ScubaEarth™ Spotlight: Announcement Board

ScubaEarth

By now you’ve visited ScubaEarth™, established your profile and are exploring the site.

One area of ScubaEarth valuable to PADI Dive Centers and Resorts is the Announcement Board. Here, you can share information with divers who have chosen your store as their primary dive center. Each time these divers log in, they see your announcements on their home page. The friends of these divers also see your logo and announcement board when viewing the diver’s profile page. Clicking on the logo or announcement takes them to your store profile. Make the most out of what they see by linking your announcements to activities in your dive business, including:

  • boat trips
  • travel programs
  • upcoming classes
  • dive club meetings
  • specials on your website
  • other fun activities

The Announcement Board is an important communication vehicle you can use to attract customers. To add announcements, click the “Announcements” tab under your store logo, then select “edit”.

If you haven’t already set up your profile or started setting up dive sites, do so today. You can also download the How to Set Up Your ScubaEarth™ Profile brochure (1.4 Mb PDF) to help guide you through the process.

Stay tuned for more ScubaEarth updates.

Project AWARE: Victory for Vulnerable Whale Sharks at Pacific Meeting

This article is courtesy of Project AWARE.  Please also read the full article here.

Asia and Pacific nations agreed at a meeting in the Philippines on Wednesday to take steps to protect whale sharks in a victory for the world’s largest fish, officials said.

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission nations agreed that tuna fishers must stop setting their nets around the vulnerable giants in order to catch smaller fish that gather underneath them, said Palau fishing official Nanette Malsol.

She said the deal binds tuna-fishing nations such as the United States, China, and Japan, and was a victory for a coalition of small Pacific nations, called the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, that has been campaigning for this measure.

“This rule follows negotiations by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement for three years to try and get the big fishing nations to adopt protections for whale sharks,” said Malsol, who also heads the coalition.

The small Pacific island nations said they already imposed such a rule on their own tuna fishers.

Smaller fish like tuna congregate under whale sharks, so fishermen often seek the giants and set their nets under them to catch the other fish, said Angelo Villagomez, a spokesman of the the US-based Pew Environment Group.

As a result, whale sharks, which are considered a vulnerable species, often get entangled in tuna nets and die, he said.

Fifty whale sharks were recorded having died from tuna nets in 2010 and 19 in 2011, said Villagomez, adding that there were likely many other cases which went unreported.

Parties to the agreement reached at the Manila meeting Wednesday must free any whale shark that gets caught in their nets and must also record and report any incidents involving the giant fish, Malsol said.

The Pew group, which is also attending the meeting, is pressing for other measures to protect 143 other threatened species of sharks that are affected by tuna fishers.

However Villagomez said he doubted they would pass as some fishing countries actively catch these sharks.

Whale sharks measure as much as 12 metres long but are harmless to humans and feed on tiny marine animals.

They have become popular tourist attractions in countries such as the Philippines, Mexico and Australia.

Thank you to all PADI Members and Dive Centres who support Project AWARE. Please look out for more alerts from Project AWARE on how you can get involved. 

Recreational Rebreather Revolution – Dream Package Goes off at DEMA 2012

Worldwide Dive & Sail teamed up with PADI and Poseidon during the past 12 months presenting an Congratulations Barbara Allinson! From PADI, Worldwide Dive and Sail International and Poseidon  exciting competition, which offered a prize package of a Poseidon MK VI Rebreather, a 10 day luxury livaboard trip for 2 on one of the Siren Fleet boats, including learning to dive the MK VI with PADI’s new Recreational Rebreather course.

The competition invited contestants to sign up online or enter into a draw during the DEMA Show.  There was a total 1,213 entries and Barbara Allinson, the lucky winner, was drawn on 17th November at  the annual DEMA Show 2012 held  at Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.

Reflections from a PADI Course Director

An enlightening insight of what it means to be a PADI Instructor, Trainer and mentor in the diving industry, through the eyes of Darius Moazzami, Platinum Course Director, Crystal Dive Resort, Koh Tao.

Reflections from a PADI Course Director

As another PADI Instructor Development Course winds down I find myself with time to reflect about the path that I’ve chosen and the amazing journey ahead for my newly certified PADI Instructors.

Having been a PADI Instructor for 13 years and a Course Director for the last 8, I still remember teaching my first courses and can almost still feel the nervous energy, anticipation and astonishing sense of responsibility that my new trainees are sure to face in the coming months. As much as my colleagues and I put into our Instructor programs, we realise that the real education of a new Instructor has only just begun.

For many, the challenge of creating their own path in this industry will result in a long-term career filled with an array of experiences that may be unmatched in the professional world. For some, becoming a PADI Instructor is a personal success that will always define them as people who embrace challenges. Others still, may find this new role as a temporary diversion from life’s greater adventures. But for all, the time that they have spent in achieving the rating and the work they do in the industry will enrich their lives and teach them skills that will forever be utilised.

At times, my journey as a PADI Instructor has been defined by each of these motivations. Eventually, I came to the realisation that there are few jobs which can bring a combination of the satisfaction, adventure and lifestyle that I enjoy in the dive industry.

Through diving, I have been introduced to some of the most interesting and entertaining people and places the world has to offer. Aside from my family, nearly all of the relationships that I value the most have been conceived along my path as a PADI Instructor. I feel fortunate and a little bewildered to consider the many ways in which I have become close to people of such hugely diverse backgrounds, from the farthest reaches of the planet. And I am grateful for the connections.

As most of us have come to realize, the underwater world is a spectacular place and the protection of it is a unifying force for the dive industry. Regardless of our motivations, we all have a shared sense of responsibility to safeguard its wonders. The threats to our seas are huge, and so must be our resolve to educate and awaken people to its beauty. The importance of PADI Instructors in this process is immeasurable. And only through our success can we continue in one of the most gratifying and fascinating jobs imaginable.

Escape, Explore and Experience with ScubaEarth™

ScubaEarth™, your one-stop resource for everything scuba, is now open. Escape, explore and experience everything this all-inclusive site has to offer.

Share diving experiences on ScubaEarth and explore the interactive community for scuba divers and water enthusiasts alike. ScubaEarth offers more than 50,000 dive sites and 60 dive destinations to help you research your next vacation—and that’s just the beginning. You can also:

  • Log your dives
  • Show off your latest photos and videos
  • Join the dive crew of your favorite PADI dive shops
  • Find current weather and recent dive conditions
  • Use your gear locker to track when your gear is due to be serviced
  • Keep up with dive buddies and meet new dive buddies

Dive in and join today:

  • Go to www.ScubaEarth.com
  • Select your experience level and click Register
  • Enter your details and click Register

Log on at www.ScubaEarth.com to set up your profile today.

Project AWARE: Stronger Shark Finning Ban Endorsed by European Parliament

This article is courtesy of the Project AWARE Foundation. You can also see the full article here.

Conservation groups are celebrating last week’s European Parliament vote to close loopholes in the European Union ban on shark finning (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea), the culmination of six years of campaigning and debate.

Members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of the European Commission’s proposal to impose the best practice for finning ban enforcement: a prohibition on removing shark fins at sea. The measure faced formidable opposition from representatives of Spain and Portugal, Europe’s leaders in catch of oceanic sharks.

The EU banned finning in 2003, but the associated regulation includes loopholes that allow shark fins to be removed on board and landed separately from shark bodies, which hampers enforcement.

“We owe so much of our success to the tens of thousands of divers across Europe and beyond who voiced their concern for sharks,” said Suzanne Pleydell, Director for Project AWARE Foundation in Europe. “By demonstrating the economic benefits of sound shark stewardship, divers brought new EU Member States to the debate to support a stronger finning policy that reflects the values of the entire European Union, not just its shark fishing powers.”

Parliament’s final report now goes to the EU Council of Ministers and Commission as part of the process to finalize the regulation. Conservation groups stressed that finning bans alone are insufficient to save sharks.

The groups are turning their sights to the next big battleground for sharks: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) whose Parties meet in March to consider proposals to list commercially valuable, threatened shark species, including porbeagles, hammerheads, and oceanic whitetips.  Proponents for listing include the EU and U.S.

Shark Advocates International, Shark Trust, and Project AWARE are working as part of a new coalition with Wildlife Conservation Society, Humane Society International, and the German Elasmobranch Society to secure CITES protections for sharks and rays.

Thank you to all PADI Members and Dive Centres who support Project AWARE. Please look out for more alerts from Project AWARE on how you can get involved.

A Day in the Life of a Divemaster

An interview with Denéa Buckingham
PADI Divemaster
Sydney Dive Academy
PADI 5 Star Dive Centres
Matraville NSW Australia

What is your current job at Sydney Dive Academy?
I completed my Divemaster certification in Boracay and I’ll be completely honest – I’m a chilly water wuss, so in the cooler months I handle the digital strategy and marketing for Sydney Dive Academy.

Describe a typical day in your working life
In the off season at Sydney Dive Academy I’ll be working on a number of projects involving social media, events coordination and marketing. Multitasking on the days I’m physically in the dive shop, I’ll fill tanks, assist Peter Cross and Jamie Illistom with courses, help fit our divers with rental gear and make sure everyone feels welcome when they come to our club.

A standard day in the water could mean guiding a dive club trip around Bare Island (Botany Bay) and pointing out the beautiful amount of marine life in the waters of Kamay National Park. I might be coordinating a group to meet for a dive trip to the HMAS Adelaide or down to dive with the seals at Wollongong. Other times I’ll be bringing up the Open Water pack – looking after a new diver who isn’t particularly confident.

My role is varied and there’s always something exciting to work on!

When did you start diving?
In 2009, for a holiday with an ex-boyfriend! He was already qualified so he made me complete my Open Water Diver course in the middle of winter in Sydney in order to go, the weather was hideous and I froze my tail off.  But 29 degree water in Sipadan and a subsequent adoration of diving were more than worth it.

When and where did you become a PADI Divemaster?
I did my Divemaster training from January to April 2012 with Calypso Diving on Boracay Island in the Philippines.

How did you feel when you became a PADI Divemaster?
I was absolutely thrilled because I’d grown and changed as a person as well as a diver.

What highlights do you recall from your DM course?
Calypso are working on an exciting new resort on one of the islands neighboring Boracay. I was lucky enough to go with Rene Buob (our Course Director) and Andy Barrett (my Instructor) to explore new dive sites around the island.

Andy Barrett and I orchestrated the release of two little Bamboo Reef sharks from a neighbouring Chinese restaurant. We also negotiated with the restaurant to remove all shark dishes and shark meat from the menu. A very decent crowd assembled to watch us release the sharks (who we’d nicknamed ‘Ni’ and ‘Hao’) off the beach near the dive shop. You can read my full article about it on Project AWARE’s website

I could go on and on – there were so many highlights. I recommend the PADI Divemaster training course to anyone who wants to discover a new depth in themselves; it is an experience that means so much more than just a certification card.

Where have you worked as a PADI Pro?
With Sydney Dive Academy here in Australia but who knows where it will take me!

What is one of your favorite memories in your diving career?
In March 2012, the Boracay Association of Scuba Schools (BASS) sunk a Yakolev Yak 40 aeroplane as a new dive site. I was well into my Divemaster training at that time so I jumped on board for all the activities surrounding the sinking. I took video of the 70-odd people that physically pushed the jet across the tarmac and into the water to be towed to the dive site. Then I helped video the actual sinking and I was the first one to create a dive site map of the wreck.

My last dive in Boracay was guiding my friend and PADI Course Director, Sue Gibbins around the wreck, the ownership and pride I felt in being qualified to lead her around something I’d had so much to do with was fantastic.

What words of advice would you give to new dive professionals?
‘You get out what you put in.’ If you’re not prepared to bring the best you have to every dive you won’t have as much fun or feel as rewarded as you can if you give 150% every time you get the chance.

We’re incredibly lucky to have earned our way into the world of Professional Diving, now the fun is in continuing to deserve it!

You can also find this article in the November edition of Surface Interval