Who Can Sign a PADI Medical Form?


One of the questions received frequently by the Regional Training Consultants is: Can a PA sign a PADI Medical Form? What about a Nurse Practitioner?  PADI accepts medical forms signed by Medical Doctors, PA’s, Nurse Practitioners and Psychiatrists, but please review the additional details below:

PADI accepts medical releases signed by a:

Licensed Physician/Doctor including:
– Medical Doctor (M.D.)
– Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)
– Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.)

Physician Assistant (PA) or Nurse Practioner (PRN)
The P.A.’s or PRN’s in-charge Physician (M.D.) must sign or stamp the form.


PADI does NOT accept Medical Releases signed by:

  • Psychologists
  • Chiropractors
  • Veterinarians
  • Traditional healers

The most current version of PADI’s Medical Form can be found on the Pros Site or the forms page on PADI.com.

If you are unsure about a medical release’s validity or have questions, contact your Regional Training Consultant before taking the student into the water.

Can the “Best” Divemasters come from the “Worst” Divers?

By John Kinsella

Perhaps an instructor’s most important role is training fellow dive professionals; running a PADI Divemaster course, as the book succinctly says, demands nothing less than your best effort. Ditto for the DM candidates.


Speaking of effort, a recent candidate got me thinking about what it takes to make a really great PADI Divemaster. This person had to work hard at every step of the journey to PADI professional. Throughout the progression, from Open Water, to Advanced Open Water and Rescue, nothing came easy, but equally, nothing was allowed to get in the way. Often, skills had to be practiced time and time again to develop mastery; sometimes even to the consternation of fellow candidates who flew through the required skills and exercises. This was real world affirmation of the benefits of performance-based training.

It wasn’t easy for the DM training staff either; they had to put in extra effort too. From counseling sessions to restore confidence when if flagged to the extra time needed to make sure skills were performed comfortably and confidently, the trainers went the extra mile. What was notable in this context was how willing and selfless they were in response to the tremendous efforts the candidate made.


The end result was that, with considerable time and effort, and constant good humor, this candidate prevailed and I have yet to meet someone who was more delighted with success. But the best was yet to come. I think, more than anything, it is the inherent understanding of the challenges people sometimes face and overcome while learning new dive skills, and the consequent empathy, that helped this new divemaster really blossom and become an invaluable and committed dive shop team member and one of the most popular divemasters with customers.

For those involved with professional development, and that should include all PADI Members, the basic message is clear. Sometimes it takes a bit of extra effort to help a DM (or other) candidate succeed. But work hard with people who try hard and the rewards can be worth it.

Implementing the Updated PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course

There’s a lot to like about the revised and updated PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course: the obvious and necessary content updates, the new Thinking Like a Diver section, the cool new PADI Advanced Open Water Diver materials and, from an immediate implementation perspective, the fact that the new course is at once new and exciting yet still essentially familiar. Perhaps the neatest benefit and the greatest opportunity is the streamlined relationship between the Adventure Dives and PADI Specialties.

Latin America

Now’s the perfect time to review the specialties you (and your staff) teach and seriously consider expanding what you offer. Evaluate the specialty dive opportunities in your area, and those you are particularly passionate about, which you couldn’t link to the previous Advanced Open Water Diver course. This is the perfect opportunity to create your own special course that reflects your unique area and benefits, and which excites divers.

Now, the first dives of all standardized PADI or AWARE Specialty Diver courses may be offered as Adventure Dives. You can offer these “new” Adventure Dives – for example, an Ice Dive or a Dive Against Debris™ Adventure Dive – if you’re certified as an instructor in the specialty, and the student diver meets the specialty prerequisites. (Also, while the PADI Rebreather Diver course is not a PADI Specialty Diver course, the first, task-intensive, confined water dive counts as an Adventure Dive.) There’s a complete list of the revised Adventure Dives and the standardized PADI Specialty Diver courses, and a lot more information, in the 3Q2016 The Undersea Journal.

USA Tour

A few obsolete Adventure Dives are gone, but you can offer more than ever before. A great example is the Digital Underwater Imaging Adventure Dive, which replaces both the Underwater Photography and Underwater Videography Adventure Dives. This new dive focuses on modern cameras that shoot both stills and video, and develops basic skills and knowledge in both – though you and your student divers may favor one or the other. The dive still credits as the first dive in the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course, even though it differs from the specialty (which will be revised in the future).

The opportunities are nearly endless: Depending upon your location and market, you can get divers started in sidemount, ice, cavern, full face mask, delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB), diver propulsion vehicle (DPV), enriched air or any other standardized specialty using existing specialty materials.

Tie in the new Adventure Dives by having the PADI Specialty Instructor ratings for the new opportunities, and grab this unique moment to make your new Advanced Open Water Diver course truly special.

PADI Miniseminars at DEMA Show 2016


Dive professionals know it makes good sense to plan ahead; now’s the time to do just that for the 2016 DEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Start by securing early bird pricing of $106 US per night (plus tax, and subject to change) at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino. The PADI Course Director Update, EFR Instructor Trainer, and the not-to-be-missed PADI Social will take place downstairs in the hotel convention center, so you’ll be staying in the center of the action. Contact the PADI Travel Network at 800 736 7021 (US and Canada), or +1 949 858 7234, ext. 2539 to reserve your room today.

miniseminar2016_padiproductsWith that taken care of, why not take a look at the extensive menu of PADI Miniseminars at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s a good bet that you will probably want to start with PADI Products, Programs and Standards, and Risk Management 2016: Protect Your Divers and Yourself. These two perennial favorites are required (along with two other presentations) to regain Teaching status after a lapse of one to three years.

Pick and choose others that best fit your personal or business strategy, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to expand your reach with the cutting-edge and cost-effective marketing insights you’ll find in Modern Marketing Solutions, Dive it Forward With Course Linking, Extending the Customer Life Cycle Beyond Open Water Diver Certification, and Niche Market Mastery. Don’t forget to Engage with China for advice and tactics on how to serve the fastest growing tourism market in the world.

miniseminar2016_chinaOther PADI Miniseminars include 21st Century Customer Service, Integrating Digital Products, and the CDTC Q&A: What It Takes to Become a PADI Course Director (it’s never to early to plan for this ultimate goal). For those with the majority of a career under their belts, Retirement Planning 101 could be considered mandatory.

Grab your calendar, book your room and make your choices – plan now for a successful 2016 DEMA Show.

Miniseminars at the Las Vegas Convention Center

By attending the PADI Products, Programs and Standards and Risk Management 2016 miniseminars along with two additional presentations, PADI Members can regain Teaching Status after not renewing for one to three years. To gain seminar credits toward the PADI Master Instructor rating or Course Director Training Course application, PADI Members receive one credit for every three PADI Miniseminars attended. Attendance validation is required for credit and forms will be available at the seminars.

PADI Products, Programs and Standards 
(Required for Credit)
Discover how to leverage new products and programs to increase business while learning about any additional standards changes that will affect your daily teaching. This 60-minute seminar will cover the updated PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course and key links to new and existing PADI Specialty Diver courses.
Risk Management 2016: Protect Your Divers and Yourself 
(Required for Credit)
Are you 100 percent prepared in your ongoing efforts to avoid dive accidents? Determine how prepared you are through an analysis of real dive incidents and learn how conservative decisions provide better protection. You’ll also learn how to better manage risk in diver education programs and throughout your dive business.
CDTC Q&A: What It Takes to Become a PADI Course Director PADI Course Director is the ultimate PADI Professional rating. Come to this miniseminar to learn how you can reach this goal and about the prerequisites, application procedures and acceptance protocols for the Course Director Training Course.
Dive it Forward With Course Linking The PADI System of diver education provides many opportunities to increase efficiency and course profitability during each training session you conduct. By teaching multiple courses concurrently or linking courses together, you can provide value that your customers want, while differentiating yourself from the competition. Find out which course combinations work best and how to get started right away.
Integrating Digital Products Whether you’re a dive professional, retailer or resort, PADI’s Digital Products are designed to increase diver acquisition and retention. The hardest part is determining how to fit it in your pre-existing business model. This one-hour seminar will provide you with an overview of the PADI Digital Suite, digital integration best practices and ideas on how to make your business technologically sustainable for modern consumers.
How to Increase Customer Lifetime Value – Going Beyond Open Water Attracting new customers requires significant resources, so don’t just say goodbye after Open Water Diver certification. Increase customer retention and turn new divers into loyal customers and advocates through new opportunities available from PADI.
21st Century Customer Service Learn how to fine-tune your customer service to fit in the modern dive market. By improving your interactions with customers, managing your online reputation and properly training your staff, you can elevate your customer experience to new levels. If you’re a store owner, manager or employee, you don’t want to miss this seminar.
Retirement Planning 101 Have you thought about the future for your dive business? Join PADI staff in a discussion about succession planning for owners entertaining the idea of retirement. Find out how to prepare your business and employees for the transition.
Niche Market Mastery We often hear from PADI Members that the most noticeable gains in new profitability come from smaller, niche markets. This one-hour seminar will provide new ways to increase your peak and off-season customer referral business, professional level training and youth programs.
Modern Marketing Solutions Marketing is a business component that many professionals and business owners tend to overlook. This seminar will provide a tutorial on how to set realistic goals, target the right audience – nondivers, youth, women, etc. – create a viable marketing plan and execute it with confidence.
Engage with China – 与中国共赢 Nearly one out of ten international tourists come from China. Growing affluence, longer holidays, fewer visa conditions and more repeat travellers means that this trend is on the rise. If you wish to engage with this emerging market, your next step is to tailor language, products and services to Chinese tourists. Join us to learn the best industry practices to attract these travellers and the tourism potential through e-commerce.


PADI Partners

Grow Your Business with EVE SPLASH Learn how EVE SPLASH can take care of the marketing and communication to help you grow your business. Attend this one-hour seminar and walk away with easy-to-implement processes to help you place ads, attract new students, take bookings, manage leads, certify divers and automate follow-up communications.
Protect What You Love! Adopt a Dive Site™ with Project AWARE® Want to take your Dive Against Debris™ to the next level? Join Project AWARE for an exclusive inside look at its latest initiative, Adopt a Dive Site – a unique and powerful way for dive centers, resorts and leaders to engage in ongoing, local protection and monitoring of your favorite underwater playgrounds. You’ll not only deepen your knowledge of the global marine debris issue, you’ll also walk away with new tools and resources to help you share your stewardship of the ocean with your customers and community.
PADI Swim School:  How to Grow Your Scuba Business Learn how adding swim lessons to your business not only provides additional income and job opportunity, but brings new swimmers, new divers, families of divers and the community into your business. Whether you have a pool, rent a pool, want a pool or have an ocean available, PADI Swim School is for you!


Is Freediver Right for You?


By now you’ve likely heard about the PADI Freediver™ program; there’s a bunch of information out there (especially in the first quarter 2016 The Undersea Journal® and, of course, on PADI.com). Some PADI Pros have taken to it like ducks to water, while others may be a bit hesitant about leaping in and still have questions.

For those in the latter camp, here are a couple of big reasons to consider, if not leaping, then at least sticking a toe into freediving waters.

First, it’s fun. You almost certainly already enjoy casual freediving and the freedom of diving without scuba. While you probably have above-average freediving skills, you may not be interested in intense competition or breaking records. Perfect. Taking the PADI Freediver course is an obvious first step and a great way to fine tune your skills while taking a good look at the program and its support materials from a professional’s perspective.

You can do just that, and a whole lot more, on 19 November at DEMA Show 2016. There’ll be a half-day special event covering the PADI Basic Freediver course with role-model knowledge development and confined water sessions. The course also includes PADI Freediver TouchTM and certification as a PADI Basic Freediver; you can complete the two open water sessions later to become a PADI Freediver. PADI staff will also answer any remaining questions you may have at the event. Sign up by 3 November so you have time to read through and study the learning materials. No special freediving equipment required – just regular fins, mask and snorkel.

Not able to make it to DEMA? You can do something similar at a PADI Freediver Center near you.

After the course you’ll be equipped to decide whether or not to upgrade your skills to the PADI Advanced Freediver or Master Freediver levels, and later become a PADI Freediver Instructor.


Which brings up the second big reason to get serious about freediving: It’s one of the fastest-growing dive-industry segments and PADI Freediver courses provide you with new business opportunities and a pipeline to younger customers. If you have any doubts about this, take a moment to read some of the articles in this year’s issues of The Undersea Journal, in which PADI Members already in the freediving business share some of their unique insights.

There’s probably no need by now to mention any of the myriad other freediving benefits – such as personal fitness, the ease of just grabbing your gear and going or the fact that you can sneak right up on the shiest of aquatic animals. (But we went ahead and mentioned them anyway!) It’s time to hold your breath.

Introducing the New PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Program

The revised PADI Advanced Open Water Diver program launches this September, and while the changes are significant, the essence of the course remains untouched. Think of it as a shiny new car, but one that’s the same model as your old familiar vehicle.


Three goals drove the revision:

  1. PADI updated the content. Dive equipment and techniques have changed since the release of the last version of the course and content is updated to reflect this. Now, for example, there are references to electronic compasses in navigation and no references to film in digital underwater imaging. Also, the first dive
 of all standardized PADI Specialty Diver courses, Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris™ and Shark Conservation Specialty courses and the PADI Rebreather Diver course credit as Adventure Dives. This means more dive opportunities no matter what or where you’re teaching.
  2. PADI modernized the instructional products. The instructional tools are now as state-of-the-art as the devices student divers access them from. While a paper manual will still be available, the revised program introduces a new, mobile-friendly PADI Advanced Open Water Diver digital product. All new images and video make these instructional products pop.
  3. PADI accelerated development of the thinking skills divers acquire through experience to build confident and conservative divers. There’s a new Thinking Like a Diver section that focuses on principles such as gas management, situational awareness and buddy communication. This encourages divers to think about what they’re doing before, during and after every Adventure Dive in the same way more experienced divers do. Consequently, they better understand how to improve their dives and manage risks.


There’s a lot that didn’t change, too. Philosophically, the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course still gives new (and experienced) PADI Open Water Divers the world over continued training and skill development under professional guidance. It’s still focused on introducing specialty diving. The Deep and Underwater Navigation Adventure Dives, plus three other Adventure Dives, are still required for Advanced Open Water Diver certification, and any three Adventure Dives qualify a diver for Adventure Diver.

When will the new Advanced Open Water products be available?

  • Advanced Open Water Diver Manual and DVD (English): September, 2016
  • Advanced Open Water Diver eLearning (on updated mobile-responsive eLearning platform): 4Q

The revised PADI Advanced Open Water Diver improves on an already great program, is easy and familiar to teach, and offers even more of the exploration, excitement and experiences that divers look for. Take a look at the third quarter 2016 The Undersea Journal, which has several relevant and detailed articles, and make a point of implementing the new program as soon as the materials are available.

The Power of the Personal Touch

By John Kinsella

Grooming divemaster and instructor candidates starts early and demands a personal touch.

It was a life-changing phone call. Commander Jim Williams was on the line from California; heady stuff for an 18 year old from Dublin, Ireland in the early 1980s. I had responded to an ad in Skin Diver magazine with a letter of inquiry about PADI Instructor training in San Diego a couple of weeks previously and this was the follow up. Cmdr. Williams was affable and a great listener (a great salesman!) and by the end of the call he had convinced me (easy) and my mother (not easy) that I should immediately book a flight and enroll in the College’s next 10-week instructor development program.

USA Tour

I did. And that phone call marked not only the beginning of a career as a PADI Instructor, but also a lifelong friendship. The world’s a different place now; sending a letter or returning a form to request further information seems absolutely ridiculous. But the power of the personal touch, Jim’s picking up the phone and taking a genuine interest, remains exactly the same. And it’s still an extremely effective way to make friends and fill leadership-level courses.

Face to face, it’s often as easy as taking a moment to privately compliment and encourage a particularly keen student diver. It’s amazing how often you can tell, even during an entry-level course, who’s going to get seriously involved in diving. Taking a real interest in that person’s success and clearly mapping out the continuing education opportunities is always well received and rewarded.

Latin America

When you can’t see the person you’re talking to, there’s nothing more important than follow up to turn anonymous inquiries into PADI Pros. The medium makes no difference (other than keeping expectations of a swift response high!). Whether it’s a contact form from a website, an email, a tweet or a post, or even an old-fashioned phone call, take every contact personally. Make absolutely sure that you (or your staff) make the time to get to know (remember to listen and not spew off set sales spiels) the person behind the ping. Time and again when you look at the compliments sent in about PADI Members, happy customers highlight speedy response to requests for information.

The strategy works on a larger scale too. Personalized emails generally outperform anonymous ones. In one A/B test, an inbound marketing company sent out a promotion to two similar market segments. One group got an email from the company; the other got an email from a specific person who worked at the company. The actual email content was exactly the same. Guess which had the best response?

At this level, when dealing with someone about to commit serious time and money in becoming a pro, get personal and take the time to get to know who you’re talking to. Your new friends, divemasters and instructors will thank you.