PADI’s Room Block for 2018 DEMA Show is Open

Be one of the first to book your room at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino for   DEMA Show 2018 from 14 – 17 November. The DEMA Show will be in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center just steps away from the hotel. Call PADI Travel™ to secure the special room rate of $110 US per night* (plus tax). Pay the resort fee and you’ll receive complimentary wireless internet, access to the hotel’s fitness center, in-room safe use and free local and toll free domestic calls.

PADI programs, such as the PADI Social, Course Director Update, IDC Staff Instructor Update and Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer course, will take place in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino, so you’ll be at the center of the action.

Contact PADI Travel at 800 858 7234 ext. 2539 (US and Canada) or email Christine.Grange@padi.com to book your room today.

*Rates subject to change without notice.

Introducing the All-New PADI Travel

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The all-new global PADI Travel™ features an online travel platform and full-service team dedicated to providing top-notch travel services – inspiring divers to explore more of the underwater world and take care of our oceans. PADI Travel is designed to energize and grow the overall diving community for the benefit of everyone in the dive industry, offering hundreds of dive destinations around the world and poised to expand over the coming months with more dive resort offerings.

With each dive operator’s unique business model in mind, PADI Travel is available to augment, support or enhance a PADI Dive Center’s current travel program. Catering to groups and individual travelers alike, PADI Travel combines the best of online booking with concierge-level travel consultancy, offering:

  • The highest customer satisfaction with expert customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • One of the largest online selections of liveaboards and dive destinations in the market.
  • Dedicated dive travel experts with in-depth dive knowledge and experience to provide personalized advice; the team averages 2,500 dives per customer service representative, with dive experience spanning a total of 80 countries around the world.
  • Eco-friendly trip options to help people dive with a purpose.

PADI Travel launches as a leading online travel provider for divers, offering a user-friendly experience to research, compare and book dive vacations anywhere in the world. In today’s digital world, travelers have high expectations with respect to their ability to find information and book online. The new travel platform is made possible by integrating tried-and-tested technology and a global team of dive travel experts from Diviac, a startup dive travel company that has been successfully operating in the online scuba travel space since 2015.

There are many ways that PADI Members can benefit from PADI Travel, including:

  • Liveaboards and PADI Resorts can tap into new customer sources, increase bookings and reduce administration.
  • PADI Dive Centers can get assistance organizing and marketing group trips, earn travel agent commissions on trips booked for their customers with PADI Travel, or earn affiliate commissions for divers referred to PADI Travel.
  • PADI Professionals can earn valuable incentives for divers referred to PADI Travel.
  • PADI Dive Centers will be able to receive direct online bookings for their day trips and PADI courses (COMING SOON!).

For those in North America who have worked with PADI Travel Network, be assured that PADI continues to enjoy a positive relationship with PADI Travel Network’s service provider, Caradonna Adventures, and will work with them throughout 2018 to ensure needs are met. Dive centers are encouraged to work with Caradonna Adventures for land-based travel needs until more dive resorts are added to the PADI Travel offerings.

Explore travel.padi.com to discover all that PADI Travel offers to the dive community.

To learn more about joining the PADI Travel affiliate program, visit travel.padi.com/affiliates. If you’re interested in listing your dive resort on PADI Travel, please contact sales.travel@padi.com. To get support in organizing group trips contact travel@padi.com.

PT-FAQ

BVI Dive Operators Eternally Optimistic in Light of Recent Hurricane Activity.

Written by Mike Rowe, President BVI Dive Operators Association

“When you have vision it affects your attitude. Your attitude is optimistic rather than pessimistic.”– Charles R. Swindoll

“We are open for business” is a mantra that we have now been professing for some time in spite of the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Irma and Maria in September. The BVI Dive Operators (BVISO) encourage our loyal dive community, to support the local businesses and re-visit our marine playgrounds. Come see for yourselves how the forces of nature have (subtly) reconfigured our wrecks and reshaped the underwater environment, now offering exciting new opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Our Dive Operators have been compiling information over the past weeks/months, and reports coming in are reassuringly positive.

Abi at Blue Water Divers recently commented, “While we see some damage on some of the sites, the marine life is still out there waiting for us. This week we have seen Eagle Rays, Turtles, Reef Shark, lots of Lobsters, Crabs and a Leopard Worm, and so much more.”

While some of our most popular sites, The Indians, Dead Chest, Ginger Steps, have experienced little to no change there has been a “shifting” effect on our most visited wrecks.

Our most famous wreck, the RMS Rhone, has been very comfortable in her setting for the past 150 years; she has entertained and enthralled thousands of divers over the decades. Although the bow section no longer offers a safe swim through from one end to the other, rest assured she will continue to be our most valuable underwater resource and now has new features to offer! Come re-explore a truly remarkable wreck site.

The Beata in Wreck Alley has also offered up an interesting addition. She has decided to sit a little closer to the reef (very convenient) and has shed her exhaust stack and placed it nicely at the stern in the sand as a fish attraction device.

The airplane wreck at Great Dog must have finally found its wings because it has taken off.  An honorable mention from the dive operators for the first guest that locates the fuselage!

Our most recent addition to the BVI wreck collection, the Kodiak Queen, has lost some of the Kraken’s mesh coating; however she remained stable in her location and has become a very popular site for a myriad of marine life.

The Chikuzen, remains one of our most requested wrecks, always a plus when environmental conditions allow us to visit her.  She has changed her shape a little and exposed new structures.

As always, and especially at this time, the BVI Dive Operators are recommending that all divers exhibit good buoyancy control around our reefs and wrecks. We ask, and recommend strongly, that guests resist the urge to penetrate a wreck unless guided by a local dive professional. As all divers do, reefs and wrecks need a little time adjust to their new environment.

We look forward to welcoming you (back) to the British Virgin Islands.

Eco-Advocacy and Adventure in Galápagos with Roberto Ochoa

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Photo by Roberto Ochoa

By Guest Blogger: Jo Walters

PADI AmbassaDiver™ Roberto Ochoa talks about his recent expedition to Galápagos, when he spent 10 days shooting a documentary film in partnership with CRESSI, showcasing the beauty of the marine sanctuary and filming freedivers as they encountered the surprising reactions – or lack thereof – of the area’s aquatic inhabitants to their presence.

For 10 days beginning 28 July 2016, a team of noted eco-advocates joined PADI AmbassaDiverTM and marine wildlife videographer Roberto Ochoa on an expedition to the Galápagos Islands to raise awareness of the importance of conservation, promote responsible eco-tourism and film freedivers exploring the recently-created shark and ray sanctuary in the waters of Darwin and Wolf Islands. The expedition was born in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of CRESSI, who brought together the best in scuba and freediving to inspire a sustainable future. The team included some of the aquatic realm’s most ardent divers, including professional freediver Guillaume Néry; shark conservationist Ocean Ramsey; Charles Darwin Foundation scientist Dr. Pelayo Salinas De León; Cousteau Divers Founder Pierre Cousteau; deep dive record holder (and PADI Professional) Leo Morales; champion freediver Estrella Navarro; and esteemed underwater photographers Juan Oliphant and Natalie Parra.

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Photo by Juan Oliphant

The Expedition

“The purpose of the expedition and the resulting film is to present a positive message about the natural conservation of marine species and their coexistence of man through sustainable development,” says Ochoa, who is interested not only in showcasing the beauty and bio-diversity of the Galápagos Islands, but also supporting the local economy by promoting responsible eco-tourism. “That’s why we devoted a day of the expedition to a special program for students from local schools and another to snorkeling in the waters of Tortuga Bay with 80 local children, age 8-11. We must educate the young about the importance of sustainable conservation in order to establish a strong foundation for future eco-activism.”

According to Ochoa, one of the most amazing revelations of the expedition was the interaction of marine animals with the freedivers. “For many marine species, this was their first encounter with freedivers, and they seemed to consider them fellow denizens of the deep – probably because, unlike scuba divers, the freedivers were silent so the marine animals responded to them in a totally different manner,” he explains. “It was particularly fascinating to watch the reactions of the hammerhead sharks. They seemed far more curious than cautions when they encountered the freedivers and didn’t hesitate to interact with them. It resulted in truly magical moments captured on film.

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Photo by Juan Oliphant

Features of the Film

Throughout the 10-day expedition, freedivers made four-to-five dives each day and created more than 40 hours of film. In addition to the hammerheads, people viewing the film will see the freedivers interact with a variety of marine creatures. The islands featured whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and iguanas. The filmmakers have another surprise in store for audiences and it’s exciting. The film was shot in a special 360 degree format in some portions. It renders a kind of virtual reality, panoramic viewing experience for the audience.

You can catch a six-minute short version of the Galapagos Evolution documentary at the 2016 DEMA Show. It will preview in November in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The full documentary will have wide distribution upon completion. Visit Roberto Ochoa’s website for additional updates.

7 New Wonders of the Underwater World: Voting Now Open

PADI Facebook contest - Vote Now

Last month we asked divers to submit their ideas for the New 7 Wonders of the Underwater World. The finalists have been chosen, and now it’s time to chose the winners.

Below is a list of destinations that have made the final cut. You can invite customers to help push your destination to the top of the list by sharing this link:  http://a.pgtb.me/z8jxBT or directing the to the contest tab of PADI’s Facebook page. All votes must be in by Monday 24 June 2013.

Our seven winners will be promoted to hundreds of thousands of divers via PADI’s Social Media channels as the 7 New Wonders of the Underwater World, so don’t be shy about drumming up votes. Imagine if your local diving area was chosen, how would that be for ultimate bragging rights?

Here are our finalists from the PADI Americas territory:

Pacific
Ghost Fleet – Chuuk, Micronesia
Niihau – Hawai’i
Rock Islands – Palau

Caribbean
Champagne – Dominica
Babylon – Grand Cayman
Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park
The Arch – Turks and Caicos

Great Lakes
Edmund Fitzgerald Wreck – Great Lakes

East Coast
Florida Freshwater Spring Caves
U-352 – North Carolina
Christ of the Abyss – Key Largo, FL

Latin America
Blue Hole – Belize
Malpelo – Colombia
Galapagos Islands – Ecuador
MUSA – Cancun, Mexico
Sand Falls – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
El Acuario del Mundo – Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Cenotes – Yucatan, Mexico

Manatee and Cavern Trips Help Create Winter Season

ManateeSoutheastern retailers have long counted on manatee trips and/or cavern diving training to provide much needed dive activity during winter months. Manatee trips can be some of the easiest dive travel a store can run because tanks are optional.

Snorkeling is the prefered way to interact with manatee and that opens to doors to all ages and gives younger kids a chance to share an experience with their parents or each other, which might not yet be possible because of age restrictions or costs.

Because of years of intervention to protect manatee the population has grown significantly ironically rreating the need for more refuge area thereby limiting access to once favorite dive sites like Three Sisters Spring in Crystal River. There have been other rules changes as well. Dive Centers must now have permits to rent boats for their own tours and very few permits are available for dive centers not located in the Crystal River area. US Fish & Wildlife encourages visiting divers and dive groups to go with licensed tour operators who are required to show the Manatee Manners video (which PADI co-funded) and explain the regulations regarding inwater interaction with these huge gentle mammals. Crystal River continues to be unique in that it is the only marine refuge in which inwater interaction is allowed. Following the rules and avoiding any actions, which might be concieved as harrassment, is extreamly important to assure that this wonderful opportunity to meet manatee it their own environment is not lost to the diving community.

Cavern diving is another wonderful winter activity. The water temp remains a constant 72 degrees year round and the gin clear water provides access to funtastic learning experiences for divers from all over the world. Becoming a Cavern Diver Instructor requires that instructors be cave certified and wear full cave gear when teaching,

Cavern diving in Mexico: Dos Ohos

Cavern diving in Mexico: Dos Ohos

but many local cave instructors  offer packages for instructors leading groups who desire to become cavern instructors.Combining manatee and cavern diving makes for an adventure filled week. Throw in digital photo and your student travelers will take home great memories, great photos and bragging rights to two or three new specialties.

Travelling with Dive Gear: Calculate Airline Baggage Fees

Scuba Gear Baggage Fee Calculator

I recently came across a great website: iflybags.com that allows you to quickly calculate the airline baggage fees for your dive gear.

dive gear airline baggage fee calculator

Here’s how it works: 
Type in where you’re going, what airline, and whether you’re flying coach, first class, etc. Click check allowances.

iflybags.com displays the baggage allowances and costs for your flight. Below is an example using an American Airlines flight from LAX to Honolulu. Email subscribers may need to click through to view images.

scuba gear airline baggage fee calculator

 

You can also have the site calculate exactly what your baggage fees will be. After typing in your flight info, click calculate baggage fees. You’ll then be prompted to enter in how many bags you have, and how much each one weighs (see example below).

click to see a larger version
Iflybags.com displays the total cost for your baggage. It even takes into account any elite frequent flyer status you may have.

In addition to being useful pre-flight, I think this could be a great tool when researching flights. An airline that offers a free checked bag might be a better value than a flight that costs $20 less.

Travelling with Scuba Gear: Airline Baggage Fees

Earlier this month I went to Grand Cayman. It was my first international dive trip in a couple of years and I was in complete shock over Delta’s baggage fees.

I decided to research the baggage oversize and overweight fees for some of the major carriers. The results are below. Every effort will be made to keep this information up to date; however, I encourage you to use the links provided to confirm the posted rates and fees.

From now through June 3rd, vote in our poll, “which airline is the most diver-friendly?” If you don’t see your favorite major carrier listed, leave us a comment below.
Feed-readers / email subscribers click through to leave a comment or vote in the poll (top right corner of the website).

General information:

  • The fees, size, and weight restrictions listed below apply to checked baggage only.
  • Fees are one-way. To get the total fees for your trip, double the dollar amount listed.
  • As a general rule, bags under 62 linear inches are not considered over-sized.
  • As a general rule, bags weighing 50 lbs or less are not considered over-weight.
  • Bags over 100 lbs and/or larger than 115 linear inches are not allowed. Some airlines limit the weight to 80 pounds.
  • The fees below assumes you are NOT bringing a tank. Please visit the individual airline websites for the fees associated with bring a scuba tank on an airplane (they start at $100 each way).
  • Linear inches are calculated by adding the length + width + depth of an object.

Weight Limits and Fees
Up to 50 lbs – $15 (first bag), $25 (second bag), $50 third bag
51-100 lbs – $50 fee per piece

Size Limits and Fees
Up to 63 linear inches – free*
63-80 inches: $50 fee.
81-115 inches: $75 fee

*Scuba equipment may exceed 62 linear inches, but must be no more than 115 linear inches.

Note: If a bag is both oversize and overweight, the higher fee is charged.

Additional information on traveling with scuba gear on Alaska Airlines.

Flights within the US, Canada, USVI and Puerto Rico
$20 for the first checked piece.
$30 for the second checked piece.
$100 per piece for the 3rd, 4th and 5th checked bags

International Travel (excluding Canada, Brazil, Europe and Asia)
Two checked bags at no charge. Limit 62 linear inches and 50lbs

Checked Bag Weight Limits
Up to 50 lbs- free
51-70 lbs – $50 per piece.
70-100 lbs – $100 fee per piece

Size Limits and Fees
Up to 62 inches – free
62-115 inches – $150 fee per piece.

Economy Class within the US, Canada, USVI and Puerto Rico
$25 for the first checked piece.
$35 for the second checked piece.

Economy Class between the US, Puerto Rico, USVI, Canada South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico (excludes Brazil)
1 checked bag free (weight and size restrictions apply)
2nd bag – $30 (weight and size restrictions apply)

Economy Class travel to Europe, Micronesia, Middle East and Asia
2 checked bags no charge (weight and size restrictions apply)

First Class, BusinessFirst and International Business Class
3 checked bags no charge (weight and size restrictions apply)

General information on Continental Airlines baggage policies and fees

Skymiles credit card holders may be able to get their first checked bag fee waved.

Travel within the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico
$25 for the first checked piece
$35 for the second checked piece
$125 for the third checked piece

Travel outside the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico
First two checked bags – free
$200 for the third checked piece

Weight Limits and Fees
Up to 50 lbs- free
51-70 lbs – $90 per piece (domestic), $150 per piece (international)
71-100 lbs – $175 per piece (domestic), $300 per piece (international)

Size Limits and Fees
Up to 62 inches – free
62-80 inches – $175 fee per piece.
Baggage measuring more than 80 inches will not be accepted as checked baggage.

You’ll be charged an excess baggage fee each time you go over any one of the allowances. For example, if you have an extra piece of baggage that goes over the weight limit and the size limit, then you’ll be charged 3 times:

* once for the extra bag,
* once for going over the size limit, and
* once for going over the weight limit.

Additional information on bringing your dive gear on a Delta or Northwest Airlines flight.

Scuba diving equipment will not be included in determining the free baggage allowance and will always be subject to the following charges:

Between any two points within State of Hawaii: $25.00 USD
Between the Continental USA and Hawaii: $100.00 USD
Between points within the Continental USA: $100.00 USD

NOTE: Excess weight charges will be assessed in addition to applicable charges for excess pieces and/or oversized baggage.

Maximum weight for Scuba Equipment is 50 lbs. Items exceeding 50 lbs but not more than 70 lbs will be subject to a charge of $25.00 excess weight charge.

Weight Limits and Fees
50 lbs. but not more than 70lbs:
within the State of Hawaii – $25.00 per piece.
within the Continental US or between the Continental US and Hawaii -$50.00 USD per piece.

Size Limits and Fees
within the State of Hawaii – $25.00 per piece.
within the Continental US or between the Continental US and Hawaii -$100 per piece

Items larger than 80” and/or heavier than 70 lbs will not be accepted as checked baggage.

Additional information on traveling with scuba equipment on Hawaiian Airlines.

Checked Baggage Fees
First bag – $25 (up to 50 lbs), $70 (51-70 lbs), $120 (71-100 lbs)
Second bag – $35 (up to 50 lbs), $80 (51-70 lbs), $130 (71-100 lbs)
Third – Ninth bag – $100 (up to 50 lbs), $150 (51-70 lbs), $200 (71-100 lbs)

Size Limits and Fees
Less than 62 inches – free
62-80 inches – $100

Additional Information on bringing scuba diving equipment on US Airways

If the scuba tank is not included, scuba equipment will be accepted as part of the normal baggage allowance in lieu of a piece of baggage. Items are subject to overweight and oversize fees if over 50 lbs or 62 inches.

For Travel within the US and Canada
First bag: $25
Second bag: $35

Oversized (more than 62 linear inches) $175 fee per peice
Overweight (more than 50 lbs) $125 fee per peice

International Travel (excluding Brazil)
Economy Class: First checked bag – free (size and weight restrictions apply)
First/Business Class: Two checked bags free (size and weight restrictions apply)

Oversized (more than 62 linear inches)
$175 between North America and Caribbean, Central America, Mexico
$200 per bag between Australia/Asia/New Zealand via the Pacific, Europe, South America
$250 per bag between north america and Africa, Asia via the Atlantic Middle East

Overweight
Weight limits 50 lbs per piece for economy class and 70 lbs business / first class. For heavier bags, the following fees apply:

Between North America and Caribbean, Central America, Mexico $125 (up to 100 lbs)
Between Australia/Asia/New Zealand via the Pacific, Europe, South America (51-70 lbs) – $150.

Oversized baggage charges are applied in addition to any charges that may be assessed for overweight and/or excess baggage.