“With pride, honor, and a sense of history knowing this is the continuation of tradition, Beneath the Sea presents their 2016 Legend of the Sea award to PADI at 50.” With that announcement, PADI became the first organization to receive the Legend of the Sea recognition from the Beneath the Sea dive and travel show. Until now, this honor has only been bestowed upon individuals, but with PADI’s storied history – and as it celebrates its golden anniversary this year – today’s global leader in diver education is a natural recipient for the award.
“For PADI to receive the Legends of the Sea recognition is truly an honor,” says PADI Worldwide President and CEO Drew Richardson. “But, this recognition isn’t just for the company, it’s for every PADI Member around the world. That’s who makes up the heart and soul of PADI and I applaud them for their accomplishments over the past five decades. They’re the ones who have made PADI synonymous with scuba diving and the reason why consumers today are saying, ‘I want my PADI certification.’”
Beneath the Sea bestows the Legend of the Sea award based upon personal vision, drive to follow that vision and the dedicated pursuit of a need or goal no one else may even see or recognize. Fifty years ago, the PADI legend was born out of the desire to find a safer and easier way for people to learn how to breathe underwater. In 1966, dive equipment salesman John Cronin and professional educator Ralph Erickson – both frustrated with the lack of professionalism in the industry – got together to do something about it. Together, they created a business plan – and the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) was born.
By the end of its first decade, PADI created its iconic diver-holding-a-torch logo, introduced recreational diving’s first certification requirements, produced photo-bearing certification cards and commenced to publishing The Undersea Journal. In the decades that followed, PADI created modular courses and courseware, redefined dive planning with the introduction of the Recreational Dive Planner, and established the PADI Retail and Resort Association to provide up-to-the-minute business development and marketing tools for PADI Members. The new millennium has ushered in PADI’s digital age: PADI eLearning® and PADI Touch® products are best in class, the padi.com Dive Shop Locator is the most popular way to find a dive center or resort, ScubaEarth® virtually inspires divers to go diving 24/7, and the PADI App and PADI Library deliver diving to an ever increasingly mobile world.
However, PADI’s influence extends far beyond these educational milestones. “PADI isn’t just in the diver education business – we have the rare privilege of transforming lives by opening up a world filled with adventure and exploration to anyone ready to embrace it,” says Richardson. “Moreover, as new divers discover the wonders of the underwater world and seasoned divers witness man’s impact on aquatic ecosystems, they are moved to take action. To a diver, the ocean is my ocean and its protection is personal.” As PADI looks forward into the next 50 years and the issuance of its 25th millionth diver certification later in 2016, it’s with the hope that every new diver joins a growing movement of aquatic advocates who will lend their voices, votes and vigor to caring for the ocean.
The Legends of the Sea ceremony will take place during the 2016 Beneath the Sea Show, America’s largest consumer scuba and dive travel show, 1-3 April 2016 at the Meadowland Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. The show provides attendees with opportunities to connect face-to-face with a variety of industry stakeholders, including dive centers, dive professionals, equipment manufacturers, ocean experts, and new and veteran divers. Visit beneaththesea.org for details.