Written by John Kinsella
Things can get busy for active PADI Instructors and Divemasters and planning is vital to stay on top of things; a monthly checklist can really help. For a few suggestions on what to check monthly as a dive pro, read on…
- PADI Standards and Procedures. Take some time every month to look at upcoming professional dive activities and make sure you have the most current standards and procedures. It’s a condition of membership that you read The Training Bulletin and implement changes and updates to PADI Standards and Procedures every quarter; double-checking that you have the latest information for any upcoming courses once a month just makes sense.
- Maintain Equipment. Especially if you’re diving frequently, the temptation is to just do the minimum: Rinse, check and store. Every month take a bit of extra time and get thorough. On your BCD for example, disassemble, inspect and clean any user serviceable OPVs and inflator mechanisms (always check the manufacturer’s recommendations). Wash the BCD carefully and consider putting something inside to clean the bladder. The general consensus is to use something such as Milton or Steramine 1G, but there’s a passionate online lobby for mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite or laundry soap. Follow the advice of the manufacturer. Take a similar approach with your other equipment.
- Research or read something. It’s important for dive professionals to stay up to speed with industry developments, and there’s a seemingly never-ending supply of interesting stuff cropping up all the time. Set aside some time to read the Undersea Journal, Surface Interval, the PADI Training Bulletin, this blog, and other resources. A recent Navy Experimental Diving Unit study, for example, refutes the “helium penalty” (an industry legacy belief, built in to many decompression algorithms, that using helium in a breathing gas mix dictates longer decompression). Seems that’s not actually the case. If you’re more into conservation than tec diving, check out the ongoing research trials into coral reef restoration at MOTE Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Florida. It’s a great example of proactive efforts to mitigate coral reef decline by taking “brood stock” coral from sites of reef impact damage (think ship grounding), fragmenting the coral and growing each fragment to transplantable size under optimal conditions. The point is to stay current on industry developments that interest you and help position you as a current professional. And write a little bit about what you just read, it’s likely just the kind of content your clients crave.
- Data analytics. This sounds a bit scarier than it really is. As dive professionals, communication is key and the vast majority of us use various social media in both a personal and professional context. It’s always nice to know how effective your communications are. Digital media makes that possible like never before. If you have anything to do with a website, make a point of regularly generating reports on traffic and visitor behavior and relate these to business performance. Do the same with social media. There are a bunch of tools out there, many of them free, which will provide you with a staggering amount of useful information. How useful would it be, for example, to know what time of day your Twitter followers are most active? Getting in the habit of devoting an hour or two each month to learn a bit about relevant data analytics can really help you succeed. It’s also a great way to make sure you’re communicating frequently and effectively.
Do your bit to double check your personal checklist this month.