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

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®