As diving instructors, we have a duty of care to the students we take into the water. We are the experts, and therefore we need to be prepared to make decisions on behalf of our students as well as on behalf of ourselves, taking into consideration their current skill levels and general comfort.
PADI standards provide a fundamental structure within which instructors can operate. For example, the student to instructor ratios represent the maximum number of participants an instructor could take in ideal conditions – instructors can then use this to work back to an appropriate ratio for their personal environment, experience and students.
Ensuring students have appropriate equipment is another example of good risk management. Consider whether their thermal protection is appropriate for the water temperature anticipated at your prospective dive site. Also consider their likely air consumption – students who are nervous will breathe air far more rapidly than an experienced instructor. Even in relatively shallow water, an Open Water Diver course student or Discover Scuba Diving participant may go through their air very quickly. Consider how often you will need to monitor their air supplies, taking the prevailing water conditions into account.
Sometimes the most mundane factors can be overlooked, however a thorough briefing and debriefing after each dive, along with a clear plan for how your dive will be executed, can be very important in the event of an incident underwater. In some parts of the world, a certified assistant is required by law, but in other areas the instructor is responsible for determining whether they wish to take an assistant with them. Consider your supervision of the divers at all levels, and how you will handle a large group if one of them has a problem.
PADI standards also help to enforce good risk management practices from the very start of a diver’s experience. The Statement of Risks and Liability / Liability Release & Assumption of Risk form outlines the risks inherent in scuba diving activities to your students so that they are suitably informed. Similarly, the Medical Statement is used to help screen out divers with possible medical contraindications to diving. This screening is a crucial risk management tool, and failure to use the relevant medical statement – or failure to act appropriately upon the answers from a medical statement by ensuring that written approval is obtained from a physician prior to any in-water activities if there are any “Yes” answers on the medical questionnaire – represents a serious risk to your students as well as compromising your own legal position in the event of an incident.
Adhering to standards and always being safety conscious when supervising others is your best approach to minimise the likelihood of an unfortunate incident from occurring, and ensure you provide your students with the best possible training experience.
AWARE Week 2018 was a great success around the United Kingdom, with many UK Dive Shops participating in a number of ways. The week entailed film nights featuring ocean conservation films, Dive Against Debris® events, beach cleans and even a baby lobster release.
To compliment AWARE Week, PADI® and Project AWARE® announced the launch of the updated Project AWARE Speciality course. This course can be taught by all Instructors and Assistant Instructors. PADI Divemasters who have completed the Speciality Instructor training with a PADI Course Director and applied at their PADI Regional Headquarters also qualify to teach this course.
The newly revised Speciality course provides information and support to help individuals take responsibility for ocean health, based on Project AWARE’s 10 Tips for divers. The purpose of the course is to unite scuba divers and water enthusiasts to make a difference. It makes individuals aware of the most pressing problems facing aquatic environments and how to protect them.
The participant’s prerequisites are that they only need to have an interest in the aquatic environment to enrol. There is no minimum age or experience requirement and it is run as a dry course, or “fins off” as Project AWARE like to call it.
With the winter months starting to close in, the Project AWARE Speciality course gives you a chance to get your dive team and customers together to learn about the pressing problems facing our oceans as well as the everyday actions that can be taken to help protect them. This is also a great course to reach out to youth groups and schools to get involved with, in order to teach young people about the importance of ocean protection. If you are a Centre and would like to know more about the PADI Approved Youth Training Scheme for your Centre then please contact your PADI Regional Training Consultant – Emily Petley-Jones (Emily.email@example.com).
There is a 10 Tips for Divers Toolkit on the Project AWARE website which includes Divers Handout and the poster. The instructor guide is on the PADI Pro’s site available as a free download and there are also lesson guides to help you in running your courses (Training Essentials> Curriculum> Specialities> Project AWARE Speciality Instructor Outline – v30).
The Project AWARE Specialty focuses on guiding participants toward the following personal commitments and actions they can take to help the environment…
As the number of divers of retirement age rises, dive safety researchers are increasingly interested in immersion pulmonary edema (IPE). Also called swimming-induced pulmonary edema (SIPE), the condition may occur in young and healthy swimmers and divers, but the risk increases with age and age-related health changes. While IPE can be fatal, divers who are able to recognize the symptoms early and exit the water often have good outcomes, and spontaneous resolution is common.
Here’s what you need to know about IPE:
What is it?
IPE is the accumulation of fluid in the air sacs of the lungs (alveoli) caused by immersion in water. The condition occurs when the pressure in the alveoli is less than that of the fluid pressure in the surrounding capillaries, which causes fluid to seep into the alveoli. Some fluid in the alveoli is normal, but when too much of that fluid is present it can obstruct breathing and cause chest pain, frothy pink sputum and dyspnea (difficulty breathing).
IPE symptoms typically begin to improve immediately after exiting the water, but the condition can cause serious complications, and advanced medical interventions are necessary in some cases.
What are the risk factors?
There are several risk factors that, when combined with immersion, can increase the likelihood of IPE. Exposure to cold water will exacerbate the shunting of fluids to the chest. High blood pressure, overhydration, heart conditions such as left-ventricular hypertrophy, and some genetic predispositions may increase the risk. High-intensity exercise and elevated work to breathe, which may occur with a poorly performing regulator or an inappropriate gas at a deep depth, can also increase the likelihood of IPE by disturbing the fluid balance in the lungs.
Divers can reduce risk by using appropriate thermal protection, avoiding extreme effort in the water, maintaining physical fitness and addressing any potential health-related risk factors before getting in the water.
How should you respond?
If you or your student divers experience symptoms of IPE during a dive, it’s imperative to end the dive as quickly as possible. If symptoms are mild, make a relaxed ascent. However, if symptoms are quickly worsening or are interfering with the ability to breathe, make a direct ascent, get out of the water and seek help.
A diver with symptoms of IPE should breathe 100 percent oxygen and be immediately transported to qualified medical care regardless of whether or not symptoms are improving. It’s possible that the symptoms may have been caused by an underlying cardiac issue that must be addressed by a physician. IPE is likely to reoccur if relevant risk factors are not identified and addressed.
For more information on IPE or safe diving practices, visit DAN.org/Health.
PADI Standards require you to report incidents that occur so that they can be appropriately tracked, identified and managed if the need arises. As part of your PADI Membership Agreement, you agree to file a PADI Incident Report Form with PADI for any incident relating to your activities as a PADI Member. Additionally, PADI Standards require you to “submit a PADI Incident Report Form to your PADI Office immediately after you witness or are involved in a diving or dive operation-related accident/incident, regardless of whether the incident occurred in or out of the water; is training related, recreational, technical or seemingly insignificant.”
While the Incident Report Form is largely focused on collecting information related to scuba diving incidents, it’s important to remember that you are also obliged to report incidents that occur during snorkelling, skin diving and freediving activities, as well as any incident that involves divers, dive customers, dive staff or anyone in or around a dive business.
Incident Report Forms should be submitted directly to the Quality Management department (preferably by email, to firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible following the incident. This ensures that important information is captured while your recollection of events is still fresh. Always use the most current version of the Incident Report Form, which can be found on the PADI Pros’ Site (Training Essentials/Forms and Applications/General) to ensure that all of the required information is recorded. If the incident occurred during a PADI training course, don’t forget that you will also need to submit copies of all of the student’s course paperwork alongside the Incident Report Form.
If more than one person from the same facility is involved in, or witnesses, the incident, it is acceptable to have one person complete the Incident Report Form and then either have each individual sign the summary, or complete a covering letter, signed by all, stating that they agree with all the details contained in the report (email statements to this effect from all Members involved, originating from the email address currently on file with PADI, are also acceptable).
If you have any questions regarding the incident reporting requirements, contact the Quality Management department directly on email@example.com for clarification.
In the Northern Hemisphere spring is a great time to maintain both equipment and skills in preparation for warmer weather and a busy dive season. As many divers make sure their gear is ready to get in the water, you can help them make sure they’re ready, too. By familiarizing yourself with the most common causes of diving accidents, you can offer tips for effective skills practice.
What causes the most accidents?
Accident analysis data has shown that there are five leading causes of preventable dive accidents and injuries:
Ear and equalization problems
Poor air management
Diving beyond personal limits
Failure to adequately plan and perform dives
At least one of these factors is present in the vast majority of reported incidents.
How can you help divers avoid incidents?
A great way to minimize problems is to get divers to practice foundational dive skills. Encourage your students and customers to consider which of their skills need improvement and suggest ways for them to practice these skills. Ascents, buoyancy control, ear equalization and emergency weight release at the surface can all be practiced in the pool. Divers can work on air management and dive planning by calculating their air consumption and planning practice dives with you or an experienced buddy.
What else can you do?
Some dive accidents are caused by unexpected equipment problems. Make sure divers know how to maintain, store and care for their gear. Also suggest they practice responding to different gear failures – regulator malfunction or stuck BCD inflators – by reviewing air sharing skills, freeflow regulator breathing and disconnecting their low pressure inflators underwater. Although not common issues, divers should feel comfortable responding to such events before they get in the water.
For more information about safe diving practices or preventing dive accidents, visit DAN.org.
Being able to quickly and correctly provide emergency care during a dive incident can be the difference between a positive outcome and a fatality. Regardless of your level of personal experience with emergency management and response, providing adequate care requires regular refreshers of even the most basic skills, such as measuring vital signs. Accurate assessment of an individual’s condition not only provides EMS personnel with a good baseline for care, but can also help expedite needed medical interventions, and provide a valuable timeline of a patient’s condition. How well do you know your basic life support skills?
Time is a fundamental metric in emergency response. Regularly recording the patient’s condition and the corresponding time is important to creating an accurate timeline of the patient’s symptoms. A timeline can be used to determine whether the patient’s condition is worsening and can dictate medical interventions. Seriously ill patients should have their vital signs reassessed every few minutes, while patients who are stable may reasonably have their vitals checked less frequently.
Level of Responsiveness
A patient’s level of responsiveness (LOR) can be one of the most revealing indicators of well-being. LOR is generally measured with four basic questions:
What is your name?
Where are we?
What time is it?
If an individual can answer all of these questions with reasonable accuracy, you can quantify the LOR as “Alert and Oriented to Person, Place, Time, and Event,” which is frequently written as “A+Ox4.” In the event that a person can’t respond to these, or is unconscious, you can further measure LOR by determining if the patient is responsive to verbal or physical stimuli. While this measurement may provide useful information to professional responders, it’s not likely to change the care you provide as a dive professional.
Pulse can be a very effective indicator of an individual’s wellness, especially if you measure strength and regularity of the beat in addition to frequency. To assess a pulse, place two fingers gently on either the carotid artery on the neck, or on a patient’s wrist just beneath the base of their thumb. If you difficulty finding a pulse, first confirm the location of your fingers, and then make sure you aren’t pressing too hard or too gently. Note not just the speed at which the heart beats, but also the strength and regularity of the beat, these can be important factors when determining injury severity.
Constantly monitoring a patient’s breathing is a crucial emergency care step. Because many people will alter their breathing if they know you’re trying to count their breaths, begin counting respirations immediately after measuring the patient’s pulse. Pay close attention to the sound of breath and listen for wheezing, gasping, or labored breathing. These can indicate the existence of specific conditions and be valuable information for healthcare personnel.
Are corals a shining beacon at night? Corals are not just a wonder to observe during the day, at night they glow. This isn’t just for our viewing benefit; it plays a vital role in the long term survival of coral.
Due to the richness of life they create, corals are often described as the rainforests of the ocean. Their structural complexity supports one of the world’s most productive ecosystems providing ecological diversity and outstanding beauty. The coral animal (polyp) co-habitats its calcium carbonate skeleton with photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae. These algae harness energy from solar radiation and provide the polyp with 95% of its food. Coral is therefore limited to the habitat range of the algae, which in turn is limited by the penetration of the suns ray into the ocean; both the intensity and spectral diversity of light dramatically decreases with increasing depth. Although the blue/green portion of sunlight reaches depths of around 200m the algae requires the higher light levels found in the upper 30m of the ocean. Corals are therefore limited to the upper portion of the ocean; aptly named the sunlight ocean.
The corals exposure to high light levels is crucial for its survival, but this is not without consequence. The high light intensity that corals are subjected to everyday can damage coral and zooxanthellae – similar to our skin and sunburn. Shallow water corals have a solution to this: fluorescence. The coral contains special pigments (green fluorescent pigments (GFP) and non-fluorescent chromoproteins (CP) which act as sunblock. The fluorescent pigments are in particularly high concentrations and contribute to the beautiful rainbows of colours which can be observed on the reef. When the coral is subjected to high sun exposure the pigment concentration increases, hence limiting the damage experienced by the algae when under stress from sunlight. The pigments are also involved in growth related activities, including repair. Injured coral will produce colourful patches concentrating these pigments around their injury site which prevents further cell damage. Some corals have been found to distribute fluorescent pigments around their tentacles and mouth to attract prey.
We are able to observe the fluorescent pigments when corals are illuminated at specific wavelengths (generally blue light). In high pigment concentrations corals can become shining beacons at night. Light is absorbed by the pigments and then re-emitted. During this process some energy is lost resulting in a different colour being observed – generally green. During our blue light night snorkel it is possible to see corals glowing on the house reef at Gili Lankanfushi.
It is now widely accepted that fluorescent pigments aid in sun protection, so why do corals below 30m still have these pigments? In shallow reefs generally only green fluorescence is observed, whereas in the mesophotic zone (between 30 – 100m) corals shine green, orange, yellow and red. Fluorescent pigments are energetically costly to create, therefore the pigments must have a biological purpose, or else they would not exist at this depth. A study carried out by the University of Southampton found that deeper corals produce fluorescence without light exposure, which suggests that these corals are not producing pigments for sun protection. It is suspected that the corals are producing pigments to transform short light wavelengths received into longer wavelengths to enhance algae photosynthesis, thus producing more food for the polyp. It has also been suggested that it may link to behavior of reef fish, although more studies are required. Next time you are night diving take a look. Harnessing these fluorescent pigments could pose significant advances for medical, commercial and ecological purposes.
Marine biologists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at San Diego have suggested that monitoring fluorescence could be an easy and less invasive way to monitor reef health. Scientists measured the fluorescence levels after corals were exposed to cold and heat stress. The levels were reduced when exposed to both stresses, although coral subjected to cold stress adapted and fluorescence levels returned to normal. Corals subjected to heat stress lost their algae and starved. Therefore, if high fluorescence levels are observed it suggests that the reef has a healthy coral population. Additionally there are many medical benefits that can be gained through the understanding and utilization of coral fluorescence.
There are promising applications for biomedical imaging, for example pigments can be used to tag certain cells e.g. cancer cells which can then be easily viewed under the microscope. The fluorescent pigments also have the potential to be used in sun screen. Fish feeding on coral benefit from the fluorescent pigments which suggests that the pigments move up the tropic levels (food chain). Senior lecturer from King’s College London and project leader of coral sunscreen research, Paul Long and his team have suggested that if the transportation pathway up the food chain is identified it may be possible to use this to protect our skin against UV rays in the form of a tablet. This could a break-through in terms of reef safe sun screen.
Next time you are night snorkelling shine a blue light on the corals and view this natural wonder yourself!
PADI’s guest blogger Emma Bell introduces herself:
I am a marine biologist and scuba diver from England. I have had the privilege of working in Greece, Seychelles and Maldives. I have worked in an aquaculture research centre where I focused on hormonal manipulation of a pelagic fish species. In addition, I have experience with coral restoration projects including frames and ropes; habitat restoration – crown of thorns, drupella and invasive plant species removal; educational activities and social media updates including blogs. I have also monitored population dynamics of bird, turtle, shark and cetacean species to aid in their conservation. I started my career working in the Maldives and I have done a round trip via Greece, England and Seychelles, I hope to increase my skills set and knowledge further whilst I am at Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives.
It is that time of year again and winter is fast approaching, have you lined up your Courses accordingly? With this blog, I am going to list some options to try and help you get through the challenging winter months. There is a great deal of PADI Courses which can be done “dry”. Also, PADI has teamed up with Project AWARE to run #AWAREWeekUK which will take place from 1st to 10th December 2017 there is a lot of marketing support available through the landing page.
#AWAREWeekUK http://dive.padi.com/AWARE-Week-UK/ is being run with perfect timing fitting in with the latest BBC Wildlife documentary series on BBC One – Blue Planet II http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04tjbtx. If you have already started watching it, you will hopefully notice the importance they are placing on the environment. One thing that could help make some difference is your involvement in doing something about it and raising people’s awareness.
What I have learned from running Project AWARE events for both PADI and PADI Dive Centres is just how popular they are. The recent event I ran in Malta had people coming in just for the Dive Against Debris. Register your interest to take part in this joint PADI & Project AWARE event that https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/aware-week-tickets-37876244868
Other “Dry” course ideas for you to look at are: Equipment specialty Enriched Air/Nitrox (click on link for a MailChimp template)
Emergency Oxygen Provider EFR
Having an arsenal of these courses over the winter months will help keep your customers engaged. We are doing some promotions to help, so give Emily a call in the office use promo code 17UKDP.
Using your CRM system you can drill into who has what course and with EFR when did they last have a refresher. If you would like help with making templates to go with these then just let your Regional Manager know.
On top of the Dry Courses and #AWAREWeekUK, there is the whole Christmas Gift market to look at. Like me you may have scorned the supermarkets and pubs for marketing Christmas for me what felt like as soon as easter finished, but, one thing that is for sure, venues are booked and people have started stocking up. You need to think ahead and promote, to plant the seeds and let them ideas take route. Acting now will give you the best run in for December sells.
Revisiting an idea of old was a DSD pack, the success of this was in the presentation. If you are reaching out to Customers to purchase a gift for friends and family (or even themselves) then you need to make it as easy as possible for them to give it as a present. Running with the Christmas theme your customers fall into 3 categories, Past, Present, and Yet to Come and like the ghosts from the Dickens classic, each has its own wants and needs and goals to achieve. As a Centre, you need to think about how to market to each of these groups.
Heart health is essential to an active lifestyle that includes scuba diving. Symptoms of heart conditions are often subtle or easily missed, and in some cases, the first indication of a serious cardiac problem may be a heart attack. That’s why it’s imperative for divers to truthfully complete the RSTC Medical Statement and disclose their health histories before starting training. It’s also important for you to know the primary risk factors of heart disease because they apply to dive professionals just as much as student divers.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a contributing factor in 13 percent of cardiac deaths, and may lead to a thickening and weakening of the tissues in the heart. This change in heart tissue can cause disturbances in heart rhythms, and elevate the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. While high blood pressure alone may seem relatively benign, it’s important to recognize that it can result in some very serious consequences if left unaddressed.
While smoking causes a well-known laundry list of cardiopulmonary issues, it’s also a leading cause of cardiac diseases. Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, sudden cardiac death and cancer. It also increases blood pressure and lipid levels and can result in sustained, low-level inflammation that causes the cardiovascular system to deteriorate, and may increase DCS risk.
Hyperlipidemia or high cholesterol may double a person’s 10-year risk of dying, and increases risk of clotting conditions, high blood pressure and stroke. High cholesterol levels rarely give obvious symptoms until it cause a serious cardiac issue. Lipid levels should be tested regularly by a physician and can be controlled through diet and medication.
Inactive people are twice as likely to develop heart disease as active people. Regular exercise helps to maintain both health and a capacity for sustained exercise. Also, exercise can slow a decline in exercise capacity due to aging and reduce risks of many health-related hazards.
Obesity can be a difficult subject to address, but it significantly elevates a person’s risk of cardiac problems, among other hazards. Divers who struggle with obesity may need to exert themselves more while diving, which places additional strain on their heart, and may have difficulty dealing with the physical demands of strenuous dives, putting them at an increased risk of injury.
For more information on cardiac risks and diving, visit DAN.org/Health
It’s not too often you come across something that gets absolutely no hits on Google. Multiple-Level Training is one of those things. Where you will find it is under Organization in the Teaching Techniques section of PADI’s Guide to Teaching. If it’s been a while since you checked it out, take a moment to read it again, especially if you want to boost your Divemaster and IDC enrollment.
The basic idea is to have several different levels of training happening at the same time and at the same place. Done right, multiple-level training is not only an efficient use of resources; it’s a powerful way to motivate existing divers to consider going pro.
The key is planning and careful scheduling (there’s a great sample schedule in the Guide to Teaching) and to build in time for divers to mingle and socialize. It also helps to have a few certified assistants. Consider these strategies to maximize the cross promotional benefits of multiple-level training:
Have all divers together for the area orientation. Let everyone know what’s going on and take some time to introduce the divers to each other: “Welcome to the dive site, we have three activities going on this morning, the Divemaster Mapping exercise, the Advanced Open Water Diver Navigation Dive, and Open Water Dive One.” Cover the usual points, make sure to mention who is doing what (by name), then split up into individual course groups to finish the briefings.
Keep people moving and don’t waste their time. In this example, you could overview the Divemaster Mapping exercise seamlessly with the area orientation before breaking up the groups. This has the benefit of clearly highlighting an interesting part of Divemaster training to both the AOW and OW divers. Then have a certified assistant keep an eye on the Open Water Divers while they assemble their gear and get ready for your predive brief. Meanwhile you’re running through the (detailed) brief for the AOW Navigation dive and setting the divers up to practice their navigation patterns on land. (Which will certainly get the Open Water Divers attention.)
Make good use of your owntime. Once you’ve covered the AOW brief, have those divers assemble and set up their gear and present themselves for the dive at a specific time. Head over to the entry point where the OW Divers are ready to go and your certified assistants have the shot line already positioned. Enter, run the dive and when you exit you find the AOW divers ready to go. You supervise that dive from the surface and while the AOW divers are breaking down their gear post dive, you debrief the OW divers before you debrief them.
By now the Divemaster candidates are wrapping up their mapping exercise and you check with them before everyone settles down to enjoy lunch.
All you have to do now is sit back and let the buzz do your marketing work for you.