Another Chance for Sharks and Rays? Act Now – Extinction is NOT an Option

If you’ve supported Project AWARE’s campaign, signed their shark petition or rallied shark support in your community – then this message is for you.

Nancy IDC
Nancy IDC, Egypt Red Sea #CITES4SHARKS

Today, we need your help. Please take a few moments and  send a letter direct to CITES leaders asking them to vote “Yes” for sharks and rays this March.

What we do in the next few weeks could make a difference for 11 sharks and rays on the brink. Project AWARE is working with their partners, pounding the pavement harder than ever in the run up to March. We’re meeting with CITES leaders face-to-face to help influence the votes. More than 120,000 shark petition signatures you helped to collect are making a strong argument for change. Now you can send a letter direct to CITES leaders, insisting on international protections for these critical species.

As dive professionals, we know, Extinction is NOT an Option. CITES is the world’s largest, most effective wildlife conservation agreement in existence. Thank you for helping Project AWARE secure the trade protections sharks and rays deserve.

Get a FREE ticket for your buddy at the 2013 London International Dive Show (LIDS)

2013 London International Dive Show (LIDS)

Come and visit the London International Dive Show together with your buddy at ExCel London, 23-24 March 2013.

At the show you will find all aspects this exciting sport has to offer. Get your non-diving buddy to join the free PADI Discover Scuba Diving Program in the LSD try-dive pool. For every Discover Scuba Diving candidate that signs up for a PADI Open Water Diver Course gets a free T-Shirt. Get your buddy fascinated by this sport. All you have to do is show your PADI Cert card at the kiosk at the show and you will be eligible for the 2-4-1 ticket offer. The diver who pays will get a normal paid for ticket (£12.50) and your buddy will be given a complimentary ticket which they will need to fill in their contact information on the back. The complimentary ticket will then be collected on entry to the show.

Additional New Diver Offer – Free Ticket

The offer is valid for any new PADI diver who got certified as a Scuba- or Open Water Diver on/after 01/04/2012. The new diver will need to show his/her PADI Certification Card at the counter at the show. They will be given a complimentary ticket which they will need to fill in their contact information on the back. The complimentary ticket will then be collected on entry to the show.

Important information: For this year, PADI has decided to not take part at the LONDON International Dive Show but we are very glad to provide you a great adventure by supporting the various offers mentioned above.

CITES The count-down is on!!!!!


In a matter of days, officials from countries around the world will have a historic opportunity to protect a record number of sharks and rays – including oceanic whitetip sharks, hammerheads and manta rays. Project AWARE will be on the ground during the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 3 – 14 March. We’ll represent the voice of divers worldwide and ensure the world’s most vulnerable sharks and rays have a voice too. Follow Us.

Recently at the Polish Dive Show members were eager to add their names to the list to “Give Sharks a Fighting Chance” by signing the CITES petition.


Have you made a stand? Please ensure you sign the petition and pass on the message to your entire friends list by using the media links below to share this important message.

UK Dive Centre Awards

PADI EMEA was very happy to visit ‘The Diving Centre’ store number S-1311, located in South Tyneside, with an award for Outstanding Achievement and Development for 2012.


William and Callum Coats owners of the centre were happy to receive the award from Terry Johnson, PADI Regional Manager and also took the time to thank the staff and customers for helping with this achievement.  The centre was recently re-opened after a major redevelopment of the site, which now boasts a purpose build onsite pool equipped with full facilities for the disabled, and a new showroom. Work is continuing upstairs on new classrooms, accommodation, storerooms, offices and a conference room, plenty for Bill and Callum to concentrate their efforts on in the next few months. We wish them continued  success for the future.


15 Minute Marketing Idea #4 Get To Know Your Customers

Know CustomersPhoto © Henkster

The central part of any effective business is a thorough understanding of your target market. The more you know and understand your customers, the easier it will be to sell them what they need and want. And the more you address your customers’ needs, the more they will purchase from you and refer you to others. This is why taking the time to get to know your customers is a powerful bootstrap marketing technique.

There are many ways you can get to know your customers and show them how much they mean to you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Ask for client testimonials and use them in your marketing materials and on your website and within newsletters. Not sure how to get testimonials? One suggestion is to simply call a customer who has just bought a piece of equipment and ask them directly what they thought of it!
  • Send past customers free samples or ask them to test a new piece of kit to regain their business
  • Create a customer satisfaction survey and track the results so you can continually improve your business
  • Send holiday gifts to your most important clients
  • Collect customer birthdays and send coupons or special offers each year
  • Create a “frequent buyer” rewards program

Although you may be marketing to a large group, you want to think of each customer individually. Consider his or her individual needs, and personalise your marketing messages and approach to address those needs. By making your customers feel valued, you are setting the stage for long-term relationships.

15 Minute Marketing Idea #3 Customer Satisfaction

Do you really know what your Customers Want? Image

A large part of growing a successful diving business comes from repeat clients, and clients only come back when they’re extremely happy with the products or services they’re receiving. It should go without saying that your first focus should be on providing an exemplary product or service. Once you have that solid foundation, it’s time to focus on the second part of generating repeat business — tailoring your offerings to what your clients need and want.

Your existing clients possess a wealth of information that can not only help you solve more of their problems and increase sales with your existing client base, but also give you ideas about what else you can be doing to attract new business. The only way to get this information is to ask your clients questions and listen to their answers.Image

What Questions to Ask Your Clients

There are many different questions you can ask a client to get their feedback on your products, services, customer service, and overall business, but some of the basic questions should include:

  • Why did you choose us as your dive operator?
  • What service did we perform for you?
  • How would you rate the service you received? (Provide a rating scale)
  • In what areas did we meet or exceed your expectations?
  • In which areas can we improve?
  • Would you recommend us to others?
  • How did you first hear about us?

Whenever you ask for client feedback, you should make sure you are asking the right questions to produce valuable feedback without asking too many questions and risk not receiving a response at all. You may also want to consider offering an incentive for completing the survey, especially if you find the response rate leaves something to be desired.

How to Ask the Questions

Aside from hiring an external survey company to poll your clients on your behalf or conducting a formal focus group, which is not financially practical for many small business owners, there are a few ways you can ask your clients for feedback:

1. Start a Conversation – Your client feedback process can be as simple as an email message with questions sent to your clients, or a personal phone call. This method is quick and easy, but there are some downfalls. When you take the informal approach to client feedback, you run the risk that the message will be put aside and eventually lost in the shuffle. Plus, if you’re asking in a conversational manner, you are most likely using open-ended questions which can prevent any kind of consistency across all of your client surveys. Lastly, you must manually do something with the data collected in order to have it in any kind of useable form.

2. Create an Online Survey – If you have a set of standard questions you’d like to pose to many of your clients, you can take the informal format one step further and create a standardised survey. You can create a protected form in a word processing application, a PDF form, or a form that can be submitted through your website (or even a third-party site). This format will obviously take more time to create, but it allows you to have one standard survey you send to all clients. A few examples of online survey sites are ;,,

3. Use a Hard Copy Questionnaire – Sometimes hard copy questionnaire that is mailed to your clients may be the best way to go. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope to make it easier for clients to return the survey. And make sure you have a system in place for entering the data into Excel or some other software so you can collect, review and run reports on the data.

The key, after all, to any client feedback process is not just collecting the data, but gaining insight from it that you can actually use in your business.

Once you have created and sent your survey out, take time to analyse the results. Set a plan to address the outcomes, you may be surprised! Lastly, ensure you thank each participant for their time and suggestions. Many online eSurveys do this as part of the process. If you have chosen to do this using a hard copy, ensure you thank each respondent either by post, email or telephone.

Now you will have a better insight into your customers wants and needs and be able to target better, and hopefully increase course sales, equipment purchases or diving trips!

15 Minute Marketing Idea #2 QR Codes

What is this thing?

It’s a QR code…. and in 2013, you’ll start seeing a lot more of them.

Europe Blog Hide and Seek

A QR code is a special barcode that acts like an internet hyperlink. When scanned by a smart phone (such as an iPhone) it will display a webpage, business card, or message.

QR codes are an easy, cheap and fun way to promote your business.

Read on! By the end you’ll know how to create these codes and use them for nefarious guerilla marketing purposes.

That funny-looking box above represents a link to Scan it with a smartphone, and PADI Pros Europe Blog will appear on the screen.

The code isn’t doing much sitting on this webpage – but imagine if I printed out 300 of these codes on sticker paper and put them in every bathroom stall at DEMA? Besides a possible misdemeanor for me, it would be a sly marketing move: capturing the attention of smartphones users – anyone with an iPhone, Android phone, Palm Pre, etc.

According to ComScore – over 38 million Americans own smartphones already and 64% plan to purchase a smart phone in the near future.

Creating a QR code is extremely easy. Pasted below is a screengrab from – one of many free QR code generators.

As you can see its three short steps.


#1 Decide where you want the user to be directed to: (website, telephone number, etc).

#2 Type in the web address (or phone number) into the box titled Content

#3 Download QR Code!

How to utilize QR Codes

Step 1: What is Your Goal?

  • Increase membership in your dive club?
  • Book more divers into an upcoming dive trip or charter?
  • Promote a new product?
  • Spread the word about your internship opportunity?

Step 2: What do you want people to see?
When the QR code is scanned, it will bring up a webpage link, virtual business card, phone number, or a few lines of text – your choice. Whatever you choose will display on the phone’s screen.

Let’s say your goal is to bring new people into your dive club.

The QR code should point at a webpage (or text) describing your next dive club meeting date, time, location and topics. Be sure to say why your dive club meeting will be the most exciting night of the year. Maybe you’re having an interesting guest speaker. Maybe there will be manufacturer-sponsored prizes. You’ve got a new customer’s attention; make it as exciting as possible.

Step 3: Go Nuts!
Create your QR code (see recommended websites below) and distribute!

  • If promoting your business or dive club: place the QR codes (responsibly) in and around places where divers hang out.  Is there a breakfast spot near a training site that attracts divers? Print out the codes and put them on index cards – under car windshield wipers, stashed in the menus, around the dive centre, or on your website etc.
  • To promote a new product such as a safety whistle or underwater camera in your store, post a QR code next to the product and link to a video of the product in action (on the manufacturer’s website, or something you’ve made).
  • Need to fill up an upcoming dive trip? Put a QR code on your trip flyers and have it point to a youtube video of the destination.
  • Print off a sheet of QR codes and use them as a calling card. Leave one with your restaurant bill or in the waiting room of the dentist’s office. Maybe write an intriguing message on the back,
    “Are you Curious?”
  • Some of the websites will print your QR code on a t-shirt. Walk around town, a convention centre, or your favourite outdoor concert and invite people you see using their smartphones to scan your shirt.* )

Also, take my word on this one:  people who own smartphones love to show off what they can do.

Are you QRious? Ready to Get Started?

Try out the QR code experience (see below)

PADI Scuba Earth

Using a smartphone with a QR barcode reader, scan the QR code below. If it doesn’t work for you right off the screen, try printing the image out on a piece of paper.

No barcode reader?

Ready to Make Your Own?

Useful websites:
Print out one or several QR codes at  You can print the codes on regular paper or make stickers on Avery labels). You can also create fabric QR patches to attach to a dive bag, jacket, etc.

15 minute QR code project

  1. Go to
  2. Choose “text” as the data type
  3. Update the sample text below.
  4. Paste the text into the website’s text box.
  5. Print.
  6. Distribute.

To: The Curious One!

From: [your dive business name here]

Fate is telling you to become a scuba diver. Email us at [your email here] or call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX. Mention you found our QR code and you and a friend can try scuba for free in our pool. Already a diver? Come to our next dive club meeting. We’d love to meet you. Email us for details.

One last really important thing:
You’ve got the customer’s attention. Make the payoff compelling. Rather than simply linking to your homepage, consider a short message of simple text that references your website. For example:

Hi there, we like your style. We’re scuba divers, and like you, we’re curious. We like to explore and try new things. Here’s our website: – we hope you’ll stop by.

Alternately, you could have the QR code point to a special page on your website inviting the customer to leave their contact info to receive a special offer. Or, if you have a short promotional video already produced, you could link to the video’s URL. Be sure and watch your video on someone’s phone first to make sure it looks okay.

15 Minute Marketing Idea #1 Hide and Seek

Generally speaking, the more time a customer spends browsing your shop area, the more likely they are to buy something. Some companies challenge customers to find a hidden object in the shop. If the customer can find it, they receive a prize.


A diving centre located in East Anglia, England used the same technique. They hid a small soft toy (dolphin) in one of the displays. If a customer found it, they received a coupon for their next visit. It encouraged customers who ordinarily would drive past the shop to come in and browse. It also encourages frequent customers to visit areas of the store they had not visited recently. You can use this to direct people to stock you may need to clear.


You could also do this online. Find an entertaining photo and post it to a specific part of your website. In your next email blast, invite customers to participate in your online scavenger hunt. This encourages your customers to spend time browsing your website (learning about upcoming classes, trips, etc). If students locate your funny photo, have them email you the web link in exchange for some kind of prize. This is also a great way to re-launch a web site.

Prizes can be coupons, store-branded clothing, free underwater camera rental, the winner’s photo on your website, air fills, whatever you want. Be clear about the rules and post a disclaimer such as “limit one prize per person.”

Stronger Shark Finning Ban Endorsed by European Parliament

Stronger Shark Finning Ban Endorsed by European Parliament
Stronger Shark Finning Ban Endorsed by European Parliament

Strasbourg, France. November 22, 2012.

Conservation groups are celebrating today’s European Parliament vote to close loopholes in the European Union ban on shark finning (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea), the culmination of six years of campaigning and debate.  Members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of the European Commission’s proposal to impose the best practice for finning ban enforcement: a prohibition on removing shark fins at sea. The measure faced formidable opposition from representatives of Spain and Portugal, Europe’s leaders in catch of oceanic sharks.

“Parliament’s overwhelming support for strengthening the EU finning ban represents a significant victory for shark conservation in the EU and beyond,” said Ali Hood, Shark Trust Director of Conservation. “Because of the EU’s influence at international fisheries bodies, this action holds great promise for combating this wasteful practice on a global scale.”

The EU banned finning in 2003, but the associated regulation includes loopholes that allow shark fins to be removed on board and landed separately from shark bodies, which hampers enforcement.

“We owe so much of our success to the tens of thousands of divers across Europe and beyond who voiced their concern for sharks,” said Suzanne Pleydell, Director for Project AWARE Foundation in Europe. “By demonstrating the economic benefits of sound shark stewardship, divers brought new EU Member States to the debate to support a stronger finning policy that reflects the values of the entire European Union, not just its shark fishing powers.”

Parliament’s final report now goes to the EU Council of Ministers and Commission as part of the process to finalize the regulation. Conservation groups stressed that finning bans alone are insufficient to save sharks.

“Strong finning bans are fundamental to effective shark fisheries management and particularly important for shark fishing powers like the EU, but our work is far from done,” said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International. “We urge swift finalization of the amended finning regulation, and remain committed to securing additional, complementary safeguards including science-based limits on shark catch and trade.”

The groups are turning their sights to the next big battleground for sharks: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) whose Parties meet in March to consider proposals to list commercially valuable, threatened shark species, including porbeagles, hammerheads, and oceanic whitetips.  Proponents for listing include the EU and U.S.

Media contact: Liz Morley (+1 843.693.5044) or Hannah Tarrant ([email protected]).

Notes for Editors:

Shark Advocates International is a project of The Ocean Foundation established to advance science-based policies for sharks and rays.

The Shark Trust is the UK charity for shark conservation, working to advance the worldwide conservation of sharks through science, education, influence and action.

Project AWARE Foundation is a growing movement of scuba divers protecting the ocean planet – one dive at a time.

Shark Advocates International, Shark Trust, and Project AWARE are working as part of a new coalition with Wildlife Conservation Society, Humane Society International, and the German Elasmobranch Society to secure CITES protections for sharks and rays.