Insider Tip: Writing a PADI Distinctive Specialty

By Tara Bradley Connell

scuba diving the great lakes

Photo: Thomas Rhoad

In order to share their love for diving the Great Lakes, PADI Dive Instructors Kim Parker and her husband, Tom Rhoad, began training people out of their home. When they realized they needed more space, they opened up Aquatic Adventures of Michigan. For 17 years running, the husband-and-wife team has been catering to fellow divers in the Great Lakes area.

Wanting to give special attention to Michigan’s unique diving conditions, Parker noticed a need for some PADI Distinctive Specialties specific to the Great Lakes. And since nothing like that previously existed, she decided to write her own.

“We sometimes feel that the ‘Middle Coast’ gets forgotten when diving is discussed, and we want the diving community to recognize that there are wonderful diving opportunities in the Great Lakes,” Parker says. “If you enjoy diving shipwrecks, especially intact old wooden wrecks, there is no better place than the Great Lakes. The wrecks are preserved and protected as an important archeological resource by the surrounding communities.”

Requirements for each specialty include confined water training, finning techniques, reel work, rescue skills, and four dives on various shipwrecks specific to each lake. The mission: to empower divers by focusing on the wreck’s structure, local conditions and history.

“Each student is required to survey the wrecks, know the history of a wreck and cause of its sinking,” Parker says. “This is done by visiting local museums with dive buddies and the instructor to gather research information.”

diving the great lakes in michingan. Photo: Courtesy of Kim Parker

Photo: Thomas Rhoad

Research was also a key factor for Parker and her team when planning the structure of these specialties.

“A lot of research went into each of these specialties, and I can’t take all the credit for it,” Parker says. “Two of Aquatic Adventures of MI Instructors, Gary Flum and Thomas Rhoad, helped with the materials that created the specialties, too.”

Together, the group created a series of seven PADI Distinctive Specialties:

Lake Michigan Wreck Diver

Lake Huron Wreck Diver

Lake Superior Wreck Diver

Lake Erie Wreck Diver

Lake Ontario Wreck Diver

Great Lakes Invasive Species

Great Lakes Master Diver

In order to gain momentum among the dive community, Parker came up with the Great Lakes Master Dive program, making her the first person to be approved for a PADI Distinctive Master Scuba Diver certification.

“The concept behind the Great Lakes Master Diver was to provide diving goals to divers and expand their diving experience towards the Great Lakes,” Parker says. “These certifications give us the opportunity to educate and explore all five of the lakes and to understand what threatens them.”

From concept and research to training and certification, Parker notes that one of her biggest obstacles when writing these specialties was finding objectives to differentiate the unique aspects of each lake.

“Keep in mind what your students and your goals are,” Parker advises. “Figure out how can you challenge students to meet those goals while improving their dive skills. You want to be proud to have your instructor name on their certification card.”

But no matter what specialty Parker and her team are working on, the common goal is to promote diving in the Great Lakes.

diving the great lakes Photo: Courtesy of Kim Parker

Photo: Thomas Rhoad

“To keep people in the water, you have to challenge them,” Parker says. “What better way than to create a dive specialty that is challenging, fun and unique?”

Seven PADI Distinctive Specialties later and Parker has turned a passion for local diving into a PADI Great Lakes Master Diver Program that her dive community can be proud of.

If you’re interested in writing your own PADI Distinctive Specialty course, contact your Regional Training Consultant for more information.

PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Course – What You Need to Know

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Last year, PADI® launched a new pro-level specialty: The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course. This new program provides PADI Professionals with additional tools to help students of varied abilities meet course performance requirements. PADI’s Adaptive Techniques Specialty does not create a new set of standards for existing PADI programs. Instead, instructors learn how a simple technique change can allow many divers to meet performance requirements and earn a PADI certification.

PADI Course Director Jeff Currer was a member of the advisory group which developed the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course and he explains how every PADI Pro can benefit from learning adaptive techniques.

“We often get set in our teaching style over time, and the Adaptive Techniques Specialty course helps you see the standards in a fresh light. The course teaches how to adapt to the student, while still holding the line on performance requirements and expands the instructor’s tool box in ways that can be applied to all students.”

Brent George, a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) and adaptive techniques course participant said, “Learning how a paraplegic might perform the confined water CESA successfully will definitely help me teach that skill to all divers.”

Jeremy Wilton, a PADI Instructor Development Course Staff Instructor and course participant said, “I will use what I learned in every class I teach, including pro-level courses.”

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Rob Currer, a PADI Master Instructor and PADI AmbassaDiver, was also part of the adaptive specialty advisory group. He notes: “According to the World Health Organization, there are around one billion people on the planet who are living with some sort of disability. So truthfully, most PADI Pros are already working with people who could benefit from adaptive techniques; they just don’t realize it.”

“Even people with a more typical ability range don’t all learn the same,” Rob continued. “Every diver is unique; they struggle with some skills and not with others. PADI’s Adaptive Techniques Specialty helps pros look at a PADI Standard and see the flexibility that already exists there. They learn how to easily implement techniques to capitalize on the strengths of their students and help each one overcome their unique challenges.”

The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty includes exercises to help PADI Pros gain a greater understanding of the physical limitations some students face. Course participant Jeff Pettigrew, a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI), described how he came to understand the tired diver tow in a new way.

“We have a hemiplegic divemaster candidate who cannot use one of her arms and has limited use of one leg. When I tried to do the fin push tired diver tow as a hemiplegic, I had new found respect for the challenges she faces, and overcomes!” said Pettigrew.

Rob echoed Pettigrew’s sentiments regarding the abilities of those who are considered disabled. “There will be skills in which your student divers need more assistance, but these people are not really ‘disabled.’  In fact, these students are incredibly able, they just approach certain tasks differently from a typical diver. Most instructors are really surprised at just how capable their adaptive students are.”

Course participant Roger Shields, a PADI OWSI and medic in the United States Army, described how the course helped him recognize his inherent adaptive teaching skills. “I have my own physical and cognitive issues, but taking the adaptive techniques specialty helped me realize I was already adapting my style for myself! When we practiced adaptive techniques to accomplish some of the skills, I realized that I had a lot to offer others who could benefit from my experience,” he said.

For instructors and divemasters interested in working with disabled divers, but hesitant to take the next step, Rob says, “Dive on in!” He advises PADI Pros to earn the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course certification first – to build a solid base of skills and knowledge. Next, team teach with an experienced pro to help build confidence in your skills. Then, when you feel comfortable, start setting up your own programs.

“It can definitely be intimidating at first. What if there’s a problem?” Rob said. “Well, what do you do if any student has a problem? You help them fix it. It’s the same with adaptive teaching, you problem solve, and as a PADI Pro you are already a pro at that!”

Jeff Currer, who is also the co-founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Patriots for Disabled Divers, shed some light on common misconceptions about working with individuals with disabilities. “In my experience, there are two common misconceptions: that there is more liability when working with those with disabilities, and that there is no business case for shops to provide the training.”

“Both are wrong,” Jeff said. “The liability does not change, you always have the duty to care. Training may take more pool time and require smaller classes, but there is no reason why you cannot cost the course appropriately. People will seek you out to get the experience and the opportunity to do something amazing. It will boost store credentials with the able-bodied community as well.”

There is enormous value for dive store staff as well. Jeremy Wilton, a PADI IDC Staff Instructor and course participant said, “I have a number of friends who are combat injured and this course opened my eyes on how to adapt my delivery and still meet standards. One of my friends is a paraplegic with limited arm strength, and the techniques we practiced to conduct the confined water CESA will definitely be applicable when I teach him! I cannot wait to get him in the water.”

For PADI Professionals who are already HSA Instructors, the two programs are very complimentary. Rob shared his perspective, “As both a PADI and HSA instructor, I can honestly say that carrying both ratings allows me to give the widest range of care to my adaptive divers. It allows me to have the flexibility to use the program that best meets a student diver’s individual needs.

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If a diver can meet PADI Standards and earn their PADI card, they can be certified under the most recognized brand in diving and freed from some of the additional limitations that an HSA certification might place on them. There are going to be divers, like many quadriplegics, who are not physically capable of meeting PADI Open Water Diver standards and thus need a program like HSA to earn a dive certification,” Rob said.

“PADI has always been supportive of divers with disabilities, and the adaptive techniques course is there to bring that home,” added Jeff Currer. “The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course provides PADI Professionals with the credentials to work with divers who never thought they would be able to dive and earn a certification from the best known and respected certification agency in the world, and the confidence to provide that training with the backing of PADI. Very powerful.”

Learn More or Enroll

PADI Divemasters or PADI Master Freedivers who have completed EFR Primary and Secondary Care course within 24 months are eligible to take the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course. Learn more about the PADI Adaptive Techniques specialty for PADI Professionals, or view Patriot Scuba’s course schedule.

For divers, PADI offers the Adaptive Support Diver Specialty course. This course helps certified divers learn how to better assist a certified buddy who may have some form of challenge explore the underwater world. View Patriot Scuba’s Adaptive Support Diver course schedule.

Divers, pros and dive shop owners can support the efforts of Patriots for Disabled Divers. Learn how you can work with disabled veterans, become an affiliate store, and other ways to support their work.

Gotham Divers Experiences 25% Growth After Crossing Over to PADI

Written by Megan Denny

Gotham-storefront

Gotham Divers began when two dive buddies, Alex Barnard and Tim Hughes, joined forces to offer dive training, adventure and community to the divers of New York City. Their goal was to create a place for friendly gatherings both in the store and at sea – for divers of all levels.

In 2017, Gotham Divers took their business to a new level by crossing over to PADI. “A couple of years into owning Gotham Divers we decided it would be in the interest of the store to crossover to PADI,” explained co-owner Tim Hughes.

“The power of the brand was already very clear from dealing with potential customers and we wanted to tap into that,” Tim said. “We found out a crossover could be arranged that would fit around our busy schedule, and we jumped at the opportunity.”

Instructor Pete and Gotham Divers owners Alex and Tim.

Instructor Pete and Gotham Divers owners Alex and Tim.

“Before the crossover we were worried that the course would be mostly about drinking the PADI Kool-Aid since it seems like a huge and imposing agency,” Alex said. “Happily we turned out to be wrong with our worries. Since crossing over we’ve seen a 25% increase in business.”

Tim added, “Adam, Stush and John ran a very professional course which we all enjoyed and found informative. They knew that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work given the huge differences between local dive stores so they took the time to understand our business and gave us many suggestions based on that. Many of these could seem inconsequential but they definitely improved the flow of our classes and were greatly appreciated by us and I’m sure our students get an even better experience for them.”
Gotham Divers specializes in dive trips to explore historic shipwrecks, both local wrecks and those in more tropical climates. Check out Gotham Divers’ Facebook page to learn more about the wreck diving sites they visit.

Gotham Divers

Gotham Divers

Gotham Divers also offers certifications ice diving, mine diving, and a wide variety of recreational and technical diving courses. To learn more about Gotham Divers, visit their website gothamdivers.com. You can also follow them on Twitter and Instagram @gothamdivers.

The Individual Member Master Scuba Diver Challenge is Coming 1 May!

 

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Get ready for a friendly competition! Enter the 2018 Master Scuba Diver™ (MSD) Challenge from 1 May 2018 through 30 September 2018 and you could win a 2019 PADI® Membership renewal. You’ll also gain bragging rights and receive special recognition in PADI’s eNewsletter, Surface Interval.

HOW TO WIN 

The PADI Instructors showing the most percentage growth in Master Scuba Diver certifications (as compared to the same time frame last year) will win. You’ll only compete against others in your competitor group:

COMPETITOR GROUPS

  • PADI Individual Members with 0 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Individual Members with 1 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Individual Members with 2-4 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Individual Members with 5+ MSD certifications during the 2017 period

Each competitor group listed above will be awarded one 1st place winner, for a total of four prizewinners! In addition, you will receive a downloadable suite of tools to help you market the challenge to your students and students will have the chance to win a grand prize too! All students who earn the Master Scuba Diver rating from 1 May 2018 through 30 September 2018 will be automatically entered to win a dive vacation for two to Anthony’s Key Resort.

Keep an eye out for more details and challenge registration via e-mail and the PADI Pros’ site coming soon!

View the Official Contest rules here.

The 2018 PADI Retail and Resort Master Scuba Diver Challenge Starts 1 May!

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Get ready for a friendly competition! Enter the 2018 Master Scuba Diver™ (MSD) Challenge from 1 May 2018 through 30 September 2018 and you could win a 2019 PADI® Retailer & Resort Association Membership renewal. You’ll also gain bragging rights and receive special recognition in PADI’s eNewsletter, Surface Interval.

How to Win

The PADI Dive Centers or Resorts showing the most percentage growth in Master Scuba Diver certifications (as compared to the same time frame last year) will win. You’ll only compete against others in your competitor group:

COMPETITOR GROUPS

  • PADI Dive Center or Resort with 0-4 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Dive Center or Resort with 5-9 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Dive Center or Resort with 10-14 MSD certifications during the 2017 period
  • PADI Dive Center or Resort with 15+ MSD certifications during the 2017 period

Each competitor group listed above will be awarded one 1st place winner, for a total of four prizewinners! In addition, you will receive a downloadable suite of tools to help you market the challenge to your students and students will have the chance to win a grand prize too! All students who earn the Master Scuba Diver rating from 1 May 2018 through 30 September 2018 will be automatically entered to win a dive vacation for two to Anthony’s Key Resort.

Keep an eye out for more details and challenge registration via email and the PADI Pros’ site coming soon!

View official contest rules here.

Ready to ramp up your PADI Master Scuba Diver™ program? Get ready for the challenge by checking out these tips on how to put your Master Scuba Diver program to work here.

PADI Member Forums 2018

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While remaining committed to safe and responsible diver education, PADI® has deepened its commitment to the environment with the PADI Four Pillars of Change initiative, focused on making a significant impact on key issues facing the dive industry and the ocean planet.

Member Forum 2018 reviews PADI’s Pillars of Change and what you can do to help facilitate its objectives. In addition, we will review the globalization and revitalization of all digital products, as well as two new initiatives for 2018: the new PADI Club, and PADI Travel.

Member Forum

As always, your knowledge of PADI Standards will be tested, and you’ll gain insight into better risk management while reviewing dive-incident scenarios. Registration is free and recommended. Click the link below to register for an event near you!

United States – 2018 Member Forum Schedule 

Canada – 2018 Member Forum Schedule

Caribbean and Latin America – – 2018 Member Forum Schedule

*Dates and locations are subject to change.

If you are unable to attend a live event, click here to attend a Member Forum online.

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How to Get the Divemaster Job of Your Dreams (Part 2)

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Put yourself in the Winning Seat

Your PADI Divemaster certification can open the door to a fun and rewarding career anywhere in the world, but landing a great job takes work. Last month, in Part 1, we highlighted different skills you can add to your CV to help you stand out from the crowd and put you in the winning seat.  Below are some more strategies to help you outmaneuver the competition and snatch up your dream job.

How Will You Bring in New Customers?
New customers are the key to the success for any business, and dive operations are no exception. If you have personal connections or new ideas to help the dive shop owner bring more people through their doors, you’ll have a leg up on other job applicants. Here are a few ideas to consider:

– Build relationships with the concierge at local hotels
– Suggest ways to bring lapsed divers back into the shop with PADI ReActivate™
(a program DMs can conduct)
– Pitch a kids scuba summer camp program

– Do outreach to local businesses who might want EFR training
(you can even become an EFR Instructor)

Take Advantage of Online Tools

Visit the employment board on the PADI Pros Site to learn what skills employers are looking for and how you stack up to other PADI Divemasters looking for work.

Promote your skills and passion for diving on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels. Take time to learn how using social media can boost your scuba career.

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Every Day is a Job Interview
The dive industry is small, and developing a bad reputation can quickly bring your scuba career to a halt. The diver next to you could be friends with a shop owner, and the server at a restaurant might work part-time on a dive boat. Always present yourself as a professional, trustworthy person online and in real life.

Your appearance can be an important factor in getting hired. Imagine two job applicants with equal qualifications: one who looks like they just washed up on shore and another who has clearly put time and effort into maintaining their hair and clothes – who do you think gets the job?

It’s also important to maintain physical fitness. A dive operation entrusts Divemasters with the safety of their customers. Do you have the strength to help someone back onto a boat? Could you egress someone during a shore dive?

Once you land that Divemaster dream job, act professionally and follow through on what you agreed to during your interview. If the job doesn’t work out, give as much notice as possible.

We hope the tips above help you take advantage of new opportunities in the New Year! For a list of dive operators looking to hire PADI Divemasters, visit the PADI Pros’ Site and choose Employment/Classifieds from the Online Services dropdown menu.

Top 7 Mistakes New Dive Center Owners Make

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As a new or aspiring dive center owner, here are some things to keep in mind before solidifying your game plan.

Choosing the Wrong Location
Finding the right balance between affordable rent and a location in a high-income area is a struggle for many new dive shop owners. Generally speaking, it’s better to pay a little more for a location in a high-income area near a reliable pool. Cheap rent is often a double-edged sword. If getting to the shop is inconvenient, customers may choose to pursue a different recreational activity.

Carrying Too Many Product Lines
By limiting the number of product lines, a shop owner shop can maximize their financial resources. Buying “deep and narrow” is a safer, more economical choice than carrying too many brands. This doesn’t mean signing an exclusivity contract, but it does mean saying, “no,” or “not right now” to manufacturer reps.

Not Understanding Business Strategy
“One of the biggest mistakes people make is not spending the time to make a decent business plan and get advice about costs, profits, turnover overhead, etc.,” notes PADI EMEA Regional Manager (RM) Matt Clements.

Christian Ambrosi, a PADI Americas RM echoes Clements’ sentiments, “Everyone should understand how to analyze an income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flow. Without this knowledge, you can’t measure the health of your company.”

Pricing is another common struggle, “Some dive centers price everything based upon what the dive centre down the road is charging rather than costs, or what the product is actually worth. Other dive shops mistakenly focus on having the greatest number of customers rather than being profitable.” said Tosh Tanner, Territory Director at PADI Asia Pacific.

Sporadic Business Hours
When a dive shop publishes its hours to Google, Facebook, etc. it’s important to adhere to the posted hours. Regional Manager Ambrosi asks, “How many times would you stop at a store with a sign that reads ‘be back in 30 min’ before you find a shop that provides that service when you want?”

Fernando Martins, RM for PADI Latin American notes, “I’ve seen excellent dive pros open a store that later fails because they have another job and try to run the shop too, so the business becomes like a hobby.”

Poor Hiring Choices
“Hire for personality, not skill set,” recommends RM Nick Jenny. “You can teach skills, but a million-watt personality is something you’re born with. The next time you’re shopping and someone goes out of their way to help you, or adds special something to the experience, consider whether this person might want to sell travel and adventure instead of clothing or electronics.”

Not hiring individuals with a sales-oriented mindset is another big mistake. “I repeatedly see instructors who are afraid to close a sale as they are afraid of being pushy. The people who work in your shop should be both eager to sell and provide great customer service,” said Clements.

Insufficient Marketing
The number one mistake new shop owners make is failing to invest in marketing efforts. “I’ve seen people open a shop thinking their personal dive associates will keep them in business,” said PADI Americas Regional Manager LeRoy Wickham.

“They overlook the fact that the majority of these friends already have most of their gear and only bring in small business like air fills and maybe some repairs. It’s not enough to keep the doors open,” Wickham explained.

Successful dive business owners spend as much time developing their web presence as they spend building out their physical location. A dive shop’s website is typically a new customer’s first impression of the business. It should be designed by a professional and feature inviting photos of smiling divers on a mobile-friendly platform.

For outdoor signage, a simple design with a dive flag and “Scuba and Snorkel” is an effective choice. As supplementary tactic, business owners should allocate capital to online search advertising such and Facebook ads targeting local users interested in scuba diving (not post boosting).

Not Asking for Help

If you’re interested in opening a dive business, involve your PADI Regional Manager early on. Your RM can help you choose a good location, conduct staff training, and take advantage of PADI’s marketing resources.
Attend PADI Business Academy to strengthen your business with pricing and fraud avoidance workshops plus hands-on experience with web and social media marketing tools.

Further Reading:
Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill
PADI Business Academy information and schedule
Does Your Business Project a Professional Image?

Junior Scientists in the Sea Inspires Young People to Get Certified, Stay Involved

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Photo: Junior Scientists in the Sea

Junior Scientists in the Sea (JSIS) is a year-round program that helps young people gain real-world job skills while fostering an interest in scuba diving, science, engineering, and the underwater world. Any student age 12 or older is welcome to participate. Founder Les Burke explains:

“Whether or not you are certified does not matter. If you cannot swim, we will teach you. If you want to stay on shore or in the boat, we still want you to join us. In addition to scuba diving, we have drones, remote operated submersibles and remote camera equipment. We have something for everyone.”

Les Burke became a PADI Instructor in 1983. Les spent 33 years in the Navy, including 28 as a Navy diver, and worked as a Navy diving instructor at the Naval Diving & Salvage Training Center in Florida. Altogether, Les has certified more than 2,000 divers at all levels of diving.

Les founded JSIS with the goal of creating new divers, scientists, and engineers with the skills and passion to protect the ocean. “JSIS is designed to expose kids to a meaningful, educational program combined with on-the-job training, hard work, and opportunities to solve real-world problems right in their own backyards. The new experiences, new places, new people, and new approach will create new hope, new ideas, and new attitudes. Instead of choosing from well-traveled, often-overcrowded trails, JSIS is blazing new ones,” Les explained.

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Photo: Junior Scientists in the Sea

JSIS activities can include:

Coral reef surveys and restoration initiatives
Fish and invertebrate identification
Invasive species surveys
Maritime heritage and underwater archaeology activities
Safe Boating and navigation classes
Public Speaking, communications, and “writing for a purpose” workshops


JSIS Partnerships

“Our programming is used by high school activity clubs and other after school programs, County Parks and Recreation, and as a stand-alone program at dive centers,” Les said.

Teresa McKinna VP/CFO Key Largo Undersea Park home of Jules’ Undersea Lodge said, “We love Les here at Jules’ Lagoon and his work with Junior Scientists. Les is one of the hardest working advocates for the education and betterment of our youth I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. His mind is always working and looking for new interest for his students.”

Why Become a JSIS Chapter?
“Training the next generation of aquatic stewards is key to the future of our industry and a great way for dive shops to give back to their community.” Les said. “If we don’t take care of the rivers, lakes and oceans, that source of livelihood could go away, and teaching SCUBA to under-represented and low-income youth can generate more return on the investment than is imagined. This kind of work is rewarding and can open other doors if done with passion and honor.”

“For the bottom-liners, JSIS is good for business. Junior Scientists are very active and as they improve their diving competency and level, they’ll need gear as things are lost or worn out,” Les explained. “JSIS can also complement community service requirements and attract more college-age divers.”

“We have empirical data showing parents will invest in their kids when they see them in an active program with educational and ecological benefits,” Les said. “And JSIS delivers results. We monitor our students’ grades (where allowed) and have found an across the board increase in 95% of our students. We also have 8 students now attending post-secondary programs.”

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Photo: Junior Scientists in the Sea

How PADI Dive Shops Can Become a JSIS Chapter

Many JSIS chapters started when dive center owners realized they had passionate young dive students and not enough for them to do. Whether you have an existing group of divers, or are looking to grow your business with youth programs, here’s what you need to know about starting a JSIS chapter:

– The first step is to contact Les to create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between JSIS and the dive organization

– Monthly meetings are required (more frequent meetings are encouraged, but monthly is the minimum)
– All programs must be safe, ethical and legal
– JSIS encourages diversity among students and chapter leaders

JSIS recommends need-based free or reduced rate SCUBA instruction, but does not mandate it. JSIS partners with various organizations for activities and fundraising to support its chapters, and shares any grant money received. “The more kids we are serving, the more funding we are eligible for, so growth begets growth,” said Les.
For more information on becoming a JSIS chapter, contact Les Burke at les@jsisinc.org. Read more about JSIS on PADI’s blog and connect with Junior Scientists in the Sea via their website or on Facebook.

Aligning with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is the first global alliance working to solve the worldwide problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear, known as ghost gear. Founded by World Animal Protection in 2015, the GGGI works to reduce the volume of ghost gear, remove and recycle it, and rescue entangled animals. By aligning with the GGGI, the PADI® family can help mobilize divers to look for and report harmful ghost gear that annually entangles and kills marine life including hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, turtles and birds.

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PADI joins GGGI as a member of its global solutions group to help develop new ways of mitigating the ghost gear problem. This complements the efforts of Project AWARE®, which actively works as a GGGI member to build evidence through its Dive Against Debris® program. Working together, the goal is to develop and implement projects to reduce and remove ghost gear from the ocean. This includes equipping PADI Divers with the knowledge and techniques to identify, report and, with proper training, safely remove ghost gear from waters, creating a global movement of millions of underwater eyes on the lookout for ghost gear.

More than 640,000 tons of fishing equipment is left in the world’s oceans each year, with reports showing that this debris affects more than 800 species of marine life. Many nets lost in global waters are enormous – often far bigger than football fields – trapping and killing marine life under the surface. Mostly made of plastic, ghost gear is also highly durable and can persist in the oceans for up to 600 years.

“We are happy to team up with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative,” says Drew Richardson, PADI Worldwide President and CEO. “PADI is committed to protecting the ocean planet and, with our unique underwater vantage, the dive community can play a significant role in locating marine debris. Along with Project AWARE, we look forward to working with the GGGI to empower and mobilize PADI Divers to join the fight against ghost gear.”

“We are proud to welcome PADI, with its millions of underwater eyes around the world looking out for ghost gear, as a pivotal new member for the GGGI,” says Elizabeth Hogan, U.S. Oceans and Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection, the GGGI’s founding participant. “Ghost gear is a true global problem that knows no borders, and PADI will surely play a crucial role in helping us to locate, remove and recycle ghost gear, which causes such immense suffering for marine animals.”

To learn more about ghost gear and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, visit www.ghostgear.org.

Be Best. Be PADITM. The Way the World Learns to Dive®.