Can the “Best” Divemasters come from the “Worst” Divers?

Perhaps an instructor’s most important role is training fellow dive professionals; running a PADI® Divemaster course, as the book succinctly says, demands nothing less than your best effort. Ditto for the DM candidates.

Speaking of effort, a recent candidate got me thinking about what it takes to make a really great PADI Divemaster. This person had to work hard at every step of the journey to PADI professional. Throughout the progression, from Open Water, to Advanced Open Water and Rescue, nothing came easy, but equally, nothing was allowed to get in the way. Often, skills had to be practiced time and time again to develop mastery; sometimes even to the consternation of fellow candidates who flew through the required skills and exercises. This was real world affirmation of the benefits of performance-based training.

It wasn’t easy for the DM training staff either; they had to put in extra effort too. From counseling sessions to restore confidence when if flagged to the extra time needed to make sure skills were performed comfortably and confidently, the trainers went the extra mile. What was notable in this context was how willing and selfless they were in response to the tremendous efforts the candidate made.

The end result was that, with considerable time and effort, and constant good humor, this candidate prevailed and I have yet to meet someone who was more delighted with success. But the best was yet to come. I think, more than anything, it is the inherent understanding of the challenges people sometimes face and overcome while learning new dive skills, and the consequent empathy, that helped this new PADI Divemaster really blossom and become an invaluable and committed dive shop team member and one of the most popular PADI Divemasters with customers.

For those involved with professional development, and that should include all PADI Members, the basic message is clear. Sometimes it takes a bit of extra effort to help a DM (or other) candidate succeed. But work hard with people who try hard and the rewards can be worth it.

PADI® Women’s Dive Day 2017 is Almost Here!

As momentum for PADI® Women’s Dive Day 2017 swells, everyone is invited to take part in this growing event. For the past two years, divers from every corner of the globe have come together on PADI Women’s Dive Day to bond over their love of the ocean and a passion for diving. Gaining in popularity year after year, this budding tradition will continue on 15 July 2017 with aims to further strengthen and support the dive community by attracting new divers and bringing inactive divers back to the sport.


Since its launch in 2015, the PADI Women In Diving initiative has gained widespread adoption and support. By the second year, participation had doubled, growing from 335 events in 2015 to 703 events in 2016. PADI Dive Centers and Resorts hosted a range of activities across 77 countries, including everything from high tea on the high seas to shark dives and underwater cleanups.

“All our female PADI Instructors get just as excited about this event as the women divers who join us,” says Hayley-Jo Carr of Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas. “The day is about getting together to learn and share our passion for exploration, education and conservation.”

Worldwide media also championed the cause, garnering nearly 400 million media impressions for PADI Women’s Dive Day 2016, with inclusion in outlets such as The New York Times, Huffington Post and The Boston Globe.

“By coming together to celebrate women in diving, we’re seeing a tangible increase in the number of women learning to dive and their level of engagement with the dive industry. We’re attracting new customers for PADI Dive Centers and Resorts and the industry as a whole,” says Kristin Valette, PADI Worldwide Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer. “As a female dive industry executive, my personal desire is to champion a female-friendly dive community that will empower and inspire women of all ages to become divers for life and lifelong advocates for the ocean.”

You’re encouraged to take part in PADI Women’s Dive Day 2017 and there are a number of ways you can get involved:

For additional information about PADI Women’s Dive Day 2017, visit

A Message from Drew Richardson, 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 organisation 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 organisation 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 organisation’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 organisation 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 organisation 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 organisation 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

President & CEO

PADI Worldwide

PADI Instructor Examinations for May, 2017

Congratulations to the many new PADI Instructors who completed their PADI Instructor Examinations in May.

7 May  |  Hong Kong


9 May  |  Christchurch, New Zealand

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10 May  |  Gili Islands, Indonesia

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11 May  |  Cebu, Philippines

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11 May  |  Kunming, China


13 May  |  Taipei, Taiwan


13 May  |  Bali, Indonesia

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14 May  |  Boracay, Philippines

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17 May  |  Pattaya, Thailand

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18 May  |  Puerto Galera, Philippines

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20 May  |  Northland, New Zealand

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20 May  |  Phuket, Thailand

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20 May  |  Shanghai, China


23  May  |  Koh Tao, Thailand

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27 May  |  Melbourne, Australia

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27 May  |  Wellington, New Zealand

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Pro-Level Customer Acquisition

Back to basics for better business

By John Kinsella

Ross Neill has trained a PADI® Pro or two. He’s a five time Platinum Course Director, a 300 Level Elite Instructor has more than 20 years experience teaching divers. (Check out The Bearer of Dreams blog on for some fascinating insights into his career.) He’s also now a Regional Training Consultant at PADI Americas covering the Southern California and Central Pacific regions. When he talks about the business of instructor development, it’s a good idea to pay attention.

Neill is open with his advice. He likes to “dive it forward” and has no qualms sharing his top tricks and techniques. When he speaks about pro-level customer acquisition, his peers perch on tiptoe and lean in; a bit like a group of investors eavesdropping on Warren Buffet. Everyone’s expecting something big, a game changer, a life altering revelation.

What they get, at least what the dive pros get, is a reminder of the basics. If you want more divemaster and instructor candidates the key is customer service.

Start with superior phone etiquette. You’d think that something as simple as answering the phone should be a given. Surprisingly, it’s not, and there is nothing more certain to annoy people than getting the run around when they call your dive shop. The ideal is a prompt, professional and personable pick up. If that’s not possible and a caller has to leave a voice message, it’s absolutely imperative that you respond within three or four hours; immediately is better. If you don’t, rest assured that your potential customer is now doing business with someone else. The same principle applies to email or any other form of contact, respond quickly, ask for a phone number and make the call.

Go Pro

Once you have future PADI Pros on the line make sure that they get the information they need. All staff, everyone, should be trained to sell pro-level courses. One of the best ways to do this is to create a pitch book and/or a frequently asked questions sheet that staff can use face to face or over the phone. Every person working in the store should be equipped to answer questions about the complete line-up of pro-level programs, overcome objections and find out precisely what the customer wants.

Finally, get a comprehensive information package into your potential customers’ hands (There’s a plethora of professional promotional publications you can use, add to and customize available on the PADI Pros’ Site and you’ll find PADI Regional Headquarters happy to help too.) and follow up once they’ve had some time (not too long) to review it with, you guessed it, a phone call.


PADI Business Academy Lite – Wellington


We are excited to announce that the PADI Business Academy Lite will be on Monday, 31 July 2017 in Wellington.

The Business Academy Lite aims to revitalise and ignite growth in all operational aspects of your business. Hear from Thomas Knedlik, PADI Territory Director and Sheridan Hatcher, PADI Marketing Executive as they take you through strong digital marketing strategies as well as website, sales and customer service and successful social media strategy.

BONUS – Early Bird Offer
Register your place before Monday, 19 June to receive AUD$20 off the cost of your registration. Plus, with every third paid attendee, you will receive a fourth free. So get in early and register your spot today.

Register now


The number of attendees is limited to ensure that the PADI Business Academy staff can really focus on you. Register today so you don’t miss out.

PADI Brings Diving to the World for Its Members

The PADI® team is always hard at work spreading the word of diving to encourage more consumers to discover the dive lifestyle through PADI Dive Centers and Resorts. Dedicated public relations and marketing specialists are in constant contact with the media, promoting the life-changing opportunities and adventures diving offers, as well as showcasing just how easy it is to get started. The result? PADI reached more than two billion consumers globally through media outreach and advertising placements during 2016; this exposure has an equivalent media value – the dollar amount the exposure would cost if purchased – exceeding US $7 million.

“PADI is continuously reaching out to both divers and nondivers, representing diving in the most beneficial way to encourage more people to immerse themselves in this amazing sport,” says Kristin Valette, PADI Worldwide Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer.

The PADI media team is already at it again in 2017, promoting diving opportunities around the globe to grow the dive industry, while sharing the transformational experiences diving offers and creating more environmental advocates to help protect our oceans. Today, prominent media look to PADI as the leading authority in diving, yielding feature article placements in media outlets such as: The New York Times,,,,, and Most recently, PADI secured this coverage on (29,704,584 visitors per month) touting 10 must see dive destinations in 2017.

In addition to ongoing media outreach, the PADI team connects with divers via PADI’s online network, fostering the global dive community united by a shared passion for adventure and love for the oceans. PADI’s social media fan base continues to gain in popularity, currently with more than 1.6 million Facebook fans, 87,000 Twitter followers, 22,500 YouTube subscribers and 470,000 ScubaEarthlings. “Social media buzz is important because word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective techniques for influencing people’s behavior,” says Valette. “PADI Divers tend to become PADI ambassadors, and through their experiences others are encouraged to dive in and explore. Their stories represent the heart of diving and we want to help amplify their messages to the world.”

As the PADI team charges forward into 2017, the focus is not only on attracting new divers to the sport, but also in inspiring divers of every level to become advocates for the ocean and its inhabitants, the global scuba community and, ultimately, the future of the planet. It is with this fundamental vision and commitment to not only be best in the world, but also best for the world that PADI remains the leading authority in diver education.

The Way the World Learns to Dive®