Becoming a PADI Course Director

PADI Course Directors are PADI Master Instructors who have taken the next step and joined an elite group of instructor trainers. Course Directors teach PADI Instructor Development Courses (IDCs) and other instructor-level training, and thus are the scuba diving industry’s most influential leaders and role models. This rating is the highest and most respected professional rating in recreational scuba diving. To become a Course Director you must earn a spot in a Course Director Training Course (CDTC) through a competitive application process that examines your experience and training goals.

PADI Master Instructors who have solid teaching experience and have assisted with several IDCs may be ready to apply. You also need to be an EFR Instructor Trainer, have at least 250 logged dives, have PADI Dive Center or Resort work experience and meet other requirements as listed on the most current CDTC application available for download from the PADI Pros’ Site.

After your application is approved, you start your training by completing several online presentations, knowledge reviews and a Course Director-level exam on PADI Systems, Standards and Procedures.

The actual CDTC lasts nine days and consists of staff presentations about how to organize and promote instructor development, plus many hands-on workshops in class, confined water and open water with a focus on evaluation training, professional development and counselling techniques.

PADI Regional Manager Gio Cacchione had a chat with all candidates from Thailand that have recently been accepted to the upcoming Kota Kinabalu 2015 CDTC.



Darren Gaspari
Darren Gaspari

Darren  Gaspari from Australia has been living in Thailand for over 7 years now. He owns and manages Aussie Divers Phuket, a PADI 5 Star Dive Centre in Phuket.

RM: What was the most challenging part of your CDTC application?

DG: I personally did not encounter any particular challenges. The whole process was actually very exciting and rewarding.

RM: How many years have you been diving?

DG: My first encounter with the amazing underwater world goes back over a decade ago, in Australia at The Great Barrier Reef.

RM: When did you first decide to apply for the PADI CDTC and why?

DG: This is been one of my professional goals for some time now. I would like to have a real impact on students and what better way to do that by teaching and training future instructors.



Marie-Lise Rux
Marie-Lise Rux

Next up Marie-Lise Rux from Canada. Marie has been working as the Manager of Professional Training at Buddha View Resort, PADI 5 Star IDC Centre in Koh Tao. She speaks 3 languages, English, French and Arabic and loves mentoring Divemaster Trainees and staffing IDCs.

RM: When did you start diving?

MLR: I did all my entry levels and Divemaster rating in Egypt over 10 years ago.

RM: What was the best part of your CDTC application?

MLR: I thoroughly enjoyed the Interview process. As part of my application, in fact I had to go through an interview conducted by one of the PADI Staff members of the Instructor Development Department. I was quite nervous at first but it actually turned out to be a very enjoyable step.

RM: What are your plans after the CDTC?

MLR: I am planning to conduct IDCs in several South East Asia regions. India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Thailand. I also look forward to be able to work together with my husband, who is a PADI Course Director as well.


Neil Richards from the UK is the Dive Centre Manager of Haad Yao Divers, PADI 5 Star IDC Centre in Koh Phangan and has been living in Thailand for over 11 years. Neil initially arrived in Koh Tao but then decided to take root in Koh Phangan and never looked back since.

Neil Richards
Neil Richards

RM: What was the best memory of your very first dive?

NR: My first dive was in India and the best memory I have was that amazing feeling of weightlessness, gliding through the water…I had goose bumps underwater.

RM: Tell us about the process of applying for the CDTC.

NR: The whole process was exciting and challenging at the same time. When I received the acceptance email from PADI, I was thrilled and felt a huge relief. One of the best experiences I have ever had. I am really looking forward to the CD Training Course itself.

RM: What is next on the agenda?

NR: I would really like to increase the IDC market on Koh Phangan.


Gareth Lyden
Gareth Lyden

Gareth Lyden, also from the UK, works for Master Divers, PADI 5 Star IDC Centre in Koh Tao. For numerous years he has been the Professional Development Manager and enjoyed teaching students from entry levels all the way up to professional. Gareth was an Instructor Trainer with another Training Organisation but recently decided to go back to the PADI system.

RM: Where and when did you start diving?

GL: I first dove in Australia, Great Barrier Reef, over 12 years.

RM: Although you were already an Instructor Trainer, why did you decide to become a PADI Course Director?

GL: I believe PADI has a very solid teaching system and a better foundation to business & standards support. When doing my IDC, I knew then that I wanted to teach Instructor level courses. My PADI Course Director was a real inspiration.

RM: What are your future plans after the CDTC?

GL: I consider Thailand to be my new home, so I will definitely be staying here for a long long time. I would like to expand in different markets and take advantage of online teaching.


Last but not least, Silvano Cacchione from Italy. He is the Dive Operations Manager of Coral Grand Divers, 5 Star IDC Centre in Koh Tao. Silvano worked in the hospitality & catering business, first in Spain and UK after. He relocated to Thailand to embrace a career in scuba diving.

Silvano Cacchione
Silvano Cacchione

RM: Tell us about your first diving experience?

SC: The first time I put on a Mask, BCD and fins was during a DSD in Mexico, many years ago. It was one of the most amazing experience ever.

RM: When did you first think you wanted to become a PADI PRO?

SC: During the DSD in Mexico, I remember actually liking the confined session more than the dive. I really enjoyed completing the skills that my instructor demonstrated and that was when I realised I also wanted to become an instructor one day.

RM: What would it mean to you to become a PADI Course Director?

SC: It is the highest rating in the PADI system so besides being an amazing personal achievement, it will allow me to be able to pass on to new instructors all my passion for diving and marine conservation.


If you also want to reach the top and become a PADI Course Director your next steps are:

  • Log on to the PADI Pros’ Site and read through CDTC Questions and Answers document, then check out the online presentation about what it takes to become a PADI Course Director and download the CDTC Fact Sheet.
  • Download a PADI CDTC Application from the Pros’ Site.


The Korean Underwater Sports Expo (SPOEX/KUSPO)

The Korean Underwater Sports Expo (KUSPO) will take place from Thursday 26th February until Sunday 1st March 2015 at COEX in Seoul, Korea.

The KUSPO show is incorporated with the Seoul International Sports & Leisure Industry Show (SPOEX) and is a major highlight on the global scuba diving calendar, With an estimated attendance of over 43,000 people in 2014, this year is shaping up to be another great show.

PADI Dive Centres & Resorts will be offering promotions and exciting competitions throughout the show.

Make sure you visit the ‘PADI Pavilion’ to take part! More information will be available at

You can view the full list of Dive Shows & Events PADI will be participating in or contact your PADI Regional Manager for more information.


How Can You Be Prepared for Chinese Tourists?

chinese-studentsThe 2015 Lunar New Year (most commonly known as Chinese New Year) — the Year of the Goat, begins on February 19 and lasts for 15 days. Chinese New Year is celebrated over a 7-day public holiday in China. It is the most significant holiday of the year in China where avid Chinese travellers take advantage of this time to plan their vacation. To attract the Chinese market you need a strategy in welcoming the Chinese tourist – and not just once a year.

Currently holders of a Chinese passport have access to 45 countries visa free, with most of these countries located in South East Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

To attract Chinese consumers, you have to make an effort to understand the Chinese customer and make some relatively cost-effective additions to your dive store experience in order to welcome them.

Here are a few things that nearly any medium to large-scale dive centre can do to make their dive store a destination for Chinese travellers – all year around.

1)    Signage. Make sure there is prominent signage in Simplified Chinese at the entrance to your store. During the Chinese New Year period, put Chinese signage on the shop front and make sure visual merchandising themes are translated.

  • Download the Chinese New Year poster to promote PADI Discover Scuba Diving in Simplified Chinese
  • Download the Chinese New Year poster to promote PADI Discover Scuba Diving in Traditional Chinese
  • Download the Chinese New Year poster to promote PADI Open Water Diver Course in Simplified Chinese
  • Download the Chinese New Year poster to promote PADI Open Water Diver Course in Traditional Chinese

For high-resolution versions of the above posters, please email PADI Asia Pacific Marketing.

2)    Speak Their Language. Have at least one employee who speaks Mandarin fluently and empower them with discount cards and/or Gifts-With-Purchase to incentivize them to shop.

3)    Make them a VIP. Use the store’s member’s lounge or create a space where Chinese tourists can sit privately with a cup of tea, cookies, and receive one-on-one ‘clienteling’.

4)    Partner with Hotels. Work closely with the concierges at the city’s key hotels and give them brochures and VIP cards to give to Chinese tourists and tour operators.

5)    Explain the Value of Your Brand. The Chinese are familiar with the PADI brand and its association with quality. Make sure to tell your dive sites’ attractions, any special BBQs, dive packages and the available Mandarin speaking staff support should they need assistance. If you sell dive equipment, highlight the fact that all of the brands you carry are guaranteed authentic. Should your customers have further questions regarding their certification cards, provide them with PADI’s contact as PADI Asia Pacific office has Mandarin speaking staff or the PADI office in Shenzhen, China will be able to assist.

Chinese customers are increasing, so embrace this opportunity as the number of travellers continue to grow!

Revised PADI Open Water Diver Course Skills – Member Videos

A range of PADI Members were BETA testers in 2014 for the revised PADI Open Water Diver program. Below are some of their suggestions on a range of different skills.

The hints and tips presented in the video are not the only acceptable techniques to meet the performance requirements – they are merely suggestions. Please reference your PADI Instructor Manual for the specific skill standards and the PADI’s Guide to Teaching for additional suggestions and techniques. You can also contact your PADI Regional Headquarters’ Training Department if you have questions.

PADI ReActivate Q&A – “Is ReActivate™ Deactivating Certification Cards?”

PADI ReActivate™ has already been out for a few months and some questions are being raised about the “ReActivated thru” portion of the certification cards. Here are some of the most common questions:

Is PADI “deactivating” certifications?

No. PADI certifications don’t expire and PADI ReActivate participation is not mandatory. Divers completing both knowledge and inwater skill refreshers receive a replacement certification card with a “ReActivated thru” date on it. The card also shows the original certification date, and divers can still present a logbook to show recent activity.

Rather than an apparent “expiration date,” wouldn’t it be better to put “Remember to refresh your skills and knowledge after a period of inactivity” on the card as a reminder?

The date is simply a reminder that divers may need to do something. If divers have been diving frequently, the “ReActivated thru” date may not apply, instead acting as a reminder that divers may need to consider the interval since their last activity before diving again. This is similar to the two-year retraining window on Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care. You would still use those skills in an emergency even if you haven’t taken a refresher in the last two years; but the date is a reminder that you probably want to refresh them.


Watch for more questions and answers about PADI ReActivate in the next edition of Surface Interval.

Congratulations to PADI Members in Asia Pacific

CongratsPADI Asia Pacific is pleased to congratulate the PADI Members who in 2014, certified more PADI Divers in the Asia Pacific Region than any year in PADI’s 49 year history.

PADI Individual and Retail & Resort Memberships also surpassed all previous records. The great result in 2014 builds on previous record years set in 2010, 2011 2012 & 2013 and shows that PADI Members are going from strength to strength in today’s dive industry.

Henrik Nimb, PADI Asia Pacific’s Vice President of Training, Customer Service & Business Development said; “This is a fantastic achievement by PADI Members in Asia Pacific. Congratulations to all PADI Members, who have once again achieved this outstanding milestone through hard work and commitment”.

As PADI continues its growth and progression within the industry, we look forward to working alongside PADI Members in 2015 and further build upon and strengthen the PADI Value Proposition for PADI Members.


PADI Attended Dive Shows in 2015

dive-showsPADI Asia Pacific participates in numerous consumer shows throughout the year to assist in the promotion of all PADI Dive Shops and promote the PADI brand to consumers.

PADI Asia Pacific will be attending the following major Dive Shows in 2015:

Show Date Location
SPOEX / KUSPO 26 February – 1 March Seoul, Korea
OZTek 14 – 15 March Sydney, Australia
DRT Shanghai 20 – 22 March Shanghai, China
FHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2015 9 – 11 April Mana Island, Fiji
Asia Dive Expo Singapore (ADEX) 10 – 12 April Singapore
DEEP & Extreme Indonesia 30 April – 3 May Jakarta, Indonesia
Dive China (Guangzhou)  28 April – 3 May Guangzhou, China
Thailand Dive Expo (TDEX) 14 – 17 May Bangkok, Thailand
Malaysia International Dive Expo (MIDE) 12 – 14 June Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2015 Asia Outdoor Trade Show (Nanjing) 23 – 26 July Nanjing, China
Beijing International Dive Show (BIDE / ADEX) 11 – 13 September Beijing, China
DRT Hong Kong 11 – 13 December Hong Kong

Dive Shows provide PADI Dive Shops with a vast range of opportunity to meet and engage with current and potential divers. Attending a dive show is a great time to trial new PADI products, meet with PADI Staff and network with fellow PADI Professionals. PADI member forums and events are also often arranged to coincide with dive shows.

PADI recognises the importance of PADI Dive Shops attending dive shows. To ensure that you gain maximum exposure at a dive show, contact your PADI Regional Manager to enquire about support you may be eligible for at shows including marketing collateral and promotional offers.

PADI Asia Pacific also offers additional support for shows and events that PADI is not attending to assist you with your marketing efforts. Contact your PADI Regional Manager for more information. 

PADI Asia Pacific looks forward to assisting you with your show and exhibition attendance in 2015!