Why You Should Consider Sri Lanka For Your Next Group Dive Trip

Sri Lanka - White Sand - Beach - Tropical

Written by PADI Regional Training Consultant, Robert Scammell

Sri Lanka has probably been one of the best kept secrets for both tourism and for diving. As a country it has a complete diversity of attractions to offer visitors from temples and safaris through to historical monuments. It also offers fantastic reefs and wrecks along with whale and dolphin watching opportunities. Sri Lanka was recently voted by The Lonely Planet as the best country to visit in 2019

Sri Lanka has a lot to offer your divers on the topside. From its historic monuments with the ancient Sigirya city and fortress anchored into its rock. Here you will find the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which is a large temple featuring a sacred tooth relic, the canine tooth of Buddha. Adding to this are amazing national parks such as Udawaleme National Park with native wildlife including birds and elephants. Along with scenic towns such as Galle, famous for its fortress, offering incredible restaurants and markets.

However importantly Sri Lanka offers incredible diving and snorkeling opportunities for your dive group. It has a long established dive industry owned and managed mostly by locals.

Diving typically takes place, due to the monsoon season, on the West coast from late October through to mid to late April and then from late April until mid-October on the East coast, with most business changing locations between the two seasons.

The West coast begins as far south as Mirissa and Unawantuna, offering great boat diving on scenic reefs along with whale watching. Moving north is the historic Dutch Fort Town of Galle through to Hikkaduwa, where the majority of diving is shallow shore reef diving offering an abundance of marine life including turtles. There is also great offshore reefs and wreck diving to explore. Moving north along to the Colombo region you find another popular diving region. Colombo itself offers over 16 wrecks in its coastal waters. Further north and closer to the airport is the Negombo area offering boat diving to local reefs and wrecks.

Moving to the East Coast, diving is mainly based around the port city of Trincomalee and Nilaveli areas. This region offers an array of boat diving on local reefs and around the Pigeon Island area. You and your divers will have opportunities to enjoy the spinner dolphins and whale watching too. If you have technical divers in your group, you can venture further down the South-East coast to the Batticaloa area. This area is home to the famous wreck of HMS Hermes.

Sri Lanka offers something for everyone on your dive group. You and your divers can enjoy a day in the tea plantations, a train ride through the hillsides and a whole array of diving and snorkeling activities to suit all ages. Whether it is a whale watching trip, a relaxing fun dive or a more technical dive experience, Sri Lanka offers it all.

Find out more information on Sri Lanka or contact your PADI Regional Manager.

Get to Know Your PADI Regional Manager

We are PADI - Community

Although most of you talk regularly with your PADI Regional Manager, have you ever wanted to know more about them? We asked each of your PADI Regional Managers to answer some questions to help you get to know them a little better!

  Conny Jeppson – Philippines

Name:  Conny Jeppson.

Region: 25 – Philippines.

OW Cert Location: Sweden.

Number of Years Working in the Dive Industry: 11 years.

Bucket List Dive Site: Galapagos.

Highest PADI Rating:  Platinum Course Director.

What do you love most about diving?: Sharks, large fish but also to spend time looking for the small critters.

Andy Auer – West Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

Name: Andy Auer

Region: 26 – West Thailand , 87- Vietnam and Cambodia.

OW Cert Location: Playa del Carmen Mexico.

Number of Years Working in the Dive Industry: 21 years.

Bucket List Dive Site: Isla Guadalupe Mexico – great white shark.

Highest PADI Rating: PADI Course Director.

What do you love most about diving?: That with each dive you are able to travel, meet amazing people and always learn something new!

Neil Richards – East Thailand 

Name: Neil Richards.

Region: 86 – East Thailand.

OW Cert Location: Egypt Sharm El Shiek.

Number of Years Working in the Dive Industry: 16 years.

Bucket List Dive Site: Wolf and Darwin Islands Galapagos.

Highest PADI Rating: Course Director.

What do you love most about diving?: The feeling of being at one with nature, out of my natural element and the anticipation of true wild experiences.  

Neil Davidson – Malaysia & Singapore

Name: Neil Davidson.

Region: 12 – Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

OW Cert Location: Fremantle, West Australia.

Number of Years Working in the Dive Industry: 8 years.

Bucket List Dive Site: Would love to dive the Galapagos Islands, the marine life looks amazing there!

Highest PADI Rating: PADI Master Instructor.

What do you love most about diving?: I love the peace and quiet of diving, as soon as you descend you’re in your own little world with only the marine life to focus on.

Jen Clent – Indonesia & East Timor

Name: Jen Clent.

Region: 29 – Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

OW Cert Location: Kaikoura, South Island, New Zealand.

Number of Years Working in the Dive Industry: 15 years.

Bucket List Dive Site: Too hard to choose one! Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico, Antarctica, Raja Ampat, Indonesia.

Highest PADI Rating: PADI Course Director and Examiner.

What do you love most about diving?: Getting away from technology and everyday noise to the peacefulness of the underwater world. Seeing amazing creatures in their own habitat going about their day and learning more about how we can protect our blue planet.

PADI First Responder in Action – Dilshan Nanayakkara

Being PADI Professionals, we are all aware of the importance of Emergency First Response (EFR) courses and first aid training in general. The EFR course provides comprehensive first aid training to not only help us prepare for a variety of situations but to also help us properly care for an injured or ill person.

While some of us may think (and hope) that we will never have to use our EFR training in an emergency situation, others have already had to use their EFR skills to save lives. One of these heroic individuals is Sun Diving Center owner, Master Scuba Diver Trainer and Emergency First Response Instructor Dilshan Nanayakkara. Dilshan was able to use his EFR skills in full force to successfully resuscitate and save an unconscious civilian.

Dilshan Nanayakkara- Diver- Instructor- India

We asked Dilshan some questions about his courageous and brave efforts:

What were you doing before the incident?

I was taking a guest from my PADI Dive Center on a guided snorkelling tour at Jungle Beach, Sri Lanka. We arrived at the site on my dive center boat and snorkelled for around an hour. We then decided to go back to shore which is where I saw around 50 people, oddly gathering together on the beach.

What happened next?

I immediately knew something was wrong so I left my snorkelling gear on the beach and ran towards the crowd. When I reached the crowd I saw a man lying on the ground, lifeless, with his friends crying around him. I told everyone I was a trained Emergency First Responder and knew what to do. Instinctively, I first checked for his pulse – but there was not one. I suddenly started yelling “call for an ambulance!” and rolled the patient onto his side to open and check his airways. After this, I immediately gave him two rescue breaths and began CPR. The only thing running through my head at this point was “I need to save this guy’s life.” After the second round of CPR the patient started vomiting. Then finally after one deep breath, the patient miraculously started breathing again.

Did the ambulance then take over from you?

Unfortunately, Jungle Beach is a location that can’t be reached by ambulance. So I had to make a decision on the best (and fastest) way to get the patient to a hospital. I decided to drive him on my boat and meet the ambulance on the closest main road. From here, I was able to quickly tell the paramedics what I witnessed and what first aid I provided him. Overall, the whole experience ended in around 25 minutes but will remain a learning life experience for me, forever.

How is the patients’ health and recovery since the incident?

The patient’s family called me the night of the incident and told me that the doctors had successfully removed water from his lungs, which means he should get better. A week later the patient was able to be discharged from hospital.

Did your Emergency First Response (EFR) skills help you in this situation?

Yes and without these skills I might not have been able to save this man’s life. Therefore, I want to thank PADI for including the EFR course in the structure of the PADI Rescue Diver course. Without PADI, I wouldn’t have become an EFR Instructor or known how to help save this man’s life.

Why should everyone complete their Emergency First Response (EFR) course?

I think that the EFR course is one of the greatest courses that gives you the most important skills that you could ever learn as a human. I believe that this course is essential to both divers and non-divers as it will help them be prepared for any situation. We will never know when accidents are going to occur or when we might need to save another person’s life. Therefore, it’s imperative that we know how to help an injured or ill person and ultimately, how to save someone’s life, if ever needed.

Dilshan Nanayakkara- Diver- Instructor- India

Congratulations to Dilshan for not only putting your EFR skills to use under extreme circumstances, but for also effectively responding in a manner that was able to successfully save this man’s life.

Become an Emergency First Response Instructor to get the additional training necessary to teach the Emergency First Response Primary Care (CPR), Secondary Care (First Aid), Care for Children, CPR & AED course

PADI and The Reef-World Foundation Embark on a Global Venture to Make Sustainable Diving the Social Norm

PADI® and Reef-World have joined forces to promote sustainable diving practices for the protection of the marine environment. This partnership will raise awareness and deliver tools to implement the Green Fins standard of best practice, helping to ensure the long-term sustainability of coral reefs, recreational scuba diving and local livelihoods.

PADI_ Green Fin- Reef World Foundation - Partnership

Green Fins is the only internationally recognized environmental standard for dive and snorkel operators, established through a partnership between UN Environment and The Reef World Foundation. Green Fins uses a unique and proven three-pronged approach; green certifications of dive centers, strengthening regulations and environmental education for dive staff, divers and government.

As the largest diver training organization in the world, PADI has the reach and influence to mobilize divers to be citizen activists. With 6,500 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts, 135,000 PADI Professionals and more than 25 million divers around the world, the PADI network has tremendous potential to make an impact on critical environmental issues.

PADI is committed to supporting social and environmental efforts through its Pillars of ChangeSM, designed to empower divers, and the dive industry, with information to get involved with causes they care about in tangible ways. With PADI’s support and more dive operators worldwide adhering to the best practices outlined by Green Fins, the dive industry can play a significant role in creating a more sustainable future.

“Reef-World is working in partnership with UN Environment on the front lines alongside business, government and the public to be the driving force for making sustainable diving and snorkeling the social norm globally. Our ultimate goal is to reduce local threats to coral reefs, allowing them to be more resilient to global impacts such as climate change. We’re thrilled to work with PADI, alongside other dive industry leaders, who can engage divers and diving businesses worldwide, helping us to scale solutions with the urgency that is required.” – JJ Harvey, Reef-World

Many locations are experiencing increasing numbers of tourists who are attracted by vibrant coral reefs. Ensuring that every diver and dive operator in all corners of the globe are equipped with appropriate training and knowledge will help relieve pressure on the marine environment.

“Unquestionably, there are serious and formidable issues threatening the world’s coral reefs. That said, I’m a firm believer in engagement, problem identification and mitigation. The PADI organization is committed to acting as a force for good. By empowering divers and connecting them to the PADI family and global issues relevant to our industry, we can help people be a powerful catalyst for change.” – Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide.

“Saving coral reefs as a source of livelihoods and as a business asset requires collaboration between industry, civil society and governments. This partnership is set to raise the sustainability bar of the diving industry and will help establish environmentally friendly diving as the global norm” – Jerker Tamelander, Head of Coral Reef Unit, UN Environment

The partnership between PADI and Reef-World aims to reach more divers and businesses with the Green Fins lessons and tools. This will be achieved by:

  • Collaborating to help scale the proven solutions of Green Fins: PADI supports market research efforts for the development of a new Green Fins online support system for broader global implementation and easy adoption.
  • Promoting the Green Fins approach: PADI Dive Centres and Resortsare encouraged to adopt the Green Fins Code of Conduct and, where available, seek Green Fins certified membership.
  • Help deliver on PADI’s Pillars of Change focusing on marine animal protection and sustainable tourism by raising awareness throughout the diving industry about available tools and materials to promote change in business practices and reduce environmental impact.
  • Promoting sustainable dive tourism and coral reefs protection through the development of new online media content that inspires environmentally friendly actions.

Working collaboratively provides greater opportunity for dive operators around the world to be better informed and equipped to apply sustainable dive practices, using Green Fins’ guidelines. Reducing environmental threats and pressure on the fragile marine environment will result in improved coral reef resilience and increased sustainable tourism at dive destinations. The partnership delivers on the goals of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations, specifically SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and 14 (Life below water).

About Reef-World:

Reef-World supports governments and communities in sustainable consumption and production of coastal resources and marine life. This is done through the Green Fins initiative, established and implemented in partnership with UN Environment. Green Fins is a free membership program for participating businesses that provide scuba diving or snorkeling activities and pledge to follow a set of best environmental practices. Within the 550+ businesses that have implemented Green Fins across nine countries, consistent reduction in threats to the marine environment has been measured, reflecting continued improvements in environmental practice. Specific areas of change are seen in reduced single-use plastics and chemical cleaning products, more responsible underwater behavior among divers and improved environmental awareness within our target audience. For more information visit reef-world.org and greenfins.net.