The Business of Women in Diving

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Written by Megan Denny

The average entry-level diver is 27-30 years old, college educated, and male (60 percent are male). For many years the gender ratio of 65 percent male versus 35 percent female remained constant. However, there’s been a shift in the past five years and women now make up 40 percent of new divers. That’s good progress, but the pool of potential women divers is still massive.

An average female consumer is an ideal scuba diving customer. The numbers don’t lie.

Major companies, such as Nike and the PGA (Professional Golfers Association) are taking statistics like these to heart. After Nike chose to focus on women, sales jumped 20 percent and Nike expects revenue from women’s apparel more than double in five years. The PGA recently launched a campaign to increase women’s participation in golf – an industry that is in decline. Only 19 percent of all golfers are women, and PGA research shows, “there are millions of women who want to participate in golf, but they don’t feel welcome. They haven’t been invited.”

Make Women Feel Welcome

Many of the things that make your business female-friendly are just plain smart business practices including:

  • Offer PADI eLearning® – Working women and those trying to balance family commitments will appreciate this flexible, go-at-your-own-pace option.
  • Keep it clean – Many people, not just women, think negatively about a business with a dingy bathroom or changing room. If you’d think twice about showing your mother your facilities, it’s time to spruce up the place.
  • Invite them back – Get in touch with women who’ve dropped out of scuba diving and invite them back by promoting ReActivate™.
  • Stock women’s gear – Having dive gear and other products designed for women available is welcoming.

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One of the most effective ways to bring in new female divers is by asking current customers to invite other women to try diving. Be upfront: let them know you’re trying to change the perception that scuba is for old guys. Ask what you could do to bring in more women and offer an incentive. The results will pay off.

“Camaraderie keeps women diving, buying gear, taking trips,” says Chelsea Cameron, Sales and Marketing Manager for The Diving Locker in Vancouver, Canada. “There’s one group of ladies at our store that went to Cozumel together and they‘re like the three amigas. They’ve been doing courses together, they all bought dry suits together and they egg each other on.”

Female Staff and Instructors are Essential

“Having female staff helps to draw in more female divers. They feel more comfortable when they see other women in the sport. Especially when fitting gear, there are things guys don’t think of, especially with getting into wetsuits,” says Cameron.

Virginia Watson, Marketing Manager at Dive Otago, New Zealand echoes this sentiment. Having a mix of male and female instructors enables us to provide good role models for female divers that are just beginning in their dive career. They see that even in our harsher conditions, women are more than capable of diving day in day out.”

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Women make up at least half the staff at both Dive Otago and The Diving Locker and research proves this is a smart idea for any business.

  • An economist from Carnegie Mellon found teams with at least one female member had a collectively higher IQ than male-only teams.
  • When Fortune 500 companies had at least three female directors, the return on capital, sales and return on equity increased by 40 percent or more.
  • Studies from a variety of industries found that having a larger number of women on a team accounts for greater psychological safety, team confidence, group experimentation and team efficiency.

Source themuse.com

Greg Kocher owner and president of The Diving Locker notes, “I’ve been in business for 50 years and I’ve always tried to promote scuba to different age groups and demographics. I have eight full time employees and half of them are women. It’s proven to be a good model. I’ve been in business so long because of the exceptional staff.”

At Broadreach, a youth educational adventure company, 75 percent of headquarters employees are women and 62 percent of their dive staff are female. “Having so many women in leadership and instructor roles makes us a very adaptable company, as we’re all coming to the table with different points of view. It makes us better problem solvers and communicators, plus it gives us stronger collaborative spirit,” says Creative Director Ladye Jane Vickers.

Kate Farthing, Director of Field Operations at Broadreach adds, “Our programs have attracted more female students each year, and having females working in the industry is often encouraging to parents trying to support their young women as they reach for their goals. The ability to understand, support and encourage our female students is really rewarding and I think sits well with our clients.

“Female dive staff, for lack of a better way to put this, can help ease the concerns of female participants in ways that male instructors have a harder time with. Getting in and out of wetsuits, lugging gear around, what do I do if I’m on my period…all of these things are so naturally facilitated by female dive instructors (not to say that guys aren’t able) but it’s important to have both so all students feel comfortable sharing their concerns and finding solutions.”

Marketing to Women

Virginia Watson from Dive Otago shared this tip: “Championing female divers on Facebook is an awesome way to boost enrollment numbers organically. When we are actively looking to increase female numbers through paid advertising we specifically target that demographic and use images of inspiring female divers. People need to identify themselves in the imagery so including photos of woman in all areas of your marketing should also help… it might inadvertently pull in more males too!”
Check out: 7 Women in Diving Everyone Should Know or female PADI AmbassaDiver™

Photo courtesy of Dive-Otago-2

Photo courtesy of Dive Otago

The Family Factor

Roughly half of women of childbearing age are mothers, and some PADI Dive Centers have found success partnering with a child-care service or hiring a babysitter. This helps mom take a breather (off a regulator) while she does a scuba review, and gives parents a chance to enjoy time together as a couple.

Another popular way to attract mothers and families is by offering kids scuba programs and selling products that cater to divers with children. “We run a week-long scuba camp for kids 10-15 years old four times during the summer. Predominantly, three women teach the camp, and they enjoy doing it. But all of our staff are involved in teaching, selling, and running weekend trips,” says Kocher of The Dive Locker.

Broadreach Dive Instructor Hannah Tannenbaum shared her thoughts on the benefits of scuba for girls and young women, “Diving is empowering because it’s an entirely new realm in which social pressures and appearance don’t matter. All that matters is your safety, awareness, and immense humility in acknowledging we are such a small piece of this wide and beautiful world, and that our stresses and day-to-day problems don’t matter as much in the face of a sea turtle. I love teaching young women to dive and seeing them develop a new sense of self and gratitude for their world which diving opens.”

Build a Community

A study from Indiana University on exercise habits found that people with a regular gym buddy experienced only a 6.3 percent dropout rate after twelve months compared to a 43 percent dropout rate for people who worked out alone. Help female divers stay active by starting a “Diva Dive Club,” or a PADI Pro mentorship program.

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Kate Farthing from Broadreach notes, “The mere presence of our female staff offers such a great vision of the future to our students. They know being a dive professional isn’t such a far off goal.  Many of our dive instructors began as Broadreach students in middle school and worked their way to being instructors by the age of 18. Our students really build lore around the instructors who have been around Broadreach since they started diving and think they are the coolest of the cool. It’s an easy thing to aspire to.”

Nondiving events (beach parties, bar nights, clean-up events, etc.) can help divers – male or female – connect with new dive buddies. Encourage customers to invite female friends who are curious about diving, but aren’t ready to sign up for a class. Scuba diving can seem intimidating, but meeting fun and supportive divers can quickly shatter that perception.

If you’re interested in bringing more women into diving, use PADI Women’s Dive Day on 15 July as a kickoff event. Dive Otago plans to offer free Discover Scuba® Diving sessions, high tea and tutus. Broadreach has numerous Women’s Dive Day activities planned including a thank you celebration for their female staff and live-streamed dives.

Get started at the PADI Pros’ Site Women in Diving page

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Trying something new can be intimidating – for potential female divers and business owners. But when more women dive, it’s a win-win. Here are some parting words from Chelsea Cameron at The Dive Locker, When you’re out on a dive with more female divers it’s more low pressure, people are more comfortable sharing stories. Having more women is great for the shop the atmosphere. We enjoy it a lot, we have fun, we keep the guys in check.”

 


Drew Richardson Engages Ocean Community at Blue Vision Summit 

PADI President and CEO Drew Richardson took part in the Blue Vision Summit in Washington, DC, USA, last month, speaking about the enhanced role that coastal communities can play in ocean conservation and stewardship. The summit, which brings together ocean conservation leaders, was focused on strengthening a sustainable “blue economy” and addressing challenges of a changing ocean and climate.

PADI CEO Drew Richardson speaks at Blue Vision Summit

“Unquestionably, there are serious and formidable issues threatening the world oceans. That said, I’m a firm believer in engagement, problem identification and mitigation,” Richardson said to the group of 500 scientists, explorers and leaders in attendance. “My life philosophy is to remain optimistic and focused on a ‘future hope.’ In my mind, there is no other option.”

The PADI organization became involved in the Blue Vision Summit to work collaboratively with individuals and organizations toward improving ocean conservation efforts through various approaches, including education and marine recreation. The summit also provides a platform to influence policy and implement ocean health solutions by connecting with change makers and elected officials.

“It was an honor to attend the Blue Vision Summit and engage with so many passionate and committed professionals,” said Richardson. “At PADI, we are recruiting and engaging millions of new divers, training them well to be confident and comfortable, encouraging and enabling them to seek diving adventures and explore the planet’s underwater realm. Divers receive a clear message to pay it forward as good ocean stewards who protect marine life. We look forward to collaborating with like-minded individuals and organizations to achieve these ends.”

Speaking of PADI’s deepened commitment to ocean health and conservation through the Four Pillars of Change program, Richardson said, “We train nearly one million new divers each year who can engage in strategic alliances, have a powerful voice and get involved in real solutions to drive change. PADI Divers are actively becoming as a force for good and driving toward a healthier ocean on local, national and international levels. The PADI organization is committed to being a global, passionate force that creates a preferred future with healthier oceans.”

Note: Read more from Richardson about ocean conservation and advocacy in this recent Forbes article.    

Be Best. Be PADI – The Way The World Learns To Dive®

 

2017 PADI Women’s Dive Day Global Video Contest

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Share a video of your PADI Women’s Dive Day event with us and be entered to win a FREE 2018 PADI Membership Renewal.

The PADI Marketing Team is looking for amazing video footage showcasing the spirit of Women’s Dive Day for inclusion in the 2018 event promotional video.

The contest is open to PADI Dive Centers, Resorts and Individual Members worldwide who are hosting a 2017 PADI Women’s Dive Day event.

How to Enter

  1. First things first! If you haven’t already, be sure to register your PADI Women’s Dive Day event. Learn more here.
  2. Grab your underwater camera and take video throughout your event. Whether your event is training in the pool, diving a lake or exploring the open ocean, show how you and your divers are celebrating the spirit and comradery of Women’s Dive Day. A few things to keep in mind:
    • While the primary objective is to promote women in diving, the footage can certainly show all participants regardless of age or gender. After all, the foundation of Women’s Dive Day is to reinforce the understanding that diving is open and enjoyable to everyone.
    • PADI standards should be adhered to and reflected in the footage.
    • Footage that shows any touching or damaging of marine life will not be considered.
    • Be sure to get signed releases from people that are shown in your video footage and photos. Download a sample release here.
  3. Edit your video so that it is between two and five minutes in length. Video should be a minimum 1080p.
  4. Submit your entry to jennifer.small@padi.com, including entrant’s name, PADI Member/Store Number and contact information. Videos must be sent using a file sharing service such as We Transfer or Dropbox. High resolution photos (minimum 1000 pixels) and/or event description and quotes are welcomed, but a video must be submitted to be considered for the prize.
  5. Check your email to see if your video was selected as one of the winners. If so, you will receive one-year 2018 Membership Renewal free and a set of goodie bags for your 2018 Women’s Dive Day event.

Click here to see Official Rules

For inspiration, watch the 2017 PADI Women’s Dive Day video:

Thank you for taking part in PADI Women’s Dive Day 2017 and the Global Video Contest! For more information about PADI Women’s Dive Day, visit padi.com/women-dive.

To Improve is to Change

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Change is rarely easy, but to succeed in business it’s often necessary. As technology and consumer expectations evolve, more and more businesses are choosing PADI for its dedication to helping retailers stay at the forefront of educational and marketing trends.

Big Bubble Dive in the Gili Islands, Indonesia offered courses from both PADI and another agency for a few years, then switched to 100 percent PADI. After relocating to a space with less-than-ideal visibility in 2015, owner Anna Walker looked for marketing support. “It is literally a case of blink and you’ll miss us,” Walker said. “Thankfully, at PADI Business Academy, my manager learned valuable lessons about online advertising. Now approximately 65 percent of our guests pre-book. PADI Asia Pacific also sent a computer whiz to give more specific help with Facebook, Twitter, website content and links, etc. Now we are once again on the map!”

John Chapman, co-owner of World Diving in Lembongan, Indonesia, said “PADI Regional Manager Paul Tanner showed us the marketing options available to 100 percent PADI Dive Centers and the support network to help with every aspect of bringing business to World Diving. After joining PADI we had the whole PADI team on board designing promotional material custom made for our center, advising on web design to improve customer contact, and training our staff in sales and social media at PADI Business Academy.”

After switching to PADI, Chapman came to understand his business in a new way. “We had a huge menu of courses with another certification agency. We believed giving our guests a wide range made us more attractive,” Chapman said. “Here’s how I look at it now: a restaurant with a massive menu gives you a lot of choices, but the end result may not be as good as you hoped. Go to the specialized place ‘round the corner where there is a select choice of excellent dishes and wow!

Chapman continues: “World Diving is a PADI Five Star Dive Center with a very solid staff and a selection of courses everyone knows inside out. Is there as much choice as before? Probably not, but what we do offer is done to perfection!”

Marketing assistance, staff training and a caring, dedicated area representative are just a few reasons Big Bubble Dive and World Diving are 100 percent PADI. Last year, more dive centers and resorts joined PADI in 2016 than ever before. If you’re ready for a change, contact the Territory Director, Regional Manager or Regional Training Consultant for your area at your local PADI Regional Headquarters.

Be Best. Be PADI – The Way the World Learns to Dive®

How To Grow Your Dive Business by Marketing to Families

Written by Megan Denny 

According to a recent survey conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute research firm, nearly half of PADI® Divers have children. The survey also found PADI Divers have a median income of $100,000 to $150,000 US. Dive centers and resorts who offer kids programs and cater to families receive the dual benefit of additional revenue, and inspiring the divers of tomorrow. If you don’t currently market your business to families, here are some expert tips to get started.

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How to Attract Scuba Divers with Families

Signal that your dive shop is family friendly by creating a page on your website that describes what family-friendly activities you offer. This could be scuba programs for kids, snorkeling, or non-diving activities to keep kids busy while the parents go diving. Include an image of a smiling child or family on your website homepage inviting site visitors to learn more.

Pro Tip: if you’re just starting off with a kids scuba program, host a free Bubblemaker party for your most socially-connected customers with children. Let them know you’re launching a kids program and interested in their feedback and help promoting it.

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After each program, invite parents to share their experience on TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.. With permission, add the best quotes to the kids program page on your website.

Helpful Hints For Working with Kids
Teaching children requires increased attention, supervision and direction. Consider age and maturity levels as you deliver briefings and explain skills. Keep information simple, and ensure students understand your key points by asking them questions.

Pool games and toys allow kids to build confidence while having fun. After teaching basic skills, sneak in additional practice as a game. For example, challenge students to toss around an underwater toy such as a toypedo without touching the bottom or breaking the surface. For additional activity ideas, review the AquaMission Game suggestions on the PADI Pros’ Site.

Pro Tip: most kids are naturally competitive and want to be better at something than a grown-up. Use this to your advantage when you explain neutral buoyancy. They’ll work hard to be “the best.”

Safety and Other Considerations
PADI’s Guide to Teaching includes pages of recommendations about working with minors. Below is a small sample:

  • Always work with children in public and avoid situations where you and a child are completely unobserved.
  • When possible, parents should be responsible for their children in changing rooms.
  • Have parents sign a permission form before you take or share photos of a child. Also, ask for the child’s permission before taking a photo.
  • Ensure that you and your staff have current training in Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care as well as Care for Children.

For additional recommendations on working with children, refer to pages 164-169 in PADI’s Guide to Teaching.

Pro Tip: personally verify how much air young divers have. You may not always get an honest answer either because the diver feels self-conscious about their air consumption, or they may not understand the hand signals.

Pro Tip: spend one-on-one time with each student where you can be seen but not easily heard. Give each student the opportunity to share any fears or concerns they have without other kids or parents around.

Essential tools
Smaller people need smaller tanks, BCs, wetsuits and other gear. Kids also get cold easily, so be prepared with kid-sized rashguards and beanie caps. Also, some children need larger mouthpieces that can accommodate braces. Lastly, carry a slate and pencil set to help kids communicate underwater without going to the surface every time.

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Further reading:
Minimum ages for PADI certification courses
Scuba-themed gift ideas for kids
Scuba and Boy Scouts of America
Scuba and Scouts Canada

Pro-Level Continuing Education

Written by John Kinsella

It’s at the very heart of the PADI System and instinctively you know it’s important. You make a point of letting all the divers you work with know about continuing education: Open Water Diver is just the beginning, Advanced Open Water Diver is not for advanced divers, it’s to advance divers, Rescue Diver is the obvious next step and so on. Promoting diver level continuing education is second nature for dive pros. But do you practice what you preach? Professional-level continuing education is, if anything, even more important. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Continuing education benefits both dive businesses and dive pros. Businesses thrive on highly skilled, specialized and cross functional staff who have the skills to perform a variety of duties and teach a broad range of courses. Dive pros with those skills position themselves well for promotions and equip themselves to compete effectively in the job market. Simply put, they’ll get better jobs and their employer will have a more valuable employees.PADIDiveShop_0513_0204
  2. Perhaps an even greater benefit for dive professionals is that continuing education encourages finding and using the best tools and techniques available at any given time, and to realize that these tools and techniques will change over time. This attitude is increasingly important in the face of consistent technological advances and increased competition for jobs. Crucially, it helps dive businesses stay relevant to emerging markets that expect, and demand, technologically savvy instructors.
  3. Another continuing education benefit may be more abstract, but is no less important: It’s a powerful way for dive pros to acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge and to improve their problem-solving skills. This is an essential arrow in every dive professional’s quiver. Things change, issues crop up, but the well educated and well prepared PADI Pro is equipped to avoid or solve problems before they become something worse.
  4. Finally, it’s just fun. There is no better cure for a mild dose of the “same old same old” than an immersive experience in something new and exciting. Nothing benefits a dive business more than a refreshed dive pro.

 

 

PADI Joins Forces with Mission Blue to Help Protect the World’s Ocean

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PADI® and Mission Blue™ have forged a formal partnership to help increase the level of protection of our world’s ocean. Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. At the heart of this effort is a global campaign to build public support for the protection of Hope Spots — special places that are vital to the health of the ocean.

Hope Spots are about recognizing, empowering and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean. By activating its global network of divers and dive professionals, the PADI family will further bring attention to marine areas in a worldwide network targeted for enhanced protection.

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“Mission Blue is thrilled to partner with PADI to bring awareness to divers around the world about the value of Hope Spots,” says Laura Cassiani, Executive Director of Mission Blue. “Divers are an important voice in the global coalition for greater marine conservation because they know first-hand the beauty and fragility of marine ecosystems. We believe deeply that this exciting new collaboration between PADI and Mission Blue will ignite broad support for further ocean conservation around the world. Onward and downward!”

In November 2016, PADI announced our Four Pillars of Change social and environmental responsibility program. Devised to elevate the PADI mission to be best in and for the world, the Four Pillars will help connect the PADI community to the ocean causes they care about. Program efforts will be focused on building awareness of important issues affecting ocean health, strengthening dive communities and dive infrastructure, and forming global alliances that will engage and mobilize PADI Dive Centers, Resorts, dive professionals, and divers to be a global force for good.

“Connecting PADI Divers and Members with the Hope Spots program provides them with actionable opportunities to have a lasting impact on the future of our blue planet,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “Through our partnership, PADI and Mission Blue hope to educate divers and ignite support for Hope Spots with the long-term goal of formally protecting more areas of our world’s ocean.”

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PADI will showcase a different Hope Spot each month, such as the Coral Triangle and the Saanich Inlet, to give divers a deeper insight into these vital ecosystems and the need to safeguard them as protected areas. In the coming months, PADI Divers will learn more about some of the best Hope Spots for diving and have an opportunity to nominate new Hope Spots.

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If governments, civilian organizations and communities work together to formally protect Hope Spots, these special marine environments can form the seeds of tomorrow’s healthy ocean. Currently, only 5% of the world’s oceans are protected. By joining forces, the goal set forth by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress to protect 30 percent of our world’s oceans by 2030 is reachable.

#padi4change

Mobula Rays Jumping at Sunset(c)KipEvansMBAG4V9467Photo: Kip Evans | Mission Blue