Help Divers Protect Their Skin Without Harming Coral Reefs

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According to a recent study, even a tiny amount of toxic sunscreen can kill coral. Unfortunately, popular sunscreens made by Banana Boat, Coppertone, Neutrogena and others contain oxybenzone, a chemical proven to be hazardous to reefs. Toxic sunscreen has become such a problem, Hawai’i may pass a law banning sunscreen made with oxybenzone.

Unfortunately, choosing a product labeled biodegradable or coral reef safe isn’t enough. Chemicals toxic to coral such as butylparaben, octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidine, camphor and the infamous oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3 or BP-3) have been found in products labeled coral reef safe. Before you restock your sunscreen, take a few seconds to ensure it doesn’t contain the ingredients above, or choose a product from our vetted list below.

The sun protection products below received high marks from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and consumers on Amazon.com. These are the least-hazardous sunscreen products on the market (according to EWG’s 2017 research) that also received a minimum 3.5 star score from consumers on Amazon.com. You can view the specific products and links to consumer reviews on our earlier blog post: The Best Natural Sunscreen for Scuba Divers and Snorkelers.

Reef-friendly sunscreen manufacturers – view wholesale info online

Badger Balm

Stream2Sea

WaxHead

Reef-friendly sunscreen manufacturers – contact for wholesale info

Blue Lizard

Beyond Coastal

BurnOut – phone 800-798-7970 or email shona@burnoutsun.com

All Terrain (natural sunscreen and natural bug repellent) call 978-886-3218 or email David Kuykendall dkuykendall@allterrainco.com

Note: no sunscreen has been proven to be 100% reef-safe, but sunscreens made with titanium oxide or zinc oxide do not appear to be harmful to corals (source: NOAA). Chemical processes are used to create any sunscreen, even mineral-based ones.

The best solution for divers and snorkelers is to cover up rather than slather on. A rashguard with UV protection is a better environmental choice than any sunscreen. Choose a long-sleeve version for maximum coverage.

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By promoting reef-friendly alternatives to toxic sunscreens, dive operators can reduce their impact on our ocean planet and support the Ocean Health Pillar (one of PADI’s Four Pillars of Change). That said, threats such as coastal pollution, overfishing, and sedimentation are a greater threat to coral reefs than sunscreen. PADI encourages all Members to support the conservation efforts of Project AWARE through donations and education.

The Magic of Multiple-Level Dive Training

Written by John Kinsella

PADI dive training

It’s not too often you come across something that gets absolutely no hits on Google. Multiple-Level Training is one of those things. Where you will find it is under Organization in the Teaching Techniques section of PADI’s Guide to Teaching. If it’s been a while since you checked it out, take a moment to read it again, especially if you want to boost your Divemaster and IDC enrollment.

The basic idea is to have several different levels of training happening at the same time and at the same place. Done right, multiple-level training is not only an efficient use of resources; it’s a powerful way to motivate existing divers to consider going pro.

The key is planning and careful scheduling (there’s a great sample schedule in the Guide to Teaching) and to build in time for divers to mingle and socialize. It also helps to have a few certified assistants. Consider these strategies to maximize the cross promotional benefits of multiple-level training:

Have all divers together for the area orientation. Let everyone know what’s going on and take some time to introduce the divers to each other: “Welcome to the dive site, we have three activities going on this morning, the Divemaster Mapping exercise, the Advanced Open Water Diver Navigation Dive, and Open Water Dive One.” Cover the usual points, make sure to mention who is doing what (by name), then split up into individual course groups to finish the briefings.

Keep people moving and don’t waste their time. In this example, you could overview the Divemaster Mapping exercise seamlessly with the area orientation before breaking up the groups. This has the benefit of clearly highlighting an interesting part of Divemaster training to both the AOW and OW divers. Then have a certified assistant keep an eye on the Open Water Divers while they assemble their gear and get ready for your predive brief. Meanwhile you’re running through the (detailed) brief for the AOW Navigation dive and setting the divers up to practice their navigation patterns on land. (Which will certainly get the Open Water Divers attention.)

Make good use of your own time. Once you’ve covered the AOW brief, have those divers assemble and set up their gear and present themselves for the dive at a specific time. Head over to the entry point where the OW Divers are ready to go and your certified assistants have the shot line already positioned. Enter, run the dive and when you exit you find the AOW divers ready to go. You supervise that dive from the surface and while the AOW divers are breaking down their gear post dive, you debrief the OW divers before you debrief them.

By now the Divemaster candidates are wrapping up their mapping exercise and you check with them before everyone settles down to enjoy lunch.

All you have to do now is sit back and let the buzz do your marketing work for you.

padi dive training

Why Paperwork Matters

PADI Instructor

There’s an old joke that starts, “what does P.A.D.I. stand for?” Think you know the punchline?

Paperwork

And

Diving

In-between

If that wasn’t your guess, read on to learn about common paperwork mistakes and what can happen if paperwork isn’t done completely and correctly. This article will also answer common questions like, “what happens if a student answers ‘yes’ on their medical questionnaire then wants to change it to a ‘no’?”

Why Is Paperwork So Important?

  • It informs divers of their responsibility to be honest in disclosing and evaluating their medical condition and the risks of diving – even when operators do their very best to provide an enjoyable and relatively safe experience.
  • It establishes the guidelines all divers are expected to follow when participating in this transformational activity.
  • Paperwork is used as evidence to help defend dive pros and businesses if an incident occurs and legal action is filed.
  • Complete paperwork is a requirement of your professional liability insurance policy

What Can Happen If Paperwork is Overlooked
Here’s a hypothetical scenario that’s based on real life:

An open water student signs up for class and turns in his paperwork. The instructor does not closely check the documents and misses the student’s “yes” answer to a history of heart disease and high blood pressure.

During the first open water dive, the student has a heart attack and dies. The medical examiner says the diver’s heart was so bad, he could have had heart attack while sitting in his recliner.

The instructor submits an incident report to PADI along with the student’s paperwork. Meanwhile, the student’s family files a lawsuit.

During a quality management review, the failure to properly review paperwork is discovered along with other issues. The insurance company denies coverage because the instructor violated the Warranty of the Policy – obtain physician’s approval if “yes” answer. The instructor must now fight the lawsuit without insurance, and it could have turned out differently if more attention was paid to the paperwork.

The Most Common Paperwork Mistakes

Pat Fousek, Quality & Risk Management Executive, explains key pieces of paperwork, common paperwork issues, and answers frequently asked questions.

Liability Release – This document explains the risks of scuba diving to the participant and is designed as a contract. The diver agrees to assume the risks and accepts something can and may go wrong. None of us are perfect, and when entering a foreign environment with life support equipment, things do happen.

– Ensure all the blanks are filled in properly before the diver signs the form. This can be done with a stamp (do not obscure any other text), electronically, or filled in by the diver. Do not alter the document after the student signs the form.

–  Confirm the form is signed and dated properly. If the student has questions about the form, suggest they consult with an attorney. Do not attempt to interpret the form yourself, even if you are an attorney.

Non-agency Acknowledgment – This form explains to your customers that PADI Member businesses are not owned by PADI, that dive pros are not employees of PADI, and PADI does not and cannot control the day-to-day operations and decisions of your staff and your business. PADI is not involved in the decisions about whether or not to dive a particular day, the dive site, or what staff members are assigned for a particular duty. That is your business.

The non-agency acknowledgement form is the one most commonly forgotten by PADI Members even though it’s incorporated into the student record file and all the individual liability releases on the PADI Pros’ Site. Before you make copies of a form, please ensure you have the most up-to-date version.* We continually see forms and student record files that are 10 years old or older. As with other forms, be sure to fill in the blanks properly, and ensure the form is signed and dated.

* Current version of student record file (product no. 10058) – version: 5.01 from 6 Jan 2016

Safe Diving Practices Statement – This document is designed to inform divers of their responsibility to dive safely – not only while a student diver, but after certification as well. The diver’s signature on this form confirms s/he is aware of their responsibility as a diver, and failure to adhere to safe practices could place the diver at increased risk. Again, all blanks should be completed, and the form must be signed and dated.

The Medical Statement discusses the risks of diving and asks the diver to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions. A ‘yes’ answer requires the approval of a physician before participating in any in-water activities. The form also advises the diver to consult with a physician “on a regular basis” after completing the course. Always have the diver answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (not just draw a line through all the blanks), sign and date the form.

Invariably, one of your divers will answer ‘yes’ to a question on the medical statement and then want to discuss it with you, or change the answer to ‘no,’ – especially after a friend reminds the diver s/he’ll have to get a physician’s approval. Bottom line: there should be no discussion between the instructor and the diver about the medical statement.

If the diver chooses to change their answer, this is allowed, but the diver must initial and date the change. Think carefully about the reasons for a diver changing his or her answer.

  • Was it a simple oversight? If someone who is biologically male answers yes to, ‘are you pregnant or trying to become pregnant?’ it’s acceptable for the diver to change their answer. Be sure the diver initials and dates the change.
  • Did the diver truly misunderstand the question? If a diver initially answers ‘yes’ there must be a reason for it. You can discuss the situation with the diver, but the prudent thing to do is counsel the diver to be truthful about medical issues for the benefit of their loved ones, their dive buddy, and their own health and safety.

We often get questions about adult divers who had tubes in their ears as a child, but now think it’s not an issue. Another common one: the diver uses an inhaler during the months a particular pollen is active, but isn’t using the inhaler currently. In both of these situations, ask yourself: are you the proper person to verify the diver’s medical condition and physical fitness to dive?
If you have questions about PADI paperwork, or any of the information above, please contact your local PADI Office. Current versions of all the forms described above can be accessed on the PADI Pros Site (padi.com/mypadi) under the Training Essentials menu. Choose Forms and Applications from the dropdown. Using Ctrl + F can help you search the page and quickly find form you want.

12 Activities to Keep Divers Active and Increase Business

Written by Megan Denny

Many people become divers because they’re curious about the underwater world. But often it’s the friendships and camaraderie that keep people diving, taking trips and furthering their dive education.

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The social aspects of scuba are also key to growing and maintaining a successful dive business – divers sharing their passion for scuba with family and friends is what fuels our industry. Scuba marketing trends come and go, but there’s always been one constant: word of mouth. Divers invite friends, who make new friends and they all go diving.

Successful dive centers continually bring customers together through diving and nondiving activities. If you aren’t yet running events where divers and nondivers can mingle, choose an idea from the list below.

Family and Friends Discover Scuba® Diving Event

Host a friends and family Discover Scuba Diving (DSD®) event. International Friendship Day (Sunday, 30 July) would be a perfect time, but you can hold events like this anytime. Promote the event by emailing past student divers a free Discover Scuba Diving voucher, or creating a social media post for your event and inviting followers to tag or share with friends.

Consider offering an incentive for divers to refer friends to get certified. Some popular offers include a $25 US gift card, free rental gear, or a free t-shirt.

Here are some additional ideas to jump-start your dive center’s social calendar.

Diving Activities

  • Host a weekly or monthly fun dive followed by a picnic, BBQ or pizza party where kids and spouses are invited.
  • Challenge new divemasters to bring in two friends to do a DSD. The divemaster gains assisting experience and you may get two new divers.
  • If you have easy pool access, start a birthday party program for children or adults. Grown ups can have a private DSD experience for their friends, and kids can enjoy Bubblemaker®.
  • Start a women’s dive group with regular fun dives, DSDs, ReActivate® sessions, or a ladies’ weekend getaway.

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Nondiving Activities

  • Each month (or quarter) celebrate all divers who earned a certification.
  • Invite VIP customers to a thank-you party and give them a pair of free DSD vouchers to share with friends.
  • Schedule a PADI Pro Night.
  • Host a travel night and ensure your most gregarious travelers attend.
  • Try a Dive Against Debris® event during the weekend, or at night during a full moon.
  • Celebrate the dive center’s birthday and staff milestones.
  • Start a year-end awards tradition (most accomplished, best sunburn, coolest critter photo, etc.).
  • Throw a shark-themed or Shark Week party.

Friends with Health Benefits

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.”

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Help your customers strengthen their social bonds and find new dive buddies at shop-sponsored diving and nondiving events. When divers have friends to dive with, they dive more and that’s also good for the health of your business.

 

Did You Know?

92 percent of all vacation and family activity decisions are made by women.
85 percent of all consumer purchases in the US are made by women.
$7 trillion US is contributed by women in the United States in consumer and business spending.
60 percent of all personal wealth in the US is held by women.
Sources: forbes.com, she-economy.com and inc.com

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Last year PADI® Dive Centers and Resorts planned and hosted more than 700 events in 77 countries on all seven continents to celebrate women and diving. Start planning your 2017 PADI Women’s Dive Day event on 15 July using these simple steps:

Decide what type of event to host – It’s completely up to you. You could offer female-themed scuba or freediver courses, have a family-oriented dive day, plan a fun day of boat diving or host a special breakfast for your customers. Check out these additional ideas.

Register your event – Log in to the Pros’ Site with your PADI Dive Center or Resort account, go to My Account and click on Register your Women’s Dive Day event(s). Your event will be listed at padi.com/women-dive for everyone to see.

Promote your event – Use different platforms to help get the word out about your event such as email, social media, in-store flyers and local newspaper ads. Download and use the PADI Women’s Dive Day marketing materials from the Pros’ Site.

Need another reason to plan an awesome PADI Women’s Dive Day Event?

Your event may be featured on PADI Social Channels, in Sport Diver magazine and in The Undersea Journal®.

Minor Mishaps and Maladies

Written by DAN staff

As a dive professional, you know that planning, preparation and careful decision-making are key risk management tools for preventing serious dive incidents and injuries during training. Because of this, the “worst” injuries most student divers face are often bumps and bruises that can be addressed quickly and easily. Knowing that minor mishaps do occur, it’s important to refresh your first-aid skills regularly, and be ready to deal with common problems. The following are a few maladies to consider and ways to handle them.

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Blisters

Blisters and hotspots are annoying and detract from a diver’s ability to focus on learning. Left unattended, blisters can become serious problems if allowed to get worse or become infected. Whether they’re caused by equipment that doesn’t fit right or too much exposure on sensitive skin, address all hotspots and blisters before they become worse. Protect them from friction using moleskin or a thick bandage. In areas where it’s particularly difficult for a bandage to adhere, consider using a tincture of benzoin or another medical adhesive to keep the bandage in place. Avoid draining a blister if possible, but if a blister must be broken use a sanitized needle or a sharp blade to make a small incision near the bottom of the blisters edge, and keep the wound covered.

Infected Wounds

Any open wound can become infected and infections are of particular concern when divers travel. Student divers who are dealing with travel stress, a different diet, sweat, dirt and increased physical activity are more likely to have their wounds become infected, which puts a damper on a dive vacation. It’s important to keep an eye on all wounds and address them before they become serious concerns. Use the acronym SHARP (swelling, heat, aches/pains, redness, and pus) to identify wounds that need medical care. If signs of an infection appear, re-clean the wound, apply moist heat (as hot as the patient can tolerate) every four to six hours, and change the dressings multiple times per day.

Hyperthermia

Fiji10_682_OverheatDealing with the hot sun while distracted by dive equipment or preparations can lead to overheating (hyperthermia). Heat exhaustion is the result of a hot environment combined with insufficient hydration. Heat exhausted individuals often complain of headache, nausea, dizziness and display vomiting, profuse sweating, pale or flushed skin and disorientation. The condition is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but can be remedied with hydration and rest in a cool, shady spot. If the condition is allowed to progress however, it can become heat stroke, which is a real medical emergency. Heat stroke is the elevation of the body’s core temperature to greater than 40ºC/105ºF and immediate intervention is required. If a diver stops sweating, begins to have cramps or faints, seek medical attention immediately and aggressively cool the individual. Get exposure protection off and put ice packs at armpits, neck and groin. Fanning or directing cool air from a scuba cylinder over the diver are good steps to aid cooling, while evacuating the individual to professional medical care.

For more information on everyday first aid and safe diving practices, visit DAN.org/health

A Message from Drew Richardson, PADI President and CEO

PADI President and CEO

There’s been an exciting change of PADI® ownership to a consortium of conservation-minded family investors. This conglomerate of family wealth investors, based in North America, are run similar to foundations and endowments, who invest long-term in cause-oriented premium brands with dominant market share positions that show steady and consistent growth.

As PADI president and CEO, I’m committed to leading the organization into its next 50 years, as is the entire PADI executive team. Together, we will continue to grow the PADI brand and through our stewardship efforts ensure PADI is not only the best in the world, but also best for the world.

This is a positive transition for the organization as the family wealth investors will hold and nurture PADI for many years. This group is closely aligned with PADI’s mission and supports PADI’s efforts to remain stewards for this amazing brand we all love. The new ownership group includes philanthropists drawn to PADI’s commitment to ocean conservation and preservation. And, most importantly, they respect the organization’s dedication to PADI Member support.

Focus remains on the following global priorities:

  • best-in-class support to ensure PADI Member prosperity and growth
  • new diver acquisition initiatives to attract millions of consumers to the sport and train them to be comfortable and confident divers
  • long-term diver engagement and retention through encouraging divers to explore and seek adventure in the underwater world
  • a deeper purpose vision to inspire all divers to ultimately pay it forward through ocean conservation, marine animal protection, community support, and the healing powers of scuba.

This transition marks the next evolution of the PADI organization and is a positive move for PADI Members and the entire dive industry. As my personal friends, I can confidently say that PADI Founders, John Cronin and Ralph Erickson, would be extremely proud of this next step for the PADI organization and heartened to see that it has transformed into a global force for good for scuba diving and the ocean planet.

I thank you for taking the time to read this message. To all PADI Members, I want to reinforce my personal appreciation of your role and contributions to dive training excellence and aquatic conservation advocacy. You are the heart of the organization and the entire PADI staff remain focused on delivering the best service and support to help you succeed. Together, we are – and will continue to be – The Way the World Learns to Dive® . Be best. Be PADI.

Best personal regards,

Drew Richardson

Drew Signature

President & CEO

PADI Worldwide