PADI Digital Core Courses Expand Reach

As part of PADI’s ongoing mission to expand independent study materials and enhance the PADI digital product suite, we’re expanding the number of language offerings for the PADI Open Water Diver, Freediver™, Advanced Open Water and Enriched Air Diver educational course materials. Making the PADI eLearning experience accessible to even more students across the globe.

Scuba diving is a sport/hobby/obsession that bridges borders and cultures, bringing people around the world together to enjoy the underwater environment. But people around the world have different needs and, more importantly, speak different languages.  PADI accounts for this when creating its eLearning products.

The PADI organization is making it easier for PADI Divers to access learning materials, with a digital suite of core courses that are easy to purchase, download and use. Now, these materials are offered in more languages than ever before too – further demonstrating that PADI truly is the way the world learns to dive.

What’s new?

  • PADI Open Water Diver – Open Water Diver now available in seven new languages: Czech, Croatian, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Russian and Turkish.
  • PADI Freediver – 11 additional languages: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Korean, with Thai and Russian soon to follow.
  • PADI Enriched Air Diver – 22 languages: English, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, French, Finnish, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, with Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Indonesian, Thai, Hebrew and Polish soon to follow.
  • Advanced Open Water Diver – Seven new languages:  English, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Traditional Chinese and Arabic.

Important to note:

  • The PADI Library app will reflect these changes. If divers have automatic updates turned on in their device settings, the app will update automatically.  If not, they will need to make sure they update their app.
  • PADI Dive Centers and Resorts, be sure to update your eLearning preferences in your account to reflect the courses and languages you support.
  • The affiliate links are now universal and are not specific for each course. After clicking on the affiliate link, the student view defaults to all courses and languages. For this reason, be sure to update eLearning preferences in your account and deselect the courses and languages you do not support.
  • There is now an eLearning completion alert email when student divers have finished their final exam (Open Water and Enriched Air eLearning) and have affiliated with you. All members automatically receive these alerts but you can turn them off in the eLearning preference center if you prefer.

Keep an eye out as more updates to the eLearning experience are coming soon.

Manta Trust Expeditions in the Maldives

Experienced researcher from the Manta Trust have accompanied a series liveaboard dive vacation in the Maldives in 2018

These trips, were part of the PADI Travel Eco Project to explore this conglomeration of atolls, islands and reefs aboard a diving liveaboard. And special because there was one researcher from Manta Trust on the liveaboard. Manta Trust is a leading non-profit organization with the goal of researching and protecting manta rays. These experts were teaching all about manta rays and answer all the divers questions.

Experience Overview

These expeditions have been scheduled to coincide with the most productive monsoon winds and lunar currents. These two factors strongly influence the movements and feeding habits of manta rays. The aim of these trips was to use the knowledge of Manta Trust experts to find feeding aggregations and allow the guests to experience the wonder of immersing amongst a feeding frenzy of manta rays.

Just north of the Baa Atoll, the trip ventured into Raa Atoll, one of most unexplored atolls. However, this group of islands is regularly visited by mantas and hosts some stunning dive sites. Vertical walls covered in soft corals, gardens of anemones and mantas gliding above the divers heads are only a few of the marvels of the region.

Ari Atoll is famous for being regularly visited by whale sharks. Venturing into this atoll, the divers were seeking out these gentle giants and had the chance to visit some of the richest and most spectacular dive sites in the Maldives. Ari Atoll also hosts the second largest manta population in the country, and divers had many opportunities to find manta aggregations and night feeding events at some specific sites.

Finally they visited Lhaviyani Atoll, another spectacular northern atoll. Here sharks, schools of eagle rays, tunas and other large pelagic fish are the main characters in the dives. They also encountered more manta rays and went diving on one of the most beautiful shipwrecks in the country.

Protect What You Love

During these diving holidays, divers had the opportunity to experience and participate in cutting-edge conservation research to protect one of the ocean’s most majestic animals.

Divers personally contributed to the research by collecting photographic identification images of the mantas they encountered throughout their vacation. All new manta rays have been added to the database, and divers were invited to name these new mantas.
Every manta sighting contains crucial information for developing effective management and conservation strategies to protect these increasingly vulnerable animals

The Manta Trust

A UK registered charity, the Trust’s mission is to advance the worldwide conservation of manta rays and their habitat through robust science and research, by raising awareness, and by providing education, influence and action.
The Manta Trust was formed in 2011 to co-ordinate global research and conservation efforts for these amazing animals, their close relatives and their habitat.
Data Collection: The Manta Trust has a number of research projects worldwide, such as incorporating population data, researching manta movements, and completing genetic analyses – to name a few. These projects serve to further the understanding of the general ecology of manta and mobula rays.

2019 Instructor Development Update

We are pleased to invite you to join us at one of the Instructor Development Update events taking place in EMEA during 2019. These events will cover the revised IDC curriculum due for launch later in the year.

These live events will give you the opportunity to be fully updated on the latest standards changes to the Instructor Development Course revision, and provide a broader overview of the exciting PADI developments planned for 2019 and beyond. As a PADI Course Director attendance at one of these events will enable you to teach the revised IDC curriculum when launched later in 2019. Places at these events are limited and all IDC Staff Instructors, Master Instructors and Course Directors are welcome to attend.This program will meet Active Status Course Director requirements and will also count towards seminar credit for master Instructor and CDTC applications.

This Update will cover the following topics:

  1. What’s New – Standards and Curriculum
  2. Revised eLearning and Digital Materials
  3. Knowledge Development Evaluation changes
  4. Confined and Open Water Evaluation changes

 Dates and locations are listed below

Date Location Price (+VAT where applicable)
3rd March 2019 Dubai, UAE £157
21st March 2019 Sliema, Malta 176 Euro
22nd March 2019 Madrid, Spain 176 Euro
30th March 2019 Lisbon, Portugal 176 Euro
13th April 2019 TBA, Cyprus 176 Euros
22nd April 2019 Hurghada, Egypt £157
28th April 2019 Santa Margharita, Italy 176 Euros
29th April 2019 Copenhagen, Denmark 176 Euros
18th May 2019 Amsterdam, Netherlands 176 Euros
30th September 2019 Moscow, Russia £157

Please register by completing this registration form and returning it to id.emea@padi.com. Please provide a telephone number that we can call you on to then take payment details over the phone.

Can’t make these dates? Don’t worry – an online update will also be available later in 2019!

** Not an IDC staff Instructor? Contact the Training Department to find out how to become one.

Hussain “Sendi” Rasheed

With great pleasure we want to inform you that PADI Course Director Hussain “Sendi” Rasheed has been inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF) for his career service to the sport of recreational scuba diving

Hussain Rasheed (known as Sendi Rasheed) was the first PADI Course Director in the Republic of Maldives and a key figure in developing diving tourism there.

During his career, which is on-going, he has certified over 1,600 divers. He is active in developing regulations for the Maldives Islands and also works to assist marine environmental projects. His work came to international media attention when he created and organized an underwater Cabinet Meeting, chaired by the President of the Republic of Maldives, to bring world attention the threat of global warming.
He is the former Dean of the Faculty of Marine Studies at Villa College (2006 – 2008), overseeing four departments: Marine Science, Watersports, Scuba Diving and Marine Medicine.

He is affiliated as an Executive Director of all Villa Dive Centres under his company, Dive Oceanus, operating five PADI Dive Centres across four different atolls in the Maldives, and supervising 40 diving professionals. He is a founding member of the Divers Association Maldives (DAM).

Regarded as “the Godfather of the Maldivian diving industry” Hussain Rasheed, better known as Sendi, was born in Male’, the capital of the Republic of Maldives. He started diving in 1981 and became a PADI Divemaster in 1986, an Instructor in 1993, and Course Director in 2000. He currently focuses on teaching PADI Professionals and has been a mentor to literally thousands of new divers. Sendi has given numerous presentations at local schools, sharing his love and knowledge of diving and the marine environment, thus ensuring that the next generation of Maldivian’s understands their importance to the Maldivian economy, and also to the nation’s culture. Using regional television he has been able to further expand his programs delivering them to a much wider national audience.

In recognition of his many efforts on behalf of diving and the marine environment, Sendi has received both the Maldives Tourism Award, and the Presidential Award. Each of these are major career acknowledgements, and together they recognize his contributions and ongoing dedication over many years.

Sendi is a keen underwater photographer and dedicated diving professional. When asked about what he likes most about his work instructing divers he noted that, “It is the satisfaction that they will become environmental ambassadors. So, for the Professionals… they will become the ambassador trainers. I enjoy every moment, on all levels, and have so many good memories.”

Sendi has been actively involved in the lobbying of all marine protected species and dive sites in the Maldives since he started scuba diving. As a witness to the decline in the area’s shark population he has been active in opposing shark finning and the sale of shark souvenirs such as jaws and teeth, and was an effective supporter of the 2010 national legislation that provided protection to sharks.

Sendi’s 37 – year career shows his deep love of the ocean that he actively works to protect, and his educational abilities that produce a continuing stream of diving professionals that become Maldivian Ocean Ambassadors.

Since his first breaths underwater, Sendi has seen the Maldives diving industry grow from a few explorers to a multiple million – dollar industry that directly benefits thousands of local Maldivian many of who directly or indirectly owe their role in the industry to him. Sendi thanks his father for inspiring him to venture out into the blue, and to succeed in his chosen field. “He taught me that the ocean was not something to fear, but that it had much to offer.” His wife of 30 years and their two children, he credits with the rest of his impressive journey.

The immensity of the contribution that Sendi has made towards diving in the Maldives is indisputable.

PADI Supporting the Maldives Dive Community

2018 has been a successful and busy year in the Maldives. As Regional Manager I have been out and about supporting Dive Centers and Instructors with a host of activities and events.

So, what has been happening? Member forums, specialty workshops, business development workshops and AWARE Week, are just a few of the many events across the Maldives. I would like to thank you for your continued commitment and support at these forums, training days and events.

It has been particularly inspiring to see how many PADI Professionals have taken part in the DPV workshops around the Maldives. PADI has teamed up with BluEmotion, the official SUEX DPV distributor in the Maldives.

As a result of this partnership, we have been conducting several unique ‘Business of DPV’ training events in the Maldives. Diver Propulsion Vehicles have proved crucial business tools for dive centres in the Maldives, however the techniques involved in maximising their effectiveness are often misunderstood. The aim of the two day workshop was to not only show how these DPV work and how to include them in the dive centres daily operation, but also to give staff the tools to successfully sell PADI DPV courses in order to increase certifications and revenue.

The workshop have been conducted complimentary and were conducted by PADI Regional Manager Matt Wenger, together with experts from BluEmotion who specialise in the use of DPVs in the Maldives. These workshops were aimed at PADI dive centre staff and included for example:

• How to effectively teach this course
• Marketing techniques for increasing certifications
• How to integrate the use of DPVs into your business model
• Pricing strategies
• How to set up and run a DPV wing of your dive business
• Specific details on the Suex DPV and their use
• The opportunity to register as a PADI DPV Centre of Excellence
• PADI specialty DPV training

Should you be interested having one of these DPV workshops conducted at your dive centres, please contact matt.wenger@padi.com

Marketing & Event Support

There is a range of support available as well as assets ready for your use. Be sure to use the PADI Dropbox account for access to the latest marketing materials. As well as this, the PADI YouTube Channel and the image library on Flikr is a great source of visual content available for use. There is also a host of support available if you are looking to step outside your center and run an event or take part in a show.
Please email Matt Wenger for any further information and support.matt.wenger@padi.com

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.

Something We All Need

In 2008, something happened to Leo Morales that most of us can’t even imagine – his leg was amputated to stop aggressive cancer. But what would be lifelong setback for some didn’t deter him. Already a passionate diver, Morales not only went back to diving, he became an instructor and a tec diver. Then he set two records (depth and distance) for divers with disabilities. Then he . . . well, he grew into an impressive and accomplished person by any standard: a PADI AmbassaDiver, Tedx presenter, author and inspiring mentor for hundreds – maybe thousands of people. Amazingly, Morales says that if he could change the past and keep his leg, that he would not. “Scuba diving gave me my life back,” he says. He actually took his life backusing scuba, leveraging it to do more and now gives back more than many would expect. Amazing.

It’s a moving story, but only one example that diving, beyond its force for healing the oceans, heals people – and there are more stories than you can count. Paraplegic at age 12 from transerve myelitis, after the discovering freedom and therapy scuba gave her, PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Cody Unser now uses scuba to help people living with paralysis, and participates in related research, through her First Step Foundation. Losing his legs in a combat zone, PADI Divemaster Chris Middleton, U.K. similarly found the healing power of scuba when he started diving with Deptherapy, and now works with Deptherapy to get more people involved.

And it’s not just physical healing. After serving in Iraq combat and discharged in 2014, US Marine Juan Gonzales had diagnosed Post Tramautic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It impeded having healthy connections with people – particularly his family – but discovered diving through WAVES (Wounded American Veterans Experience Scuba), which uses diving’s healing power to help veterans with physical or psychological wounds. Gonzales says the peace he experiences diving has been a major help in his battle with PTSD.

PADI Course Director Thomas Koch can’t hear, but with scuba, his “disability” turns into an advantage. Why? When his daughter Claire got her Junior Open Water Scuba Diver certification with PADI Course Director Cristina Zenato, they talked as fluently and as much as they always do – underwater, using American Sign Language.

There are hundreds of stories – miracles really – about how, through diving, people have helped, healed and comforted. There are literally hundreds of dive professionals and divers who serve divers with disabilities, and you bring honor and meaning to the dive community as a Force for Good.

But, the truth is, scuba’s healing power goes beyond this because everyone needs healing at times. The dynamics of life can often hurt. There are times when it feels like the weight of the world got dumped on your back. Maybe you can’t sleep and you’re not much fun to be around. Maybe the people you care about most don’t get to see your best, and yet they worry about you. And you see it in their eyes.

Then you go diving . . . and something wonderful happens. The worry world stays at the surface as you descend into the underwater world. Your mind clears. What’s really important can finally break through. Your buddy signals, “okay?” And for the first time in a long time, you really mean it when you reply, “okay!” Maybe it takes a couple of “doses” (dives), but you become you again. It reflects in the faces of those you care about.

My point is this. We share diving because it’s a wonderful experience that we’re passionate about, but we should also share it because it’s a restoring, healing experience. Some of us need it more than others, but that’s something we all need.

Wishing you the happiest New Year,

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

Engagement and Productivity

Over the last decade and a half, “employee/work engagement” and “productivity” have risen as hot, linked buzzwords in the business community. Though definitions and measures of “higher productivity,” “better performance,” “lower turnover,” “better quality” and similar concepts differ, studies consistently find higher engagement correlated with them. Studies also find it correlated with a positive customer experiences. In other words, “engaged” workers do more, better.

What Does “Engagement” Mean?

Schaufeli (2013) acknowledges that “work engagement” and “employee engagement” are used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings. Simplified, “work engagement” may be defined as being mentally and emotionally connected to work goals and performance in a manner that motivates the person to further both, beyond expected minimums. “Employee engagement” is work engagement, plus an emotional commitment to the organization for or within which the person works that motivates furthering the organization’s reputation and interests beyond expected minimums. It’s important to note that “engagement” is not “satisfaction,” “happiness,” or “workaholism,” which can be high without engagement.

Rising Importance

Measuring individual worker productivity is increasingly difficult as “knowledge-based” services make up more of the economy. In many countries, as many as half of all workers create and use intellectual property rather than physical property, making conventional productivity measuring methods obsolete and unreliable. Impraise, a management software company, notes that “knowledge-based employees simply can’t be measured by the output of their productivity.”

Engagement behaviors, however, can be observed and measured, and their effects can be seen on the bottom line. For this reason, more and more businesses concern themselves with encouraging and measuring engagement behaviors and overall results.

The Takeaways

Much of the dive industry falls in the knowledge/service domain, making engagement central to increasing and sustaining productivity. Creating engagement is complex, with entire courses on how to do so, but experts seem to agree on a few common themes:

  1. Communicate regularly and personally. Frequent one-on-one communication with the dive operation manager/owner should increase engagement. Focus on purpose and how each person’s purpose fits in with it. They also need to know and see specifically how their efforts make a difference.
  2. Quality is often more important than quantity. This especially includes instruction. Beyond the more important safety issues, well-trained divers are more likely to invest in gear, travel and more training, and more likely to refer friends. So, training fewer divers well in a given time is likely more productive from a business perspective than training more divers poorly in the same interval.
  3. Dive businesses thrive on customer experience. Diving is all about customer experience, especially in training and travel. Engagement and customer experience tend to go hand in hand. Engaged employees and instructional staff have a passion for what they do and with whom they work that contributes to this.
  4. Trust. Knowledge-economy workers need relative autonomy and responsibility for managing their own productivity. This doesn’t mean ignoring what dive center staff does, but providing guidance and goals that allows them to get their work done without micromanagement.
  5. Results over effort. Recognize when people work hard and for long hours, but for most tasks focus on doing the right things well over simply staying busy. Reward innovation that saves money/time, expands services or improves customer experiences.

Adapted from the 4th Quarter 2018 edition of The Undersea Journal®, written by Karl Shreeves.

In Celebration of the PADI Divemaster

A good divemaster is the PADI System’s “secret weapon.”

The PADI® System of diver education is built upon a foundation of learning and applying safe diving for fun and exploration. It is this system that makes PADI Pros the most sought-after professionals in the scuba diving space. While many divers may not fully appreciate the significance of the PADI Divemaster, PADI Instructors, Dive Centers and Resorts do because certified assistants are integral to the PADI System. Divemasters are a key component that allows other parts of the system to move freely and function at full capacity, working toward optimal safety and education to enhance fun and adventure.

The role of the PADI Divemaster can’t be underestimated. Divemasters are often the conduit between student divers and instructors. Sometimes students find themselves struggling with particular cognitive or motor skills. Instead of risking looking foolish in front of the instructor, reaching out to the dive master for help creates a strong bond of trust. A diver may look for assistance in mastering the physics of diving, overcoming an inwater skill, making the best equipment purchase choice, figuring out how to get to the dive site or whether to bring sunscreen. The divemaster can become the source of all kinds of dive knowledge for that diver.

What is a divemaster’s value to an instructor and dive center? From the PADI Instructor’s perspective, a good divemaster is like the best birthday present ever. Someone who anticipates needs, shares the course planning and execution load, communicates effectively and empathically with divers and works independently when needed, a divemaster is a trusted second-in-command whose presence can help ultimately contribute to effectively conducting PADI courses.

For the dive center, a good PADI Divemaster can be the store’s secret weapon; its USP (unique selling proposition) that drives repeat business. Happy customers are often repeat customers, and repeat customers translate to increased revenue. PADI Divemasters are the most versatile of creatures who may be found filling cylinders, preparing a site briefing and assisting on a training dive that morning. In the afternoon they may be out guiding certified divers or coordinating a Dive Against Debris® survey. (Does this sound like you?)

The breadth of knowledge and skills needed to become and remain a competent PADI Divemaster can’t be overstated. Everything learned and experienced at this professional level forms the foundation of the PADI Instructor you may aspire to soon become.

Earning the prized title of PADI Divemaster is pretty awesome, with much kudos attached to it, and you’ll want to hang on to it. Do this by staying current. Renew your membership each year. Read all published training and standards updates. Go to live Member Forums and network with other PADI Pros. Look for opportunities to practice and further develop your knowledge and skills. Take PADI specialty courses. You never know where or when you’ll be called upon to use your divemaster knowledge and skills, so always be ready.

Be Best. Be PADI℠.

Customer Service and PADI Standards

There are times when complaints come into PADI that are more about customer service issues than clear violations of PADI Standards. The PADI Quality Management team won’t tell PADI Members how to run their businesses but will get involved when a member’s practices fall within the parameters of PADI Standards, including those found in the PADI Member Code of Practice (found in the first section of your PADI Instructor Manual).

Here’s a review of a few common customer service complaints, along with tips to help you avoid disappointing your customers and hearing from the Quality Management team:

  1. Customers express concern and frustration when planned dives are changed at the last minute to very different sites than those initially advertised. For example, the dive was scheduled for a shallow reef, but en route the boat captain tells customers they’re going to a deep site with more challenging conditions because one buddy team, or worse, a crew member, requested it.

In the Member Code of Practice, you are required to comply with the intent of safe diving practices, consider individual comfort levels and err on the side of safety. Divers who are prepared and comfortable doing a shallow reef dive may not be ready for a deep, challenging dive. If you must change sites, make an effort to choose alternate sites with dive profiles and features similar to the initially planned dives.

  1. Another common complaint from student and certified divers alike is concern about rental equipment provided to them. For example, divers describe ill-fitting BCDs, wetsuits that are either too small or too large or a leaky alternate air source.

PADI Members have an obligation to put diver safety first. Providing a student diver or novice with ill-fitting equipment, or worse, equipment that isn’t functioning properly is inconsistent with this obligation.

Proper equipment maintenance is paramount to diver safety, customer satisfaction and risk management. Enhance your customer service by asking customers if they’re familiar with and comfortable using the provided equipment. Showing your concern for the diver’s safety and enjoyment is both prudent and good business practice.

  1. Customer refunds are a common customer service issue. For example, a customer complains that a “three-week” Rescue Diver course is only partially complete after three months due to continuous rescheduling on the instructor’s part. The customer asks for a referral and the instructor refuses without explanation.

Remember that PADI Standards require you to issue a referral if the student diver completed at least one segment of the course and has met agreed-upon financial arrangements.

The best way to avoid customer service and quality management issues is to apply good judgment when providing dive services and to be diligent about maintaining professional business practices.