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

Top 5 Dive Instructor Jobs

Written by Megan Denny

Transforming lives, helping others and traveling the world are just a few of the reasons people choose to become PADI Pros. But your PADI Instructor card is also a passport to dozens of careers that don’t involve teaching people to dive.

Over the years, we’ve done a series of scuba career interviews with PADI Pros around the world. Here are the top five most popular:

5. Hollywood Stuntwoman
Since 2008, PADI Course Director Szilvia Gogh has appeared in movies, TV series, commercials, music videos and even video games – using her diving skills to help tell stories on screen. Even her actor colleagues are jealous of her job. “Most everybody is envious, as we often get to do the coolest things on the movie set,” Gogh says. “At the end of the day, we get to play in the water all day AND get paid to do that.” Read more…

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4. Cirque du Soleil “O” Artist Handler
“During the show, there are 14 divers in the water, including four artist handlers and two divecomms,” says PADI Instructor Robert Soncini. “The divecomms are on full face masks and relay information about the show to a platform called the crow’s nest that overlooks the pool, and to stage management which maintains the continuity of the show nightly. The artist handlers are responsible for swimming them either on or off stage underwater or to their next cue.” Read more…

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3. Underwater Criminal Investigator

More and more law enforcement agencies need highly trained Underwater Criminal Investigators (UCI) to respond when their investigations lead to the water’s edge. A UCI Diver is trained to recover anything from a bullet, knife, handgun, rifle, body, or vehicle. When they locate their target, they market it, triangulate its location, photograph it, document their involvement, then package it all while using proper evidence handling and chain of custody procedures. Read more…

2. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Scientific Diver

Scientific divers take the plunge in the name of research to learn more about the oceans and how to protect them. Spending the day exploring an underwater environment, monitoring changes and collecting data – that’s just another day at the office. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has nine dive teams, and each one averages more than 100 dives a year in conditions ranging from freshwater quarries, lakes and rivers to salt water bays and the open ocean. Read more…

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1. Scuba Diving with Astronauts at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab
Of all the environmental changes the astronaut will experience, perhaps the most significant one is weightlessness. That’s where professional scuba divers come in – preparing astronauts for space missions through underwater training. Read more…

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Read more scuba career interviews including: working on the FBI Dive Team, underwater archeology, what it takes to be an underwater model and more. Or, learn more about the PADI Instructor Development Course and the top skills for aspiring PADI Pros.

Take Active Steps to Keep Your PADI Pro Career Fresh

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By John Kinsella

It’s hard to beat the excitement and anticipation of that first job as a PADI® Instructor. Mine was on St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands. It lived up to my every expectation: great colleagues, truly staggering location and best of all actually making a (modest) living in the dive industry.

The core of the work was running Discover Scuba Diving® experiences for cruise ship visitors. We’d go down to the dock to pick up the guests on our custom trucks, complete with fringed sunshades, bring them by the shop for the dive briefing and then drive over to this magical little sandy beach where we had a tour laid out. It was an extremely well organized system and ran like clockwork. It was great fun, at first.

Six months later, let’s just say that I didn’t look forward to the next DSD® with the same enthusiasm. For PADI Pros, and for professionals in any line of work, it’s important to take active steps to keep things fresh. Here are a couple of ways to do just that.

The big one is to simply mix it up. Variety, as the saying goes, is the spice of life. In my case in the Virgin Islands, I positioned myself to get assigned to Open Water Diver courses. All it took was letting my boss know I wanted to and a bit of persistence. While the opportunities were not as abundant, the difference it made was staggering and as a bonus, I went back to the DSDs with renewed vigor. I also, with some success, looked for every opportunity to enthusiastically promote the Open Water Diver course. The result was good for everyone: DSD participants became divers, the shop benefitted from return customers, and I staved off ennui.

This approach works at all levels and in all locations. Later, running a fledgling dive business in Ireland, the dominant course was, as you might expect, Open Water Diver. The solution in this case was to prioritize continuing education. The joy of running the first Advanced Open Water Diver course was memorable. It made use of different dive sites, was much easier and more profitable to run (all that stuff in the IDC is true!) and the participants went on to become long term customers and firm friends. Everybody wins.

Another great way to keep enthusiasm high is to take another, different, course yourself. Recently I bumped into a friend and part time colleague in the coffee shop. Hugh is a PADI Divemaster and a great coxswain. He’s one of those people you are always happy to see when teaching a course or running a dive trip. He mentioned he had just signed up for the Tec 40 course. He said he was really looking forward to being the student for a while instead of the divemaster. He was also just curious to see what the TecRec® courses were all about and felt that even if he didn’t go down the hardcore Tec road, the skills and knowledge would certainly not hurt his recreational deep dives. He’s still going to become an instructor (and I know he’ll be a great one) but this little “detour” is nothing if not fun.

Do everyone a favor, especially yourself, and just do something different once in a while as a PADI Pro. It’s not hard to find something fun to do underwater.

Embracing Initiatives to Support Our Oceans 

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PADI® has a longstanding history of conservation and is building on that by joining forces to further support two of our Four Pillars of Change: Ocean Health and Marine Animal Protection. While continuing to support Project AWARE® in its efforts to reduce marine debris and protect endangered sharks and rays, there are new initiatives with the United Nations (UN) Development Programme and Mission Blue™.

Healthy Ocean, Healthy Planet

Alignment with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water, allows the PADI family to increase efforts to conserve and sustainably use marine resources. By joining the #SaveOurOcean dialog initiated by the UN Development Programme, you and your divers can engage in conversations to increase awareness about the importance of ocean health and its effect on the bigger sustainability agenda to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

Mission Blue™. – a Dr. Sylvia Earle alliance – focuses on growing the number of protected marine areas. Sharing stories of Hope Spots – a term for special places critical to ocean health, dubbed by Dr. Earle and Mission Blue – help identify areas that are precursors for marine protected areas. Nominating Hope Spots provides an opportunity for the PADI family and the dive industry to help reach the goal set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress to protect 30 percent of our world’s oceans by 2030.

One Dive at a Time

Project AWARE continues its vital work to protect our ocean planet. From collective action in local communities to large-scale change at the policy level, Project AWARE partners with you and your divers to reduce the amount of marine debris entering our ocean and protecting the world’s most threatened species of sharks and rays. Diver support is imperative for the oceans’ future and you can encourage everyone to dive into action and show their support through direct donations to Project AWARE, as well as in grassroots efforts including Dive Against Debris® and Adopt a Dive Site. Check out Project AWARE’s 10 Tips for Divers Action Kit for tools you can use to inspire action.

Lend your support for global efforts to improve the future of the oceans under the structure of our Four Pillars of Change. By taking action to reduce marine debris, establish more marine protected areas and protect marine animals, together we can increase biodiversity and work toward sustainable management of the oceans and their resources. PADI Pros and divers drive change every day and have stories to share to inspire others to do the same. If you have a story you want to share, email fourpillarsofchange@padi.com.

Be Best. Be PADI – The Way the World Learns to Dive®

 

Protect Sharks and Rays with Your Dive Business

Project AWARE®, WWF and The Manta Trust are pleased to release Responsible Shark and Ray Tourism: A Guide to Best Practice, the world’s first-ever guidelines for shark and ray tourism operators. The Guide aims to provide practical, science-based guidance to help tourism operators, NGOs and local communities develop and maintain well managed tourism operations that help conserve shark and ray species, raise awareness for their protection, and benefit local communities.

Unsustainable exploitation of sharks and rays – mainly driven by overfishing – is widespread with one in four shark and ray species now threatened with an increased risk of extinction.

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Yet across the globe, shark and ray tourism is increasing in popularity. Currently, around 400 well-established tourism operations focus on interacting with species of sharks and rays, and it’s estimated that this number could more than double over the next twenty years, generating over $780 million USD in expenditures around the world.

Dr Andy Cornish, WWF says, “Shark and ray focused ecotourism has great potential as a conservation strategy. If properly designed and managed, it can provide alternative direct and indirect economic benefits to local communities and economies. Yet sadly there’s limited practical guidance out there.”

Industry, researchers, authorities and the nonprofit community largely agree that best-practice guidance is urgently needed to ensure that tourism sites are established and operated in a manner that benefits sharks and rays, and local communities, while also inspiring awe, respect and a greater appreciation of the need to conserve these animals.

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Isabel Ender, Manta Trust, adds, “Lack of best practice guidance can often leave operators confused about how to assess the impact and improve the sustainability of their operation. We sought advice from scientists and the industry to help bridge that gap and deliver a best practice guide – the first of its kind in the world.”

To support operators seeking to commit to best practice, a full suite of free, downloadable tools is available on all of the organizations’ websites.

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For further information or to download any of the tools visit Project AWARE, WWF and The Manta Trust websites.

Monthly Pro Checklist

Written by John Kinsella

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Things can get busy for active PADI Instructors and Divemasters and planning is vital to stay on top of things; a monthly checklist can really help. For a few suggestions on what to check monthly as a dive pro, read on…

  1. PADI Standards and Procedures. Take some time every month to look at upcoming professional dive activities and make sure you have the most current standards and procedures. It’s a condition of membership that you read The Training Bulletin and implement changes and updates to PADI Standards and Procedures every quarter; double-checking that you have the latest information for any upcoming courses once a month just makes sense.
  1. Maintain Equipment. Especially if you’re diving frequently, the temptation is to just do the minimum: Rinse, check and store. Every month take a bit of extra time and get thorough. On your BCD for example, disassemble, inspect and clean any user serviceable OPVs and inflator mechanisms (always check the manufacturer’s recommendations). Wash the BCD carefully and consider putting something inside to clean the bladder. The general consensus is to use something such as Milton or Steramine 1G, but there’s a passionate online lobby for mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite or laundry soap. Follow the advice of the manufacturer. Take a similar approach with your other equipment.
  1. Research or read something. It’s important for dive professionals to stay up to speed with industry developments, and there’s a seemingly never-ending supply of interesting stuff cropping up all the time. Set aside some time to read the Undersea Journal, Surface Interval, the PADI Training Bulletin, this blog, and other resources. A recent Navy Experimental Diving Unit study, for example, refutes the “helium penalty” (an industry legacy belief, built in to many decompression algorithms, that using helium in a breathing gas mix dictates longer decompression). Seems that’s not actually the case. If you’re more into conservation than tec diving, check out the ongoing research trials into coral reef restoration at MOTE Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Florida. It’s a great example of proactive efforts to mitigate coral reef decline by taking “brood stock” coral from sites of reef impact damage (think ship grounding), fragmenting the coral and growing each fragment to transplantable size under optimal conditions. The point is to stay current on industry developments that interest you and help position you as a current professional. And write a little bit about what you just read, it’s likely just the kind of content your clients crave.

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  1. Data analytics. This sounds a bit scarier than it really is. As dive professionals, communication is key and the vast majority of us use various social media in both a personal and professional context. It’s always nice to know how effective your communications are. Digital media makes that possible like never before. If you have anything to do with a website, make a point of regularly generating reports on traffic and visitor behavior and relate these to business performance. Do the same with social media. There are a bunch of tools out there, many of them free, which will provide you with a staggering amount of useful information. How useful would it be, for example, to know what time of day your Twitter followers are most active? Getting in the habit of devoting an hour or two each month to learn a bit about relevant data analytics can really help you succeed. It’s also a great way to make sure you’re communicating frequently and effectively.

Do your bit to double check your personal checklist this month.

Elevating Purpose: PADI’s Four Pillars of Change

Over the past 50 years, PADI® has become a global network of dive centers, resorts and professional members who do a lot more than teach diving, sell dive equipment and run dive trips. PADI Members transform lives every day. Together, we have certified millions of divers, ambassadors and protectors of our water planet.

And our water planet needs every diver, ambassador and protector it can get. Eight million tons of plastic enter the oceans every year. There’s so much plastic that we use terms such as “plastic soup” to describe the vast accumulations. Elevated temperatures and ocean acidification have effectively destroyed 20 percent of the world’s coral reefs. Overfishing is rampant. Some shark species are on the brink of extinction, their numbers reduced by as much as 80 percent – the loss of these apex predators would throw entire ecosystems out of balance.

Collectively, PADI must commit to acting as a force for good in the world. By connecting divers with the PADI family and empowering them to take action on issues relevant to our industry, we can become an even more powerful catalyst for change. If we can engage divers around the world more effectively locally, global change is inevitable.

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This is why PADI’s Four Pillars of Change launched in 2016. These four initiatives accentuate our deeper purpose:

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OCEAN HEALTH: Support global efforts for a healthy ocean. Partner with Project AWARE to remove marine debris and forge partnerships to establish Marine Protected Areas around the world.

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MARINE ANIMAL PROTECTION: Protect marine life biodiversity. Support Project AWARE® and other organizations that work to enact legislation, educate the public and fight shark finning and overfishing.

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PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY: Do more to help build dive infrastructure and support training local people to foster sustainability. Educate and support local communities to cultivate the protection mindset necessary for ocean health and marine animal protection.

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HEALTH AND WELLNESS: As we help heal the world externally, we heal internally as well. In diving, many people have found hope for their futures. Stories of triumph over adversity, illness and hardships testify to diving’s healing power. Share the incredible stories about personal transformation so others may benefit.

These powerful messages resonate with people all over the world. People want to be involved with entities that make a tangible difference, but they have to know about them first, so it’s vital to get the message out. Take a look at your current communication plan and incorporate these initiatives in ways that fit with your particular local needs and opportunities. You’re likely already doing this, but making it a priority to let people know about this shared commitment is a powerful way to grow the base of divers, ambassadors and protectors our water plant depends on.

There’s no better day to highlight your commitment to the Four Pillars of Change than 22 April 2017, Earth Day. Since 1970, Earth Day has focused on environmental issues and given voice to an emerging global consciousness. Now, 47 years later, Earth Day continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion and motivate people to action. It’s a perfect opportunity to let your local community know about your efforts on behalf of the environment, and it’s just the type of news that’s likely to get picked up by local media.