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 mobilise 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 organisations 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 Centres 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 organise 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 centre 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.

Pledge Now

Taking action for Ocean Health in 2019

Following on from the success of the Project AWARE Week last year, the dates for the 2019 Project AWARE Week are 14th – 22nd September 2019. This week represents a fantastic opportunity for dive centres, clubs and individual members to bring together their divers and take action to promote awareness of issues surrounding ocean health.


If you are planning to get involved with the Project AWARE Week 2019, here are some ideas you could consider:

• Use Project AWARE week to bring together the divers you have trained so far in 2019. This gives them a great opportunity to work as part of the diving community whilst learning about how we can help create awareness of our ocean health.

• Consider running the Project AWARE Dive Against Debris course in a few different locations. This way divers can see for themselves the challenges which are faced in the rising tide of trash which ends up in the oceans. You might also wish to consider opportunities for non-divers, such as beach or river bank clean-ups.

• The revised Project AWARE specialty was launched for the 2018 Project AWARE week, with a great reception. There is no minimum age for this course, which makes it a great tool to use when reaching out to schools and communities.

• Promote the events to your PADI Open Water referrals from 2019. Whilst they may have completed their open water dives in a different country, this is a great way to show them how welcoming the UK diving community is. They may also be interested in completing the Project AWARE Dive Against Debris at this time as well as September generally boasts some of the warmest water temperatures.

• Consider the marketing and social media opportunities which you could embrace as part of this week. Running beach clean-ups and Dive Against Debris dives are the sort of events which can attract great publicity whilst also benefitting the dive site or beach and the local community.

• For every dive trip you plan, arrange for one day to look at the ocean conservation issues local to your trip destination. In some destinations, you may find that there are coral conservation schemes, or research organisations working to protect certain species.

• Encourage your divers to complete the Dive Against Debris Adventure Dive during their Advanced Open Water course.

Of course, your ocean awareness activities don’t need to be restricted to one week. There are plenty of ways you can continually promote conservation and awareness efforts throughout the year.

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.

Maldivian Force for Good

During the resent BOOT show in Düsseldorf, Euro-Divers Worldwide together with PADI had the privilege to raffle a piece of art painted underwater by a Maldivian artist named Ihfal Ahmed.

The proceeds were generously donated to the Project AWARE foundation.

About the artist

Hussain Ihfal Ahmed, is a compelling artist who has experienced different mediums and techniques. His understanding of art led him to break free from art practices that are holding artist from reaching a favourable outcome. These artworks are a challenge to break boundaries and creating new techniques and insights.

He has more than 15 years of experience in the field. He creates his paintings to make people aware of climate change and sea level rise that are threatening the very existence of his home country Maldives.

The artist, who was born and raised in Maldives hopes to convey the urgency of threats to his nation through art!

The lucky winner …..

PADI Ambassadiver Luca Hales

Luca Hales is one of the PADI youngest Ambassadivers in the world, Luca is an Egyptian British twelve years old young man who is currently a PADI Master Scuba Diver with more than 200 dives under his belt.

I first met Luca in March 2018; Luca was present during a PADI Member Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, while PADI Member Forum is mainly for PADI professionals, I found this young man sat there talking to instructors and asking me if I need any help setting up.

At the time, Luca was an advanced diver and wanted to do more, Luca then teamed up with another passionate individual PADI Course Director Yahya Khairy, who sponsored Luca to do many courses with him during 2018, to become a PADI MSD with five specialities so far and is about to start another five specialities soon.

   

All I can say is that we need more young people like Luca who truly care about diving and about our oceans.

Whale rescue in Seychelles carried out by Qatari PADI divers

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).

 

How Can We Protect More of Our Oceans?

For more than two decades, scientists have been telling us that Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are one of the keys to long term ocean health. While some debated their worth early on, today there’s little dispute. As reported by Smithsonian Magazine, MPAs with full protection have four times as much life (biomass). Species grow larger and reproduce proportionately more. MPAs and the areas around them recover more quickly from environmental damage, and (along with fishery management) have higher fish catches — so much so that commercial fishing comes out ahead despite the loss of fishable area.While established as big wins for everyone, global governments arenot on track to meet a U.N. goal to have 10% of the world’s ocean under full protection by 2020. Officially, we’re at just under 6%, but some say it’s really under 4% because some declared MPAs have no enforcement and nothing’s changed.

Moreton Bay Hope Spot Anemone Fish – Photo By Chis Roelfsema

But thanks to Hope Spots, we can help catch up and get ahead of the curve. Hope Spots, if you’re not familiar, were conceived by Dr. Sylvia Earle, with coordination and oversight by Mission Blue, a not-for-profit organization Dr. Earle founded to unite people and organizations for this cause. Hope Spots are unique marine areas identified as particularly distinct due to the diversity of species found there, the habitat’s importance for reproduction, threats from human activity, community economic needs or any other attribute that makes a location central to marine environmental health.

The idea is to conserve and preserve Hope Spots by leveraging public perception and attention so they receive appropriate protection (not necessarily becoming MPAs, and some Hope Spots are already MPAs). As you’d expect, the PADI organization formally partnered with Mission Blue in 2017, adding the weight of 26 million+ PADI Diver voices to the Hope Spot cause. Thanks to Dr. Earle, Hope Spots are a conspicuous example of how one person with a great idea can inspire millions to unite across borders and cultures for a common purpose.

Global Hope Spots map. Photo: Mission Blue

Today, there are almost 100 existing and proposed Hope Spots, and they are important, even though preserving them will not, in itself, halt global climate change, clean up the oceans, stop overfishing, etc. These bigger problems call for big, broad and deep social changes (that are not impossible), but we still need Hope Spots for several reasons:

  • By creating areas with proven biological productivity, they help us buy time addressing some of these challenges. For example, Hope Spots won’t solve overfishing, but by providing areas in which fish reproduction functions unchecked, we prop up fish populations as we sort through the management issues.
  • Hope Spots help preserve biodiversity. Some scientists see this as helping the ocean bounce back with as many species as possible as we make positive changes. Others, accepting that some change is permanent, see biodiversity as central to marine ecology. That is, some coral species tolerate heat better than others; having a diverse genetic supply of such species may be important in a warmer ocean.
  • Hope Spots are inspirational and visible. Hope Spots draw attention. They remind communities just how close and personal ocean threats are, but that we can (and must) act to offset them. As a source of local pride, Hot Spots inspire area divers and ocean advocates to speak up for and fight for them. Mission Blue, PADI and other supporters use social media to highlight Hope Spot stories to make and keep them in the broad public eye.

As a diver, you can support the PADI organization, Mission Blue and others united behind Hope Spots. You can nominate a Hope Spot, and you can participate in events promoting/protecting a Hope Spot (many led by PADI dive shops or instructors, and may tie in Project AWARE as well). Of course, you can contribute to Hope Spot funding – check out mission-blue.org. If you live near or visit a Hope Spot, talk about it in person and on social media – especially with those who may not be aware of it. Finally, get involved with Project AWARE and your local PADI dive operation to make every dive count. Millions of people like you and me passionately preserving, conserving and restoring the ocean is the best hope there is.

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

A Force for Good: The Researchers

Everyone knows that global environments in general, and the oceans in particular, are threatened. Climate change, coral bleaching, overfishing, runaway plastics – it’s a long list and every day, another study makes the list longer and more daunting. It may seem like everyone’s jumping on the bad news bandwagon, but I look at these reports in a positive, enabling way: the future we don’t want must be predicted to avoid it.

So, besides studying current issues, marine and environmental researchers show us problems before they arise. For example, in August marine scientists Wortman, Paytan and Yao (University of Toronto and University of California, Santa Cruz) released a study that suggests that, beyond warming, elevated atmospheric CO2 would reduce oceanic oxygen, making the deeper depths toxic and significantly damage fisheries through it effect on the food web. Yes, that’s bad news, but thanks to these researchers we know now, while we still have time to do something about it.

And, this leads to the second reason researchers are a crucial force for good. It’s about predicting problems, but also finding the solutions andsharing them. In a previous blog, I mentioned Dr. Vaughan’s breakthrough in coral restoration – shared research that directly addresses a massive global challenge that’s close to the heart of all divers. In Cuba’s Guanahacabibes National Marine Park, biologist Dr. Dorka Cobián Rojas teams with global scientists and “citizen scientist” divers to research causes and implement solutions to coral loss and the invasive lionfish. There also, Dr. Osmani Borrego similarly researches plastic pollution. These are critical research efforts because Guanahacabibes’ reefs are healthy, making them a biological resource oasis needed to find the problems and solutions we need to protect, preserve and restore the world’s reefs and fisheries.

Let’s not overlook “citizen scientist” involvement, because it is vital. Professional full-time researchers like Rojás and Borrego do not have the time or resources to gather all the data and trial the solutions. Solving massive, world-scale problems calls for massive, world-scale participation – in the ocean, that means you and me. As Project AWARE likes to say, don’t let your dives go to waste. Every dive we make can contribute to research. Dive Against Debris, for example, isn’t simply about picking up litter underwater or pointing fingers – it’s part of finding out how we can stop it.

Another effort is Reef Life Survey, founded by Dr. Graham Edgar, which trains volunteer divers to survey marine organisms. More than 200 RLS divers have already surveyed more than 2,000 sites in 44 countries, creating one of the largest global biological databases in existence. Using these data, researchers expect a shift in fish and invertebrate distribution as the oceans warm – a conclusion only possible thanks to these citizen scientist divers.  India.mongbay.com reports that in India, scientists train fishermen and other volunteers to dive (if they’re not already divers) as citizen scientists for involvement in multiple initiatives, and it has another benefit – public support. “The research also gets community buy-in when their people are involved,” the report quotes University of Kerala’s aquatic biology department head A. Biju Kuma. Go online and you can find literally dozens of ways scientists embrace divers like you and me in researching the solutions to environmental threats.

There’s a lot to do, so let’s make every dive count. Join Dive Against Debris if you haven’t already, and/or any other citizen scientist effort. We can be researchers while still making images, exploring or doing everything else we love about diving. And, let’s be restorers who use what we’re learning to rebuild, revitalize and recreate a healthy global environment. Let’s be reachers and teachers who use diving to spread what we’re learning and doing, and pass it to the next generations.

Regardless of what today’s trends are, the future is not inevitable. With 25 million PADI Professionals and Divers helping lead the way, and with a new generation of divers to come, we’re already changing course to a different tomorrow with a thriving, healthy global environment. When it comes to gazing into the crystal ball, I like what author-educator Peter Drucker said:

The best way to predict the future
is to create it.

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

AWARE Week Successes and Stories

As AWARE Week wrapped up on 23 September, the amount of dive operators, instructors, and dive communities that participated in events throughout the world was impressive. From Project AWARE Specialty courses, to neighborhood barbecues to Dive Against Debris® events collecting over 22,000 pounds of trash, here’s how our fellow dive operators helped make AWARE Week a success.

United Arab Emirates: Divers Down UAE

Divers Down UAE collected over 110 pounds of marine debris during their Dive Against Debris event. As a way of creating shark awareness, they also conducted an AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty course for 14 of their PADI divers.

Thailand: Crystal Dive Koh Tao

The team at Crystal Dive Koh Tao spent the week conducting Dive Against Debris and AWARE Shark Conservation specialties. To finish off the event, they celebrated with a free barbecue night for all of the participants.

Curacao: Blue Bay on Curacao

A group of volunteers came together in Curacao for a beach clean-up at Hole 6. In addition to the two full boats of divers and snorkelers, participants signed up for the PADI Invasive Lion Fish Specialty Course to assist in catching the invasive species.

Australia: Dive Centre Manly

The group at Dive Centre Manly gathered 30 people for their “Blue Backyard Cleanup.” The majority of the items retrieved were plastic wrappers, single-use coffee cups, straws, cutlery, Styrofoam, and hundreds of unidentifiable pieces of plastic. As an added reward, the nearby Hawkesbury Brewing Co. gave the participants a very well-deserved free beer.

Spain: Balky Sub

In Spain, Balky Sub’s group were on one of the area’s cleaner dive sites and still recovered more than 11 pounds of plastic in one day – mostly consisting of plastic bottles and bags. And since every day is AWARE Week for this team, they make an effort to pick up trash from the ocean and beach on a daily basis.

Philippines: Dive Funatics

Before they conducted their monthly Dive Against Debris event on 22 September, Dive Funatics, located in the Philippines held a peak performance buoyancy clinic to ensure all of their divers had a chance to polish up their buoyancy. To thank their divers, participants received a T-shirt in addition to a bracelet made of upcycled debris collected from their August Dive Against Debris event.

Jordan: Deep Blue Dive Center

Deep Blue Dive Center teamed up with the Tala Bay Resort team by hosting a Dive Against Debris at Tala Bay marina on 12 September. The result: The crew cleaned up over 140 pounds of waste in 20 bags. But they didn’t stop there. The following week, a group of 15 divers conducted another clean-up.

Bonaire: Dive Friends Bonaire

From 15-21 September, Dive Friends Bonaire organized a range of activities to fight ocean pollution. With seven locations and five house reefs on-island, the group worked to promote conservation with Dive Against Debris dives on every house reef.

Florida: Rainbow Reef Divers

Since Rainbow Reef divers host a Dive Against Debris event every month, they were quick to jump into action for AWARE Week. In September, their boat removed and recorded over 2,000 pounds of marine debris.

AWARE Week may be over, but there are countless ways to keep your local community involved all year long. Here’s How to Make Every Week AWARE Week.

 

PADI Supporting the UK Dive Community

It has been a successful and busy summer of diving around the United Kingdom. As Regional Managers we have been out and about supporting Dive Centres and Instructors with a host of activities and events.

So, what has been happening? Member forums, charity events, EVE training seminars, business development workshops and AWARE Week, are just a few of the many events across the UK. We 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 PADI Adaptive Techniques Speciality Course this season. This focuses on increasing awareness of varying diver abilities and teaches PADI Pro’s student-centered and prescriptive approaches when adapting techniques to meet diver needs. This is a valuable course to enrol in during the winter months which can then be used for next year’s summer season of diving.

So, as we come into the winter months, we would like to see you all at Dive 2018 and offer our continued support and guidance to help increase marketing activity for all RRA’s.

Dive 2018

DIVE 2018 is coming to the NEC, Birmingham on 27th – 28th October. This is a weekend not to be missed. The show attracts a large range of exhibitors showcasing the latest diving holidays, training courses and dive gear. Not only this, but there will be presentations from inspiring speakers who are shaping the Dive Industry. As well as a TekPool, the event will feature a Try Dive Pool making it a great event to take friends and family to who are interested in becoming divers. PADI have teamed up with DIVE 2018 to reward our PADI Members and PADI Divers with a 2-for-1 ticket offer. Please see here for ticket details. Both Emma Hewitt and Matt Clements will be at the show on the Saturday, so get in touch or seek us out at the show as it would be great to catch up and run through anything that you would like to work on.

 

Marketing & Event Support

The winter months are a great time to work on marketing material ahead of the 2019 summer season. 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. One of the surprise findings from the Dive Centre survey was the lack of branded vans, so why not apply for a PADI designed van wrap? There is also a host of support available if you are looking to step outside your centre and run an event or take part in a show.

Please email Matt Clements or Emma Hewitt for any further information and support. Matt Clements – matt.clements@padi.com –  Emma Hewitt – emma.hewitt@padi.com