The Implications of Missing Skills

This month we look at the implications of removing skills when teaching PADI courses. The consequences may be greater than you think!

Let’s look at a couple of incidents that highlight the importance of teaching the performance requirements of each course in the proper sequence.  

Emergency Weight Drop skill

In the PADI Open Water Course students must demonstrate mastery of the emergency weight drop skill (Page 56, PADI Instructor Manual). The standard requires:

“During any dive, in either confined or open water, at the surface in water too deep in which to stand, with a deflated BCD, have student divers use the weight system’s quick release, to pull clear and drop sufficient weight to become positively buoyant.”


During a PADI Open Water course an instructor failed to teach a group of six students the PADI Emergency Weight Drop Skill. The students were all certified as PADI Open Water Divers. Subsequently, the group continued to dive together as certified divers. On one particular dive one of the students BCD’s failed to inflate on the surface. Unable to stay afloat, he panicked and started kicking and flailing his arms. Despite trying to orally inflate the BCD he couldn’t get enough air into it and he was struggling to keep his head afloat. As a result of using all this energy and inhaling some water he became unconscious and subsequently drowned on the surface. During the investigation it became apparent that he had not been taught the emergency weight belt drop skill which could have potentially saved his life. The family of the victim sued the instructor and won their claim for contributory negligence and damages. The failure to teach this skill was found to be one of the causes of his death.

Watermanship: Swim/Snorkel and Swim/Float

For our second incident we concern ourselves with Watermanship Skills from the PADI Open Water Course. Page 53 of the PADI Open Water Manual describes the requirements for the waterskills assessment as below:

 “Before Open Water Dive 2, have student divers demonstrate that they can comfortably maintain themselves in water too deep in which to stand by completing a 10-minute swim/float without using any swim aids.

At some point before certification, have students complete a 200 metre/yard continuous surface swim or a 300 metre/yard swim with mask, fins and snorkel.”


During this incident the instructor decided to allow his four Open Water student to complete a modified 200m swim. He allowed his students to simply pull themselves around a boat by a rope attached to the side of the boat and not actually swim at all. He certified them as PADI Open Water Divers. Two of the students decided to continue with their PADI Advanced Open Water Course at another dive centre. This centre failed to undertake a pre-assessment of the students and started the PADI Advanced Open Water with the Deep Dive. During the dive one of the students got into difficulties in a current. He was swept away from the group. After a search his body was found on the bottom and he was late pronounced dead. The cause of his death was listed as ‘drowning’.  His partner told authorities that neither she nor he could swim and neither had ever met the watermanship performance requirements during their Open Water course.

Whilst many factors contributed to his death, the PADI Open Water Instructor was found to be negligent in their failure to assess watermanship during the PADI Open Water Course.

These examples shows us how important it is to teach all of the skills in each PADI programme. Each skill is in the course for a reason. What may appear to be a minor infringement to some people can have serious consequences later. From a moral perspective we have a responsibility to teach people the skills in each course so that they may be able to conduct dives of that type in a similar environment in a comfortable manner. This is not just about us and our needs. It is about holding a position of responsibility to ensure that each diver you certify is capable of undertaking the dive level and type that you have certified them for.

When an instructor takes it upon themselves to decide what skills will and won’t be completed in a course they expose themselves to liability. Remember the question to ask yourself is “would reasonably prudent dive instructor conduct the programme or course in the same way?” If the answer is no then your ability to defend a legal claim may be remote. Your ability to provide a reasonable answer to family and friends asking how this could have happened is lessened.

Sometimes people make decisions like this due to poor weather, time constraints or pressure from customers to get finished before mastering the skills. There is no justification for modifying courses or failing to teach the required standards. Breaches of this nature are considered very serious and can lead to punitive action being taken against the instructor and/or the store.

As PADI members we strive collectively to maintain our high standards thus protecting ourselves, the diving public and the PADI brand. If the PADI brand is damaged so is our ability to attract customers and grow our careers. Protecting the standards is in everyone’s best interests.

If you have any concerns about incidents or standards email us at

Teaching Status

By Quality Management Consultant Don McFadden

Being a renewed PADI Member means having access to a vast array of benefits in areas such as educational, business, marketing, risk management, product support, live and recorded seminars & webinars, and superior year round support provided by the experience PADI staff located in offices all around the globe.

But what does renewing as a PADI Member mean when looking at it from a risk management perspective?

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, when renewing as a PADI Member there is an agreement which is made. Members agree to abide by the PADI Membership Agreement and License Agreement for PADI Members, and in return PADI authorises the member to act as a PADI Member, receive membership benefits and use PADI training materials for that coming year.

When a member’s membership lapses it means PADI has not documented the member agreeing to the PADI Membership Agreement and License Agreement for PADI Members for that upcoming year, therefore the member is not permitted to act as a PADI Member.

If a PADI Instructor tries to teach a PADI course while non-renewed they run several risks to themselves as well as their students. Throughout the membership year members are updated with the latest training standard changes which are often implemented to increase safety for students. Missing out on these implemented changes can mean you are missing out on critical information which may assist you in reducing the overall risk for students. 

So where does the instructor stand if an incident occurs resulting in injury or worse to a student of a non-renewed member? The level of competence of the instructor will always be taken into account, but why risk the chance that something has changed you were unaware of? The question you must ask yourself is “would a prudent dive instructor in the same circumstances have acted in the same way?” If they would answer collectively ‘No’ then you may be failing in your duty as a competent and reasonably prudent instructor.

What happens if the instructor teaching the course is not qualified to conduct the specific PADI training? An example would be an instructor teaching a PADI speciality diving course without the appropriate training. Taking students inside a wreck during a PADI Wreck Diver Specialty dive when you do not hold the Wreck Specialty Instructor rating yourself not reasonable and prudent behaviour. In the event of an incident serious questions would be asked by the authorities and by PADI about the instructor’s competence to undertake the training. So why take the risk? Always work within your limits and never agree to conduct a programme are not qualified to teach.

What about another scenario where a Divemaster or Assistant Instructor teaches Open Water students? Divemaster and Assistant Instructors are, of course, not authorised to teach the PADI Open Water courses nor have they received the necessary training which would prepare them to conduct the course. The roles a certified assistant may take during the Open Water course are outlined in the PADI Instructor Manual on page 53:

3. Instructor conducts and directly supervises all open water dives.

Exceptions — instructor indirect supervision:

• Certified assistants supervising student divers during surface swims to and from the entry-exit point and during navigational exercises, as well as when remaining with the class when the instructor conducts a skill such as an ascent or descent with a student or student team.

• Certified assistants guiding student divers (at a ratio of 2:1) on Dives 2-4 when exploring the dive site.

• Assistant Instructors evaluating dive flexible skills at the surface in open water and conducting air pressure checks underwater.

Acting outside of these limits places the Divemaster or Assistant Instructor in a precarious position. They are acting outside of established standards and if there was to be an incident could find themselves facing serious consequences.

The member would find themselves answering questions from the Quality Management team and face some Quality Management action, possibly punitive. Why risk it? The PADI Instructor Manual is our foundation document and the minimum qualification required to teach each programme and course is clearly defined within it. Make sure before you enter the water you know you are able to conduct the programme.

If you have any questions about these topics consult your PADI Instructor Manual or get in touch with your Regional Training Consultant or Quality Management team. If you ever have any concerns please do not hesitate to get in touch with us

10 Tips for PADI Instructors from the Quality Management Team

By Kim Ngan, Quality Management Consultant

This month we would like to share some terrific tips for new (and not so new) PADI Instructors.

1 – Use your PADI Cue cards

Ignoring your cue cards is a rookie’s mistake. Using a cue card does not make you less cool, but in fact it makes you look professional and well-prepared. The cue cards are made to support us to ensure we do not miss teaching any skills and we teach in the correct sequence. Further they assist us in presenting the performance requirements clearly which serves to assist us to teach the skill correctly and the student understand what they are expected to achieve.   

2 – Read your PADI Instructor manual – Don’t follow the crowd

Sometimes we question our understanding of PADI standards, don’t just listen to other instructors or follow the crowd, simply read your Instructor manual and find out the answer. The Instructor manual gives us guidance and reminds us what we should do and what we should not do. Thanks to today’s technology, we now have the PADI digital manual available in several languages so you may always find the latest version to download from the Pro Site.

3 – Read PADI’s Guide To Teaching

While the Instructor Manual lists required standards, PADI’s Guide to Teaching provides explanations, teaching techniques and suggested approaches to meet those standards. When preparing to teach a PADI course or program, particularly those you have never taught a course or don’t conduct courses on a regular basis, you will find the reminders in Guide to Teaching manual valuable in helping organize training sessions and dives. Be familiar with what information is in it will make it beneficial instructional tool and we can continue to use it throughout our teaching career.

4 – Keep a copy of Training Records

We should keep a copy of the training records, as they can play a key part in incidents and quality management situations. The training records prove the dive professional acted appropriately. Without them, it can be difficult to remember exact details of what happened. They are so important that we have will have another article later this year just about documentation. To download PADI training records go to your PADI pro account at and download the forms under the section of Training essentials.

5 – Go onto the Pro site and utilize the resources

At the early stage of our diving career the primary reason for most of us to use the Pro site is to do a dive check or certify our student using the OPC. However the site offers much more than that.  Pro Site in fact is another powerful tool where PADI members can obtain a lot of different resources. Not only just the teaching tools or the marketing tools, but also tools for personal development. For examples, you may find out the dates and location for the next Instructor Update and sign up live Member Forums, seminars and webinars. You may also find the recordings if you have missed out any webinars. Pro Site also acts as a job finding platform for those who are looking for dive jobs around the world.  Check out the Risk Management recorded webinars as well: Pro development/BOD webinars/PADI Asia Pacific webinars. You will also find the Duty of Care, Guided dive and Rush Hour risk management videos at: 
Toolbox / Member / Quality Assurance – Duty of Care Resources.

6 – Have a set of digital manuals on your phone

We are in the Digital Age, most people have their own smartphone so there is no excuse not to have a set of digital manuals downloaded and be ready for your use if needed. One of the best things about your PADI digital manual is that they get updated regularly. PADI uploads the most up to the date version of the digital student manuals whenever it is available, so each time you refreshed your PADI library, the manuals in there will get automatically updated. You will be able to know what the students are reading and also have a better understanding of what they are going through.

7 – Attend LIVE member forum and Risk Management Seminars as much as possible

Have you attended any PADI live events yet? Do you know we have live Member forums and Risk Management Seminars in most region each year? Member forums bring us the Training Bulletin, a summary of the year and also what’s new in PADI. Risk Management seminars invites you to discuss trends in dive incidents and issues relevant to the safety or ourselves and our customers. These live events provide a great opportunity to meet other dive professionals and PADI staff.  It’s a great way to learn from each other!  

8 – Learn from a role model – Member of the Month and read the Undersea Journal

Wishing to find more tips and inspiration about how to become an outstanding PADI Instructor? Check out the winner of the Member of the Month on the Pro Site! It is one of the highest recognitions you can have as a PADI Instructor. The winner is selected from the extraordinary nominees from all around the globe. These PADI members are awesome role models. You may also find out more inspiring PADI members from the Undersea Journal in the section ‘Exceeding Expectations’. The UJ always features great stories of our PADI AmbassaDiver and all the articles there are written by experienced divers and PADI staff! There are plenty of places to look for great tips in leading divers and teaching great courses.

9 – Follow our E.A.P method to reduce Risk

Remember our first Surface Interval article and Webinar this year? We introduced a way to evaluate risk using a three-prong approach? It is calledEAP or – Environment- Activity- People.  To recap, we should always conduct an Environmental risk assessment as well as evaluate the type of the dives Activity itself, then assessing the People’s abilities and limitations. This helps us to use good judgement to make good decisions.

10 – Last but not least, talk to us!

We are here to help! Like you we are passionate about dive training and safety.  If you have any questions, just email us on or pick up the phone and ring us on +61 2 9454 2888. We would love to hear from you!

Professional Conduct

Workplace Harassment Form

In our ongoing series on quality and risk management issues we try provide information that can minimise the risks to divers and make diving as safe as possible. Safety includes not just physical safety but also emotional and mental safety. One such risk of emotional and physical harm is that of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Sadly in all industries there are some people that will take advantage of the situation to assault or harass others. Indeed there are some well-published recent cases of sexual harassment and assault involving well-known sports stars, business people, politicians, and actors.

PADI professionals are widely known for their empathy, commitment to diver safety and high degree of professionalism. The diving industry, however, is not immune to these issues. Though these behaviours are thankfully rare, they can occur. It is a responsibility of all members within the industry to do whatever we can to prevent this behaviour and if we witness it to take appropriate action.

It is every PADI member’s responsibility to ensure a safe environment for diving. PADI standards also require that we:

“Treat student divers and all those involved in dive activities with respect, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation, disability or sexual orientation” Page 11 Commitment to excellence.

The PADI Training Bulletin from the fourth quarter 2015 addressed this area of concern in respect of customers and student divers. The bulletin offers excellent guidance for PADI members about professional behaviour, responsibilities, physical contact, respectful communication and harassment policies. The article also addresses the store’s responsibility and way to have good policies in place to both prevent and respond to these problems.

What is sexual harassment?

One definition is behaviour characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation

This behaviour can range from inappropriate sexually themed comments, ‘jokes’, asking people personal information and persistent unsolicited advances. 

What is sexual assault?

 “Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual behaviour including physical contact and threats”

While it is rare that a complaint is made it only takes a quick search on line to find stories of both divers and dive professionals being harassed. Survivors of this type of behaviour comment that they were shocked and extremely scared because they felt their lives at risk. Some felt unable to take assertive action because being underwater they felt their personal safety was at risk.

Sometimes sexual assault occurs when divers are underwater in a vulnerable position. When this occurs underwater the person subjected to the behaviour can feel powerless and fearful. This can result in panicked ascents, breath hold ascents and serious physical injury not to mention the emotional impact of the event.

Responding to complaints:

  • Investigate, take the complaints seriously and do not minimise the event.
  • Seek advice (including legal advice) if you are unsure of how to handle the complaint.
  • Report it to PADI Quality Management at
  • Reporting an assault to the police or other relevant authorities is a way to try to prevent the behaviour from continuing. In many cases complainants choose not to report what happened to them for fear of repercussion and retaliation.
  • Call the behaviour out – Let colleagues and staff know that the behaviour is not OK

How to prevent the behaviour from occurring:

One way to prevent harassment is to create a culture in which everyone is treated equally. By minimising the sexism (intentional or not) in a dive operation we can create an environment in which everyone thrives.

Positive steps you could take:

  • Have policies that address how you will respond to complaints.
  • Be mindful of how you introduce your colleagues – use their name and don’t objectify them.
  • Don’t make comments on people’s bodies, how they look, or their personal life.
  • Provide privacy when people are getting changed.
  • When addressing each other use names – rather than descriptions “young lady” “big guy”.
  • Role model the right behaviours at the workplace.
  • Treat staff equally and with respect.
  • Support women diving – Have a PADI Women’s Dive Day event – what better way to show customers and staff that you support women diving.
  • Take down the posters of scantily clad women and men. Objectifying people in advertising does not support a fair and equal workplace.

By taking these steps you will encourage your staff and customers into a positive environment in which everyone is respected. Let’s keep diving safe for all divers!

You can learn more about this topic through the many resources available in your community. If you or someone you know has been the subject of unwanted sexual contact or harassment reach out to support services in your region. If you wish to report such behaviour to PADI please contact the Quality Management department at

February Tips from the PADI Quality Management Team

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.


This month we decided to fire frequently asked questions to the Quality Management team to see if things are actually fact or fiction!


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.


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.


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.


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.


Fact. 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.


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.


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.


Fiction. 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.


Fact. 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.


Fiction. 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.


V-Insurance Policies Fully Endorsed by PADI & Approved for International Use

As a dive professional, having adequate insurance should be a top priority. In Rebecca Wastall’s PADI Quality Management Tips article, she notes: “In today’s changing world I don’t think we can ignore the importance of insurance. Make sure you are protected as a dive professional. We live in litigious times and comprehensive cover should be at the top of your agenda.”

Litigation is a global issue, and we have seen dive related lawsuits filed in many locations around the world, including countries where liability insurance is not compulsory.  We strongly recommend that you protect yourself, and do so with a specialist dive insurance policy that is valid worldwide, fully endorsed by PADI Asia Pacific and has been designed to include cover and benefits essential to every diver.

The V-Insurance combined liability insurance policy provides that worldwide coverage (including USA and Canada) and is accepted by PADI Asia Pacific, PADI EMEA and PADI Americas.

V-Insurance Group is the only insurance broker that PADI Asia Pacific endorse.  They provide a customised range of insurance policies for PADI Asia Pacific members (Instructors, Assistant Instructors, Divemasters and Retail & Resort Association Members) which include Public Liability, Professional Indemnity, Legal Defence Costs, Crisis & Media Management and cover for Fines & Penalties. 

It is top level cover at a competitive price which offers true value and the right help when needed most.  In addition to the diving insurance essentials, ($10M Public & Products Liability, $10M Professional Indemnity), there are extra benefits included at no extra cost, such as cover for underwater scientific projects, film and media projects and liability for watercraft up to 15 metres in length.

Strong member support of the PADI Asia Pacific insurance program over the last 20 years has resulted in the availability of a policy at a competitive price that provides superior coverage and supports the PADI Risk Management initiatives. In the event of a serious incident or claim, the claims team behind our insurance program is the most experienced in the Asia Pacific region with over 20 years’ experience in the dive industry.  Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with access to local resources to give you the help you need, when it is needed most.

The 2018/2019 PADI Asia Pacific insurance program and online applications are now available at

Should you have any questions about your V-Insurance policy please feel free to contact or

January Tips from the PADI Quality Management Team

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  Kim Ngan.

Welcome to the New Year from your Quality and Risk Management team. In 2019 we are going back to basics to dig into the fundamentals of risk management practice. We will present seminars and webinars throughout the Asia Pacific region that will examine how to evaluate risk and then how to treat that risk in a scuba and snorkeling context. We will consider how to implement simple and pragmatic methods to reduce your physical and legal risk. We will introduce a way to evaluate risk using a three-prong approach, ‘EAP’ or ‘Environment – Activity – People’. Watch this space for more information.

Through articles in Surface Interval, we will bring you tips on how to maintain and improve safety in your professional diving activities.

SCUBA Risk Management – Back to Basics

Scuba diving is like driving a car. If you’re careful and pay attention it’s a very safe activity, but if you’re not it can be dangerous.” – Ronnie Prevost

Before you become a dive professional, do you remember being thrilled by simply diving to 10 metres? Breathing underwater, seeing the amazing marine life and experiencing weightlessness were new and exciting experiences for you.

Soon you became a PADI Divemaster, then a PADI Instructor and you began diving with your own open water students or certified divers. You might have even been taking these students or certified dives to lovely sites such as Chumphon in Koh Tao, Norman Reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida, or The Poor Knights in New Zealand. You found it was quite easy to dive deeper yourself. The water was often warm and clear and you had to pay special attention to stay within your no-decompression limits. It could also have been easy to forget that your students or newly certified divers could get a still buzz under the water at 10 metres.

Depth, Ratios & Good Judgement – The EAP Method

We know that things usually go wrong when we are not paying attention. Remember, we have a duty of care to students in training courses and to customers in recreational dives. Conduct a risk assessment before each and every dive, while also continuing to assess, evaluate and take into account any changing variables, during the dive. The ratios and depths listed in your PADI Instructor manual are maximum limits. This means that you must apply sound judgment in determining what is appropriate for training each time you conduct a course or program. You can conduct the PADI Adventure Deep Dive, for example, to a depth of between 18 metres and 30 metres. The depth you choose, within this allowable range, should be based on the environment, the activity and the people undertaking the activity.

E for Environment

The dive site you visit every day does not necessary have the same conditions every day. Supervising four Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) participants on a calm and sunny day with 20 metre visibility is very different from diving with the same number of DSD participants on the next day if it becomes rainy and windy with 5 metre visibility. What would you change in the way you conducted the dive?

It’s your professional responsibility to conduct an environmental risk assessment by evaluating variables such as – temperature, visibility, water movement, surface conditions and the entry and exit area. Use good judgment at all times. When conditions are marginal, make conservative decisions by reducing ratios, going to an alternate site, or even cancelling the dive.

A for Activity

What is the activity? Does it involve risks that are different to other activities? Deep dives, Discover Scuba Diving, overhead environments, drift dives and other dive activities have risks specifically associated with the activity itself. Evaluate these risks and if appropriate change the ratio, depth, or other variables.

P for People

The individual ability of each of your student divers, the certifications they hold, the group size, the number of certified assistants available and your personal abilities and limitations, should all be considered when evaluating the ‘P’ of the ‘People’ factor. You should reduce the ratio or the depth from the maximums if appropriate. Your PADI professional training and experience, plus the PADI resources – such as PADI manuals, references, Training Bulletins, The Undersea Journal, the PADI Pros’ Site and staff at your PADI Regional Headquarters – are all available to help you stay up-to-date and assist you in making sound judgements when you have any questions.

Why not start off the New Year by refreshing your knowledge about risk management from these references. Have a great 2019 and safe diving everyone.

Kim Ngan  | Quality Management Consultant, PADI Asia Pacific.


PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management – A Brief Recap of 2018

2018 has been a big year for the PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management Team! Seminars, webinars, member updates, member excellence awards, saying goodbye to old faces and as well as welcoming new ones into the team has kept us all extremely busy. Since this is our last article for the year, it seems only fitting that we take a look back on an excellent year and share some of our highlights with you.

Risk Management Programme

This year PADI members have attended an impressive amount of Risk Management Seminars in the field. Close to 50 seminars across 3 languages have been delivered live and in person for PADI members. Over 1200 PADI members from all walks of life attended these seminars spanning across Asia Pacific. Members contributed their ideas and real life experiences to help us all make diving as safe as we possibly can. PADI Risk Management Seminars feature relevant information which is compiled from real data and trends occurring in the field. Risk Management seminars give PADI members a chance to listen to real scenarios, ask questions and provide their input and experience. Problem solving and solution thinking feature strongly in these seminars. This programme is an enormous benefit of the membership and diving safety in general. Attendance is one of the benefits of your PADI membership so please join us for seminars in 2019.  Don’t forget by attending you will receive seminar credit to count towards higher PADI membership credentials.

The team has also had a lot of fun delivering our quarterly Risk Management Webinars this year with the introduction of our fictional PADI members Bob, Betty, Barry and Beatrice. During these webinars the team tackled realistic issues faced by PADI members through the eyes of our fictional members. The webinars are interactive which gives our members a chance to ask a wide array of questions which we endeavour to answer. Our polls help our members see what other member’s thoughts are on specific topics and also provide a great discussion point for all. Again, this is another valuable benefit of the membership so please keep a look out during 2019 for your email invitation to these quarterly Risk Management Webinars.

Member Recognition Programme

In 2018 the QM team had the pleasure of recognising PADI members for their excellence in the field. This programme recognises PADI members who received outstanding feedback from students and customers with regards to training and customer service. This year the QM team had the pleasure of delivering over 1000 Excellence Awards for our members in Asia Pacific. We also nominated members every month for the Member of the Month Awards (a global award recognising the best of the best). Finally recognising the efforts of Emergency First Response members in the field who provide first aid and rescue support at incidents they encounter is incredibly rewarding. Well done everyone and keep up the fantastic work!

Quality Management

Maintaining the high standards by which PADI members are know is a role for all of us. Whether it be store owners, centre manager, instructors or PADI staff we are all invested in keeping diving safe and providing excellence in training and customer experiences. Because of this commitment to excellence, the vast majority of PADI customers receive an excellent level of service. Where the level of training or service falls short of PADI standards, the Quality Management Department is there to provide support, education, retraining and in a small number of cases to take punitive action. For more about the Quality Management Programme refer to your Guide to Teaching or under consumer protection.

Newest Member

The QM team is very excited to welcome Kim Ngan who is our newest Quality Management Consultant. Kim has previously worked for PADI as a Regional Training Consultant, is a Master Instructor, and brings a wealth of expertise from her teaching background in Queensland. Be sure to say hello to Kim at one of our many seminars during 2019.

Thank You

As the year draws to a close we would like to thank our members for your support and remind you that in 2019 you can count on us to continue to deliver a superior level of Quality Assurance and Risk Management support to our individual and store members.

We welcome your feedback as always and you can contact us at or for incidents

We wish you all a wonderful festive season and that you all have happy, safe diving for the year to come!

All the best from your PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management Team.


November Tips from the PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management Team

Each month the PADI Asia Pacific 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.

The Environment & Risk Management 

“We are blessed with a career that puts us in contact with the ocean – and the ocean demands our respect. Treat her with respect and she will give you a lifetime of adventures, but underestimate her at your peril. Remember: be prudent in your decision making, put your students’ safety above your ego and – if in doubt – stay out.”- Richard Somerset, PADI.

Many of us entered careers as PADI Dive professionals because we love the ocean and its inhabitants.

The famous Jacques Cousteau once said…….

“The sea once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever”

It is true, which is why with the support of Project AWARE we strive to maintain this environment, but do we give it the respect it deserves from a risk management perspective?

The environments people dive in vary all over the world. A diver trained in one environment may not be comfortable in another until they have had some experience and learned the techniques specific to that environment. A diver that is confident in warm clear waters may need extra assistance to adapt to a cold water environment with poor visibility. How many of us check our diver’s history, even if they are simply on a guided dive? Do we ask to see our customers log books? Are we asking the right questions to determine the risks our divers might have. Do we identify who may be susceptible to the risks that are present?

We should consider all of these factors every time we dive. Take a few minutes to mentally review the environment on each diving day and applying that to our customers training and experience levels. Ways we can evaluate the match of student ability to environment include environmental checks (looking or even getting in the water to check on current and visibility), and checking student qualifications and logbooks. The fact is every day is different. Don’t get complacent with the environment assuming it will be the same every time we dive. Set the example for others and consider the risks, pass that message on and create a culture of safety.

Financial pressures of running a dive centre combined with the changing environmental conditions we face mean you could be risking a bad dive to pay the bills. Do you at times feel forced to put finances first? The knock on effect maybe you get a bad review or a complaint but ultimately you need to ask are you risking customer’s safety.

Sometimes we hear of cases of concerned divers and instructors who feel they have been forced to dive in poor environmental conditions or make a poor judgement call which has led to an incident. So who takes responsibility for calling a dive off? Who determines if the dive site is suitable for a diver? Ultimately if an incident occurs the liability is likely to rest with the individual member who was supervising the dive. You would not be able to say “but my boss told me it would be fine”. With our training comes the responsibility to make good judgements. We know the risks – now make the call.

While uncommon there is potential risk to divers from interactions with marine organisms. The most common of these is when a diver brushes up against or lands on a marine invertebrate through poor buoyancy control techniques. We should provide thorough briefings describing what aquatic animals divers come across and ensure they know not to touch organisms, to be careful in the sand and not to sit on the coral. This may seem obvious to many of us but there have been situations where instructors are missing this important part of their briefings. So what is the best solution? Again think about the level of risk. Being gentle with the approach, informing your students about the wildlife in the area is an important part of your briefing. So instead of telling someone ‘the titan triggerfish will attack you’, say ‘this is a fish we respect when nesting and give him the distance he needs to protect his young’. Instead of saying ‘don’t kneel in the sand as you may find yourself with a barb in your knee’, say ‘look closely when in the sand as delicate creatures live there and we want to maintain their habitat’. Don’t shy away from the risks but address them carefully and appropriately to the level of risk they pose. This way you are educating about marine life as well as helping divers to minimise the risks.

Let’s work together with our customers to preserve and enjoy the aquatic environment – after all it is a privilege to be able to explore its depths.

Rebecca Wastall | Quality Management Consultant, PADI Asia Pacific.


October Tips from the PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management Team

In 2018 the PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management team continues to bring you tips from PADI staff in the field on how to maintain and improve safety in your professional diving activities. This month we heard from Michelle Brunton, Manager Quality and Risk Management – PADI Asia Pacific.

Influencing Diving Behaviour

A dive store owner asked me the other day – “how can I get my instructors to be more conservative in the way they plan dives? I’ve told them to be more careful and we have it written in the employee handbook but I can’t seem to get them to change the way they do things when I‘m not looking”.

From a safety point of view store owners, instructors and training managers can assume a certain right and responsibility to try to minimise the risks of activities undertaken with their store. The underlying question to answer is “What drives human behaviour?” There are many models of human behaviour that we could consider but I think Plato summed it up when he wrote:

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge” Plato.

Whatever behaviour we are wanting to establish we need to find ways to link the behaviour to the desires and emotions of the people involved and we need to provide education about how to practice the new behaviour. There are three ways we can break this down. People will change their behaviour if they see the new behaviour as easy, rewarding and normal.

Make it easy: Make good diving behaviour easy logistically.

  • Give your staff the resources they need to make diving safe – are there sufficient surface marker buoys, compasses and dive computer or digitimers on training equipment?
  • Establish safe training sites that ensure divers can’t exceed planned dive parameters. Have a list of acceptable dive sites for each level of training and customer experience.
  • Have signs on the boat and in the store that explain the pre-dive safety briefing to help them remember and practice the steps.
  • Provide staff training opportunities to brush up on skills especially rescue skills, first aid and use of oxygen.
  • Have regular meetings about ‘near misses’ to discuss what happened and what can be learnt.

Make it rewarding: Link the new behaviour to something that creates pride for that person.

This is where behaviour connects to values; you have to show people how behaving in these new ways will support what they value.  For example, if someone deeply values having positive human interactions help them to see how behaving in a certain way toward customers will improve the interactions.

  • Notice and celebrate positive results with colleagues and staff. Recognise procedures you have put in place that have resulted in a safer experience for customers.
  • If customers give you positive feedback share it and celebrate it with each other.
  • The PADI membership recognition programme also notices and celebrates when PADI professionals get positive feedback through attaboys certificates and member of the month awards. Connect with this programme by sending positive customer feedback with us at
  • Have employee ‘Safe Diver of the Month’ awards for instructors and dive guides.

Normal: This is the way we always do it here

In order to change the way they behave, we need to feel that “people like me act this way, and people I admire act this way”. Human beings, for the most part, don’t want to be the odd person outWe are naturally wired to want to belong. Even people who consider themselves rebels tend to emulate rebels they admire!  If we want employees, colleagues or divers around us to behave differently, we have to give them some evidence that their peers (at least the ones they like) and their role models are behaving in those ways.

  • Make sure store owners, training managers and senior staff role model desired diving behaviours every time they dive.
  • Have visual clues around the store that support the message that safe diving practices are “just what we do”.
  • Establish keeping your mask in place and snorkel in your mouth on the surface as ‘normal’ diving behaviour (in the case of tech divers carrying a snorkel in the pocket).
  • Manage gas safely. If your lower gas returning limit is 70 bar make sure all your diving leaders follow this rule themselves.

Many psychologists would say the only behaviour we can control is our own. This is true but when we have a level of responsibility for the safety of others we need to ensure that we do what we can do to minimise the risks.

Whether it’s our student divers or our fellow dive leaders, if we are wanting to influence others to dive safely, understanding the underpinning motivators that drive behaviour will assist us in making diving at our dive store as safe as possible.

Michelle Brunton, Manager Quality and Risk Management – PADI Asia Pacific.