Risk Management Tips

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.

Teach the Project AWARE Speciality course this winter

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.petley-jones@padi.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…

10 Tips for Divers to Protect the Ocean Planet

  1. Be a Buoyancy Expert
  2. Be a Role Model
  3. Take Only Photos – Leave Only Bubbles
  4. Protect Underwater Life
  5. Become a Debris Activist
  6. Make Responsible Seafood Choices
  7. Take Action
  8. Be an Eco-tourist
  9. Shrink Your Carbon Footprint
  10. Give Back

 

Immersion Pulmonary Edema: What You Need to Know

Written by DAN Staff

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.

The importance of a good dive buddy

From the very beginning of a divers training, the importance of being and having a good buddy is emphasised, it is one of the key aspects of recreational scuba diving. As well as helping reduce risk, a buddy should enhance your dive from start to finish – a shared experience is always the best!

Benefits of buddy diving:

  1. They are an extra pair of hands when donning the scuba gear and taking it off again at the end of a dive – why struggle alone when a buddy can help?
  2. In the water, they can offer reminders about planned/actual depth and to check how much air is left – on a really exciting dive where sharks and rays are swimming all around, divers can be easily distracted and forget these basic checks – a good buddy means another chance to remember
  3. Should a diver need a little help such as with a cramp in their leg a buddy can help to alleviate the problem quickly and effectively – the divers can then get back to enjoying the dive
  4. In absolute emergency situations such as running out of air, a panic situation or entanglement, a buddy is an immediate source of life-saving help, without which the consequences could be life-threatening
  5. Navigational help – two brains are often better than one in navigational challenges!
  6. Someone to share amazing sightings with and most importantly, a witness to the countless sharks, super rare critters and giant manta rays seen – without a buddy the story just wouldn’t be believable!
  7. A second pair of eyes on the reef and in the blue – diving with a buddy presents double the chance of spotting something really amazing.
  8. Safety stops can be a time of quiet contemplation of the dive just completed and they can also be a time of funny faces and silly signals…and a lot of laughing bubbles drifting up to the surface – a buddy can be an excellent source of entertainment, diving is meant to be fun after all.


Divers usually find themselves travelling without a dive buddy in tow but this is not a problem at all – especially when diving with Prodivers Maldives. Buddy teams are agreed on the boats and the instructor guiding the dive is always very happy to accompany anyone who isn’t paired up. It’s beneficial for the buddy teams to stay with the guide anyway as they know the reefs like the back of their hand and can point out all the really cool stuff.

As divers get more experienced they may be tempted to go and dive on their own, they may think that they can handle anything and become quite blasé about the risks involved. The fact is that scuba diving is a high-risk adventure sport IF embarked upon alone, but when the correct procedures are followed and the buddy diving system is adhered to, the sport enjoys an excellent safety record. No matter how experienced a diver is a good buddy is as essential as the tank on their back!

Reporting Incidents

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 incident.emea@padi.com) 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 qm.emea@padi.com for clarification.

PADI Adaptive Techniques

The PADI Adaptive Techniques program is an incredible way to facilitate scuba diving being achieved by all.

Around the world there are plenty of people who would love to get involved with scuba diving, but feel it is not something they would be able to do, either due to physical challenges or learning difficulties.  Thankfully there are now many companies and charities which are striving to prove this belief wrong.  Together with the PADI Adaptive Techniques program there are many who have broken through barriers and are the proud owners of PADI certification cards.

Recently, staff from the PADI EMEA Office and PADI Members from the UK completed the Deptherapy Education Course followed by the PADI Adaptive Techniques Instructor Course.  Everyone involved found it to be a very rewarding and eye opening course with some stating that it was the best diving course they had ever taken!

Kerrie Eade, PADI Course Director and owner of Ocean Turtle Diving said – “I can honestly say it was the most eye opening course I’ve ever taken – the depth of knowledge and integrity that Richard was able to share was extraordinary, and Terry delivered the course in a way which made it really clear… Brilliantly interactive right from the outset in the classroom session, to the pool and then on to open water.” 

To assist us on the course was Andy Searle, an army veteran who lost both legs during an IED explosion.  Andy’s passion for diving is palpable and his capabilities both in and next to the water are second to none.  Andy has completed his PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course, a number of PADI Speciality Courses and is on his way to completing his PADI Rescue Diver Course later this year!  Without question – Andy is inspirational and proof that ‘You Can!’

The new way of approaching students, dive sites and delivery of skills was both interesting and, at times, challenging for the PADI Adaptive Techniques Speciality Candidates.  The more experienced we become as Instructors the more we can become a little ‘stuck in our ways’ and only teach ‘our’ way, rather than finding out the best way the student will learn.

Kerrie Eade stated – “I cannot wait to teach this course myself, to train up other instructors to broaden their perspectives and look at old habits from a totally different angle.”

For more information on this course and how to get involved have a look at padi.com or contact your Regional Manager – Matt Clements matt.clements@padi.com or Emma Hewitt emma.hewitt@padi.com.

 

 

The benefits of Certified Assistants to create an enjoyable and safe dive!

On a day to day basis, there’s also little doubt that the efficient use of certified assistants during confined and open water training and experience programs can make diver training and supervision easier and more enjoyable for both participants and instructors. This is especially true for experience programs or entry-level courses when divers can’t be left unattended.

There are many fairly obvious reasons for using certified assistants, such as logistical assistance, improved responsiveness to emergencies, having “extra” sets of eyes and ears for improved in-water control, the ability to increase the number of student divers being supervised, and so on. For the most effective use of them, consider the following, from PADI’s Guide to Teaching:

  • Have enough assistants available and thoroughly brief them about their roles during the dive, including information on site facilities, so they can answer student diver questions. Make sure they know where to find and how to use emergency equipment – first-aid kit, oxygen unit, AED unit, telephone/radio, etc. They should also know where extra equipment is located.
  • Discuss how much assistance and guidance to give student divers before, during and after the dive. Go over the expected order of activities and where they should position themselves in the water.
  • To increase practice time, have certified assistants monitor additional student diver practice.

Don’t forget during the PADI Open Water Diver course, where an instructor’s direct supervision is required, exceptions are made for instructor indirect supervision in the following situations:

  • Certified assistants supervising student divers during surface swims to and from the entry-exit point and during navigational exercises, as well as when remaining with the class when the instructor conducts a skill such as an ascent or descent with a student or student team.
  • Certified assistants guiding student divers (at a ratio of 2:1) on Dives 2-4 when exploring the dive site.
  • Assistant Instructors evaluating dive flexible skills at the surface in open water and conducting air pressure checks underwater.

Besides providing an additional measure to increase control and the safety of divers in your care, and helping to prepare future PADI Instructors, using certified assistants during PADI training programs can increase your students’ enjoyment of the training/supervisory experience and make your own professional life easier.

It’s important to remember however that PADI Standards define a certified assistant as a “Teaching Status PADI Instructor, PADI Assistant Instructor or Active Status PADI Divemaster”. The use of any other divers as assistants would not qualify as “certified assistant” use under PADI Standards. Don’t forget to check your assistant’s credentials!

 

Help Divers Avoid Injuries

Written by DAN Staff

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:

  1. Uncontrolled ascents
  2. Ear and equalization problems
  3. Poor air management
  4. Diving beyond personal limits
  5. 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.

BonaireOW0213__0757_Equalize

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.

HzntlDAN_LogoOnly

Training Bulletin Live – Webinar Schedule 2Q2018

Please find below the dates for the next round of Training Bulletin Live Webinars:

As always, we will be discussing the latest standards changes, providing background information on the updates and insight into how these can be integrated into your training. We will also be reviewing new products and providing business and marketing advice.

2nd Quarter 2018:

24/04/18 English

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7839064196215400195

25/04/18 French

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7603107901475808771

26/04/18 Italian

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1567667576097658114

01/05/18 Dutch

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2106645976039839233

02/05/18 Arabic

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3571879361440354818

03/05/18 Polish

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6347696520440875010

07/05/18 Scandinavian

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7929177971619022594

08/05/18 Spanish

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/886614679682627587

09/05/18 Portuguese

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4978906799319278850

16/05/18 Russian

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2943718472887247362

16/05/18 German

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4462673994655468033

If you have any questions regarding the webinar you can email training.emea@padi.com. We look forward to speaking to you during the webinar.

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>>.