Archive | March, 2013

A Cautionary Tale of Required Materials

28 Mar

The PADI Instructor on the phone was beside himself, “I had no idea! Are you sure?”

Unfortunately, we were sure because we had sent him the email he was calling about.

“But it’s not in the Crew-Pak! It’s not in the Crew-Pak…” His voice trailed off. He was inconsolable.

It all started with a Course Evaluation Questionnaire (CEQ) from one of the distraught instructor’s newly certified PADI Divemasters. The CEQ answers indicated that the Divemaster did not own an eRDPML. When contacted, the Divemaster in question said he learned to use the eRDPML during Divemaster training, but borrowed it from the instructor.

As a result, the PADI Quality Management team sent a reminder to the instructor about two important PADI Standards:

  • The eRDPML is required for the PADI Divemaster course. Candidates must have their own eRDPML to use during training and afterward.
  • Instructors may not loan required materials to their student divers.

Like the vast majority of PADI Instructors, the one on the phone took pride in his dedication to teaching and following PADI Standards in all courses. Even though the Quality Management message he received was a friendly reminder, rather than a formal inquiry requiring a response, he was upset to learn that he had violated PADI Standards.

The instructor’s mistake? He assumed that all PADI Crew-Paks contain all of the required materials for a course. While this is true in many cases, it’s important to realize that it isn’t always the case.

The eRDPML, for example, is not in the Divemaster Crew-Pak. The Rescue Diver Crew-Pak doesn’t contain a logbook. Many divers purchase their eRDPML during their PADI Open Water Diver course. Most rescue divers already have a logbook. So, while Crew-Paks are convenient and economical, students and candidates may need some additional items to meet PADI Standards. If they don’t already have those items, they must purchase them separately.

To avoid finding yourself in the same position as the instructor on the phone, check the Course Standards in the PADI Instructor Manual for each course you teach. You’ll find a list of both required and recommended materials. This was the advice for the instructor on the phone and, while he may have had no idea before we contacted him, now he knows and it is unlikely he will need another reminder.

Learn from one instructor’s experience and remember that just because something isn’t in the Crew-Pak doesn’t mean it isn’t required. And please don’t loan materials to student divers without consulting the PADI Instructor Manual. That should help you avoid from becoming the instructor on the phone.

Take advantage of Official PADI Diving Society Patron Benefits

26 Mar

PDSLogoAs a current PADI Retail and Resort Member, you have the opportunity to reach 175,000 diving enthusiasts worldwide. Participation is free! Are you taking advantage of your benefits?

Get your free listing on the New and Improved online Benefits Directory:

  1. Society members can easily search by location for special offers from PADI Dive Centres and Resorts. If you have your logo ready, it takes less than 5 mins to get your free listing on the Member Benefits Webform
  2. You can offer multiple benefits and change them throughout the year.
  3. You have a dedicated benefits page with a unique link so you can link directly to your Society benefits from your website.
  4. Your benefits page has a direct link back to your website and displays your logo.
  5. Society members can easily print your benefit or special offer, which also puts contact information for your store right in their hands.
  6. Your benefit will be listed in the official PADI Diving Society Online Member Benefits section and on the destination pages of sportdiver.com/destinations, giving you access to even more potential customers.

Those are six great reasons to sponsor a PADI Diving Society Benefit. Looking for another one? It’s free!

Remember, more consumers are turning to their computers, tablets and mobile devices when they want to find local businesses and search for great deals. That means more divers are going online to connect with their local PADI Dive Centres and Resorts. Stay connected and get online – sponsor a Society benefit today.

To sponsor your complimentary benefit(s)*, visit the PADI Diving Society Member Benefits Webform. You can enter a benefit to start today and set one up to start in 2013.

If you already sponsor a benefit, thank you for your continuous support. You wouldn’t need to do anything to renew your benefit(s), however you can change your benefit(s) at any time.

* Each benefit(s) must have at least $75 US retail value for inclusion in the Society 2012 digital benefit offerings.

The New Australasian Rolex Scholar for 2013

23 Mar

Jayne Jenkins VP, Australasian Operations Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society ® has forwarded the following press release announcing..

OWUSS Logo
The
New Australasian Rolex Scholar for 2013

The 2013 Our World-Underwater Australasian Rolex Scholar was announced last week, with this year’s prestigious award going to Stefan Andrews.

“Competition is always tough; these candidates are the best of the best. It is a very difficult decision for the selection panel to make. Sadly we only have one scholarship to award, but for the winner, it will be the most amazing, experiential growth year of their lives,” explained Jayne Jenkins, Australasian Vice President, Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society (OWUSS).

Essentially the OWUSS mission is to identify and develop the next generation of dive leaders and underwater researchers. For more than 35 years, the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society® and Rolex have fostered the development of future leaders of the underwater environment. There are three Rolex Scholarships: North America, Europe, and Australasia. During their scholarship year, three deserving recipients have the opportunity to travel internationally and learn from the world’s leading experts in conservation, underwater photography, maritime archaeology, marine engineering and other related fields.

Stefan Andrews  Photo courtesy of Jayne JenkinsStefan, our 2013 Australasian OWUSS Rolex scholar will now meet the global OWUSS team in New York in April and from there is plugged into one of the most prestigious global networks in the world; scientists, explorers, film makers, photographers, doctors. You name it, someone will do it and they’ll be right at the very pinnacle of their career.

The mission for Stefan is to choose well and wisely those projects he would like to get involved with to help him advance his own career. It is one of the most rewarding short term and long term scholarships around.

“The OWUSS is a massive family with everyone looking to give back, to help deserving candidates find their true paths and excel. It can be very daunting at the beginning for new scholars but they are not cast out alone. We guide new scholars and help them become aware of the possibilities and make the right choices for them – each scholar is unique with unique requirements,” says Jenkins.

Stefan is 24 years old with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree majoring in Ecosystem Biogeochemistry, Marine Conservation and Fisheries Management, Marine and Coastal Planning and Management plus Data Management and Analysis in the Natural Sciences from the University of Western Australia, Perth.

His specific interest is in ecological activism. Stefan is also a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor with over 2,000 dives to his credit.

The Selection Panel feel that Stefan has the strength of character and determination to excel in his role representing the Scholarship Society and, as with all our Scholars, past and present to continue with a career in or around our oceans and marine environment.

We feel he is a very worthy recipient who will be a shining ambassador as the Australasian Rolex scholar for the Scholarship Society, our Corporate Sponsor Rolex and not least of all, himself and his family.

“Take a look at what our previous scholars have achieved and you’ll be amazed and impressed – we are every year!”

For more information about the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society, visit their website, http://www.owuscholarship.org/

Project AWARE: We did it! Celebrating Historic Decisions for Sharks and Rays

21 Mar

This article is courtesy of Project AWARE.

CITES_PAFteam 21.3.13Five species of highly traded sharks, both manta rays and one species of sawfish were listed under CITES at the conclusion of CoP16 held this month in Bangkok, Thailand. Delegates from 170 countries considered 70 proposals affecting more than 300 species, including eight of some of the most vulnerable sharks and manta rays.

“We’re proud that divers’ voice has contributed to achieving this key milestone for sharks and ray conservation and we’re grateful to proponent governments for recognizing the value of thriving shark and ray populations, and for championing sound proposals,” said Ania Budziak, Project AWARE’s Associate Director of Science and Policy.

The oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, three species of hammerheads and both manta rays – all classified as threatened on IUCN’s Red List – are now added to CITES Appendix II. “This is a significant and historic achievement for marine species in general, specifically manta rays which are the first Elasmobranch species to be listed under CITES on the first attempt,” said Budziak. “Scalloped hammerheads, among the most endangered and most commonly taken in illegal fishing operations for their valuable fins, received a surprising majority.”

Since 2010, when eight shark species were declined CITES listing, the scuba diving community joined with shark advocates around the world, have campaigned for this moment. Armed with more than 135,000 shark petition signatures and 245,000 letters sent direct to CITES delegates, Project AWARE has taken every opportunity to put CITES protections front and center on government agendas. Along with our partners, we’ve met with CITES representatives, participated in public consultation processes and worked on shark protection issues at every turn including the IUCN World Conservation Congress, meeting of the signatories to the CMS MOU on Shark Conservation and CITES preparatory workshops in Mozambique and Senegal.

“This is an enormous victory, not only for the vulnerable species and ocean ecosystems, but for the coastal communities globally whose tourism-based economies rely on healthy, thriving shark and ray populations,” said Alex Earl, Project AWARE’s Executive Director. “It’s also a significant achievement for the marine protection movement as a whole. This conference was the very first to consider an unprecedented number of shark and ray proposals and there has never been stronger momentum for their protections than now.”

What’s next for the campaign to protect sharks and rays? “We now urge all Parties to CITES to work swiftly on implementing the obligations to ensure sustainable international trade,” said Alex Earl. “But for the moment, we celebrate the significance of these historic decisions.”

Heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who joined the Project AWARE movement and campaigned for this amazing milestone. The passion and dedication of ocean advocates is unmatched. We’re proud of our achievements together and we couldn’t have done it without you.

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. 

First PADI Instructor Exam in Sri Lanka

20 Mar

Sri Lanka 15-16 Feb_ IDC Mark Soworka smallPADI Asia Pacific conducted the very first Instructor Exam in Sri Lanka from 15-16 February, 2013.

Platinum PADI Course Director, Mark Soworka from Koh Tao Thailand, provided the following story leading up to this significant event…

Sri Lanka is truly an amazing country.  A generous and hospitable nation filled with wonderful stories, a rich and diverse culture and history, and fascinating dive destinations.  I had the great fortune in February 2013 to conduct the first PADI Instructor Development Course in Sri Lanka.  It was a wonderful experience.  The IDC was conducted at PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre Poseidon Diving Station, Hikkuduwa with all Sri Lankan candidates.

Right from the beginning the stories and experiences started flowing.  The dive centre was started in 1973 by Swedish adventurer Sven and Lesley Sembakuttige, father of the present owner Chami Sembakuttige.  Fortunately Sven was actually visiting with his family so I had the opportunity to listen spellbound to his stories of diving Sri Lanka in the seventies.  At 82 he only gave up diving last year and has a lifetime full of adventures from diving in the first-ever made dry suit, discovering wrecks and treasures around Sri Lanka, even showing me the tiny compressor that they smuggled into Sri Lanka to fill those first tanks – through to the importance Chamis’ dad played in the local community. No greater tribute to that exists than the comparatively low loss of life on Hikkuduwa in the 2004 Tsunami.  Chamis’ family have strongly advocated protecting Hikkuduwa’s reef for decades.

During the IDC we had Oliver Ridley and Green turtles nesting and hatching right in front of the dive centre.  Swim twenty meters out to where we were doing the confined presentations and you have hundreds of trevally schooling, incredibly enormous turtles swimming around to check on us and a school of bump head parrotfish.  It’s a great testament to the local community protecting their reef.  Reefs either side of Hikkuduwa have been decimated by generations of limestone mining. During the tsunami, those areas that had lost the natural barrier protection of the reef werecompletely devastated with massive loss of life.  Few died where the reef remained relatively intact – a testament to the forethought of Lesley Sembakuttige.

Some of the guys leading dives there, like Lal and Sunil, have been leading dives in the local area since the 70s and 80s – such an immense wealth of local knowledge and experience.  Lal actually completed the IDC and has been a registered PADI Divemaster since 1993.  When I checked his card at the commencement of the IDC I remarked on how worn and water logged the card looked. He replied how he actually lost his wallet in the tsunami, only to rediscover it three years later on the inner side of the reef, PADI Divemaster card still intact.

On the next PADI IDC I really hope I can organise a trip with these guys out to the Great Bassos 1701 silver wreck found by Arthur C. Clarke in 1961.  They still know where the treasure lies. But then again, I would also like to go diving in March/April off Trincomalee after seeing the video from one of the other IDC candidates, Menaka, of diving with a pod of sperm whales.  Guess I will have to do several more trips to Sri Lanka.

We also conducted the first Enriched Air Nitrox Instructor course on Sri Lanka.  This was at the suggestion of Lakshmann who was doing his PADI Staff Instructor course.  He actually started diving with Mike Wallis who was filming underwater in Sri Lanka back in the ‘60s and ‘70s and was involved with Arthur C. Clarke in finding the treasure on Great Bassos.

Teaching the next generation of Sri Lankan divemasters and PADI Instructors is well underway. Poseidon Diving were also hosting Plongeurs du Monde at the same time as the IDC.  Plongeurs du Monde is a group of committed dive instructors that devote their time and money – with support from PADI – in training local children in under developed regions to scuba dive.  Louis Rebboh, the President of Plongeurs du Monde, has established programmes in Philippines, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka and is also looking at India.  Since the 2004 tsunami they have trained over 200 kids in Sri Lanka.  This year saw their first batch of successful PADI Rescue Diver candidates and next year will be the beginning of PADI Divemaster training. They are doing a wonderful job at helping foster an appreciation and respect in local communities for scuba diving and the underwater environment, plus helping mould our next generation of PADI dive professionals.

Such a wealth of experience on this IDC, but they were all still very nervous when it came to completing the PADI Instructor examination.  They did not know what to expect from PADI.  At the beginning of the IDC they had recounted how on the first ever PADI Member Forum conducted by Johnny Chew after the tsunami they had all turned up nervous and worried, expecting PADI to administer exams and check their knowledge.  Luckily, PADI Instructor Examiner Rob Scammell put their fears to rest and made the IE as relaxing as possible, creating an environment conducive for these guys to show how knowledgeable as divers they are and how good as instructors they will be.

With drummers on the beach, drinks and curry, we celebrated 100% success for the first ever IDC on Sri Lanka.  Congratulations Menaka, Praveen, Feroz and Lal.  Sri Lanka will continue to grow as a dive destination with continued support from you guys and I look forward to IDCs on Sri Lanka in the future. Thanks also for the support and help during the IDC from Chami, Lakshmann, Devsiri and Rob.

It was really a week of firsts.  After the Instructor Exam, Rob Scammell conducted the Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer course with Rob Partridge for Temple Adventures in Pondicherry, making him the first EFRIT in India.

Afterwards I had the opportunity to travel around Sri Lanka for a few days and found a wonderfulcountry rich in history and culture.  I visited some of the best ruins and examples of Buddhist art that I have seen anywhere and glimpsed great national parks with a wonderful diversity of wildlife.  I really look forward to returning to Sri Lanka.  It is sure to become a ‘must see’ travel destination in the near future and is simply a fantastic destination for an Instructor Development Course.

PHOTO: The four candidates with their dive mentors during the Instructor Development Course at Hikkuduwa, in Sri Lanka.  Left to Right:  Devsiri Peiris (IDC Staff), Chami Sembakuttige (IDC Staff and owner), Lal Sembakutti,  Rob Partridge (IDC Staff),  Lakshman Muthukuda (IDC Staff),  Mohamed Feroz, Menaka Goonwardena, Praveen Wijesuriya and PADI Course Director, Mark Soworka.

For details of the next Instructor Development Course in Sri Lanka, please contact Mark Soworka

Email:  careers@buddhaview-diving.com

PADI eLearning® Payment Report Now Available at PADI Pros’ Site

19 Mar

eLearning
The report includes all eLearners that affiliate with your instructor number or store and can be sorted by date range and downloaded in multiple file formats.

Go to the PADI Pros’ Site, choose the My Account tab and scroll down for the eLearning Payment Report link under My Applications.

Khao Lak Scuba Adventures return to PADI, and win 2012 “Diver Acquisition Award”

15 Mar

PADI IDC, Diving, Courses

PADI Asia Pacific and Regional Manager Tony Andrews would like to Congratulate PADI 5 Star IDC Khao Lak Scuba Adventures, as they were Presented the 2012 Award for “Outstanding Diver Acquisition”

PADI Award for Khao Lak Scuba Adventures
This PADI 5 Star IDC Centre located in Khao Lak, Thailand returned back to the PADI family at the end of 2010, resulting and proving that PADI’s service and support do remain the best in the industry. Working closely with PADI, they have now increased there business and certifications to become one of the leading PADI centres in Thailand.

Management Khao Lak Scuba Adventures, PADI Diving.
Now Khao Lak Scuba Adventures are a fully operational PADI 5 Star IDC, with a new Training Academy being opened to accommodate the PADI professional Courses.

Targeting the IDC market, Khao Lak Scuba Adventures plan to continue with their great growth and success, and implement new ideas for 2013, including West Coast South liveaboard trips, Divemaster internships and PADI IDC programs being taught by Award Winner Platinum PADI Course Director Minni Vangsgaard.

Khao Lak Scuba Adventures
Congratulations guys, Job well done…….