Keep Learning

These days you hear “never stop learning” so much it’s practically a cliché, but for good reason. Today technologies and methodologies evolve rapidly so that more than at any time in history, continuous education is crucial to staying informed and relevant in every field. More than just keeping up, you also need it to open new opportunities and directions by expanding your capabilities and qualifications. Even in our retirement years, data show that life-long-learners tend to be more socially engaged, and (with good diet and exercise) have significantly slower age-related brain function declines. You’ve may have heard about these benefits, but there are at least two other continuing education benefits you don’t hear about as much.

Coral Reef - Scuba Divers - Underwater

1. Discover and extend your passions. While we know what our passions are, life-long-learners know from experience that we often don’t know what they could be. A mild curiosity sometimes only hints at a deep, underlying interest waiting to emerge and grow. The only way to know is to pursue these, ideally through courses or programs that get you truly engaged. As an example, an instructor I know had a slight interest in cave diving. Almost on a whim though, he took a cave diver course and 20 years later, cave diving is still one of his primary, favorite underwater pursuits. If he’d decided that because he’s an instructor he didn’t need to keep learning, he’d have lost two decades of something he’s truly passionate about.

There’s another side to this, too. By continuing your education, you also learn what your passions are not. We’re usually pretty good at choosing things that interest us, but it’s not a waste when you miss the mark and learn about something that’s in the wrong direction because it redirects you to where your interests really lie. A diver I knew chose the search and recovery dive in the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course thinking he’d really enjoy finding and floating lost stuff. While the dive went fine and he did well, he learned that it really wasn’t for him. So, having never dived a dry suit, he did that dive next and that hit his hot button because diving dry is way more useful for his diving.

But, we’re not just talking about diver courses. What you learn in diving takes you beyond diving, and vice versa, if you just run with it. I know several divers who started with underwater photography, but as their love for the art blossomed, soon they were studying the dry side of imaging. Today they’re professional-level photographers above water as well as below. Flipping it around, many public safety divers start as police officers and fire fighters, then keep learning so they can take their expertise underwater when needed.

Public Safety Diver - Scuba Divers - Safety
Photo: Mike Berry

2. Share and pay forward. Public safety diving – a profession that helps solve crimes, save lives and bring closure after tragedy – demonstrates that continuing to learn isn’t just about you. Learning more is often part of giving more – directly or indirectly. If we train in diver rescue and CPR/first aid, we’re better able to help someone in serious emergency situations – diving and non-diving. Learn how to help people with physical or mental challenges dive, and you’re uniquely prepared to buddy with someone who has those needs. Take a course or courses in marine life survey techniques, debris collection, environmental science, wildlife resource management, coral restoration etc. (this can be a very long list), put what you learn into practice, and you become part of the solution for a cleaner and healthier world.

Qualify as a teacher and/or instructor in any of these areas, and you can help others help others with these kinds of courses. Add American Sign Language (or the sign spoken where you are), and you can teach people with hearing impairment challenges. You get the point – none of this happens if we don’t keep learning.

While continuing our education is more important than ever before, fortunately, in almost every endeavor it is also more accessible than ever before. It’s true in diving. You probably know you can start most PADI courses with a call, message or visit to your local PADI Dive Center and Instructor, and with many, just a click at padi.com. But, the life-long-learning door is wide open –in the modern world, the challenge isn’t finding, but choosing. Search “YOUNAMEIT courses” and you’ll almost always find multiple courses, programs and elearning opportunities to research further and pick from.

If you’re passionate about diving like I am, I’m sure you’ll keep learning about diving and the underwater world. Hopefully, your next course will uncover a new underwater passion or expand one you have now. But, please, don’t limit your learning to diver courses. You’re never too young or too old, so keep learning something to share and pay forward.

As Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

The Unifying Power of Diving

It’s a wonderful thing just how diverse we humans are. We differ in skin color, gender, physical details, language, culture etiquette, clothing and customs, and these are just obvious differences above deeper ones, like values, emotions, beliefs and even how we think.

Bonaire Diver - Women in Diving - PADI Diver

As the world shrinks, cultural differences and inherent tribalism increasingly cause friction, competition, bias, rivalries, prejudice, political discourse, war, social separation and other by-products, which is one reason intercultural communication is a rapidly rising, global priority. It studies effective, positive and constructive communication across cultures, customs, borders, languages and other variations in people groups. As it happens, diving is an effective, positive and constructive intercultural communication vehicle in at least three main ways (probably more).

1. Diving teaches us a common language. If you dive internationally, you may have experienced something like this: A diver points to two fingers at their eyes, then one finger in some direction, followed by a hand vertically at the forehead. Above water, they might have shouted, “¡Mira! ¡Tiburón!,” “देखो! शार्क!” or “봐봐요! 상어!,” and you wouldn’t understand. They told you, “Look! Shark!” and underwater you got it, regardless of what voice languages you do or don’t speak. As divers, we constantly communicate with formalized signals, improvised gestures and expressions. We don’t even need a common voice language for things like predive safety checks or to help each other back onto the boat, and we communicate clearly. This is not a small point because language is the fundamental – the very heart of understanding, interaction and respect between people. It is the basis for higher level thinking, and one of the strongest factors that brings cultures together.

2. Diving generates interpersonal experiences. Social psychologist Gordon Allport’s contact hypothesis says that interpersonal contact is one of the most effective ways to reduce prejudice (i.e., create understanding) between groups, and diving together can be a close, interpersonal contact. Increasingly, dive tourism puts us with dive professionals, buddies and others from other parts of the world – at some top dive destinations today, it’s common to hear three or more languages on deck. Diving not only gives us interpersonal contact through experiences shared, but through responsibility shared. When buddied and on group tours, we rely on each other to dive safely as a team, and to be there for each other if there’s a problem. After the dive, we post and share images together, sign logbooks, get ready to go again, etc. It’s difficult to do things together and depend on each other, and not come to know and understand each other, at least a little better.

3. We are an inclusive community united by common purposes. There’s a 4th century proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” which applies very much to diving. Because we have a passion for the underwater world, anything that threatens it is our common enemy, and we unite against the threat. In the past few years alone, millions of divers around the world have come together to ban shark finning, preserve threatened species, restore coral, eliminate plastic waste and spread the healing power of diving. Against these threats and human needs, cultural differences fade because we’re in this together, and these are everyone’s problems.

Bahamas - Scuba Diver - Okay Hand Signal

As divers, our messages and images crisscross the planet in social media, drawing others from all walks and places to these causes, and to diving too. Moreover, our cross-cultural diversity adds legitimacy to what we say: When millions of divers (and those we influence) raise their voices in every country, in every language, from every culture, to every government, it cannot be a regional bias, special interest or part of a political agenda. Japanese poet Ryunosuke Satoro put it, “Individually we are a drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Wise words – and fitting. The oceans are nature’s most powerful force.

Let’s not overstate things though. Diving cannot, by itself, bring about the intercultural communication and cooperation the world needs to rise against these global challenges. But, diving is absolutely a needed unifying force pushing back against a myriad of social forces that try to divide and defeat us (meaning everyone, not just divers). In my opinion, this by itself, is a reason to be a diver, and a reason to invite others into diving.

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

Register Now for PADI Training Bulletin Live Webinars

Please join us for one of these live, interactive presentations of the PADI Training Bulletin, Third Quarter 2019 edition. During these FREE presentations you will have explained the latest standard changes, plus you can test your knowledge with a series of fun and interactive poll questions.

Training Bulletin LIVE- 3Q19 English 

Tuesday 16th July 2019, 6pm AEST (UTC+10)

Training Bulletin LIVE- 3Q19 Korean

Thursday 18th July 2019, 2pm KST (UTC+9)

Training Bulletin LIVE- 3Q19 Chinese

Tuesday 23rd July 2019, 6pm CST (UTC+8)

What do you need to do before the event?

First of all make sure you are registered by clicking the relevant link above. The above listed starting times are in the presenters’ local time zones – to ensure you don’t miss out, please verify the equivalent in your own time zone.

On the day all you will need is a computer/tablet or notebook connected to the internet and a set of speakers or headphones to listen in. Login early to ensure your system is functioning properly.

For more information about using the GoToMeeting software reference the GoToMeeting Attendee Quick Reference Guide (PDF).

You can download the latest PADI Training Bulletin by logging into the PADI Pros’ Site and then clicking on ‘Training Essentials’ and ‘Training Bulletins’. It is useful to have a copy for your immediate reference when you are listening to webinar.Under this heading you will also find recordings on previous webinars and registration links to future events.

Seminar Credits

If you sign up and attend this webinar plus another four PADI Asia Pacific LIVE webinars within a 36-month period, you will receive one seminar credit, which can count towards a future PADI Course Director Application. There are no seminar time restrictions for Master Instructor applicants.

To receive a seminar credit for having attended five live webinars, or for having watched five recordings of webinars, please submit either the webinar confirmation email or write a brief synopsis about what was presented during the webinar then submit these documents together with your Master Instructor or Course Director Training Course application.

We look forward to seeing you online!

For more information please email training-sales@padi.com.au