PADI Inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame

The PADI® organization joined the ranks of the most honored game-changers in the diving world as a 2017 inductee into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF). Founded in 2000 by the Ministry of Tourism of the Cayman Islands, the ISDHF recognizes individuals and groups who have contributed to the watersports industry, especially in the Cayman Islands. This year’s induction ceremony for PADI and fellow inductees was hosted at the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort on 29 September 2017.

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PADI was honored as an “ISDHF Pioneer” that set the foundation for standardized scuba training programs. From PADI’s humble start in 1966, the organization has grown to be the world’s largest diver training organization of more than 133,000 dive professionals and 6,400 dive centers and resorts spread across 186 countries. PADI Members make diving accessible globally while putting a strong focus on conservation, community, underwater adventure and exploration through the Four Pillars of Change.

“On behalf of the entire PADI organization, we’re honored to have our work and continuing efforts recognized by the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. PADI’s mission is to be a force for good – to be the best in and for the world,” says President and CEO, Dr. Drew Richardson. “By empowering divers and engaging them more effectively at the local level globally, global change is inevitable. With every diver certification issued, PADI creates a growing number of ocean advocates to help defend and preserve the marine environment for generations to come.”

Be Best. Be PADITM. The Way the World Learns to Dive®.

Jumpstart Your Holiday Game Plan

Written by Megan Denny

According to a 2017 study published by Forbes, consumers plan to spend more on holiday gifts in 2017 than they did in 2016. If you don’t already have a plan to cash in on this holiday spending, here are a few proven techniques to encourage customers to give the gift of diving.

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Inspire Customers

Use your email newsletter and social media channels to promote your top gift ideas for scuba divers (male and female), and don’t forget about scuba-related gift ideas for kids. When customers can knock out a large chunk of their holiday shopping at your dive center, everyone wins.

Bundle Items to Discourage Price Comparison

The number of people who purchase holiday gifts online grows year after year, but only a small percentage of consumers buy 100 percent of their gifts online. Strategic pricing and promotions can prevent showrooming and give you a bigger slice of the holiday shopping pie.

Bundling products together makes price comparison (and therefore showrooming) a challenge. When you bundle a mask/fin/snorkel set with a gear bag and free defog for 20 percent off MSRP, it will be very difficult to compare your price with an online retailer. Combining training with gear is another way to prevent comparison shopping, such as packaging a camera and digital underwater photo course.

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Highlight Local Expertise

If your dive staff wear a particular brand of BCD, wetsuit, dry suit or other gear, be sure visitors to your store know why. For example, a lightweight BCD may not have sufficient lift for someone who dives in cold water in a dry suit or thick wetsuit. Or, some dive computers may have a small display that’s hard to read underwater.

The average diver walking into your store may not think of these things. Post gear reviews or small signs with bullet points highlighting the features and benefits of your favorite products – these can act as a  “silent salesperson.” Be sure staff are trained to explain the consequences of going with the least expensive item when it does not meet the diver’s needs.

Include a Warm and Fuzzy Feeling with Every Purchase

One way to encourage divers to spend their holiday cash with you is to partner with a local charity. Offer to donate a portion of sales, host a canned food drive, or promote the charitable work you and your staff do year-round in the community. Ensure your charity partner cross-promotes your business in their email newsletters and on social media.

Another option is to give a little something to the gift giver. For example, if shoppers spend $250 US or more in one transaction, give them a $25 US gift card to use in 2018.

Offer a Flexible Return Policy

In 2016, 22 percent of shoppers backed out of a holiday purchase due to an inconvenient return policy (source NRF). Post signs explaining your return policy in prominent areas near the register, on a mirror or on the changing room door.

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Invite Customers to Create an Online Wish List

Online wish lists allow consumers to type or copy/paste links to products they would like to receive as gifts. Gift givers can search for wish lists using their friend or family member’s email address.

There are several websites that allow customers to create and share wish lists. One option is Giftster, a free wish list creation site with a group function (designed for families) that could also work for dive shops. After creating a group, type in email addresses to invite people to create a wish list. If your website is powered by Shopify, wish list plugins are available.

Holiday Sales Bring in Big Returns

For many retailers, 20 percent of their annual income comes from holiday sales. Taking time to promote gift ideas and creating packages can pay significant dividends. The sooner you start, the greater the returns will be.

Benefits of My PADI Club

My PADI Club™ gives divers the online tools, community support, expert advice, information and savings they need and want, all in one place. The goal is to make it easier for people to explore, learn and share their passion for diving and in turn, help PADI® Dive Centers, Resorts and Pros succeed. Here are the key benefits for PADI Members:

Club_AdvertGraphicAdvertise for Your Business – Use your Store Profile to gain visibility and promote your business directly to millions of potential customers.

Club_EarnGraphicEarn with Every Diver You Enroll – PADI Dive Centers, Resorts and Pros will earn commissions on registered Premium Club members.

Club_GrowGraphicGrow Your Business – Use savings on courses and top brand gear as incentives to increase sales and certifications with Club members.

Club_BuildGraphicBuild Stronger Customer Relationships – Search and connect with customers, and leverage Club tools to notify them of events and specials.

How do PADI Members earn commission on a new registration?

When a diver registers from a My PADI Club invite email sent by the store, or when the diver enters the dive center name in a registration field, the PADI Dive Center, Resort and certifying instructor automatically earn commission.

Commission is paid for every diver who purchases a Club membership for the first time and remains in Club for 60 days.

New divers are sent an email with a link to sign up for a 14-day free trial of Club. You can also drive customers directly to the sign-up page at padi.com/mypadiclub.

Aligning with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is the first global alliance working to solve the worldwide problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear, known as ghost gear. Founded by World Animal Protection in 2015, the GGGI works to reduce the volume of ghost gear, remove and recycle it, and rescue entangled animals. By aligning with the GGGI, the PADI® family can help mobilize divers to look for and report harmful ghost gear that annually entangles and kills marine life including hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, turtles and birds.

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PADI joins GGGI as a member of its global solutions group to help develop new ways of mitigating the ghost gear problem. This complements the efforts of Project AWARE®, which actively works as a GGGI member to build evidence through its Dive Against Debris® program. Working together, the goal is to develop and implement projects to reduce and remove ghost gear from the ocean. This includes equipping PADI Divers with the knowledge and techniques to identify, report and, with proper training, safely remove ghost gear from waters, creating a global movement of millions of underwater eyes on the lookout for ghost gear.

More than 640,000 tons of fishing equipment is left in the world’s oceans each year, with reports showing that this debris affects more than 800 species of marine life. Many nets lost in global waters are enormous – often far bigger than football fields – trapping and killing marine life under the surface. Mostly made of plastic, ghost gear is also highly durable and can persist in the oceans for up to 600 years.

“We are happy to team up with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative,” says Drew Richardson, PADI Worldwide President and CEO. “PADI is committed to protecting the ocean planet and, with our unique underwater vantage, the dive community can play a significant role in locating marine debris. Along with Project AWARE, we look forward to working with the GGGI to empower and mobilize PADI Divers to join the fight against ghost gear.”

“We are proud to welcome PADI, with its millions of underwater eyes around the world looking out for ghost gear, as a pivotal new member for the GGGI,” says Elizabeth Hogan, U.S. Oceans and Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection, the GGGI’s founding participant. “Ghost gear is a true global problem that knows no borders, and PADI will surely play a crucial role in helping us to locate, remove and recycle ghost gear, which causes such immense suffering for marine animals.”

To learn more about ghost gear and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, visit www.ghostgear.org.

Be Best. Be PADITM. The Way the World Learns to Dive®.

 

Going PADI – The Best Decision

Switching training organizations is rarely an easy decision, but when a business becomes a PADI® Dive Center or Resort, the results can be truly outstanding. Last year, more dive centers and resorts joined PADI than ever before.  A case in point is Dive West, in Dallas, Texas, USA, that chose to go PADI in December 2015 and has since become a thriving PADI Retail and Resort Association member. Dive West’s management was motivated to join PADI after experiencing a decline in satisfactory customer service from another dive training agency.

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“Top-flight customer service is an essential element of the PADI Member experience,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “Life in a PADI Dive Center is often hectic, so quick and efficient service is imperative to allow dive center staff to deliver the same to their customers. That’s why PADI Regional Headquarters puts so much emphasis on exceptional customer service for members.”

Dive West finds PADI customer service outstanding. “PADI staff are always Johnny-on-the-spot,” says Brandi Farch, Dive West Store Manager. “We never have a problem accessing PADI services or reaching the right person on the phone.”

After joining, Dive West took advantage of PADI’s business consultation services, which has been an important factor in the store’s success. Like many businesses, Dive West had struggled to find the right pricing for their services and had been stuck on the same course pricing for more than eight years. However, trusting in the power of the PADI brand and PADI’s innovative marketing programs, Dive West instituted what they felt was more realistic, value-based course pricing and has thrived as a PADI Member ever since. “In less than two years with PADI, we’ve already exceeded the number of diver certifications we completed in the previous three years with our prior training agency” says Farch. “Joining PADI was the best decision we ever made for our store.”

Not surprised, Richardson says, “The PADI System of diver education brings student divers through the doors of PADI Dive Centers every day around the world. PADI’s proven marketing strategies and innovative marketing tools, such as a free annual marketing tool kit, also bring in customers.”

“We love the marketing tool kit and look forward to it each year,” says Farch. “I’m excited to decorate the store with all the new banners, flags and other point-of-purchase items, and I put it all up as soon as the kit arrives.”

“We’ve also enjoyed an increase in both walk-in and drive-by traffic since we switched to PADI. I believe this is partly attributable to our PADI-designed window wrap,” Farch explains. “Previously, we had a simple marquee sign that said ‘Dive West’ on our storefront. Many people didn’t even realize we were a dive shop. However, the window wrap dramatically changed all that. Now we’ve got ‘LEARN TO DIVE’ in great big letters, the PADI logo and other attractive graphics on our windows. People know we’re a dive shop and they drop in to check us out.”

Farch also appreciates the name recognition PADI enjoys. “People recognize PADI; we no longer have to spend all day explaining the difference between the various dive training organizations to potential customers.”

Closely tied to this recognition is the increased availability of instructors. “One of the best things about switching to PADI has been the increase in the number of qualified dive professionals who can work for us,” says Farch. “We used to have a lot of trouble getting instructors; nobody wanted to pay the money to become an instructor for our former training organization because it simply wasn’t beneficial enough for them. Now, we not only have seven or eight PADI Instructors on staff, we are also growing our own divemasters. In fact, we’re nearly finished training our first class of four PADI Divemaster candidates.”

Be Best. Be PADITM. The Way the World Learns to Dive.

 

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Written by DAN staff

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.

3D illustration of Heart, medical concept.

Hypertension

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.

Smoking

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

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.

Inactivity

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

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

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Put the Master Scuba Diver Program to Work

The PADI Master Scuba Diver™ rating is often described as “the black belt of scuba.” While most people know what a karate black belt is, entry-level divers may not understand the prestige of the Master Scuba Diver rating. You need to inspire all your customers to join the elite group of divers who reach this level.SI_MSD_OWOLJan07-0701

Why? Because it’s not only the ultimate rating that signifies an accomplished and experienced diver, but also because you gain a customer who takes eight courses, commits to more than 50 dives, and will likely purchase a full set of gear. There are at least three reasons why you should implement or bolster your Master Scuba Diver program today:

  1. Offer and fill more courses. The Master Scuba Diver program sets goals for your customers and they enroll in the courses needed to reach their goals.
  2. Support active divers. The more training your divers receive, the more dives they make, the more gear they purchase, and then they dive even more.
  3. Create loyal customers. Your diver retention rates will increase as your divers become more competent and comfortable in the water.

Here are a just few ideas for raising awareness and interest in your Master Scuba Diver program:

  • Create a wall of fame in your store to recognize customers who have achieved the prestigious Master Scuba Diver rating.
  • Publicly chart the progress of current Advanced Open Water and Rescue Divers to encourage friendly competition among students.
  • Invite Master Scuba Divers to be guest speakers at your next course orientation.
  • Give special recognition to your Master Scuba Divers at a dive club meeting or store BBQ.
  • Develop a five specialty program for your area that showcase local diving, or perhaps focuses on the environment – Cold Water Master Scuba Diver or Eco-Master Scuba Diver.
  • Offer an exclusive dive trip only for Master Scuba Divers.

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