A Cautionary Tale of Required Materials

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.

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

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.

Project AWARE: Get the business edge by becoming 100% AWARE

This article is courtesy of Project AWARE.

Join dive centres worldwide in this unique partnership program.

More than 150 PADI Members and Dive Centres worldwide are putting ocean protection at the heart of their businesses. You can join them and become 100% AWARE – Project AWARE’s Partnership Giving Program exclusively for PADI Members.

For your business 100% AWARE means you can:

  • Streamline PIC Online Process – give all of your students the AWARE certification card, in one easy step.
  • Effortlessly support ocean protection with every certification.
  • Create loyal customers who appreciate and value your commitment to conservation.
  • Partner with Project AWARE to protect the underwater world your business relies on.
  • Gain positive exposure to a movement of more than 1.5 million scuba divers worldwide.

Many dive professionals support ocean protection, but 100% AWARE dive centres and instructors have a special commitment. They partner directly with Project AWARE to support a clean, healthy ocean planet by making a donation for each certification on behalf of their dive students.

You can be part of Project AWARE’s 20 years of successful marine conservation programs by joining 100% AWAREthe only environmental partnership program of its kind.  Email [email protected] or download the agreement form today.

What are the benefits?

You can promote your commitment to conservation with AWARE’s fantastic marketing tools:

  • Posters, flyers, decal, certificate, web banners and social media tools to promote your support.
  • Listed as a 100% AWARE Partner and featured on the global map www.projectaware.org
  • Broad reach – Project AWARE has a reach of approx 1.5 million globally.
  • My Ocean Online Badge and a shout out on Facebook – Project AWARE has over 90,000 followers and growing.
  • Your partnership contributes 10 points towards the PADI Green Star award and waives the usual fee.
  • Connect directly to customers who want to dive with centres who are environmentally responsible

Diving South Africa, Umkomaas area

IMG_1500aIn The Realm of the Tiger Shark

Article and images by: Jess Vyvyan-Robinson, PADI Divemaster # 294196

The sun was out, and the sea was pure sapphire all the way to the horizon. As we sped out through the breakers, we could see the seafloor so clearly through the crystal water that it was like looking through a window onto the world below. The ocean was flat, oily calm, reflecting upon its surface myriad shifting shades of grey and blue. When we got to the site, there were several other boats already out there, inevitably drawn by the idyllic conditions. I could see all the way to the bottom, even here, three kilometres from shore- occasionally, a blacktip appeared beneath us in a shimmering streak of liquid bronze.

IMG_1265 aWe decided to leave the other boats and bait a few hundred metres further south. Slipping into the water was like surrendering to a different state of being: 360 degrees of clear, endless blue, punctuated with darting shoals of yellow-tipped kingfish and the ever-circling shiver of shining sharks. We had blacktips all around- but today was a day that literally cried out for tigers, and so we ascended after a while, and motored back to the other boats hovering over the drop-off.  By this time, they’d attracted three tigers to the bait drum- all we had to do was sit and wait for the melee to subside- for them to ascend, and for us to have the tigers all to ourselves. Eventually, that’s exactly what happened- it was just me and Andrew, one of our clients, on scuba; and Mark and the other client, Alex, snorkelling at the surface.

IMG_1470 aYou can’t possibly miss the tigers- they have such presence, such beauty. They are a world apart from the blacktips not just because they are so much bigger and more impressive, but because they have an inexplicable, feline grace that is entirely unique. I love them, completely and unconditionally. In the end, we were surrounded by four of them, their silver-striped forms materialising out of the depths and melting back into them again in repetitive, cyclical synchrony. One of them, recognisable by the blue and black pilot fish hovering by her jaw, came in closer and closer to us each time. We would be watching the others, and then turn around to find her just metres behind us. She would swim directly towards us, and then, just as her great wide head got a little too close for comfort, she would imperceptibly alter course and swim by, watching us closely with her great black eyes. I never felt threatened, and I found myself willing them to come closer. These sharks cast a kind of spell on you- you want them desperately not to leave, but they command too much respect to even consider chasing them. You wait, and if you are lucky, they will honour you with their proximity.

We spent over an hour with the tigers, coming up only on the very last of our air. I could have stayed there forever, with them. On the surface, Andrew and I could not stop smiling; I think that we both felt that we had just been privy to something incredibly special. All the way back to shore, I revelled in the unique expansion of the soul that only comes from finding oneself completely aligned with nature, if only for one brief, magical moment in time…

Wanted: Inspiring Stories from Students

PADI Ask Any Diver

Do you have a diver with an inspirational story: someone who conquered a fear of water or overcame a disability and transformed his or her life through diving?  Invite your students to share their stories and they could be featured in a global advertising campaign: Ask Any Diver.

PADI’s Ask Any Diver campaign will feature stories from real divers sharing how they overcame personal obstacles or preconceived notions of scuba diving on the way to earning their certifications. In addition to inspiring others to try diving, your diver’s story will spread the word about your dive business.

How to Enter:
Divers should submit a video describing obstacles they overcame and how scuba diving changed their lives via the Ask Any PADI Diver page on padi.com for consideration. Please note: Submitting a video does not guarantee the diver will be featured.

Get the business edge by becoming 100% AWARE

Join dive centres worldwide in this unique partnership program

ProjectAWAREwebMore 150 PADI Members and Dive Centres worldwide are putting ocean protection at the heart of their businesses. You can join them and become 100% AWAREProject AWARE’s Partnership Giving Program exclusively for PADI Members.

For your business 100% AWARE means you can:

  • Streamline PIC Online Process – give all of your students the AWARE certification card, in one easy step.
  • Effortlessly support ocean protection with every certification.
  • Create loyal customers who appreciate and value your commitment to conservation.
  • Partner with Project AWARE to protect the underwater world your business relies on.
  • Gain positive exposure to a movement of more than 1.5 million scuba divers worldwide.

Many dive professionals support ocean protection, but 100% AWARE dive centres and instructors have a special commitment. They partner directly with Project AWARE to support a clean, healthy ocean planet by making a donation for each certification on behalf of their dive students.

You can be part of Project AWARE’s 20 years of successful marine conservation programs by joining 100% AWARE, the only environmental partnership program of its kind.  [email protected] or download the agreement form today.

What are the benefits?

You can promote your commitment to conservation with AWARE’s fantastic marketing tools:

  • Posters, flyers, decal, certificate, web banners and social media tools to promote your support.
  • Listed as a 100% AWARE Partner and featured on the global map  www.projectaware.org
  • Broad reach – Project AWARE has a reach of approx 1.5 million globally.
  • My Ocean Online Badge and a shout out on Facebook – Project AWARE has over 90,000 followers and growing.
  • Your partnership contributes 10 points towards the PADI Green Star award and waives the usual fee.
  • Connect directly to customers who want to dive with centres who are environmentally responsible