First Aid for Burns

Written by DAN Staff

A serious burn — even a sunburn — can bring a quick end to an exciting dive trip. You can take steps to reduce the risk of burns, but you can’t always prevent them.

On a busy dive boat, accidental contact with a hot compressor or stove, or someone just spending too much time in the midday sun can occur. Knowing how to address injuries and keep divers comfortable can make the difference between a minor hiccup and a ruined vacation. Brush up on your first aid skills for burns and keep your customers happy on your next trip.

Types of Burns

Burns occur when tissues are subjected to more energy than they can tolerate. This energy can come from chemicals, heat, radiation or electricity.

  • Chemical burns, for example, are caused when a caustic chemical touches the skin. If the chemical is dry, assist the victim in brushing off the substance and consult a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which can often be found on the back of the chemical’s container. Otherwise, flush with copious amounts of water unless the MSDS indicates otherwise.
  • More common in diving scenarios are thermal burns resulting from contact with heaters, hot water or fire, but even these pale in comparison to the number of radiation burns divers experience.
  • Sunburns are the most common burns seen among divers. They result from radiation from the sun, rather than heat, and represent the single largest source of burns faced by outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. 


First Aid

After safely removing the source of a burn (caustic chemical, unprotected skin under the hot sun, electrical current or source of significant heat), the first step is to assess the injured diver’s airway, breathing and circulation. Barring any medical emergencies this assessment uncovers, the next step is to douse the burn with cool water (either fresh or salt) for at least 15 to 30 minutes. It can be difficult to cool deeper tissues after a burn, and spending a significant amount of time dousing the area in water can prevent further injury. Clothes, boots or shoes, and jewelry or accessories in the area of the burn should be removed while dousing the wound.

Assessing the Injury

Once a burn has been cooled, begin wound assessment and dressing. Burns are typically classified as superficial, partial thickness or full thickness.

  • Superficial burns can be identified by redness, warmth and minor swelling around the site of the burn.
  • Partial-thickness burns involve deeper layers of tissue and often have blisters and cause severe pain.
  • Full-thickness burns are the most serious and affect all layers of the skin, destroying nerves and fatty tissue. Full-thickness burns may appear either black and charred or white and waxy, and are sometimes described as painless due to the nerve damage caused by the burn, but are almost universally surrounded by areas of partial-thickness burn that cause intense pain.

You can treat a superficial burn by gently washing it with clean, soapy water, rinsing it thoroughly and patting dry. The wounds can be cleaned up somewhat, but avoid breaking any intact blisters. Take care not to irritate the wound further before dressing with a non-adherent dressing and double-antibiotic ointment. Change dressings daily.

Small partial-thickness burns can be treated in the same way, but any substantial partial-thickness or full-thickness burns should be evaluated and treated by a physician. These burns can be difficult to manage in the field and present a risk of significant fluid loss and infection. In the case of partial-thickness burns covering more than 15 percent of a person’s body or a full-thickness burn, immediate evacuation to advanced medical care may be indicated.

For more information on treating burns and other injuries, visit

The meaning of agency

Many PADI Professionals seem to be confused about the reason for the required Non-Agency Acknowledgement and Agreement in PADI training programs. The legal concept of agency is something many of us may never have even heard of, much less have considered as a part of our day-to-day professional lives.

In general terms, agency is the concept that a business may be found to be responsible for the acts of others, such as its employees (this is common, something we all probably take for granted). This also means, however, that when a business entity (typically a supplier) controls the actions of another business or individual service provider (such as may be the case in a franchise), the controlling business may be found to be responsible for the actions of the controlled business/individual and the employees of that business/individual.

The PADI organization has long defined the membership’s legal relationship within the organization in membership agreements. The concept of agency is and has been part of those agreements for quite some time as a matter of responsible legal clarity. In the two PADI membership agreements, one for dive businesses and the other for individual members, the following texts appear:

Individual Member:

  1. I understand and agree that this Agreement does not create an agency relationship between PADI and me. Except as otherwise provided in this Membership Agreement, PADI has no control over or involvement with my day-to-day operations and activities and bears no responsibility for the

Retail and Resort Member:

  1. I understand and agree that this Agreement does not create an agency relationship between my facility and PADI. Except as otherwise provided in this Membership Agreement, PADI has no control over or involvement with my facility’s day-to-day operations and activities and bears no responsibility for the same.

Within the PADI Membership, there is little likelihood of confusion.  Dive stores don’t picture themselves as franchises, subsidiaries or legal business partners of PADI, nor do individual members consider themselves to be PADI employees. However, the critical legal issue is not what we professionals know to be the case, but what consumers may perceive. It is therefore a responsible business practice to make certain the actual relationship – what it is and what it is not – relative to the agency concept is made clear to your students and customers.

For this purpose, the Non-agency Acknowledgement Agreement was created. Similar information appears throughout PADI materials, products and information sources, including diver manuals and videos, on websites, on member business cards and more. Making this issue clear is simply good business practice for us, and a useful, ethical clarification for the consumers we serve.

PADI Diver Sea Survival distinctive specialty course

A distinctive specialty is a member authored outline that has been reviewed and approved by PADI.

The purpose of a distinctive specialty is to offer diver training in areas where PADI doesn’t have a standardised course.

Based on this concept, Ocean Diving Center in Abu Dhabi – UAE has received approval to teach the PADI RNLI Diver Sea Survival specialty course.

Here a brief description:

If you’re in danger at sea, knowing what to do can make the difference !

You could be rescued more quickly or may not even need rescuing if you have the right diving survival skills and kit.

The PADI RNLI Diver Sea Survival course specialty will provide you with the skills and knowledge to survive.

During the course ( which includes 2 Open Water Dives) you will learn:




  • dive planning
  • dive preparation
  • navigation and safety equipment on dive boats
  • diving in low-visibility conditions
  • how to deal with out-of-air emergencies
  • use of surface marker buoys (SMBs)
  • ways of calling for help
  • how to deal with an emergency on the surface.

Teaching your own distinctive specialty course has never been so easy!

Check the concept:

send a few sentences describing the course you would like to write. This gives us the opportunity to let you know if it is outside the scope of PADI training and guide you in the direction of a course that can be approved.

Take advantage of resources!

See Pros’Site/Training Essentials/Curriculum/Diver Training/Specialties/DistinctiveSpecialty Course Templates for detailed information.


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 – Nine new languages: English, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Traditional and Simplified Chinese.

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.

What Did You See During Your PADI Open Water Course?

I was recently visiting PADI Resorts in Wadi Lahmi which is south of Marsa Alam, and I had the pleasure of meeting this German young boy who is 11 years old who you can see in the photo with his instructor and parents.

This young man just finished the last dive of his PADI Open Water Course.  This young man did his bubble maker when he was eight years of age, then PADI Seal Team followed by PADI  Master Seal Team and he could not wait to be a PADI Diver to dive with his parents regularly.

I chatted to the young man about his Open Water Course experience,

He said, I did four dives in the sea, during the first two dives, I only seen corals, a lot of small fish, sea horse and few other small things. However, during the last two dives, I saw a whale shark, couple of turtles, couple of sharks, and I swam with the dugong for 15 minutes.



Then he asked me jokingly, you are the PADI representative, right? Can you sack the instructor I did my first two dives with!

How amazing that is to get to see all that during your Open Water Course, which begs the question, What did you manage to see during your Open Water Course?


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

DateLocationPrice (+VAT where applicable)
3rd March 2019Dubai, UAE£157
21st March 2019Sliema, Malta176 Euro
22nd March 2019Madrid, Spain176 Euro
30th March 2019Lisbon, Portugal176 Euro
22nd April 2019Hurghada, Egypt£157
24th April 2019Dahab, Egypt£157
28th April 2019Santa Margharita, Italy176 Euros
29th April 2019Copenhagen, Denmark176 Euros
18th May 2019Amsterdam, Netherlands176 Euros
22nd May 2019Paphos, Cyprus176 Euros
30th May 2019Lanzarote, Canary Islands176 Euros
30th September 2019Moscow, Russia£157

Please register by completing this registration form and returning it to 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 to retain Active Teaching Status! Please note: Attending an online update will not enable you to teach the revised IDC curriculum when launched in 2019. CDs have a choice to attend a Live update in either 2019 or 2020, to be able to teach the new curriculum. Only after completing a Live update can a CD teach the new curriculum.

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

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

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

Training Bulletin Live – Webinar Schedule 1Q2019

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

Join us for information and discussion on the latest updates and the philosophy behind them. This is your chance to ask questions and get tips on how to make the most of new opportunities. Alternatively, if you can’t join us live you can watch the recording – just register as usual and we’ll send the link once it’s ready.  

Spanish 19/02/2019

If you have any questions regarding the webinar you can email We look forward to speaking to you during the webinar.

Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer Course Dates 2019

We are pleased to announce the EFR Instructor Trainer course schedule for 2019.

The EFR Instructor Trainer course includes independent online learning followed by a live interactive knowledge development and practical day conducted on the dates shown below. This programme authorises successful candidates to market and conduct EFR Instructor courses, making it particularly beneficial to those working at PADI Instructor Development Centers or those involved in the IDC process.

Paris, France15 January 2019French
Düsseldorf, Germany19 January 2019German
Bristol, UK19 February 2019English
Warsaw, Poland28 February 2019Polish
Sliema, Malta09 March 2019English
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia09 March 2019Arabic/English
Mauritius14 March 2019English
Johannesburg, South Africa24 March 2019English
Athens, Greece31 March 2019English
Lisbon, Portugal31 March 2019Portuguese
Aiguablava, Spain14 April 2019Spanish
Hurghada, Egypt21 April 2019English
Dubai, United Arab Emirates29 April 2019English
Tenerife, Spain24 May 2019English
Lanzarote, Spain29 May 2019English
Stockholm, Sweden02 June 2019Scandinavian
Helsinki, Finland09 June 2019English
Copenhagen, Denmark16 June 2019Scandinavian
Bern, Switzerland16 June 2019German
Eindhoven, Netherlands23 June 2019English
Bristol, UK09 September 2019English
St Raphael, France28 September 2019French
Cabo de Palos08 October 2019Spanish
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia12 October 2019Arabic
Lecco, Italy02 November 2019Italian
Bergen, Norway03 November 2019Scandinavian
Kuwait03 November 2019Arabic/English

Prerequisites to attend one of these events include:

  • EFR Primary / Secondary Care Instructor
  • EFR Care For Children Instructor
  • 25 EFR student course completions or conducted at least 5 separate EFR courses

You can register for a EFR Instructor Trainer course by completing and returning the EFR Instructor Trainer registration form – click to download the form now:
January to May – June to December

Thinking Like a Diver When Wreck Diving

The PADI® Open Water Diver and Advanced Open Water Diver courses provide a strong foundation for teaching divers to think through diving scenarios to make sound decisions. As you mentor divers at all levels, you can build on this by providing dive scenarios relevant to the course you’re teaching, and offer questions that help them think like a diver as they evaluate the scenario and share their decisions with you. This helps you assess understanding and how they apply what they’re learning. It’s a great way to coach thoughtful and deliberate decisions. In this example, the scenario promotes using sound judgment in deciding whether to enter a wreck in the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty course.

Entering a Wreck

When a diver wants to enter a wreck, the primary-decision-making goal must always be to have a safe exit. That means being able to find a way to an exit, and being able to handle any emergency situation that could arise while in that overhead environment. Wreck-entry methods include two classifications: swim-throughs and penetrations.

  • Swim-throughs – In a swim-through, the diver enters through one opening and exits through another. In a basic swim-through, the diver will always be able to see two exit points to open water using natural light. The path between them will be free of significant obstacles, entanglements or silt. The combination of the distance to an exit point and up to the surface should not exceed 40 metres/130 feet for Advanced Open Water Divers and higher, and in other circumstances the distance should be the depth for which the diver is qualified.
  • Penetrations – In a penetration, the diver enters more than a few metres/feet into the wreck intending to return to the entry point, either because there is no other exit or the diver is not sure there is another one. The diver may go beyond the point that the entry is still clearly visible and must run a line to ensure a safe return to the exit. The path should be well lit and free of obstacles, entanglements or silt. As with swim-throughs, the distance to the exit and then to the surface should not exceed 40 metres/130 feet.

Using Sound Judgment

Either situation calls for good, reasonable judgment. Answers to the following questions can help a diver shape an appropriate decision:

  • Are the exits big enough to allow my buddy and me to swim through side by side?
  • How much light is there? Is there enough that I will always be able to see the light of the exit?
  • Is there anything big enough to be a dangerous obstacle?
  • Is there enough silt to have potentially obscure my vision to the extent I couldn’t find my way out?
  • For my planned maximum distance, is the nearest exit close enough to allow me to leave the wreck and with ample time to handle an emergency?

Also factored into the decision should be the diver’s experience, training, skill and equipment. Two different divers looking into the same wreck can make two totally different, yet appropriate decisions. For example, divers with little wreck experience entering a silty environment could obscure visibility creating a potential hazard. A diver trained in non-silting kicking techniques may not have a significant issue with silt. A diver with excellent buoyancy and trim skills can pass around obstacles that could challenge a less‑skilled diver.

Good judgment can also allow divers with more experience and training to go beyond some of the penetration guidelines. A diver with technical training, such as cave training that includes effective use of suited lights, will be able to work in areas without clear daylight.

When teaching the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty course, mentor your divers on how to think like a diver and make good decisions regarding wreck penetration based on the specific wreck circumstances and their individual training and experience. Apply similar decision-making mentorship in all courses as appropriate to the diver level, environment and course topic.

Reference the PADI Wreck Diver Instructor Guide (Product 70232) for information about this specialty diver course.

A version of this article originally appeared in the 3rd Quarter 2018 edition of The Undersea Journal®.