced again, the team went back to the water and they were finally able to remove the remaining net and set the animal free!
<<It was an amazing feeling and experience to unleash this mighty creature. Thinking back, it was a highly dangerous mission: the whole team and I risked our own safety to save a life. This is a life lesson and an eye-opener to the world: a fishing net can endanger or even worst can kill sea creatures. We all have to be more responsible for how we act>> (Edison Marinda).
When it comes to dive center ownership, location is everything. You need access to good diving, good transport links for customers to reach you and a demand for diving that will sustain your operation. Salalah, the capital city of Dhofar province in the Southern region of Oman, provides these qualities for PADI Dive Centers.
What can you expect from owning a dive center on Oman’s Southern coast?
Like most places on Earth, dive store owners here can expect seasonal variance. In real terms, June to September is considered the low-season due to the Indian Ocean climate change. Although monsoon rain settling over the mountains turn the typical Arabian landscape into lush green scenic views, the diving grinds to a halt. Heavy rains wash out many dive sites and turn the underwater flora from vibrant coral fields into dense kelp forests. The strong winds and limited visibility make diving opportunities in Salalah difficult in this Khareef (autumn) season.
To learn more about the unique nature of Oman’s diving, visit the PADI Blog.
Once the Khareef is over, the diving starts! As to be expected from a Gulf country, everything goes back to normal sunny days during September. The green mountains fade for another year, giving way to the beautiful wild and white beaches. Temperatures average 30 degrees and are twinned with a pleasant constant ocean breeze. The water warms up and divers are ready once more.
Where to dive and what to expect?
Mirbat – Beach Diving and shallow waters. PADI Dive Centers can conduct all of the PADI Entry Level Courses in Mirbat.
Mirbat is approximately a 45-minute drive from Salalah. It is reached by 4X4: halfway on a scenic highway, paved alongside the Dhofar’s mountains, and the remaining part of the journey is an off-road drive above sandy dunes. All the dive sites in Mirbat are characterized by easy access directly from the shore. Underwater, the abundance of sunlight and limited depth provide the perfect conditions for corals to flourish. Mirbat’s diving environment not only offers stunning coral gardens, but also a great range of fish: from the tiniest Nudibranches, Flat Worms, Shrimp and other crustaceans to Clownfish, Octopus, Morays, Stonefish …and if you keep an eye on the blue, it is not unusual to spot different Rays, Turtles and Barracudas.
Main diving spots are: Eagle Bay, China Wreck and Aquarium.
Salalah – Boat Diving and depths of 30m offer a wide range of diving opportunities for a PADI Dive Center
Differently from Mirbat, diving in Salalah is operated by boat – departing from the fisherman’s port, which is easily reachable with a short drive from any accommodation in town. Dive sites are all located West of the port and along the cliff’s faces. Bottom’s depth in this area averages from 7 to 30 mt. therefore dive sites vary in topography each with something unique to offer; depending from your certification level, you can choose the better depth range that fits your needs. Given the location, marine life here changes with the season, constantly offering something new to admire: there is a large variety of Morays, Crocodile fish, Cuttlefish, Frogfish, the occasional huge Turtle and gigantic – up to 2mt.-Stingrays. During the dives, it is a good habit to monitor the surface as there is always a chance to find yourself caught in a school of Sardines being hunted by Trevally or even Mantas searching for Plankton.
Main diving spots are: Port wall, Raysut point and Donkeys Head east/west
What are you waiting for? For more information on diving in Oman, contact PADI Regional Manager Teo Brambilla
During September a few PADI Dive Centers in the Middle East started exploring alternative ways to promote the diving industry to increase diver acquisition.
The idea behind that is really simple yet very effective: attending non-diving related events / trade shows with the aim of attracting enthusiastic people interested in:
Increasing emotional well being
Visiting paradisiacal places
Connecting with nature
Building long lasting friendships
Increasing confidence and self esteem
There are several similar events regularly taking place in your region, just think about this: where could I meet people matching the characteristics above? …that’s the place where you want to exhibit, share your passion and attract new souls in discovering the beauty of the underwater world!
Here below some successful examples:
Dive Holics – Jeddah – Saudi Arabia
attending one of the several events scheduled for The National Day
Nautilus Diving – Kuwait City – Kuwait
attending the Outdoor Sports and Safari Show
Gulf Marine – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates
attending the International Hunting and Equestrian exhibition
PADI member since 1994, Khaled started diving in Sharm El Sheikh – Red Sea, at the end of the 80’s, learning – as he says – by some of the industry’s world-class diving professional at that period of time.
After a successful career as PADI Instructor in the Red Sea, Khaled moved to Qatar – where he still lives – in the late 90’s: here he expanded his professional abilities by specializing in underwater photography, film making and rebreather diving, without – of course – quitting his passion for teaching by training thousands of PADI divers (and becoming PADI Master Instructor) !
After winning several prizes as photographer and film maker and having some of his photos selected to promote Qatar worldwide …he has now a mission:
<<Working as a professional UW photographer & film maker gave me the opportunity to dive more often and travel around the world …this made me understand how scuba diving could have a positive impact on the environmental and economic state of different countries >>.
Khaled, now involved in several Environmental projects, has a clear strategy: <<I like to use my knowledge and skills in photography and filming to attract new souls into the underwater world and make them ambassadors of the environment>>
That’s exactly what he does: Khaled regularly runs Photography workshops for non-divers, he constantly appears on TV shows/programs and magazines where he talks about diving and the positive impact and huge contribution that a certified diver can provide to the environment.
In April 2017 he was invited at the Underwater Life Conference (sponsored by UNESCO) in Salalah – Oman, as a guest of honour to talk about scuba diving and the positive effects of scuba diving on economy and environment.
On behalf of PADI, thanks Khaled for your continuous support and contribution to the diving industry’s growth in Qatar !
Successful turnout at Freestyle Divers – in Dibba – to celebrate the 2018 edition of PADI Women’s Dive Day.
More than 30 divers joined Freestyle’s Team diving in different locations of the East Coast, like Dibba Rock and Inchcape, for a total of over 100 dives throughout the day.
Guest Star, PADI Ambassadiver Slava Noor, was active part of the event: not only by joining the diving trips but also by giving a speech on how she became a diver and her journey to become PADI AmbassaDiver, highlighting how it helped her to become a better and more confident person. Slava took also the opportunity to talk about Ocean pollution and which measures can be taken, as divers, to reduce our footprint.
The day was quite inspiring for some of the participants and, as a result, 5 people joined the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program organized during the day, 6 ladies subscribed for the PADI Open Water Course starting next month, one registration for a PADI Advanced Open Water Course and …the icing on the cake, 4 ladies who decided to pursue the professional career and join October’s PADI Instructor Development Course!
Congratulations Freestyle Divers for the successful event: keep up the good work!
My story begins back in 2008 in Manchester, UK, when I was completing my undergraduate degree in Tourism. Wanting a break to seek out the sun and sand, I headed to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. It was here that I first encountered the underwater world by way of a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience, which was truly life changing. I went back in 2009 where I completed the PADI Open Water course. Going on to complete my PADI Divemaster course rating in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2011 I then spent a full 12 months working as a Divemaster and underwater photographer back in Sharm.
Passion, fun, education, life changing, community, adventure and family.
What does it mean to you to be a female diver?
To me, being a female diver means the world. Becoming a diver in a conservative society, where all sports are dominated by men, was a huge challenge for me. Many females reject this incredible sport because it involves men teaching them how to dive.
I built a female training group specifically to train and educate women about the importance of the sea and the environment. When you dive you see how many different types of creatures are living together in a uniquely balanced ecosystem. We must not spoil it. Diving empowers me and heightens my sense of responsibility towards the environment in general. I have trained many female divers, and there are more on the waiting list. They are happy to see a female instructor that teaches them about the importance of the sea and why we should dive.
What is your favourite dive site?
Shark & Yolanda Reef in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt!
What’s your dream dive?
A dive full of sharks in the Galapagos!
What do you feel are the most important challenges and opportunities facing women in diving?
The scuba diving sector is growing, especially with the current movement of woman empowerment around the world. However, the major challenge is fear of the ocean, which we are working on by increasing awareness about the beauty of underwater world and sharing experiences with other females through word of mouth and social media.
How can we get more women in the water and involved in the dive community?
I believe diving is a meditation sport, it can heal the souls, and many from our community of females diver’s agree with this. Once you are underwater you disconnect from the busy world by diving into the blue and connecting with nature. Females need to understand the magical and breath-taking experience that wasn’t easily available before. With the growing number of empowered females who are looking for new adventures and activities, it’s our duty to take part of this change and motivate them to join the underwater world.
Tips to women thinking about a career in diving?
Choosing a diving career means that you do what you love and love what you do! The more dives you make with different instructors and the more skills and experiences you gain. Sadly, many movies have shown the negative side of the sea, making sharks the ultimate enemy underwater. We must show the positive side of the sea to newbies by becoming ocean ambassadors, so they can appreciate the underwater environment more.