ScubaEarth™ Spotlight: Promoting Your Online Presence

Make sure ScubaEarth users can find you and join your Dive Crew by promoting your online presence. One of the best ways to get the word out is to create dive sites and log dives in ScubaEarth.

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For each dive site you establish, your name appears with a link back to your profile – providing credibility and the opportunity for leadership within the community. You need the latitude and longitude for each location to create dive sites on the community map. Quickly setting up as many accurate dive sites as possible will help maximize your exposure. One note – make sure you don’t duplicate dive sites. You can edit sites that exist but have incorrect information.

Logging dives is another opportunity to promote your online presence. Research shows that the top reason users want to visit ScubaEarth is for real-time dive information and weather conditions. Frequently logging dives shows you’re an active, engaged dive professional. So when users search the community map for recently logged dives, they’ll see your entries with links back to your profile. Remember: every logged dive is an opportunity to put your store profile in front of users and potential customers. Being as detailed as possible when setting up dive sites and logging dives will help you become an authoritative presence on ScubaEarth.

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You can also use your existing social media accounts to help spread the word. Announce your ScubaEarth presence on your website, blog, Facebook page and Twitter account, then ask friends to click on the link and connect with your profile.

If you haven’t already set up your profile, do so today. You can also download the easy-to-use booklet, How To Set Up Your ScubaEarth Profile (PADI Pros’ Site login required – 11 Mb PDF), to guide you through the process.

How can you achieve greater reach on Facebook for your dive shop?

facebookThis very useful Mashable article details five tips that will help maximize your brands Facebook reach. Ultimately, Facebook wants people engaging with content and therefore those who post the best content on a regular basis will achieve greatest reach. This article highlights three important factors that determines the most screen worthy content on the Facebook newsfeed: affinity, weight and time.  Affinity refers to how a fan has engaged with your brand in the past. Weight refers to the number of likes and comments a post receives. Lastly, as time passes, content ages and the total engagement of a post declines.

Mashable suggest five ways to help expand your brand’s reach on Facebook:

  1. Know your audience
    Have an understanding of what your fans like and what will generate the most engagement.
  2. Practice brevity, be topical and don’t play hard to get
    Studies show that lengthy Facebook posts go unread, so keep your posts succinct.
  3. Mind your content
    Quality content is very important. Eye catching photos, topical content and posts that ask questions are great ways to engage with your fans.
  4. Engage the engagement
    By interacting with those who have liked a post or left comments your are ensuring the popularity of a post is prolonged. In addition, fans will be appreciative that your are listening!
  5.  Turn your fan’s friends into fans.
    By keeping your fans engaging with your Facebook page, their friends will also see this in their news feed.  Another strategy is to use Facebook ads to specifically targets friends of your fans.

By using these guidelines you can better disseminate your content and maximise your brands Facebook reach.

You can read the full Mashable article by clicking below

http://mashable.com/2012/05/24/facebook-reach/

Diving Mauritius

IMG_1276By Mukesh Buldewa, PADI Course Director

WELCOME TO PARADISE ISLAND OF MAURITIUS

GOD CREATED MAURITIUS FIRST AND THEN HEAVEN

Mauritius is situated in the south-west region of the Indian Ocean, at about 2,000 km from the African coast and 900 km from Madagascar. It is part of the Mascareignes Islands, just like Reunion Island, Rodrigues and St-Brandon.   Mauritius is 65 km long and 45 km wide and has a total surface area of 1’865 km2. The coastlines (330 km) are surrounded and protected by coral reef thus creating a magnificent turquoise lagoon.  The temperature of water can range from 28 degree centigrade in summer 21 degree centigrade in winter, which is a pretty good temperature to pursue diving

Mauritius is a wonderful place to discover scuba diving or to bring entry level clients to. There are large areas of natural coral, bursting with underwater sea life and clear underwater visibility. It is likely that your hotel will have regular introductory dive where you get to have a try out at the pool with the scuba equipment. It would be a taster to see if you like it and then go for a further dives in the Indian Ocean.

The island of incomparable beauty is home to some of the world’s finest coral reefs and marine life ever to be seen. Teeming with hundreds of gaily-coloured fish, the underwater world of Mauritius can be deemed a natural wonder in its own right. Scuba diving is the perfect way in which tourists can partake in the pleasures of watching nature’s amazing beauty. Scuba diving in Mauritius is indeed a very enjoyable experience.

Even though Mauritius is an evergreen scuba diving destination, the months of summer are considered the best time to dive. This is so because in the summer season, the warm water attracts an abundance of fish and marine life.

There are about 430 different underwater creatures including fishes and along with it there are 200 different spices of coral which makes retreat for all the scuba diving lovers. Some of the other uncommon water bodies spotted in Mauritius include Tuna, Wahoo and Marlin. Wide range of corals and marine life, the water temperature makes a perfect match.

Scuba divers in Mauritius are spoilt for choice of dive sites. There are numerous dive sites strewn all over the island. Beginners can start at the shallow side of the ocean whereas experienced divers can head straight for the more adventurous dive sites such as cliffs, caverns, reefs, pinnacles and wrecks. One of the well-known and popular dive sites in Mauritius is the Colorado and Roche Zozo located off  Blue Bay on the southern coast of Mauritius.

The attractive sites can be found all around the island, rather exclusively behind the coral reefs. The Marine Park of blue bay which is famous of its various corals and different species of underwater life.  Those who love the indulge in wreck diving can also take advantage as there are 22 wrecks in water surrounding in Mauritius ensuring the maximum pleasure for professional to  amateur diver.

If you are visiting Mauritius for the first time then you must consider seeking advice from Locate a PADI Dive Shop in Mauritius.

PADI Pros Site Tips: eLearning Student Report

PADI Retail and Resort Members can now view their eLearning students from the My Account section of the PADI Pro’s Site. The new report will show you:

  • Student name
  • Sign-up date*
  • eLearning course chosen
  • eMail address
  • Course completion date (if applicable)
  • Certification date (if applicable)

* New students may take 12-24 hours to appear in this report

With this information, you can contact students who have started, but not finished their course to see if they need assistance with the course, gear purchase, etc. You can also discover students who affiliated with you for eLearning but may have been certified elsewhere.

PADI Pros website link to download list of PADI eLearning students

Here’s how to access your eLearning student report:

  • From the PADI Pro’s Homepage: click on My Account on the far left side of the menu bar.
  • On the My Account page, scroll to the very bottom and click eLearning payment report.
  • From here you can view Sign Up Date, Course Completion Date, Student eMail address and certification date.
  • The report can be refined by date and downloaded as a Excel file.

Here is an example of what the report looks like. For privacy reasons, the student names have been blocked.

Calling all PADI Members – Fight Manta Extinction!

2013 Mask StrapManta rays, a species close to the heart of every diver are at risk of extinction. The time is now. If you are a renewing PADI Member (Divemaster, Instructor and above), then you can make an urgent donation with your PADI Member Renewal to protect mantas globally.

All gifts of £15 / €15 or more received during PADI Member Renewals receive a New AWARE manta mask strap.

There’s 4 ways for PADI Members to make a gift:

1. Choose the donate option when you complete your renewal online
2. Complete the PADI Member Renewal 2013 Form which includes info about the special offer
3. You can choose to donate when you set up your Automatic Renewal
4. If your Auto Renewal is already set up simply contact your PADI Team to add the donation for you

FACT: Your support has already helped Project AWARE and our conservation partners succeed in safeguarding the globally threatened giant manta ray and its key habitats under the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).

FACT: Manta ray catch has nearly quadrupled in seven years according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Project AWARE relies on you – the PADI Member – to help raise critical funds and take action for ocean protection. We’re working at every turn to ensure that mantas will not disappear on our watch.

Thanks for joining us to protect mantas and devil rays through your PADI Member Renewal!

English: Manta Ray off Ishigaki Island in Sept...

South African Dive Rally

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Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa

Dive Rally

14 September 2013

During the PADI breakfast club mentioned on the PADI Pro Facebook Page, various PADI dive centres have gotten together to organise a dive rally for all qualified divers, the inspiration for the idea derives from the famous motorbike rallies seen in South Africa. The rally will take place at one of the Gauteng, South African inland dive sites (still to be decided), for a fun filled day of adventure, excitement and relaxation.

There will be local live bands and DJ’s, flea market stalls, braaivleis, and diving.  We are also going to see how many speciality courses can be conducted in one day. Most of the diving brands will be available for your clients to try out. No equipment sales will be allowed on the day.  There will be rebreather try dives, rescue diver competitions and displays, underwater navigation and other competitions with some great prizes. The day will end with a firework display.

The dive rally will give you the opportunity to allow your clients to dust off their dive gear and get back into the water and mingle with their peers to share a dive story or two.  It is also a great way to start proactively communicating with your past clients and get them back into diving.  You might want to start offering refreshers for them and tell them to invite any non-diver with them to do a Discover Scuba session.

Bookings will open around June through various registered PADI dive centres.  If you would like to participate in the event, please contact PADI Regional Manager, Peter Driessel, [email protected] for further details, or simply attend one of the PADI Breakfast Club meetings held the first Monday of every month in Johannesburg at the Lifestyle Primi restaurant.   Divers will only be allowed to attend the event if they have affiliated themselves with a PADI dive centre.

If the dive rally proves to be a success, we will take it to the various dive festivals in the country in 2014, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and the Sodwana Bay Shootout.

Diving the Zanzibar Archipelago

Diving in Zanzibar

by Tammy Holter, PADI Master Instructor

A tropical island paradise, Zanzibar Archipelago consists of numerous small islands and two larger ones, Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar) and Pemba.  Located 35 kilometers off the coast of mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar is only six degrees south of the Equator.  Zanzibar has something for everyone including a turbulent and fascinating history, exotic spices, stunning beaches, unique wildlife, turquoise waters and spectacular coral reefs.  In the words of David Livingstone (1866), “This is the finest place I have known in all of Africa… an illusive place where nothing is as it seems.  I am mesmerized.”

The Indian Ocean surrounding Zanzibar is just that – truly mesmerizing!  Fringing coral reefs and several patch reefs provide a rich habitat for an amazing diversity of marine life.  Divers are enchanted with more than 450 species of fish and other marine life including brightly coloured reef fish, octopus, stingrays, mantis shrimps, moray eels, ribbon eels and many, many more!

An underwater photographer’s paradise, the macro life is astonishing and one can expect to spot a different nudibranch on every dive.  Plenty of different shrimps, seahorses and ghost pipefish are also sure to impress the experienced diver.  Our bizarre sightings include the Mauritius and weedy scorpion fish (Rhinopias frondosa), frogfish, Indian Ocean Walkman, sea moths and leaf fish (also known as paper fish) in a wide variety of colours.

Scuba diving around the Zanzibar Archipelago caters to divers of all experience levels, from shallow coral gardens, to deep walls and even a couple wrecks for the advanced divers.  Most of the diving is from boats, and with up to 5m of tidal water movement, a majority of the diving is drift diving.  Some dive sites are susceptible to strong currents.

Sea Turtles also nest around Zanzibar and are commonly spotted by divers on many of the dive sites, mostly Green turtles and also Hawksbill.  Several species of dolphins can be seen traveling around the islands and the curious ones occasionally come to investigate the divers.  Humpback whales migrate to Zanzibar between July and November and can be seen, and more commonly heard by the divers.  Although sightings are rare, the fortunate diver may even get to see a whale shark, manta ray or other reef sharks.

Zanzibar is an amazing destination for night diving allowing divers to see the unusual things that are often hidden during the day such as Spanish dancers, squids, free-swimming moray eels, spiny lobsters, and many different crustaceans.  Several locations offer night diving from the shore or by boat.

An ideal place to learn to dive or complete advanced diving qualifications, many dive centres around the islands offer PADI e-Learning courses which allow the divers to complete the academic portions of their course at home so they can make the most of their holiday and get straight into the fun part – the diving!

Zanzibar offers year-round diving, however the best diving conditions to dive the North of Unguja island often contrast the peak holiday seasons – which is great for divers who want to avoid the crowds!  From mid-February to mid-May or from mid-October to mid-December is the best time for great visibility combined with calm, flat sea conditions.  The trade winds blow from the north for approximately six weeks anytime between mid December and mid February and come up from the south for the remainder of the year.  The North winds do bring clear water from the Pemba channel, however the boat rides can be a bit more adventurous!  The average visibility year round is from 12-18m and can exceed 30m.  Water temperatures range from 24-25C in July/August to 28-29C in January/February.

Whatever your budget and required comforts – Zanzibar is an idyllic diving destination.  For more information or to book; Locate a PADI Dive Shop in Zanzibar

PADI eLearning – are you onboard yet?

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Connecting with PADI Dive Centres or Resorts is even easier for millions of prospective divers with the PADI eLearning™ system.

Initially launched in 2007 with the PADI Open Water Diver Course Online, there are currently nine PADI eLearning programs offered in as many as nine languages each. The PADI eLearning juggernaut continues to gain steam as enrollments are up more than 26 percent in 2012 as compared to the same time last year.

Benefits of PADI eLearning to Dive Centres and Resorts

  • You share revenue for student divers who affiliate with your business
  • Your customers have another option for fitting knowledge developement into their busy lives
  • Your new customers have received consistent education, equipment and experience promotions
  • New divers are delivered to your store

 The goals of the PADI eLearning model are simple:

  • To increase entry-level diver enrolments by expanding dive centre business hours to 24/7
  • To drive new, enthusiastic student divers to the dive centre to fulfill not only their training completion needs, but also all of their diving needs
  • To help interest divers in more dive education, equipment and experiences

PADI’s eLearning model works one of three ways:

  1. PADI Dive Centres and Resorts can choose to place a link on their website that allows new student divers to sign up for online knowledge development learning. This automatically affiliates the diver with that store.
  2. Potential divers who find the eLearning link on padi.com will be prompted to first affiliate with a local PADI Dive Centre or Resort before continuing on to the eLearning site.
  3. PADI Dive Centres and Resorts can purchase eLearning gift passes for their students. These can be mailed directly to the divers which also automatically affiliates the diver with that store. This is very useful if you offer a package which includes the eLearning fee.

eLearning is all about convenience – the opportunity to begin and continue diver education beginning on the internet and continuing through PADI Dive Centres and Resorts. Through an interactive web-based program new students will read, hear and see the same material other student divers receive from interacting with the PADI Manuals, Video or Multimedia.

After enrolling, PADI’s eLearning system presents the student with interactive presentations that include videos, audio, graphics and reading. Short quizzes allow them to gauge their progress, and review and correct anything they might happen to miss. It lets them move through the program efficiently and at their own pace.

One of the most talked about benefits of PADI eLearning is how easy it is for PADI Members to offer the program. PADI has developed a set up program simple enough that anyone familiar with a keyboard and computer could easily navigate.

An outline to the basics of this program is available to PADI Retail & Resort Association Members on the PADI Pros site, including:

  • How PADI Dive Centres and Resorts can prepare to welcome eLearners into their business
  • What the eLearner experiences
  • How PADI Dive Centres and Resorts can integrate eLearning into their current training programs
  • What tools are available to help PADI Dive Centres and Resorts communicate with eLearners along with answers to other important questions on eLearning.

PADI Retail and Resort Association Members can get started by logging on to the PADI Pros site at padi.com and following the simple step-by-step instructions.

PADI Instructors can also be involved in the eLearning program.

ScubaEarth™ Spotlight: Sending Buddy Requests

Connect with customers and friends on ScubaEarth by sending Buddy Requests. Sending a request is simple:

  • Log in to ScubaEarth
  • Type the first name of the person you want to connect with in the search box at the upper left of the screen.
  • You’ll now see a drop down menu of multiple names matching your query.
  • Click on the person you want to connect with, which will auto populate the search box.
  • Click on the magnifying glass search icon.
  • Once on the person’s profile page, click on the blue “Add Buddy” button near the top of the page.

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You may need to search for people using variations of their names. For example, Chris may be Christopher or Jay might be Jacob. And, you should be receiving Buddy Requests as well. Be sure to click on the white “envelope” icon on the top blue navigation bar to check your messages.

Can’t find people you’re looking for on ScubaEarth? Contact them and encourage them to sign up.

With ScubaEarth, you have numerous opportunities to network, meet people, share your love of diving and build more business. Create your profile today by logging in to the PADI Pros’ Site with your individual member username and password and clicking on the SE icon.