Trade Shows: Thinking outside of the box!

During the month of September, few diving centers in the Middle East started exploring alternative ways to promote the diving industry and therefore increase diver’s 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
  • Feeling freedom
  • 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

Khaled Zaki: underwater photographer and environment ambassador!

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 !

You can follow Khaled on his new environmentally dedicated Facebook page: Little effort = Big impact

…. Or on his social networks:
Youtube
Instagram
Facebook

PADI Women’s Dive Day 2018 at Freestyle Divers UAE

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!

PADI Women’s Dive Day – An Interview with PADI Instructor Nouf AlOsaimi

Why and how did you become a PADI Diver?

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.

I am now a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, focused on educating and teaching women to learn to dive within Saudi.

What does PADI mean to you?

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.

Creating future ambassadors of the oceans in UAE !

Michela Colella – PADI Course Director and Operations Manager at Divers Down in UAE – tells us about her ‘School Project’:

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“As a PADI Instructor, I know teaching scuba diving is not solely about introducing people to a sport and a lifestyle I love. Divers love to dive and divers learn to love the environment. By teaching young people to dive, it is possible to engender in them a passion for the seas and a determination to ensure the reefs and sea-life we treasure survive for generations to come.

Warming oceans, overfishing, and chemical and plastic pollution are placing pressures and challenges on the environment unprecedented in human history. One estimate suggests by 2050 there will be, by weight, more plastic in the sea than fish.

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Living in the UAE and being part of the team at Divers Down, I have had the great opportunity to introduce young people to scuba diving and also to educate them about the value of conservation.

At Divers Down, I have led a programme to introduce young people to scuba diving. As part of the programme, we also raised important issues relating to the risks posed by human activity to the environment.

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We have been running weekly Discover Scuba Diving sessions in school swimming pools across Dubai. This great opportunity also gave us the chance to raise awareness of the some of the most pressing environmental challenges to young minds.

 

Me and the team teach children ways to care for oceans and how to reduce human pollution. We lead children in discussions and then show them evidence – the detritus of modern life that litters the beaches and reefs, not just in the UAE but around the world.

It is hugely rewarding to be with a young student as they take their first breaths underwater. It is equally rewarding to encourage in them the right attitude to create a sustainable world – that is the goal of the schools’ project.

Like all PADI Instructors, we hope to change the direction of our students’ lives for the better.

Introducing children to the natural world can instil in them a lifelong love of the natural world and can help them protect delicate ecosystems for generations to come. The reaction from the students, and their teachers and parents – awe, respect and wonder — was beyond our expectations.

We know children learn better while having fun. Introducing them to the natural world – exploring delicate aquatic ecosystem – is one of the best ways young people can learn about the threats to the oceans (without them actually realising it).

I am certain that if all children were lucky enough to learn about diving and to fall in love with it and the environment, our world would be a better place.

A big thank you to those Schools who gave me this great opportunity and to an amazing educational system that was open to allowing its students to learn to scuba divr, as well as encouraging practical ways to protect our environment.”

On behalf of PADI, congratulations to the students who enrolled in the project!

…. and special thanks Michela and Divers Down’s Team : keep up the good work!

Tec Diving in the UAE

The East Coast of the UAE is mainly known, among divers, for the beauty of its recreational dives, however, for those certified as PADI TecRec Divers, there are a number of hidden wrecks worth a visit!

Inchcape 1

Normally classified as a recreational dive, this is also a great wreck for honing your Tec skills and/or ‘warming up’ when arriving on holiday or after a period of inactivity. Inchcape 1 is a tug boat that sits at 30m depth, just off the coast of Al Aqah.

During the dive you will be pleased to encounter different sea creatures including, seahorses, frogfish and pufferfish. For Tec purposes, it is recommended not to dive during peak hours on a Friday and Saturday due to the high volume of divers.

Ines

The Ines was anchored 8 miles off Fujairah when an explosion and consequent fire occurred. The ship later sank on 9th August 1999 and now sits upside-down at 72m on a sandy bottom.

The propeller at 54m is the first part of the wreck you encounter during the dive and it is often rich in marine life such as jacks, tuna, rays, guitar sharks, hamour and – if you are lucky -sun fish and whale sharks.

The wreck offers numerous penetration opportunities in the holds, engine room and accommodation decks. The wreck can be extremely silty inside and the use of a line is a must for divers during any penetration.

This site is quite popular among the technical diving community in the UAE, therefore proper planning and coordination with other Tec divers is highly recommended.

Additionally, when planning the dives, consider diving at slack tides as the currents can be very strong. The wreck can be classified as a dive for experienced Tec Divers as it requires the use of mixed gases and decompression stops.

Anita

Approximately 12 miles from Fujairah, the Anita’s wreck sits upright on a sandy seabed at 90m depth with the bridge, at the shallowest part, at 82m .The Anita sank in 1997 after striking a mine. The explosion occurred behind the bow and below the bridge causing the bridge to bend forward at about 30 degrees.

The Anita was an oil field service vessel and, as such, has a very large and flat deck behind the bridge running all the way to the stern. Engine exhausts can be seen on each side of the deck about 2/3m from the bridge.

Penetration with diving equipment is limited to the bridge, no attempt (as far as we are aware) has been made to access the engine room due to the small access hatch and the extreme depth of this dive.

The wreck can be classified as a dive for experienced Tec Divers as it requires the use of mixed gases and decompression stops. On top of that the complexity of the dive can easily increase due to hard to predict currents found in the Arabian Sea below 80 metres.

 

U-Boat 533

The U-533 was sunk on 16th October, 1943 during its second patrol in the Arabian Gulf. The submarine spent approximately 10 days in the gulf and after passing Oman it was destroyed as a result of a surprise attack by a Royal British aircraft which dropped depth-charges on the U-Boat as it crashed-dived. Only two members of the crew succeeded in leaving the boat, and one of these, the First Lieutenant, did not survive.

The U boat lies at 112m at approximately 25 nautical miles from the east coast of Fujairah. Due to its depth, logistics required and possible strong currents, this dive is only recommended to very experienced Tec Divers.

 

On top of the wrecks listed above, there are also some great reefs (between 40 and 50m) which deserve to be explored. For example, Cauliflower Garden:  a sandy bottom surrounded by  large teddy bear Cauliflower corals and populated by marine species such as:  razor fish, sole flat fish, crocodile fish and for those macro lovers, there are white crabs to see.

If you are a PADI TecRec Diver willing to dive these wrecks or you are a recreational diver willing to venture into Tec Diving, get in contact with one of the PADI TecRec Centers in the area. You can find a Dive Shop using the PADI Dive Shop Locator. Enter the location/ click on ‘show search filters’ / select ‘Tec Center’.

 

PADI ON TOUR in Jeddah

In mid-March the “PADI R14 – TEAM” composed by Tony Andrews (Territory Director) – Teo Brambilla and Ahmed Sayed (Regional Managers) – Amir Khalil (Regional Training Consultant) and Firas Jundi (Sales Consultant & Examiner) travelled to Saudi Arabia to hold a series of events aimed to meet and support PADI Members – PADI Dive Centers and boost the diving industry.

Here the busy agenda:

PADI Instructor Examination:

The tour started with the IE on the 9th of March where 35 candidates successfully became PADI Open Water Instructors.

Member Forum:

More than 150 PADI Members attended the exciting and informative journey through the new, cutting-edge educational tools that have been added to PADI’s digital library. Member Forum was also an excellent occasion to discuss the following topics: PADI Digital Products / My PADI Club /PADI Adaptive Technique Specialty / Risk Management /Project AWARE

Discover Scuba Diving Workshop:

Specifically designed for PADI Instructors interested in reviewing how to use the PADI DSD program as a tool to get people interested in scuba diving and consequently enrol in a PADI Open Water Course. It included a theatrical presentation and an in water workshop.

PADI Freediver Workshop:

Addressed to Freediver certified PADI Instructors and PADI Divemasters who wish to refresh their skills. PADI Instructors and PADI Divemasters who did not hold a freediving certification were encouraged to attend the workshop to develop their knowledge of the PADI Freediver Course.

Diving Social:

It was a great gathering where more than 100 people, including PADI professional members and PADI certified divers, came and met PADI staff and dove the beautiful house reef at Professional Zone Resort.

 

Adaptive Teaching Techniques Instructor Course – Dubai

At the beginning of March 2018 and concurrently with the Dubai International Boat Show, PADI has organized the first PADI Adaptive Teaching Techniques Instructor Course in EMEA Territory.

This course is designed for PADI Pros who want to become more aware of some considerations when working with people who have physical or mental challenges.  Techniques can apply during PADI DSD, Open Water Diver or Continuing Education course; or when supervising certified divers with disabilities on a fun dive!

Under the guidance of PADI RM Teo Brambilla and PADI Advisor Adaptive Techniques Fraser Bathgate, the course was organized over two days and included knowledge development presentations, Dive Center Accessibility Workshop, Challenge Course, confined and open water workshops.

Read here below some testimonials of the attendees:

Ammar Hassan: <<PADI prove that nothing can stop anyone from getting in the water and dive, in fact, everyone can do it  no matter what its location, gender or disability.
The biggest learning I got from PADI Adaptive Teaching Techniques Instructor Course is concentrate on things that disability does not prevent you from doing well, and no one is disabled in spirit , and it was well proved during Adaptive Teaching Techniques Instructor Course in Dubai>>.

M. Basheer: <<It was a great experience with loads of useful information and hints. In the course we learned skills as first-hand experience to feel how do disabled students feel so, we learned skills explanation and performance being blind folded to know how a blind student would feel like. We also used a wheel chair and web gloves. Trainers were very careful that every candidate would play the role of a disabled student and instructor in each case.I learned a lot of useful things not only for my career but also for my real life.It’s an add on to my CV. Many thanks to the trainers and colleague candidates that turned that experience great>>.

Steven Kittrell: <<Great course that helps to open your heart, eyes, and mind. Look forward to utilizing the ideas presented here to help disabled veterans open the doors to a new and gratifying life adventure>>.

Kathleen Russell: <<Thank you for the great course! We learned allot of very informative techniques and the workshop. Big thanks to the PADI EMEA team, Fraser Bathgate and all the amazing instructors and Course Directors and organizers who made this course a huge success >>.

Ammar Alwesaf: <<The things I had gained during Dubai’s course are not enough to be written within this email. We had such a great company from different part of the world. Also the course expanded our techniques of teaching in a way to adapt the course to students needs. I strongly look forward to establish a society to rehab the disabled disappointed persons to explore their powers and potentials>>.

Peter Mainka: <<I was really amazed what you can do if you were in a situation to handle candidates with determination. It was really a great experience to get to know what you should be concerned about and how to handle the different problems that may occur.It was really helping a lot to put us in real-time simulated situations to think about what to do and how to create solutions. I have learned a lot during this course specially by the response of my “disabled Buddy” and the extensive debriefings from the instructors.This course made me more confident and less hesitating to train students with disabilities. As well as I think I will be able to give this experience on to other Instructors / Dive-masters in future.Thank you for this really great practical and theoretical course and experience>>.

New Course Director in UAE – Kholousi Khayal

<< I took my first breath underwater at the age of 14, since then, I have been pursuing my dream of becoming a Scuba instructor and Course Director.

Having extensive experience teaching as a PADI Scuba Instructor at the highest level of standards the industry can provide, I have been recognized by PADI and awarded the elite instructor award 2 years in a row.

I have been working as a dive professional now for more than 4 years and have tremendous experience in the dive industry, I have logged 1,500 dives, and I am an Instructor in 21 PADI specialty courses, 6 Project AWARE specialties, and a Freediving Instructor.

I’m also an active 100% Project AWARE partner, helping clean the ocean with every dive as I consider the ocean one of the greatest callings to serve, seeing as we are at the least to say “are one with the ocean”.

I am also a certified A.S.S.E.T (Association of Scuba Service Engineers and Technicians), meaning I have in my arsenal the capability of servicing all types of scuba diving equipment. Moreover, I have further developed my skill set, as a certified compressor technician for all types of compressors.

My ambition is to transfer all the knowledge and experience I have to my future candidates, create more ocean advocates, and to further extend our diving community one member at a time>>.

Congratulations to Kholousi for successfully completing his CDTC !

New Course Director in UAE – Hassan Khayal

<< As one of the newest and youngest Course Directors in the UAE I’m looking forward to growing the professional field in the country. As a PADI Course Director, I have had extensive experience teaching scuba diving at the highest levels of standards the industry has to offer.

I have received the PADI Elite Instructor award three years in a row and aim to continue teaching to the same high standard as a Course Director. I believe education is a never ending journey, and I’m always looking for the next learning opportunity and I believe everybody should do so.

I’m also very passionate about the preservation of the aquatic world, being a 100% AWARE Partner and being an adoptive parent to not one, but two dive sites in Fujairah where I enjoys diving and teaching.

All different types of diving are my favourite because I genuinely believe every type of diving has something unique to offer. As an award winning underwater photographer, taking pictures and videos and working on them are my personal passion in diving. I believe diving is about relaxation and invite everyone and anyone to try it out regardless of why they think they cannot.

I would describe myself as a very active and enthusiastic instructor, as I cannot help but spread around my excitement at being around, above, under, or anywhere near the water. I’m looking very forward to spreading this same passion and excitement to my future instructor candidates >>.

Congratulations to Hassan for successfully completing his CDTC !