Women’s Health in Diving

Written by DAN staff

DFD_WomenDiversWith PADI® Women’s Dive Day coming up on 15 July, this is an excellent time to review a few issues unique to female scuba divers. The issues that pertain to women’s health and safety in the water aren’t broadly publicized. Refresh yourself on some of the most common gender-specific questions student divers may ask and do your part to better educate the dive community.

Oral Contraceptives

While there has been no evidence found that the use of oral contraceptives increases a diver’s risk of DCS, it may slightly elevate the risk of clotting conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Research indicates that use of an oral contraceptive pill (OCP) can increase the risk of events like a pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke. That risk is further increased by a sedentary lifestyle and smoking. While these events may be somewhat manageable on dry land, they can cause serious issues in the water. OCP use is generally accepted as safe for divers, but it’s recommend that student divers exercise regularly and not smoke to reduce their risk of clotting conditions that could cause injuries during a dive.

Diving After Pregnancy

Recommendations for returning to diving after childbirth vary based on the type of delivery. After a typical delivery without complications, a woman can generally resume diving in about 21 days. This allows time for the cervix to close and limits the risk of infection. Uncomplicated Cesarean sections generally require eight to 12 weeks of recovery before diving to limit infection risk. If a woman is put on bed rest due to complications of the pregnancy, it is prudent to refrain from diving for more than 12 weeks because of the loss of strength and aerobic capacity. Following a miscarriage, a woman can return to diving as soon as a physician releases her for full and unrestricted activity.

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Osteoporosis

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women receive a bone density test if they have broken a bone after age 50, are menopausal or postmenopausal with risk factors, or are older than age 65. The recommendations include a significant portion of both divers and potential divers, and the condition should not be overlooked. Osteoporosis is not a contraindication for diving, but women who have the condition or severe bone loss should consider donning equipment in the water and adapting their diving to reduce the risk of fractures and falls. Good precautions for divers who may have compromised bone health include avoiding wearing heavy dive gear out of the water, carrying cylinders on land, or undertaking hazardous shore entries.

Breast Implants

Once sufficient time has passed after a breast augmentation or reconstructive surgery, a diver may resume diving without increased risk. Divers with implants may experience minor buoyancy and trim changes following their surgery, and should avoid constrictive chest straps that may increase the likelihood of implant rupture, but otherwise have no reason to be concerned. Breast implants do not pose a problem to diving from the standpoint of gas absorption and do not represent a contraindication to diving.

For more information on women’s health and diving visit DAN.org/Health

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5 Tips to Accommodate Traveling Families

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The family travel market is set to boom. According to a late 2016 survey by the Family Travel Association (FTA Survey), this market segment is poised for significant growth. The main reason, the survey says, is consumer interest in spending quality time traveling together as a family. And what better way is there to spend time together than to dive together? Being in a position to accommodate traveling families is a solid growth strategy. Here are five ways to do just that.

  1. Note that simple solutions often work well. If a family has young children, one of the most valuable services you can offer is babysitting. Combine that with a family friendly shop or resort and you have a winning formula without a lot of effort.
  1. Ask yourself if you have the right skills, attitude and expertise. Working with children can be demanding. It requires patience, reliability and the ability to form positive relationships. Most PADI Pros are well able to do this, but if you don’t think you’re the right person for the job, hire someone who is.
  1. Make sure you and your dive shop meet any relevant legal requirements. You’ll need to check locally, but PADI has a great reference to get you going in the right direction: Children and Scuba Diving: a Resource Guide for Instructors and Parents.
  1. Listen to the advice of your fellow PADI Pros, if you don’t have one nearby who loves working with families, reach out on a forum, or get in touch with your PADI RTC who will certainly be able to steer you straight. Better yet, make the time to attend a PADI Business Academy, which makes a fine art of networking with peers.
  1. Listen to the current advice and tips about kids and diving, and traveling families who want to go diving together. It’s all over the web and easy to find, start with this blog Family Vacation Travel Tips for Scuba Divers and this one Scuba Diving Kids: 5 Questions for Parents. Then ask yourself if your operation ticks all the right boxes.

When you’ve done all that, don’t forget to let people know. Families doing their vacation research will respond well to a dedicated section of your website pointing out all the benefits you’ve put in place. Then just shake out the welcome mat.

Drew Richardson Engages Ocean Community at Blue Vision Summit 

PADI President and CEO Drew Richardson took part in the Blue Vision Summit in Washington, DC, USA, last month, speaking about the enhanced role that coastal communities can play in ocean conservation and stewardship. The summit, which brings together ocean conservation leaders, was focused on strengthening a sustainable “blue economy” and addressing challenges of a changing ocean and climate.

PADI CEO Drew Richardson speaks at Blue Vision Summit

“Unquestionably, there are serious and formidable issues threatening the world oceans. That said, I’m a firm believer in engagement, problem identification and mitigation,” Richardson said to the group of 500 scientists, explorers and leaders in attendance. “My life philosophy is to remain optimistic and focused on a ‘future hope.’ In my mind, there is no other option.”

The PADI organization became involved in the Blue Vision Summit to work collaboratively with individuals and organizations toward improving ocean conservation efforts through various approaches, including education and marine recreation. The summit also provides a platform to influence policy and implement ocean health solutions by connecting with change makers and elected officials.

“It was an honor to attend the Blue Vision Summit and engage with so many passionate and committed professionals,” said Richardson. “At PADI, we are recruiting and engaging millions of new divers, training them well to be confident and comfortable, encouraging and enabling them to seek diving adventures and explore the planet’s underwater realm. Divers receive a clear message to pay it forward as good ocean stewards who protect marine life. We look forward to collaborating with like-minded individuals and organizations to achieve these ends.”

Speaking of PADI’s deepened commitment to ocean health and conservation through the Four Pillars of Change program, Richardson said, “We train nearly one million new divers each year who can engage in strategic alliances, have a powerful voice and get involved in real solutions to drive change. PADI Divers are actively becoming as a force for good and driving toward a healthier ocean on local, national and international levels. The PADI organization is committed to being a global, passionate force that creates a preferred future with healthier oceans.”

Note: Read more from Richardson about ocean conservation and advocacy in this recent Forbes article.    

Be Best. Be PADI – The Way The World Learns To Dive®

 

2017 PADI Women’s Dive Day Global Video Contest

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Share a video of your PADI Women’s Dive Day event with us and be entered to win a FREE 2018 PADI Membership Renewal.

The PADI Marketing Team is looking for amazing video footage showcasing the spirit of Women’s Dive Day for inclusion in the 2018 event promotional video.

The contest is open to PADI Dive Centers, Resorts and Individual Members worldwide who are hosting a 2017 PADI Women’s Dive Day event.

How to Enter

  1. First things first! If you haven’t already, be sure to register your PADI Women’s Dive Day event. Learn more here.
  2. Grab your underwater camera and take video throughout your event. Whether your event is training in the pool, diving a lake or exploring the open ocean, show how you and your divers are celebrating the spirit and comradery of Women’s Dive Day. A few things to keep in mind:
    • While the primary objective is to promote women in diving, the footage can certainly show all participants regardless of age or gender. After all, the foundation of Women’s Dive Day is to reinforce the understanding that diving is open and enjoyable to everyone.
    • PADI standards should be adhered to and reflected in the footage.
    • Footage that shows any touching or damaging of marine life will not be considered.
    • Be sure to get signed releases from people that are shown in your video footage and photos. Download a sample release here.
  3. Edit your video so that it is between two and five minutes in length. Video should be a minimum 1080p.
  4. Submit your entry to jennifer.small@padi.com, including entrant’s name, PADI Member/Store Number and contact information. Videos must be sent using a file sharing service such as We Transfer or Dropbox. High resolution photos (minimum 1000 pixels) and/or event description and quotes are welcomed, but a video must be submitted to be considered for the prize.
  5. Check your email to see if your video was selected as one of the winners. If so, you will receive one-year 2018 Membership Renewal free and a set of goodie bags for your 2018 Women’s Dive Day event.

Click here to see Official Rules

For inspiration, watch the 2017 PADI Women’s Dive Day video:

Thank you for taking part in PADI Women’s Dive Day 2017 and the Global Video Contest! For more information about PADI Women’s Dive Day, visit padi.com/women-dive.

To Improve is to Change

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Change is rarely easy, but to succeed in business it’s often necessary. As technology and consumer expectations evolve, more and more businesses are choosing PADI for its dedication to helping retailers stay at the forefront of educational and marketing trends.

Big Bubble Dive in the Gili Islands, Indonesia offered courses from both PADI and another agency for a few years, then switched to 100 percent PADI. After relocating to a space with less-than-ideal visibility in 2015, owner Anna Walker looked for marketing support. “It is literally a case of blink and you’ll miss us,” Walker said. “Thankfully, at PADI Business Academy, my manager learned valuable lessons about online advertising. Now approximately 65 percent of our guests pre-book. PADI Asia Pacific also sent a computer whiz to give more specific help with Facebook, Twitter, website content and links, etc. Now we are once again on the map!”

John Chapman, co-owner of World Diving in Lembongan, Indonesia, said “PADI Regional Manager Paul Tanner showed us the marketing options available to 100 percent PADI Dive Centers and the support network to help with every aspect of bringing business to World Diving. After joining PADI we had the whole PADI team on board designing promotional material custom made for our center, advising on web design to improve customer contact, and training our staff in sales and social media at PADI Business Academy.”

After switching to PADI, Chapman came to understand his business in a new way. “We had a huge menu of courses with another certification agency. We believed giving our guests a wide range made us more attractive,” Chapman said. “Here’s how I look at it now: a restaurant with a massive menu gives you a lot of choices, but the end result may not be as good as you hoped. Go to the specialized place ‘round the corner where there is a select choice of excellent dishes and wow!

Chapman continues: “World Diving is a PADI Five Star Dive Center with a very solid staff and a selection of courses everyone knows inside out. Is there as much choice as before? Probably not, but what we do offer is done to perfection!”

Marketing assistance, staff training and a caring, dedicated area representative are just a few reasons Big Bubble Dive and World Diving are 100 percent PADI. Last year, more dive centers and resorts joined PADI in 2016 than ever before. If you’re ready for a change, contact the Territory Director, Regional Manager or Regional Training Consultant for your area at your local PADI Regional Headquarters.

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

How To Grow Your Dive Business by Marketing to Families

Written by Megan Denny 

According to a recent survey conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute research firm, nearly half of PADI® Divers have children. The survey also found PADI Divers have a median income of $100,000 to $150,000 US. Dive centers and resorts who offer kids programs and cater to families receive the dual benefit of additional revenue, and inspiring the divers of tomorrow. If you don’t currently market your business to families, here are some expert tips to get started.

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How to Attract Scuba Divers with Families

Signal that your dive shop is family friendly by creating a page on your website that describes what family-friendly activities you offer. This could be scuba programs for kids, snorkeling, or non-diving activities to keep kids busy while the parents go diving. Include an image of a smiling child or family on your website homepage inviting site visitors to learn more.

Pro Tip: if you’re just starting off with a kids scuba program, host a free Bubblemaker party for your most socially-connected customers with children. Let them know you’re launching a kids program and interested in their feedback and help promoting it.

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After each program, invite parents to share their experience on TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.. With permission, add the best quotes to the kids program page on your website.

Helpful Hints For Working with Kids
Teaching children requires increased attention, supervision and direction. Consider age and maturity levels as you deliver briefings and explain skills. Keep information simple, and ensure students understand your key points by asking them questions.

Pool games and toys allow kids to build confidence while having fun. After teaching basic skills, sneak in additional practice as a game. For example, challenge students to toss around an underwater toy such as a toypedo without touching the bottom or breaking the surface. For additional activity ideas, review the AquaMission Game suggestions on the PADI Pros’ Site.

Pro Tip: most kids are naturally competitive and want to be better at something than a grown-up. Use this to your advantage when you explain neutral buoyancy. They’ll work hard to be “the best.”

Safety and Other Considerations
PADI’s Guide to Teaching includes pages of recommendations about working with minors. Below is a small sample:

  • Always work with children in public and avoid situations where you and a child are completely unobserved.
  • When possible, parents should be responsible for their children in changing rooms.
  • Have parents sign a permission form before you take or share photos of a child. Also, ask for the child’s permission before taking a photo.
  • Ensure that you and your staff have current training in Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care as well as Care for Children.

For additional recommendations on working with children, refer to pages 164-169 in PADI’s Guide to Teaching.

Pro Tip: personally verify how much air young divers have. You may not always get an honest answer either because the diver feels self-conscious about their air consumption, or they may not understand the hand signals.

Pro Tip: spend one-on-one time with each student where you can be seen but not easily heard. Give each student the opportunity to share any fears or concerns they have without other kids or parents around.

Essential tools
Smaller people need smaller tanks, BCs, wetsuits and other gear. Kids also get cold easily, so be prepared with kid-sized rashguards and beanie caps. Also, some children need larger mouthpieces that can accommodate braces. Lastly, carry a slate and pencil set to help kids communicate underwater without going to the surface every time.

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Further reading:
Minimum ages for PADI certification courses
Scuba-themed gift ideas for kids
Scuba and Boy Scouts of America
Scuba and Scouts Canada

Pro-Level Continuing Education

Written by John Kinsella

It’s at the very heart of the PADI® System and instinctively you know it’s important. You make a point of letting all the divers you work with know about continuing education: Open Water Diver is just the beginning, Advanced Open Water Diver is not for advanced divers, it’s to advance divers, Rescue Diver is the obvious next step and so on. Promoting diver level continuing education is second nature for dive pros. But do you practice what you preach? Professional-level continuing education is, if anything, even more important. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Continuing education benefits both dive businesses and dive pros. Businesses thrive on highly skilled, specialized and cross functional staff who have the skills to perform a variety of duties and teach a broad range of courses. Dive pros with those skills position themselves well for promotions and equip themselves to compete effectively in the job market. Simply put, they’ll get better jobs and their employer will have a more valuable employees.PADIDiveShop_0513_0204
  2. Perhaps an even greater benefit for dive professionals is that continuing education encourages finding and using the best tools and techniques available at any given time, and to realize that these tools and techniques will change over time. This attitude is increasingly important in the face of consistent technological advances and increased competition for jobs. Crucially, it helps dive businesses stay relevant to emerging markets that expect, and demand, technologically savvy instructors.
  3. Another continuing education benefit may be more abstract, but is no less important: It’s a powerful way for dive pros to acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge and to improve their problem-solving skills. This is an essential arrow in every dive professional’s quiver. Things change, issues crop up, but the well educated and well prepared PADI Pro is equipped to avoid or solve problems before they become something worse.
  4. Finally, it’s just fun. There is no better cure for a mild dose of the “same old same old” than an immersive experience in something new and exciting. Nothing benefits a dive business more than a refreshed dive pro.