by Fabio Figurella – Regional Manager PADI EMEA.
Last June 30th I had the pleasure and the honour to attend like every year at a PADI Go Pro Night organized by Sea Spirit Diving Center in Giardini Naxos, one of the most active Italian Dive Center focused on training of divers especially for the professional levels, managed by the Course Director Carmelo Sgroi, and by Cilla Lentz – Diving Center Manager.
Every year I have always come with great pleasure to these events because there is always a large number of participants, very interested in the PADI Professional Career.
This year the event has been a huge success, organized in collaboration with the association MEGISS Dive Lab has focused on the topic of Naturalistic photography and Environmental awareness related to the world of PADI professionals.
Guests of excellence Francesco Turano, Naturalist photographer who projected photos that created strong emotions in the hall.
Also present was Dr. Laura Marroni Vice-President of DAN Europe Foundation, one of the youngest managers worldwide of the diving industry, who presented the DAN Europe foundation and its activities, telling of her experience during the IDC becoming PADI Instructor.
About 60 PADI Pros have attended the event, interested in their professional career.
I interviewed some of the most representative members of the Sea Spirit Staff:
Carmelo Sgroi – PADI Course Director.
Carmelo Sgroi, owner of Sea Spirit, PADI 5 Star Diving Resort, is also a skipper and PADI Course Director and has made from his passion a profession.
His career began as a PADI Dive Master in Mediterranean waters of the Ionian coast of Taormina. Later, he became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in Australia.
Then he developed himself into a PADI IDC Staff Instructor and PADI Master Instructor in Thailand. In 2018, Carmelo Sgroi completed the PADI Course Director Training Course in Malaysia with success and achieved the status of PADI Course Director. In 2015, Sea Spirit Diving Resort became a PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Resort and Carmelo Sgroi and Mark Soworka decide to bring their experience in Europe by organizing the first international PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) in Sicily and founded dive-careers-europe.com.
Cilla Lentz – Diving Center Manager.
Cilla Lentz, general manager, PADI IDC Staff Instructor and main instructor at Sea Spirit Diving Resort, started diving in 2010 during a holiday at diver’s paradise Koh Tao, Thailand. In 2012 she flew back to Koh Tao, Thailand to become a PADI Divemaster. During her internship, she became passionate about diving and decided to take the next step to PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor in Thailand. In 2013, she moved from Koh Tao to Sicily and implement her experience in Sea Spirit Diving Resort. In 2014 she increased her experience in several PADI Specialties and got the PADI MSDT certification (Master Scuba Diver Trainer). After that she gained more experience in training on professional level during Instructor Development Courses and got the PADI IDC Staff Instructor certification. Nowadays she manages Sea Spirit Diving Resort and trains people how to become good or even better divers and trains people who want to take their first step in professional diving.
Amy started diving in her homeland, the U.K. and she joined Sea Spirit as a Dive Master Candidate (2016) and grew into the role of main instructor in 2017. By now, Amy guided more than 100 people during PADI Discover Scuba Diving, PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver and PADI (Junior) Advanced Open Water Diver and from this year also PADI Rescue Diver, Divemaster and specialties. At Sea Spirit you will find Amy most of the time on one of our boats, teaching diving with all her enthusiasm and big smile.
Alina started her professional dive career at Sea Spirit in 2017 as a Divemaster Candidate. In October 2017, she joined the IDC at Sea Spirit and became an Open Water Scuba Instructor. Now she teaches (Junior) Open Water Diver and (Junior) Advanced Open Water Diver. You will find Alina on one of our boats or in the office, organizing everything with perfection and always ready to take care of everybody with her sunny smile and pro-active attitude.
We then moved on to the presentation of the MAGISS Dive Lab Association, which is a summary of the words of its President Giovanni Laganà:
Joining the Pro Night of Giardini Naxos has taken for MEGISS Dive Lab – the Association of which I am President and Co-founder – an extremely important meaning in line with one of the projects that, together with the other members, we want to pursue: to contribute to educate the professional divers plays a decisive role in supporting the preservation of what is one of the most precious jewels of the Planet Earth: the Mediterranean.
In agreement with Francesco Turano, with whom we are sharing the AWARE DIVERS project, we are convinced that, also through the tool of naturalistic photography, the knowledge of biodiversity and the mechanisms that regulate the life of the Mare Nostrum must become the patrimony of the professional diver who, if properly informed, will be able to guarantee the noble interests of the whole underwater community, being able, at the same time, to support scientifically correct positions.
To do this, guides and instructors need specialized knowledge and accurate information on ecology as well as on the management and sustainability of the Mediterranean Sea. More. They must be able to translate this knowledge into practices that promote low impact diving.
The task now – if the goal is shared – is up to the teaching. We are here and if you want to follow us do it on our social profiles Facebook and Instagram.
Laura Marroni Vice President of DAN Europe closed the event. Here are her words:
Participating to the PADI Go Pro Night in Taormina was a great experience. I had the chance to talk to a group of passionate divers willing to become dive instructors and to tell them about my career in the diving business and how DAN can help and protect them. DAN has always been on the side of every diver, from the beginners to the most experienced. Dive professionals can count on our medical assistance and support in every step of their career, and they can in turn help us making diving safer by joining our research programs. All together we are a big community and we share a very important goal: diving safely, respecting the environment. As dive professionals, we have the privilege to guide people through the marvellous submerged world and the power to change people’s lives. Being diving instructors is much more than a job, it’s a challenging and beautiful mission!
Finally, as PADI EMEA we have given a special recognition to the Naturalist Photographer Francesco Turano “For the exceptional commitment to the dissemination of environmental sustainability through naturalistic photography” Here are his words:
The diver’s awareness is one of the main points people need to focus on. Everything comes from the fact that underwater tourism is no longer in balance with the marine environment, and people often take advantage of it, without knowing and respecting it. Diving centers should change the way they operate and dive management for large groups.
The scuba diving teaching has the task of introducing the use of the underwater world and must be accompanied, today more than ever, by adequate training on marine biology and ecology, through tools like naturalistic observation and photography. Only in this way it’s possible to avoid scuba diving alone just for fun and one becomes aware, through the knowledge of the submerged environments and therefore brought to the respect of life in the sea.
A life in the Mediterranean, studying and photographing in all seasons and in all conditions, allows me today to state that diving must evolve through proper environmental education, only possible with appropriate courses that allow you to learn important points in the practice of diving. I shared my thoughts with MEGISS Dive Lab, an association for the knowledge and protection of marine environments in the Mediterranean, and now I would like to try to share it with PADI, if you understand the importance and validity of the message!