How Scuba Diving Can Help Customers Beat Holiday Stress


Written by Megan Denny

For many people, the holidays are equal parts fun and stressful. In one survey, Harvard University reports 62 percent of respondents felt “very stressed” or “somewhat stressed” during the holidays; only 10 percent reported no stress. Financial demands, interpersonal family issues and maintaining an exercise regimen were the top three causes of holiday worries.

Diving is a great way for people to relax with friends and stay active any time of year, but here are a few ways your dive business can help customers have fun and feel less stressed during the holidays.

Make Your Dive Center a Refuge from Holiday Insanity

Crowds, family, politics, family talking about politics – there are countless reasons your customers need a break from the holiday grind. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

  • Schedule a weekend fun dive followed by a potluck or picnic.
  • Host a pool event – photos with scuba Santa or underwater tree decorating.
  • Throw a customer appreciation party with awards for most-improved diver, best photographer, fish-whisperer, etc.
  • An evening PADI Seal Team event can offer parents a welcome break. While your staff conducts AquaMissions, the grownups can browse your store or just enjoy a night off.
  • Offer a PADI Seal Team day camp to take advantage of school holidays.


Invite Customers to Participate in a Good Cause

Some people find it hard to say “no” to holiday obligations, but might welcome the chance to excuse themselves to go have a little fun if it’s for a good cause. Why not turn your weekend fun dive into a food or toy drive? Or, at a customer appreciation party, host a raffle with proceeds benefiting Project AWARE or a local charity.

Help Divers with Their Holiday Shopping

Some customers may not think of their local dive center as a go-to destination for holiday shopping, but with the right mix of products and promotion, you can help divers complete a significant chunk of their holiday shopping. Stay top of mind by promoting your favorite gift ideas for men, women, kids and nondivers frequently on social media and in your eNewsletters.

Fun fact: Roughly half of holiday shoppers buy something for themselves. The New York Post reports “self-gifting” is at a 20-year high, and a 2015 study found Millennials are 40 percent more likely than Gen Xers or Boomers to self-gift.

Appeal to your customer’s desire to reward themselves:

  • Offer a voucher toward a future purchase (i.e. spend $500 US in 2017, get a $50 US gift card for 2018).
  • Use buy-one get-one deals (BOGO) such as “Buy an Open Water Diver or Advanced Open Water Diver course, get 50 percent off any specialty diver course.”
  • Invite them to book a relaxing dive holiday in 2018.


Help Lapsed Divers Prepare for Their Next Adventures

PADI ReActivate™ enables divers to conveniently refresh their diving knowledge and skills. Promote ReActivate on your website, social media and/or use targeted Google Search ads to attract lapsed divers who may be nervous about an upcoming dive trip.

When Life Gives You Fruitcake – Use It as Ballast

The holidays are also the season of eating, so it’s no surprise one-third of people worldwide make a new year’s resolution to lose weight. Invite customers to burn holiday calories by going for a dive or starting a continuing education course. In cooler climates PADI Rescue Diver, Digital Underwater Photographer and Dry Suit Diver can all be started in the pool and completed when open water conditions allow. As a reminder, even Open Water Divers can join in on Rescue Diver pool sessions.

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Scuba diving and hanging out with other divers is a great way to escape from the pressures of everyday life. Invite divers to add some weightlessness and underwater Zen into their holiday schedule at a shop-sponsored fun dive, pool event or get-together. They’ll feel more relaxed, and your business will benefit.

Be a Better Person

Written by John Kinsella

The PADI® Adaptive Techniques Specialty program really just makes a good thing better. It builds on the foundational traits of inclusiveness and adaptability, common to all PADI Instructors, Assistant Instructors and Divemasters. The course has detailed insights into considerations and techniques that apply specifically when training and guiding divers with disabilities and generally when working with any diver.


The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty helps PADI Pros become more aware and mindful of individual considerations when introducing people with disabilities to diving. It covers adaptive techniques that apply while supervising and training divers with disabilities in PADI courses and programs. It teaches how to properly counsel and direct student divers, based on their abilities, toward certification, experience programs or toward a disabilities-dedicated diving organization for limited certification options.

“I believe this course will get PADI Members thinking outside the box when it comes to skills and get them looking at different ways to teach skills,” says Fraser Bathgate, Advisor Adaptive Techniques for PADI Worldwide. “Teaching divers with disabilities is a very enabling and rewarding experience and it will help open up a new client base to divemasters, instructors, dive centers and resorts. It kickstarts a new way for PADI Members to fulfill more people’s dreams.”

The Adaptive Techniques Specialty course helps PADI Pros learn additional techniques to motivate and encourage not just divers with mental or physical challenges, but also all divers. There’s also an associated subcourse, PADI Adaptive Support Diver, which helps interested divers, from Open Water Diver on up, learn how to be better buddies to divers with physical or mental challenges.


The course looks at techniques that will help PADI Pros build confidence in their divers through a holistic approach that focuses on improving self-image, building trust, setting goals, managing stress and having fun while solving problems. It emphasizes bringing the diver personally into the solution and looks at specific equipment adaptations and helpful confined and open water considerations.

Confined water workshops let dive pros demonstrate and practice skills to assist divers with disabilities, both in training and nontraining situations. They build confidence before the open water workshops, where dive pros apply the skills learned with an emphasis on assisting divers in/out of water, trim and comfort in the first workshop, and through scenario-based skills practice in the second.


But the real value of the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty is that it’s the distilled essence of the skills, experience and goodwill of an international advisory team that has collectively brought diving to thousands of people with disabilities and witnessed first-hand the powerful and often life changing results. Now that experience and good will is ready to spread. Find out how you can help – contact your Regional Training Consultant for more information.


New PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty

PADI® Professionals have a long and successful history of adapting training to meet individual needs. This includes accepting people with physical and mental challenges into courses and creatively finding techniques that allow them to master skills and meet course performance requirements.


The new PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course is designed to build on that foundation by broadening awareness and further exploring adaptive techniques. This specialty course is unique in that it’s designed for PADI Divemasters or Master Freedivers and higher.

The course consists of one knowledge development session that introduces the concept of holistic teaching and explores equipment and logistical considerations. It also includes a workshop that helps you look at dive center accessibility from the perspective of people with various disabilities.

There are two confined water workshops that focus on transfers, entries, exits, assists and communication, along with demonstrating, adapting and practicing skills based on a student diver’s abilities and limitations. The two open water workshops focus on evaluating accessibility, organizing and pacing dives, and adapting skills to the open water environment.


When training people with physical and mental challenges, you learn to focus on what they can do rather than on what they can’t. You don’t have to take this specialty to work with divers with disabilities, but the knowledge and skills you gain can help you adapt course content to accommodate virtually any student diver. This specialty course will expand your ability to be student-centered and prescriptive in approach when adapting scuba or freediving techniques.

Adaptive Techniques Specialty Course Goals

To help PADI Pros:

  • Become more aware and mindful of individual considerations when introducing people with disabilities to diving or freediving.
  • Learn new adaptive techniques to use while supervising and training divers/freedivers with disabilities in PADI courses and programs.
  • Properly counsel and direct student divers, based on their abilities, toward PADI certification, PADI experience programs or toward a disabilities-dedicated diving organization.
  • Explore additional ways to motivate and encourage student divers with mental and/or physical challenges.

PADI Adaptive Support Diver

The subset course, PADI Adaptive Support Diver, is for divers who want to learn how to best support dive buddies who have a physical or mental disability. The course consists of the same knowledge development session as the full specialty, but only requires completion of one confined water workshop and one open water workshop. The prerequisites are PADI Open Water Diver or PADI Freediver™ (or higher), EFR® Primary and Secondary Care course completion within 24 months and to be at least 15 years old. Completion of the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy is recommended beforehand to give the diver firsthand awareness of proper trim.


Because the PADI Adaptive Support Diver course is a standardized specialty, divers can credit an Adventure Dive toward Advanced Open Water Diver certification, and can also credit the specialty toward PADI Master Scuba Diver™.

Becoming an Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor

To be authorized to teach the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course and subcourse, PADI Instructors and PADI Freediver Instructors have the usual two application paths:

  1. Complete a PADI Specialty Instructor Training Course with a PADI Course Director, or PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer who is authorized as a PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor Trainer.
  2. Apply directly to your PADI Regional Headquarters with proof of additional experience and training.

The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor Guide is used to support the course. Although the guide primarily addresses scuba diving, PADI Freediver Instructors who are Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructors will find the guide inclusive of freedivers, with reminder notes about cross-referencing the PADI Freediver Program Instructor Guide.

The course launched at the 2017 DEMA Show in Orlando, Florida, USA, and is currently only available in English. For more information, contact your PADI Regional Training Consultant or go to the PADI Pros’ Site under Training Essentials for further resources about training divers with disabilities.

Capitalize on US Holiday Shopping Trends

Written by Megan Denny

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts retail sales will increase 3.6 to 4 percent for the 2017 holiday season. To capture these holiday dollars, you need to have a plan. Let’s look at holiday shopping trends and ways you can help shoppers set their sights on scuba gifts, starting now.

Did you know that more than 50 percent of shoppers have already started thinking about gifts for friends and family? An NRF survey of more than 2,000 consumers found more than half of shoppers begin researching their holiday purchases by October, but most don’t buy anything until mid-November (source NRF).


According to the NRF, 25 percent of holiday shoppers in 2016 used online wish lists, and 60 percent would like to use online wish lists in the future. Online wish lists allow consumers to type or copy/paste links to products they would like to receive as gifts. Gift givers can search for wish lists using their friend or family member’s email address. If your website is powered by Shopify, wish list plugins are available. Another option is free wish list creation sites, like Giftster, where you can create groups and invite customers to create a diving wish list.

The number of people who purchase holiday gifts online grows each year, especially for those younger than 45. But don’t write off this important demographic. A recent study found more Millennial and family life stage shoppers are planning to increase holiday spending this year compared to those in older age groups.

Half of US consumers visit retail stores to gather gift ideas. Strategic pricing and packaging items can help to prevent showrooming, when a shopper visits a store to check out a product then goes home to purchase it online. Bundling products makes it challenging to compare your prices with those of an online retailer.

Limited-time offers give shoppers a reason to buy now instead of going home and “thinking about it.” Consumer research backs this up: 39 percent of shoppers choose to buy in-store to take advantage of a special offer or promotion. Give shoppers a reason to think twice before walking out of your store.

Taking time to promote gift ideas and create packages can pay significant dividends.

Start by jotting down the top 10 items in your store that every diver should own. Choose products in a wide price range, from $5 to $500 US (the average American spends a total of $400 to $900 on holiday gifts). Take photos of the products being modeled by a smiling staff member, and include the list and photos in your November and December email newsletter. Post one idea along with a photo to your social media channels once per week leading up to the holidays.


In addition, create product bundles for a variety of budgets. Save-a-dive kits, dive travel kits and the PADI eLearning Gift Pass™ may appeal to nondivers who may be intimidated about purchasing scuba equipment.

Next, set up customer wish lists, either in-store or online. An in-store wish list could be as simple as a list on your store computer, or even a clipboard behind the counter with customer names and information. Digital options are described above. Promote that you have customer wish lists on social media, in your email newsletter and in-store.

Recognizing Lung Conditions

Written by DAN Staff

Acute lung conditions are some of the most dramatic and life-threatening injuries found in the diving environment. As a dive professional, you need to be able to quickly recognize and react to them. Acute pulmonary conditions require prompt care because they can have serious and long-lasting effects. Here are some of the most common lung conditions faced by divers:

Immersion Pulmonary Edema (IPE)

IPE is one of several lung conditions that could affect divers who are or were recently submerged. Common symptoms of IPE are chest pain, frothy pink sputum and difficult or labored breathing.

A form of pulmonary edema, IPE is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs caused in part by immersion in water. IPE occurs when the opposing pressures of fluid surrounding the lungs are out of equilibrium and excess fluid builds up in the pulmonary tissues. Immersion in water can increase the fluid pressure in the capillaries surrounding the lungs, and this pressure differential can be exacerbated by a number of risk factors, leading to an increased risk of edema. By addressing common risk factors such as overhydration, overexertion and hypertension, as well as obesity, divers can reduce the risk of IPE occurring.

Pulmonary Overinflation Syndrome

This condition is typically the result of air expanding during ascent either trapped in a segment of the lungs or due to breathhold. Overinflation can result in a lung barotrauma, which may manifest in a pneumothorax, mediastinal emphysema or an arterial gas embolism. You know that lung overexpansion risk can be reduced by ensuring student divers are medically fit to dive, know how to maintain an open airway and avoid rapid ascents.


Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

PE is another dangerous pulmonary condition that can occur unrelated to diving but may mimic a dive injury. It involves the blockage of blood flow in pulmonary system vessels by fat or blood clots. Pulmonary embolisms typically result in a significant drop in blood pressure and cardiac output. Common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are chest pain, distension of the neck veins, an altered level of consciousness or fainting. If a diver shows any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Acute PE often results in noticeable symptoms, but the slow onset of chronic PE may go unnoticed. Risk factors include recent surgery, heart disease, obesity, smoking and hypertension.

All cases of suspected pulmonary injury should receive a thorough medical evaluation due to of the risk of after-accident complications. For more information on lung health and diving, visit:


Learn More About the New PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty at the 2017 DEMA Show

Written by John Kinsella

There are dozens delights to distract you at the 2017 DEMA Show: shiny new gear, exotic dive destinations and great deals. But there’s one in particular that’s not only a delight, it is simply a great opportunity to grow as a dive pro – the debut of the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty. You have two good options to find out what it’s all about.

The best of these is the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Orientation on Wednesday, 1 November starting at 8:00am. This half-day program introduces the new PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty to PADI Course Directors and Instructors. In it you’ll learn techniques and effective approaches for teaching and supervising divers with physical and mental challenges. Through focused practice, you’ll improve your ability to adapt and strengthen your student-centered teaching ability. In addition, many of the concepts discussed apply to all diver training.

When you complete the orientation, you’ll be certified as a PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor (or Instructor Trainer if you’re a PADI Course Director), once additional experience (documentation of training/working with divers with disabilities) is verified. As a PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor, you’ll be qualified to teach two courses: The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course to dive professionals and the PADI Adaptive Support Diver Specialty course to divers.

The program is filling fast, so register today to secure a spot. The registration fee is $225 US. Contact Yvonne Lara at 800 729 7234 (US and Canada only), +1 949 858 7234, ext. 2296 to register.

If for some reason you can’t make the half-day orientation, be sure to go to the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Miniseminar. It’s on Wednesday, 1 November at 1:00pm and Friday, 3 November at 4:00pm. You’ll learn a bit about PADI’s newest specialty course and how it’s designed to enhance your teaching and supervision techniques to meet the needs of all student divers, not just those with disabilities. While the emphasis is on working with divers with physical and mental challenges, the techniques you’ll learn apply to teaching all divers as a way to personalize their diving experience in the PADI Open Water Diver course and beyond. Learn how making small changes to your courses will make a big impact on each diver’s scuba journey.

All PADI Miniseminars are offered free of charge. View the complete PADI Miniseminar schedule for additional programs, locations, times and details.


Jumpstart Your Holiday Game Plan

Written by Megan Denny

According to a 2017 study published by Forbes, consumers plan to spend more on holiday gifts in 2017 than they did in 2016. If you don’t already have a plan to cash in on this holiday spending, here are a few proven techniques to encourage customers to give the gift of diving.


Inspire Customers

Use your email newsletter and social media channels to promote your top gift ideas for scuba divers (male and female), and don’t forget about scuba-related gift ideas for kids. When customers can knock out a large chunk of their holiday shopping at your dive center, everyone wins.

Bundle Items to Discourage Price Comparison

The number of people who purchase holiday gifts online grows year after year, but only a small percentage of consumers buy 100 percent of their gifts online. Strategic pricing and promotions can prevent showrooming and give you a bigger slice of the holiday shopping pie.

Bundling products together makes price comparison (and therefore showrooming) a challenge. When you bundle a mask/fin/snorkel set with a gear bag and free defog for 20 percent off MSRP, it will be very difficult to compare your price with an online retailer. Combining training with gear is another way to prevent comparison shopping, such as packaging a camera and digital underwater photo course.

DSAT Dive Day 2008

Highlight Local Expertise

If your dive staff wear a particular brand of BCD, wetsuit, dry suit or other gear, be sure visitors to your store know why. For example, a lightweight BCD may not have sufficient lift for someone who dives in cold water in a dry suit or thick wetsuit. Or, some dive computers may have a small display that’s hard to read underwater.

The average diver walking into your store may not think of these things. Post gear reviews or small signs with bullet points highlighting the features and benefits of your favorite products – these can act as a  “silent salesperson.” Be sure staff are trained to explain the consequences of going with the least expensive item when it does not meet the diver’s needs.

Include a Warm and Fuzzy Feeling with Every Purchase

One way to encourage divers to spend their holiday cash with you is to partner with a local charity. Offer to donate a portion of sales, host a canned food drive, or promote the charitable work you and your staff do year-round in the community. Ensure your charity partner cross-promotes your business in their email newsletters and on social media.

Another option is to give a little something to the gift giver. For example, if shoppers spend $250 US or more in one transaction, give them a $25 US gift card to use in 2018.

Offer a Flexible Return Policy

In 2016, 22 percent of shoppers backed out of a holiday purchase due to an inconvenient return policy (source NRF). Post signs explaining your return policy in prominent areas near the register, on a mirror or on the changing room door.


Invite Customers to Create an Online Wish List

Online wish lists allow consumers to type or copy/paste links to products they would like to receive as gifts. Gift givers can search for wish lists using their friend or family member’s email address.

There are several websites that allow customers to create and share wish lists. One option is Giftster, a free wish list creation site with a group function (designed for families) that could also work for dive shops. After creating a group, type in email addresses to invite people to create a wish list. If your website is powered by Shopify, wish list plugins are available.

Holiday Sales Bring in Big Returns

For many retailers, 20 percent of their annual income comes from holiday sales. Taking time to promote gift ideas and creating packages can pay significant dividends. The sooner you start, the greater the returns will be.