PADI Through the Decades: the 2010s

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This is the final installment of our 50th Anniversary series – PADI Through the Decades. You can get caught up here: 60s, 70s, 80s90s and 2000s.

Today, PADI is going stronger than ever. The 2010s have especially seen a strong focus on the community, with Tec and Rec finding common ground, ScubaEarth connecting divers around the world, and Women’s Dive Day encouraging more women to jump into diving.

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2011: Rebreather and Sidemount

As tec diving gained popularity, even more divers wanted to expand their scuba opportunities using emerging technologies. To bridge the gap between recreational and technical diving, PADI developed both Tec and Recversions of rebreather and sidemount training courses. Before 2011, rebreather training had been primarily Tec-oriented, but recreational divers were now able to use new, highly-automated rebreathers, bringing a previously niche area of diving to the mainstream industry. Many divers and underwater photographers prefer rebreathers for their longer bottom times, lack of bubbles and silence. Tec diving similarly influenced other recreational areas, like sidemount, which traveled from cave and technical diving roots into the recreational sphere with benefits of comfort, convenience and flexibility.

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2015: Women’s Dive Day

The first PADI Women’s Dive Day took place on 18 July 2015. Women’s Dive Day was created with the goal of getting as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day. Divers used to be almost exclusively men, but now women make up about a third of certified divers. With Women’s Dive Day, PADI hopes to encourage even more women to dive and keep that number growing. The inaugural event featured celebrations across 65 countries and all seven continents, with more than 6,000 divers in attendance. The second PADI Women’s Dive Day is coming up on 16 July 2016. Make sure you register your events to take part of the fun!

Thanks to all our PADI Members across the world for being part of the PADI story. Over the past 50 years we’ve shared an incredible journey of experiences, connections, growth and success as the world’s leader in diver training, and we look forward to what comes next over the next 50 years.

Specialty of the Quarter Launching Soon

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Launching in July, the PADI Specialty of the Quarter campaign will focus on different PADI specialties each quarter. This important tool will help you to grow the interest in continuing education and increase the sales of PADI Specialty courses and student materials. PADI Specialty courses offer the perfect opportunity to widen the knowledge of your students, better understand their interests as divers, and make sure they come back and sign up for more courses.

How does the Specialty of the Quarter campaign work?

Students working towards their Master Scuba Diver certifications who sign up for one of the PADI specialty courses listed below with your dive center, will receive a free PADI eCard upon Master Scuba Diver completion.

Top Tip: Try offering your own Specialty of the Quarter prizes designed to encourage divers of all levels to keep diving with you. For example, the prize could be an additional specialty course free of charge if they complete their next certification with you.

Calendar for the PADI Specialty of the Quarter 2016:

  • Q3 (July – September): PADI Digital Underwater Photographer and PADI Wreck Diver
  • Q4 (October – December): PADI Deep Diver and PADI Dry Suit Diver

Tools for the PADI “Specialty of the Quarter” campaign:

To help you promote the PADI “Specialty of the Quarter”, you can download free digital marketing materials via the PADI Pros’ Site including posters, e-mail templates, headers, a specialty of the quarter incentive chart, and more!

To access the toolkit, visit the PADI Pros’ Site (Toolbox–>Marketing–>Marketing Campaigns–>Specialty of the Quarter).

For more information on the PADI Specialty of the Quarter campaign, please contact Emily Krak at emily.krak@padi.com.

 

2016 Elite Instructor My PADI Challenge

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Were you an Elite Instructor in 2015? If so, hope you are ready for a little friendly competition!

Take the second annual, Elite Instructor my PADI® Challenge from 1 July through 31 October and you can win a 2017 PADI Membership Renewal, personalized PADI Gear and recognition at DEMA Show 2016. You’ll also be featured in the My PADI marketing campaign!

You’ll compete against others in your same 2015 Elite Instructor category and there’s no need to enter or apply because your PADI Regional Headquarters will track your growth for you. Those showing the most percentage growth in certifications (as compared to the same time frame last year) will win. Simple as that!

Get the full details – including the official contest rules – at the Elite Instructor my PADI Challenge page.

Now, get certifying and good luck!

Join Us in Celebrating PADI’s 50th Anniversary

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This year marks PADI’s 50th Anniversary, and to help us celebrate this milestone, we’re calling on PADI Professionals to share their favorite diving moment from the past 50 years.

Enter your favorite diving moment by uploading a photo, video or story and you could win one of these incredible prizes: an Aqua Lung CORE Regulator, a GoPro HERO4 package, a Suunto D4i Novo Dive Computer, Vivid-Pix photo editing software or a PADI eLearning Gift Pass/Gift Bag.

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You  could share…

  • An incredible marine life encounter
  • A memorable experience with your students
  • How and why you became a PADI Pro

Make sure you get your customers and student divers involved, too! They can share their top underwater memories or simply tell us what being a PADI diver means to them.

Click here to enter via the Contest Page
or
Tag your entries on Twitter or Instagram using #PADI50Years

 

Enter Now!

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PADI eLearning Performance Improvements

By John Kinsella

This June, PADI partnered with Akamai, a global leader in content and media distribution, to turbo charge the PADI eLearning® experience with cutting-edge server technology. People the world over have become increasingly accustomed to fast, high-quality, online experiences, and it’s vital that the dive industry continues to stand out in this ultra-competitive landscape.

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Akamai works with companies (including Apple, Verizon, Sony, Disney and Yahoo) who distribute massive amounts of content globally. Their vast network comprises 216,000 servers housed in data centers spread throughout 120 countries around the world. Somewhere in the region of eighty-five percent of the world’s Internet users are within a single network hop of an Akamai server.

They will host PADI eLearning courses in a local data center, which means that divers in London, Sydney or Hong Kong won’t have to wait for a US-based server, they’ll pull content locally. This dramatically speeds up eLearning course performance. Some users could potentially see a several hundred percent improvement in speed. The most notable improvement will be video load time.

This technology is deployed in the background and is now fully propagated around the world; you will experience the improvement immediately on login to any eLearning course.

More improvements are in store later this year when PADI will upgrade the Learning Management System (LMS) that powers eLearning. This will enable features such as mobile-first responsive design, which fully supports mobile devices, phones and tablets, including iOS devices which are currently only supported by the Touch product line. This upgrade supports larger video resolutions so that divers using eLearning products on a desktop or laptop computer can size video all the way up to full screen in most cases.  In addition, reduced file sizes will make PADI digital products load faster on mobile networks, and later in 2017, courses will run even when devices are not connected to the internet.

PADI eLearning courses will migrate to the new platform from late 2016 throughout 2017. Keep an eye out for details closer to the launch and make sure to let your divers (and potential divers) know about the state of the art learning experiences that await them.

7 Tips for Turning Discover Scuba® Diving Days Participants Into Certified Divers

From PADI surveys, we know that nearly 90 percent of Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) participants say they enjoyed the experience and are interested in becoming certified divers. It’s estimated that around 15 percent of DSD participants enroll in a course within a short time after the experience.

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Here are some best practices recommended by PADI Dive Centers and Resorts that have been successful at converting DSD participants into PADI Open Water Divers and beyond.

  1. Schedule at least one event per month and advertise it. Your customers are actually the best source of advertising. Encourage them to bring friends to your DSD events.
  2. Social media is great tool to spread the word about your DSD event. Have a designated person responsible for snapping cool and fun pictures of the event and ask participants to tag you and post on their social channels.
  3. Always highlight the free benefits in the Discover Scuba Diving Participant Guide, especially Open Water Diver Online – Section 1.
  4. Have a special offer for enrolling in a course that day, especially for current customers who bring in their friends/family to try scuba. Have a designated and well-trained “closer” to take course sign ups as participants exit the water. Be sure to offer some incentive for the closer.
  5. Create a social setting and offer snacks to get people to spend more time with staff after the experience.
  6. Follow up with all participants who didn’t enroll in the course within two days and extend the special offer.
  7. If your participants are short on time but really want to become divers, the PADI Scuba Diver rating might be a good choice for them – particularly if they expect to go scuba diving primarily with a dive guide.

Visit the My Account section of the PADI Pros’ Site to schedule your Discover Scuba Diving Days events today.

Discover Scuba Diving Days marketing tools are also available at the PADI Pros’ Site.

PADI AmbassaDiver Susan R. Eaton: Explorer, Geologist, Extreme Snorkeler

In the lead-up to PADI Women’s Dive Day, coming up on 16 July, 2016, we’re featuring the world’s most interesting and accomplished women in our “Women in Diving” blog series. This time, we caught up with Susan R. Eaton, scientist, explorer, journalist, conservationist and ‘extreme’ snorkeler.

Ten years ago, after a 32-year career in diving, Susan suffered a scuba diving trauma that landed her in a hyperbaric chamber for three days, ending her scuba diving career. Today, Susan explores the ocean in the snorkel zone, the land-sea-ice-air interface where snorkelers interact with large marine mammals. Susan is also the founder and leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition, a team of women divers, scientists, explorers, movie-makers, photographers, artists and educators recently announced as PADI AmbassaDiversTM. Team Sedna is currently preparing for an epic 3,000-kilometer snorkel relay across Canada’s Northwest Passage in the summers of 2017 and 2018 to bring global attention to the disappearing sea ice in the Arctic.

Read on to find out more about Susan, Team Sedna and how they plan to dive the five Great Lakes in 24 hours (a world’s first) for PADI Women’s Dive Day 2016!Sedna-team-e1461868193662

You were an early achiever of the PADI Open Water Diver certification at a time when there were few women divers. How did that come about? What inspired you?
I obtained my PADI Open Water Diver certification in 1975 when I was 16. I was one of two women in my class. Completing that certification took a great deal of dedication on everybody’s part because our checkout dive took place over two days in Halifax Harbor… in Nova Scotia, Canada… in February…during a two-day blizzard!

As for inspiration, my dad was a recreational diver in the 1950s and 1960s, and my mom was a marine biologist – who could barely snorkel! She was a marine mammal expert, specializing in whales and seals.

I was also inspired by other female ocean scientists of the day, including deep ocean explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle and ichthyologist / shark behaviorist Dr. Eugenia Clark, who took up scuba diving in pursuit of her research. I thought, “If Jacques Cousteau is going to hire me, I need to be a diver!” I wanted to be ready!

Did you have a favorite type of diving? Such as ice diving, cave diving, etc.?
I really enjoyed all types of diving and leading dive expeditions. In fact, I co-led a dive expedition to Cocos Island back in the mid-1980s, before anyone ever heard of it! I was never a cave diver; I like looking up and seeing the water’s surface. I like deep diving too – I don’t need to see the bottom! Wreck diving was an early favorite since I grew up in Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Its rocky coastline is littered with shipwrecks, and diving there involves dangerous currents and cold water. Nova Scotia is also home to sunken ships dating from the 1600s all the way up through World War II. My favorite wrecks were the wooden ships from the 1800s to 1900s, although there isn’t much left of them. I would love to dive a German U-boat but I’ve never done it!

My hands-down favorite ocean activity has always been interacting with big animals. However, in most jurisdictions, it’s illegal to dive with marine mammals; instead, you snorkel with them in the snorkel zone. For me, the snorkel zone because is the most dynamic part of the ocean because it’s the place where all the air-breathing animals come to the surface.

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Photo by Jill Heinerth – http://www.SednaEpic.com

And now, the snorkel zone is your home. Will you please tell us how that came to pass?
Ten years ago, I experienced a diving trauma in Belize, and I spent the better part of three days in a hyperbaric chamber… I emerged from the chamber as a non-diver.

So, after 32 years of diving, I assumed that my up-close-and-personal relationship with the ocean was over. Initially, I was quite depressed. Then, I discovered that people were snorkeling with belugas in Churchill, Manitoba. Intrigued, I traveled to Hudson Bay, to report on snorkeling with belugas for the Calgary Herald. Then, I heard about people snorkeling the rivers of Vancouver Island with hundreds of thousands of migrating salmon. I visited Campbell River, the “salmon capital of the world,” and ran the river with up to a half a million salmon. The salmon are fighting their way upstream as I was gliding downstream. When the salmon see your black wetsuit (which looks a lot like a seal), they just part around you. Next, I volunteered with the Haida Nation Fisheries program, counting and netting salmon, and snorkeling the rivers of Haida Gwaii which lies off the northern coast of British Columbia. Then, I set off to snorkel with narwhals off the northern tip of Baffin Island. Unfortunately, my fellow explorers and I became stranded when the ice we were camped on broke away from the island. After traveling 19 kilometers on an ice island, we were some 36 hours later rescued by the Canadian military!

In short, I’m happy exploring my new home in the snorkel zone, the dynamic land-sea-ice-air interface where the exhalations of snorkelers co-mingle with those of narwhals, belugas, leopard seals and humpbacks.

In 2015, you were named one of Canada’s top 100 modern-day explorers by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. How did you become an “explorer”?
When I first got involved in ‘extreme’ snorkeling, I googled ‘Antarctica and snorkeling’ and discovered the Ocean Geographic Society’s Elysium Epic Expedition comprised of scientists, movie makers and photographers were going to the Bottom of the World to study ocean change. I joined the science team as the ship’s geophysicist – which was not as easy as it sounds. When I discovered the expedition, the vessel was departing in just three short months. I got in touch with the contact person in Amsterdam and told her, “I need to be on this trip.” She said it was by invitation only, and who are you, anyway? I told her, “I’m an ‘extreme’ snorkeler.” I also told her that 100 years ago, Ernest Shackleton’s scientific team had been led by a geologist and that there had also been a geophysicist in the team – wouldn’t it be great if, 100 years later, the geoscientist was a woman? Well, I made it onto the Elysium Epic team. Since 2010, I’ve participated in three Antarctic expeditions and three expeditions to the Arctic.

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Now, you are devoting a great deal of time to your homegrown project, the Sedna Epic Expedition? What was the inspiration for Sedna?
In 2010, I heard a news report about a sailboat had traversed the Northwest Passage, which was only possible because it hadn’t been a heavy ice year. While this crossing was impressive, I knew that quite a few ships had traversed the Northwest Passage before. I had a Eureka moment, “What if you could swim the Northwest Passage? Snorkeling this waterway would be a very elegant metaphor for disappearing sea ice. And, you’d be able to study the Northwest Passage like no one had before if you were immersed in the water.”

For three years, I researched and planned how a team of divers and snorkelers would go about snorkeling the Northwest Passage. In September 2013, I launched the all-female Sedna Epic Expedition at the Canadian Chapter of the Explorers Club. I named the expedition after Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the ocean and the mother of all marine mammals. The Sedna Epic Expedition’s goal is to bring attention to disappearing sea ice and to deliver ocean educational outreach to Inuit and Inuvialuit communities situated along the Northwest Passage. Team Sedna’s sea women will serve as role models for indigenous girls and young women in the Arctic, inspiring them to think big, and to follow their dreams.

During the summers of 2017 and 2018, Team Sedna will launch a 3,000-kilometer snorkel relay across the Northwest Passage. Team Sedna is comprised of women from around the world – including indigenous women – and includes snorkelers, divers, scientists, moviemakers, photographers, educators, and artists. The mother ship will become Team Sedna’s TV station /floating classroom. Team Sedna’s ocean education outreach program also includes underwater robots equipped with cameras that kids can fly from the piers. During the summer of 2016, Team Sedna will travel to Iqaluit, Nunavut, a small Inuit community situated on Baffin Island. The sea women will run their innovative ocean outreach program, using aquariums and robots. And, assisted by two PADI Divemasters, we’ll mentor 12 indigenous girls, leading them on snorkel safaris and teaching them about the oceans around them. We call the program “bringing the ocean to sea level”.

Will Team Sedna participate in Women’s Dive Day this year?
Yes! We’re planning to dive all five Great Lakes in 24 hours, which is a world’s first! We’re partnering with PADI Dive Center Great Lakes Divers in Alpena, Michigan, and dive shop owner Stephanie Gandulla, who is also a Maritime Archeologist and Media and Outreach Coordinator at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary for NOAA. Stephanie is also a member of Team Sedna. According to Stephanie, “In addition to Team Sedna’s sea women, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of space for PADI divers to participate. In fact, we already have four signed up – and they run the gamut of dive experience from newly-minted PADI Open Water Divers through experts.”

To participate in PADI Women’s Dive Day, register your own event on the PADI Pros’ Site.