Although most of you talk regularly with your PADI Regional Training Consultants, have you ever wanted to know more about them? We asked each of your PADI Regional Training Consultants to answer some questions, to help you get to know them a little better!
Tony Cook – New Zealand & Fiji
Name: Tony Cook with a y and
without an e
Region: 22 – New
Zealand & Fiji plus I have a hand looking after our Resellers across Asia
OW Cert Location:
St Tropez in the south of France (BSAC) & Paphos in Cyprus (PADI Rescue
Number of Years
Working in the Dive Industry: 25+
Bucket List Dive
Site: Somewhere under ice on my own
Highest PADI Rating:
PADI Course Director & Instructor Examiner
What do you love most
about diving?: Sharing my passion for diving and having fun.
Brigit Jager – NT, QLD, PNG &
Region: 23 –
Papua New Guinea, Australia (QLD, N.T.) and the Pacific Island countries
OW Cert Location:
Pulau Seribu (Jakarta), Indonesia – 1984
Number of Years
Working in the Dive Industry: 30 – this September
Bucket List Dive
Site: Antarctica and Galapagos
Highest PADI Rating: Course Director / Instructor Examiner
What do you love most
about diving?: Freedom! That blissful, magic moment each time I descend and
the ocean embraces me, effortlessly floating mid-water and wondering what will
we see this time? Oh and sharing my passion for the underwater world, plus
conservation of our ocean planet and all aquatic life, of course…
Mark Cummins – NSW, ACT, VIC, SA, WA & TAS
Name: Mark C.
OW Cert Location:
Number of Years
Working in the Dive Industry: 24
Written by Sheridan Hatcher, PADI Marketing Executive
Blogging is not a new concept – it’s been around for many
years. In fact, the first year that we introduced ‘Blogging’ as a presentation
topic at our PADI Business Academies in Asia Pacific was back in 2013. At the
time, I could comfortably say that next to no PADI Retail & Resort Members
were engaging in blogging and majority didn’t really understand what a blog was
and how it would help their business.
What is a Blog?
A blog is simply an online newsletter, sometimes traditionally
named ‘News’– when set up correctly, it is housed on your website domain or on
a sub-domain. It is the place where you can write relevant articles related to your
dive centre or resort to not only retain your current customers but also to
hopefully acquire new customers. Blogs are also considered the middle ground
between your website and your social media channels.
Why Write Blogs?
There are two main reasons to adopt blogging as part of your
digital marketing strategy.
increase your website presence – blog articles add to the size of your
website as they add additional pages that include important keywords in which
you hope to rank on within Google and the other search engines. Adding a blog
article to your website also aims to keep your website updated with fresh
content – something that Google favours within their algorithm.
acquisition and retention – by posting relevant content that suits your
target audience, the articles that you add to your blog can help to attract new
customers and also keep your current ones informed, therefore assisting you to
retain them with the aim to have them continue their PADI scuba diving
education with you.
How Often Would I
Need to Write a Blog Article?
When deciding whether you have the time to start a blog, you
need to consider that you need to have the resources and time to write a blog
article that is of a decent length (approx. 500-600 words) at least once a month,
continually throughout the year. Of course, the more articles that you post
each month the better however this of course depends on what your PADI Dive
Centre/Resort can handle.
But I Don’t Know What
to Write About!
Being in the scuba diving industry, we are extremely lucky
as we have so many topics that we can write about! Our industry is fun and
exciting and ever-changing so the list of topics that you could write about is
endless! Some examples include –
Hints/tips on becoming a better scuba diver
Fascinating facts about marine life
Promotion of PADI courses
Environment and marine conservation/Project
Local dive sites
Promotions/events happening at your PADI Dive
Instructor Development Courses/Go PRO nights
When deciding what topics to write about, always stick to
the 80/20 rule – 80% consumer focused and 20% brand focused.
Breakdown of a Blog
So you’re now interested in blogging and see the benefits
that it can provide your business however you just aren’t quite comfortable in
knowing how to write an article – no problem, below you will find the items
that make up a decent and attractive article for the reader –
Title – use keywords to explain what your article is about (approx. 65-70
characters including spaces). Make sure it explains clearly what the reader
will be informed of if they read the blog article.
– using headings is a great way to break up your content, making the article
look more attractive to the reader.
needs to be informative and include keywords and keyword phrases however ensure
it’s written in natural language for the reader, not for the search engines.
& Videos – add attractive images/short video clips to attract the
reader and also use them to break up the text within your article, so it looks
more pleasing on the reader’s eye.
if you can, add some humour into your writing. This can also help to build/add
personality to your brand/content.
& external) – hyperlink any keywords within your articles back to relevant
pages on your website to help flow traffic back/through your website or
alternatively link out to external websites to provide the reader additional
Action – add one to the end of your article to provoke an ‘immediate action’
– this can assist to encourage the reader to seek more information, contact
you, make a booking etc.
As you can see from explanation the above, blogging is a
valuable tool that can assist your dive business in order to improve your
search engine ranking, acquire new customers or retain your current ones –
plus, it’s not that hard! Enlist the help of your dive staff to help lighten
the load – have brainstorming sessions to come up with topics/keywords that can
be blogged about and use a social media editorial calendar so that your staff
are clear on when their article is due to be posted online. Plus, before hiring
new staff, make sure you add blogging as part of their role – in the end it’s
only going to help your business and save you time!
For additional information or assistance in setting up a
blog, please contact your PADI Regional Manager today.
Written by Mark Wastall, PADI Regional Training Consultant.
strength of the team is each individual member, the strength of each member is
the team” – Coach Phil Jackson.
It’s the time of year when PADI Membership renewal is on a lot of inactive
dive professional’s minds. The PADI Regional Training Consultant team receive
hundreds of questions regarding renewals from members across the Asia Pacific
region. Let’s have a look at some of the common questions we get asked.
Q: ‘I didn’t renew last year, do I have to
re-sit my Instructor Examination?’
A: No, we understand how
hard the dive professional works to earn their status along with the time and
dedication involved in becoming a respected PADI member. We also understand
that sometimes life just happens, opportunities arise and diving can
occasionally take a back seat. There is no reason you should be punished for
that by having to start over again. Retraining varies depending on the
circumstances and can be undertaken via several means.
Q: ‘I have
been un-renewed for several years but have remained in the industry, is this
taken in to account?’
A: Yes, again we appreciate that job roles can change and maybe
your chances of teaching are reduced. If you have been running a dive store for
a few years for example, this would be reflected in the retraining required.
long can I be out of status before I have to re-sit by Instructor Examination?’
A: As previously mentioned, we do all we can to avoid this from
happening. You would have to be out of status and away from the industry for a
considerable amount of time before that would happen. Even in the event that
you are required to complete your OWSI/IDC and IE again, we may be able to help
with some of the costs involved as a thank you for coming back to us. It’s
never too late!
So, if you want to take advantage of the many opportunities you
have as a PADI professional once again, what are your retraining options if you
have had a lapse in your membership?
The first option is to view a free Online Member Forum or attend a
Live Member Forum in your area. Either of these will take around an hour of
your time and are simply an update on PADI news, products, courses and standards.
The next level would be a Status Update with a PADI Course Director, auditing
an OWSI/IDC or an Online Status Update. To find your nearest Course Director,
use the new PADI
Dive Shop Locator. The Online Status Update will also include a
Digital Product Suite (5 top of the range digital eLearning products) along
with a digital PADI Guide To Teaching and digital PADI Instructor Manual to
bring you back up to speed. If you have been out of status for too long to
qualify for any of these options then it’s time for IDC/IE.
Once you have access to the PADI Pros’ Site, it’s a great
idea to review the Training Bulletins that you will have missed since being
away and to download the latest Instructor Manual to keep yourself familiar
with the latest skills and standards. We have similar levels of retraining for
PADI Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, EFR Instructor and PADI Freediver
Instructor. It really is that easy to get back to what you love doing! Give
your Regional Training Consultant a call and come back to the PADI family.
As early as the 1950s, scientific research began
demonstrating that sports have significant benefits. Early research focused on
physical activity in team sports, but today, research is broader and looks at
mental as well as physical changes. It also looks beyond team sports to include
adventure/extreme sports like mountain biking, kayaking, base jumping, and (of
course) scuba. The latest findings suggest that sports that give an adrenaline
rush develop skills that apply to everyday life.
Life Lessons: Confidence, Self-Reliance,
Adventure sports tend to be more individual and
have a perceived higher degree of risk than competitive team sports. This helps
participants learn to rely on themselves as they stretch beyond their comfort
zones, which builds confidence. But, many adventure sports (including diving)
have strong teamwork aspects, which develops socialization and cooperative
interaction skills much as do team sports. Anecdotal and research evidence
finds that adventure-sport participants tend to be calmer, more confident,
mentally stronger, more self-disciplined and better able to handle stress
situations. One study found that extreme sport participants who experience fear
and close calls not only exhibited more ability to manage fear, but also more
Connected to the Environment
Unlike field/stadium team sports, which are usually
played on constructed ball fields, stadiums and parks, adventure sports take
participants into the environment because almost all of them require relatively
natural settings. The benefit of this is that adventure-sport participants tend
to develop a positive, protective relationship with the environment because
their activities are integrated with it rather than separated from it. This
social benefit, many argue, develops learners who are environmentally aware and
sensitive, which is important because our collective future depends upon our
relationship with the environment.
Old Dogs Do Learn New Tricks
Physical activity is known to benefit our health in
our senior years, and now it seems that suitable mental challenges prevent –
and in some ways can reverse – mental decline. Studies find that older adults
who keep learning new skills tend to stay more active and enjoy better cognitive
and memory performance. But, research finds that this learning must be
challenging with demands on both thinking and memory. Most adventure sports
require new skills, planning, assessing conditions and social interaction,
making them good fits for the purpose of helping slow mental decline in older
adults, as well as providing physical activity. The limiting factor for seniors
is the ability to meet the physical requirements of a given adventure sport.
Of all adventure sports, diving is probably open to
the widest range of age, culture, physical abilities and other demographic
characteristics. It is likely the adventure sport with the widest access for
senior participants. These characteristics make diving suited to offering
benefits to -divergent markets with differing, specialized interests and needs.
You’re not just “teaching scuba.” You’re
teaching skills that have broad personal applications. This can be a useful
message when presenting learn-to-dive opportunities to different groups as well
Market these “extra” benefits. Especially
with institutions like youth, senior and environmental groups, it is exactly
these developmental and environmental connections that add a reason to
participate in diving or allow you to offer it to their members.
Target the “nonteamers.” Scuba
will appeal to many people who can’t or don’t want to participate in team
sports, yet offer many of the same benefits.
Target the “teamers,” too. Diving
will also appeal to people who do like team sports. Scuba gives such groups
something more individual in nature that they can do together, with some
distinct challenges and benefits.
Continue education. Senior divers may feel like
they “just” want to be PADI® Open Water Divers, but continuing
education offers new, deeper mental challenges, socialization and physical
activity – all associated with benefits for older adults.
Association for Psychological Science
(2013) Learning new skills keeps an aging mind sharp. (psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/learning-new-skills-keeps-an-aging-mind-sharp.html)
English Outdoor Council. Values and
benefits of outdoor education, training and recreation.
As the all-new PADI Travel™ Affiliate Program rolls
out, PADI® Dive Centers and Resorts are poised to take part in
a growing digital marketing presence that stands to significantly raise the bar
for how dive travel is sold. This recently launched division replaces the
former PADI Travel Network with a more comprehensive, refined program designed
with additional benefits. Qualifying PADI Dive Centers and Resorts can now more
precisely leverage PADI Travel’s expertise in the dive community to earn
attractive commissions, help increase in-store sales and assist with organizing
successful group trips.
“Helping PADI Dive Centers and Resorts to be more
successful is our biggest priority,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of
PADI Worldwide. “The PADI Travel Affiliate Program is a concrete way to help
our dive centers leverage travel to grow their revenue, while keeping their
divers engaged and drive even more divers into their stores. We’re excited to
bring this new service to PADI Members.”
PADI Members who’ve been on board with their own
dive travel agencies don’t need to be sold on the concept. Depending on
location, anywhere from 15 to 50 percent of gross profits can generally be
attributed to dive travel and the related purchases. For PADI Dive Centers and
Resorts with defined offseasons due to weather or other seasonal factors, dive
travel sales bridge the gap during those slow periods. When travel generates
sales, dive centers see a corresponding uptick in gear purchases and specialty
certifications sales as customers prepare for their dive vacations.
“Embedding travel into a scuba diving business is a
proven way to get divers certified, keep them active and ultimately get them to
take more courses and buy more equipment,” says Sandro Lonardi, PADI
Travel head of marketing. The PADI Travel Affiliate Program is the easiest
and most effective way for PADI Dive Centers and Resorts to start or boost a
travel business, he says. “Referring divers to a trusted travel website or
organizing your own group trips is key to maintaining a community of engaged,
loyal scuba enthusiasts. The Travel Affiliate Program is designed as a turn-key
program for qualified PADI Dive Centers and Resorts, and offers the tools
needed to profit by selling travel.”
The Buzz on Affiliate Programs
In the Digital Age, the old ways of doing business
have been broadsided by a barrage of internet-savvy business models that have
turned the world of commerce upside down. Among these are affiliate programs.
Simply put, affiliate programs (sometimes called associate programs) are
business arrangements in which an online merchant pays affiliates commissions
to send them traffic or referrals that result in a sale. There are always three
parties in this arrangement: the customer, the affiliate and the merchant.
These affiliate sites traditionally post links to the merchant site and are
paid according to a particular agreement.
The affiliate program method was -pioneered in 1996
when Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon.com, popularized this idea as an
internet marketing strategy. Amazon.com began by having affiliates post links
to individual books for sale on Amazon.com, or for Amazon.com in general, and
agreed to pay affiliates a percentage of the profits if someone clicked on the
link and then purchased books or other items. The affiliate helped make the
sale, but Amazon.com did everything else: took the order, collected the money
and shipped the book to the customer. Needless to say, the digital affiliate
sale model has skyrocketed beyond anyone’s imagination, well beyond books to
every aspect of the -consumer marketplace.
The affiliate’s model makes practical sense on
multiple levels. Recruiting affiliates is an excellent way to increase a brand
presence and sell products (such as travel) online under the banner of an
established brand – in this case PADI – which infers quality assurance. It’s
also an economical and effective marketing strategy – a great way for a company
to spread the word about its products, while increasing its presence through
affiliates that can likewise capitalize on the brand association without
investing much -capital outlay.
Over the past few years, affiliate programs have
grown enormously in popularity, taking many interesting forms. For many
businesses with website portals that don’t exclusively rely on eCommerce,
functioning as an affiliate is a good way to participate in eCommerce while
being associated with a large established brand with superior name recognition.
PADI Travel Affiliate Program ABCs
So how does being a PADI Travel Affiliate work?
Think of travel.padi.com as the platform for growing the scuba and freediving
market. Through participating PADI Affiliates, PADI Travel combines every
aspect of the dive travel experience under one virtual roof – from research,
dive instruction and certification to travel purchases. The Affiliate Program
takes into account the various physical assets, differences, limitations and
opportunities of qualified participants, allowing for a customized approach
tailored to the specifics of each PADI Dive Center or Resort.
As affiliates, qualifying PADI Dive Centers and
Resorts can take the lead and sell any of the hundreds of destinations and
live-aboard trips offered by PADI Travel. That means no more surfing to various
sites or using search engines to root out dive travel destinations that may not
be affiliated with PADI. On a practical level, the program is streamlined into
three distinct segments: affiliate commissions; in-store sales; and group trips
and charters. Each carries its own degree of profit potential, with
considerations given to the spectrum of capabilities and circumstances of
individual PADI affiliates. “We’ve worked with numerous PADI Dive Centers and
Resorts to create the program from scratch, and it’s really designed to meet
the needs of those who use it,” Lonardi says.
With affiliate commissions, the process is simple.
PADI Dive Centers earn profits by referring divers to PADI Travel. These dive
customers are most likely to prefer independent travel and are unlikely to book
group trips. Dive centers can earn commissions in situations where otherwise
there would be no sale. To capitalize on this new revenue stream, the shop
simply needs to refer them to PADI Travel (ideally by using a trackable link or
by placing the reservation directly on travel.padi.com on their behalfs).
The next tier of the program, in-store sales,
allows PADI Travel to refer divers to PADI Dive Centers and Resorts. Once
customers have booked dive travel, they’re more likely to purchase equipment
and sign up for courses or other relevant dive services. After divers book a
trip through PADI Travel, they’ll be sent follow up communications suggesting
they return to the referring dive center to check out relevant training
opportunities and new equipment suitable for their dive excursion.
The final segment of the Travel Affiliate Program,
group trips and charters, provides PADI Dive Centers and Resorts with access to
unbeatable service, group discounts, extra spots, dive show specials and free
diver insurance when they book their group trips through PADI Travel.
Additionally, PADI Travel takes the legwork out of organizing group travel.
With a 24/7 customer support team, PADI Travel can deal with any issues as they
arise – plus, the upcoming PADI Travel Marketplace makes it easy to fill any
What It Means
If you’re among the PADI community who already
sells travel, the Travel Affiliate Program can substantially enhance your
efforts. PADI Travel gives affiliates access to a huge global selection of
liveaboards and resorts, as well as outstanding marketing support that includes
training guides and POS (point-of-sale) materials. For those with an in-house
travel agency, you can count on access to the largest inventory of bookable
scuba diving properties in the world – 400 and growing. That means any bookings
you make through PADI Travel will earn cash at the standard travel agency
If you don’t already sell travel, now you can earn
an attractive commission for every diver you point toward PADI Travel. There’s
no need to organize a trip, no need to do anything beyond being the connection
between the customer and PADI Travel. In all cases, PADI Travel will show you
the money by tracking referrals as affiliates are provided a special link or
tracking code automatically associated with the seller and customer that
triggers a commission payment once a booking with PADI Travel occurs. Sellers
are also provided with offline materials combined with codes that ensure where
and how sales are generated and ensuing commissions.
“PADI Dive Centers and Resorts will gain a trusted
travel partner in PADI Travel,” says Lonardi, “Divers will be served by the
best-rated travel expert team in the industry. Professionalism and knowledge
are two key traits of PADI Travel Customer Service.”
PADI Travel offers a global approach to dive travel
that hasn’t existed until now. Through the program, PADI Dive Centers and
Resorts can use a powerful service designed to help grow more profitable
businesses. “Inspiring and enabling divers to explore the world is a proven way
to keep divers active, motivate them to take more courses and purchase the
appropriate equipment for dive adventures of a lifetime,” adds Lonardi.
“The PADI Travel Affiliate Program will help grow the dive industry and
increase dive travel profitability while inspiring divers to travel the world.”
A version of this article originally appeared in
the 4th Quarter Edition of The Undersea Journal.
Each quarter The Undersea Journal is filled with stories and articles that help you stay informed and inspired as a PADI Professional.
The First Quarter 2019 edition includes articles on; tips for turning students into engaged divers, how to make PADI’s marketing resources work for you, DEMA show updates, dive shops making a difference, how travel helps a commitment to dive, and many other articles.
There are several digital reading options for you to access this publication:
Each month the PADI Quality Management team continues to bring you tips on how to maintain and improve safety in your professional diving activities. This month we heard from Quality Management Consultant, Rebecca Wastall.
FACT OR FICTION
This month we decided to fire frequently asked questions to the Quality Management team to see if things are actually fact or fiction!
IF YOU BREACH
STANDARDS YOU WILL BE EXPELLED
Fiction. When a complaint
comes in, the Quality Management Consultant looks at all the facts and the
member’s history. When members deviate from PADI Standards, most often
unintentionally, the Quality Management program acts to get members back on
track and help them avoid future problems. Deliberate, repeat offenders, on the
other hand, are dealt with firmly and can face suspension, retraining and
expulsion from the organisation.
MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT CAN PROVIDE ADVICE ON STANDARDS AND BEST PRACTICE
Fact. The Quality
Management Consultants are here to support you. We are happy to receive calls
and emails concerning standards or best practice, all of which will be held in
confidence and not disclosed to anyone without your consent.
A FLEXIBLE SKILL
MEANS THE INSTRUCTOR DECIDES IF THEY CONDUCT IT OR NOT
Fiction. As defined in
the Instructor Manual a flexible skill must be conducted during the PADI Scuba
Diver and PADI Open Water Course. The flexibility element allows the instructor
to choose the best time to conduct the flexible skill within the parameters of
either the PADI Scuba Diver or PADI Open Water programme. One of the best
examples would be the Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent where the instructor
would choose the best location and conditions for the CESA on Open Water dives
2, 3 or 4.
A CESA LINE IS “OPTIONAL”
IF YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR STUDENT
Fiction. The use of a control
line to conduct the Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent is mandatory when
conducting the CESA in the ocean as per the Instructor Manual at page 65. This
skill is taught with a control line to make it realistic and safe. The control
line is there for you to stop your student if they ascend too fast. It is unacceptable to overweight yourself or hold on
to your student without a line to stop a runaway ascent. In addition please
consider that a Surface Marker Buoy may not be of sufficient strength to act as
a control line despite it being secured. Page 65 of the PADI Instructor manual
clearly describes how to run this skill.
USE THE CONTINUING EDUCATION ADMINISTRATIVE DOCUMENT TO COVER A 12 MONTH PERIOD
OF TRAINING AT ONE STORE
This form has been approved by the RSTC to cover standard liability for a
period of 12 months if a student conducts more than one programme. This is
providing they do not change the store the programmes are conducted at. A good
example would be where a student takes both the PADI Advanced Open Water and
then moves straight onto the PADI Specialty Diver Programme.
LIABILITY FORM PROTECTS YOU FROM ALL PUBLIC LIABILITIY CLAIMS
Fiction. The RSTC
liability form only protects you from the “assumed” risks of diving. A good
example would be the fact that scuba diving is conducted underwater and the
student assumes any general risks involved with being submerged. It does not
protect you from any actions that would be deemed negligent. A good question to
ask yourself is “would a reasonably prudent PADI member act in the same way?” If
the answer is yes it is likely that your actions are ok and you would not be found
negligent. If the answer is no then you may be acting outside the normal
parameters of diving and the assumed risks it holds. In these circumstances you
could be held liable.
HOLD A FLOAT ON THE SURFACE WHILST THE INSTRUCTOR CONDUCTS A CESA FROM 6M BELOW
THEY MUST BE SEPARATELY SUPERVISED
Fact. It is unacceptable
to leave your students unattended during any training element of the PADI Open
Water Course. The Instructor Manual requires direct supervision throughout. This
can be found within the Instructor Manual at page 52.
AS A DIVE CENTRE
I WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF MY FREELANCE INSTRUCTORS
If you engage the services of a freelance instructor to undertake
PADI courses at your store you have formed a legal relationship. If anything
were to occur and negligence found, a store could still be vicariously liable
for the freelance instructor’s actions in the same way as if they were an
employee. In essence, there is a relationship between you and the instructor
which involves a contract of services. This contract would allow a diver to sue
both the individual member and store in any claim of negligence.
MUST BE DROPPED TO SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE THE EMERGENCY WEIGHT DROP SKILL IN THE
PADI OPEN WATER COURSE
PADI standards do not allow you to pass your weight belt to your
instructor or place your weight belt on the side of the pool in the conduct of
this skill. If there are concerns about damaging the pool then use sand weights
or soft matting to prevent damage. Make sure your students know why this skill
needs to be mastered. They must understand in certain circumstances it could
prevent an incident from occurring. See page p56 of the instructor manual for
the full standard.
ACCEPTABLE TO HAVE MY STUDENTS STOP A FEW TIMES DURING THE 200M WATERMANSHIP
SKILL IF THEY RE STRUGGLING TO COMPLETE THE SKILL IN ONE GO
This must be a continuous swim as defined at page 53 of the
Instructor Manual. Remember if your students are struggling with this component
of the PADI Open Water Course you can consider the 300m snorkel instead. Never
modify the watermanship skills. Failure to master watermanship could lead to
serious incidents in the future.
All the best in your professional diving activities and Let’s Dive Safe.
Rebecca Wastall | Quality Management Consultant, PADI Asia Pacific.