Moving Forward into Digital

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I had been asked to do a presentation to a group of technical divers in Dubai on some of the ship wrecks that I have been fortunate enough to discover off Durban, South Africa along with Dave Griffiths, PADI Examiner and TEC Instructor Trainer as my co-presenter. I had planned to arrive in Dubai at 5am on the direct flight from Durban with Emirates Airlines, get in a few hours sleep and be ready and set up for the start of the presentation at 7pm.

The day before I checked in online and the flight was on time. I spoke with Ahmed Sayed, the PADI Regional Manager for the Middle East and he confirmed that there would be close to 100 attendees for the presentation. I arrived at King Shaka International three hours before the flight, checked in and went through to the International Departures hall. About an hour before boarding we were notified that due to bad weather the plane had been delayed by three hours. No problem, as I still had plenty of time. Needless to say, South Africa was hit that evening by extensive thunderstorms with terrible flooding, hailstorms and strong winds. I eventually got to board my flight at 2 pm the next afternoon. There was no way that I was going to make the presentation in time given that I was in for an eight hour flight.

Fortunately I had remembered that Emirates Airlines has Internet connection on the plane. I had confirmed with the very helpful ground staff that our plane had internet and confirmed that it was working. I told Ahmed that I was still going to do the presentation, but it would be from the air and not in front of the audience live. I Dropboxed Ahmed my Powerpoint Presentation and ran through it with him. Ahmed was to set up everything at the conference Centre and I would connect via Skype. We arranged to meet online two hours prior to the start of the presentation to check that everything would work. The Emirates flight crew had arranged for me to use the rear Galley to do the presentation from as this would give me some privacy.

We took off and I waited for the seatbelt sign to switch off. Twenty minutes later I had my laptop out, logged on to the airplanes wifi, bought 500 megs of data for $1 and connected to Ahmed in Dubai. Absolutely mind boggling.

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The connection was fantastic. The sound was clear and I could control the presentation from my laptop. Just then we encountered same bad turbulence and I was sent back to my seat. This was minutes before the presentation was due to start.

So I ended up doing the presentation 35 000 feet above the ground, somewhere over Kenya, some 4000 km from Dubai, with the laptop resting on my lap, earphones on and all my co passengers sitting in the seats around me listening intently to the presentation.

My presentation lasted 56 minutes. Not once did I loose connection, the audible was clear and in real time and the presentation went by without a hitch. Something I would struggle to do even from my home office.

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The next day when I went visiting the dive centres in Dubai, everyone seemed more amazed by the fact that I had done the presentation from the plane rather than the content of the talk. Ah well, I will just have to up my game.

Having to try to tell someone this story 10 years ago would have been like trying to convince someone that unicorns existed. Not possible. And yet it worked and we have the technology to do it. No longer do we need to send a pigeon with a bit of paper strapped to its leg to deliver a message.

The diving industry has seen this revolution and entry into the digital age. PADI has all the core courses available to download to your mobile device onto your PADI Library. Your prospective customers could be 4000 miles away, 35 000 feet up in the air doing their Dive Theory, Knowledge reviews and exams, ready and prepared for the start of the course when they land.

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Times have changed and our customers expect to have the latest technological offerings available to them. They want to have the opportunity to decide when, where and how they do their theoretical knowledge. Nothing is ever going to replace the need for an instructor in the swimming pool or open water, but by using the digital materials available to you, you can then spend more time in the water with a better prepared student, practicing the required motor skills and applying their theoretical knowledge.

I have found that quite often it is the Instructors that are resistant to change. They find that it is comforting to teach using the methods they were taught with. And then they use this as a reason that their customers would prefer the traditional paper and classroom methods for receiving lectures.

If you don’t offer your customers the full range of products that are available, they will seek out those dive centres that do. Maybe it’s time to move forward into the digital era?

 

Soft Skills Do Matter.

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When you applied for your first job as a PADI Scuba Instructor you probably listed all the courses that you have done, what skills you have mastered, what courses you have attended, even your accomplishments at school. And these are all important to get a job. Just as you as an Instructor needs to have the knowledge and skills to dive, so do as an example dentists need to know how to fill holes in your teeth and perform root canal treatment.

Beyond the technical skills expected from a dentist, which dentist do you go to? The one who is pleasant and takes time to answer your questions; or the one who treats you like a number in a long line of numbered mouths?

In these situations, and all the others like them, it’s the soft skills that matter.

While your technical skills may get your foot in the door, your people skills are what open most of the doors to come. Your work ethic, your attitude, your communication skills, your emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are the soft skills that are crucial for career success.

With these soft skills you can excel as a leader. Problem solving, delegating, motivating, and team building are all much easier if you have good soft skills. Knowing how to get along with people – and displaying a positive attitude – are crucial for success.

The problem is, the importance of these soft skills is often undervalued, and there is far less training provided for them than hard skills. For some reason, dive centres seem to expect people know how to behave on the job. They tend to assume that everyone knows and understands the importance of being on time, taking initiative, being friendly, and producing high quality work.

However, when you look around your own dive centre, it is usually fairly easy to find those employees lacking soft skills. They are the ones unwilling to accept any kind of change, the ones unable to properly manage subordinates, and the ones constantly upset about one thing or another (whether in their professional or personal life).

What should a manager do with employees lacking these skills? Fire them? Just put up with them? Why not help them develop the skills?

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Assuming that soft skills are universal leads to much frustration. That’s why it’s so important to focus as much on soft skills training and development as you do on traditional hard skills.

Soft skills can’t be learned by just studying about them. They have to be learned through a process of change that can be difficult and uncomfortable at times, but it can have dramatic effects on your company’s bottom line. The following six-step process is a basic overview:

1. WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE

While this isn’t a big step, it is an important prerequisite. You cannot force people to become more self-aware; they must be willing to begin the process of change themselves. If this basic building block is not present, there isn’t much that can be learned through this process. If this is the case in your dive centre, there are many good resources available for creating “readiness for change.”

2. EDUCATION

While learning soft skills is not simply “book learning,” there still must be an aspect of education on best practices. Reading books like Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There are great starting places for learning the basics.

3. EVALUATION

It is one thing to know the best practices—it is another to know how you measure up against them. Assessments help to evaluate where an employee stands (areas of strength and areas in need of improvement) as well as to describe the natural tendencies an individual has. It is important to include both self-assessments and assessments that include input from others as both types give important feedback. Does your dive centre even do staff assessments?

4. SELF-REFLECTION

Once employees have learned more about themselves (strengths, faults, tendencies, etc.), it is necessary for them to reflect on what they have learned. Are they humble enough to realize they aren’t perfect? Are they willing to put in the effort to grow even though it may be difficult and uncomfortable? Can they understand their natural tendencies and see how they interact with others?

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5. GOAL SETTING

Defining a clear vision for the future is an important next step, which should involve choosing three to five tangible goals to work toward. These goals should be developed from the information learned through the process (especially feedback from others), and then should be shared with others (supervisors, direct reports, peers) so observers are able to notice the changes and hold the employee accountable.

6. PRACTICE

Soft skills do no good in a vacuum. They have to be put into practice in “real life” over a long period of time. Some failure is inevitable, but growth will come. After a few months, employees working toward change should revisit the goals with coworkers to gauge the progress being made.

This process can be done on an individual basis or in groups; it can be completed internally or with an outside facilitator; it can be used at work or at home—but the key takeaway is that it is a process. It’s different than book learning and can take some time, so be patient. In the end, the time invested will be worth it—both to the employees involved and the dive centres bottom line!

 

Implementing the Updated PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course

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There’s a lot to like about the revised and updated PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course: the obvious and necessary content updates, the new Thinking Like a Diver section, the cool new PADI Advanced Open Water Diver materials and, from an immediate implementation perspective, the fact that the new course is at once new and exciting yet still essentially familiar. Perhaps the neatest benefit and the greatest opportunity is the streamlined relationship between the Adventure Dives and PADI Specialties.

Now’s the perfect time to review the specialties you (and your staff) teach and seriously consider expanding what you offer. Evaluate the specialty dive opportunities in your area, and those you are particularly passionate about, which you couldn’t link to the previous Advanced Open Water Diver course. This is the perfect opportunity to create your own special course that reflects your unique area and benefits, and which excites divers.

Now, the first dives of all standardized PADI or AWARE Specialty Diver courses may be offered as Adventure Dives. You can offer these “new” Adventure Dives – for example, an Ice Dive or a Dive Against Debris™ Adventure Dive – if you’re certified as an instructor in the specialty, and the student diver meets the specialty prerequisites. (Also, while the PADI Rebreather Diver course is not a PADI Specialty Diver course, the first, task-intensive, confined water dive counts as an Adventure Dive.) There’s a complete list of the revised Adventure Dives and the standardized PADI Specialty Diver courses, and a lot more information, in the 3Q2016 The Undersea Journal.

AOWDebris_Catalina_0416_033A few obsolete Adventure Dives are gone, but you can offer more than ever before. A great example is the Digital Underwater Imaging Adventure Dive, which replaces both the Underwater Photography and Underwater Videography Adventure Dives. This new dive focuses on modern cameras that shoot both stills and video, and develops basic skills and knowledge in both – though you and your student divers may favor one or the other. The dive still credits as the first dive in the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course, even though it differs from the specialty (which will be revised in the future).

The opportunities are nearly endless: Depending upon your location and market, you can get divers started in sidemount, ice, cavern, full face mask, delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB), diver propulsion vehicle (DPV), enriched air or any other standardized specialty using existing specialty materials.

Tie in the new Adventure Dives by having the PADI Specialty Instructor ratings for the new opportunities, and grab this unique moment to make your new Advanced Open Water Diver course truly special.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

On my travels over the past year or so to many different types, sizes and locations of dive centres I have come across many different types of plans in these dives centres. Although there are many dive centres that have plans and strategies in place there are very many that do not. Of this group of dive centres I think that the types of planning I see can be broadly grouped into two main categories. The first and most common one I see is the “Make it up as we go” strategy. The second type is the dive centre that has a year plan proudly displayed in the office but mid way through the year hasn’t implemented any of the well thought out plans they had put together for the year.

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Having a plan within your business becomes critical to staying ahead of the competition and significant to the future success of your business. Failure to acknowledge the power of planning can be the end to any growth within a business and if you don’t know where your business is going, it’s going nowhere.

Regardless of what method of planning you decide to carry out, there are a few basic questions you should be trying to answer in your planning processes. These questions should include some of the following:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How are we going to get there?
  • Who will do what and by when?
  • How are we measuring our success?

This is a pretty simple way to describe planning but if you are focusing on some form of these questions, you can put together a road map for your dive business. The planning process does not have to be complicated. In fact, if your planning process is complicated then you run the risk that nobody  will understand it or people will interpret it in a different way to what you had envisioned.

There are two types of plans to implement. The first is your strategic plan. This is developing a strategy for the dive business. The second part is the planning. What steps need to be taken to execute the Dive businesses strategy.

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Some of the benefits of Strategic Planning include the following:

  • Provides a method for decision making within a business.
  • Allow staff to ask and answer important questions within a business.
  • Should reveal future opportunities and concerns.
  • Sets objectives and goals for the business and staff.
  • Provides a measuring stick for performance.
  • Develops team and team work that is focused on the business’s future

Having a Business Strategy gives your dive business the ability to better anticipate and prepare for change. You’ll lose valuable momentum being reactive rather than proactive. Customer expectations, competition, and economic changes are all variables that can rock the dive boat and send you to the sea floor if you don’t have strategies in place.  

The lack of a strategic plan can also send your employees morale down to the sea floor too. Besides the obvious need for your employees to receive a salary they need a reason to come to work everyday. Without a focused plan, morale falls and employee interaction becomes vague and lifeless. A good plan lets your employees know who is doing what, why they’re doing it, and how they individually contribute to the success of your dive business.

Having a plan allows you to set benchmarks and assists you in assessing your performance. A  plan requires you to measure and document performance. Doing so will allow you to benchmark where you’ve been, allowing you to adjust your trajectory of where you are going. Documenting data is a wise business decision to keep your organization moving forward. Do you know how many certifications, launches, charter customers you had in the same period last year and what are you aiming for in the months to come?

Failing to plan is indeed planning to fail.

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Thomas Baum, PADI Course Director

thomas-baumThomas Baum, PADI Course Director and owner of PADI 5 Star IDC Center Fuldas Tauchertreff, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2015 earlier this year – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world. 

We spoke to Thomas to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to him, as well as learning about his achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.


What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?

I always wanted to give something special to others in form of training and courses – and to have my ‘office’ out in the natural world.

How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor?

The PADI system is the best in the market. If you use it correctly, you do not work for a system like most people – the system works for you. Therefore you have a more successful and enjoyable ‘working’ life.

Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why?

I still love conducting the IDC the most. This program has the most detail and facts, and I enjoy introducing others to the PADI system. To see that they all of a sudden can teach theory and skills that was, for most, not possible before. This development is always fascinating.

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What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?

I believe my greatest achievement within diving was to become a PADI Course Director. Also, to be part of the development of some PADI courses (i.e. Digital Underwater Photographer, business programmes, the new Freediver course) as well as building up a nationwide network of PADI Instructors and Dive Centers.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?

The freedom, the peace, and the weightlessness underwater.

Do you ever feel like you have reached the limit of your diving career?

No, I always evaluate the market very thoroughly, looking for new potential and using it. There are many unused opportunities, so there is always enough to do!

Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving?

Of course – once someone learns to dive and enjoys it, their whole life turns positive. You become an ‘astronaut’ when you are weightless underwater, and you can enjoy the beauty of the underwater world without any stress. While diving – versus other sports – you don’t have to compete; you don’t have to “beat” someone to achieve results. People have enough pressure in their daily life, other sports and even in their private life. Diving is different and you don’t have any stress. That’s why so many people do this wonderful sport.

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Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?

Most people want to enjoy nature in their leisure time, have no pressure and do sports with a lot of fun – diving supplies all of this. With the Discover Scuba Diving program we have a fantastic opportunity to get people into diving.

As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognized as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2015?

It is a good and nice feeling, and it reinforces you to do even more every day, and that you are sure you are doing the right thing.

What does “my PADI” mean to you?

“My PADI” is for me, to ‘stand behind’ the system and the association, and to support the most innovative and most successful system in the Industry.

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?

“Carpe Diem“ – use every day to plan how you can get people into diving. Without written down goals you only get a part of the results that you could do. You should know your strengths and promote the courses you like best. Then everything will move forward!

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Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Giuliana Prosdocimo, PADI OWSI

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Meet Giuliana Prosdocimo, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (354973). Giuliana works for PADI 5 Star IDC Center Bluetribe Moofushi Maldives. Not only is Giuliana one of our 2015 PADI Elite instructors, but she’s well on her way to smashing her amazing 2015 certification record in 2016.

Watch the video below to hear what it means to her to be a PADI Diver, Professional and Elite Instructor.


Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

At Work vs Working

As a Regional Manager for PADI I am fortunate to travel to many destinations throughout my region. I get to meet many dive centre owners and managers in exotic locations. Everybody’s dream job. However I am amazed at the recurring theme that I get to witness at most of these centres. Many of the staff and managers come to work, but fail to achieve their goals and objectives for the day. Instead of being proactive, they have to be reactive and this ultimately leads to less productivity and underachievement in the Dive centre.

Diving to the Office

So, what is work? My definition of work is the important things you do. Meetings, social media and work socializing doesn’t count The Pareto principle states that eighty percent of your results come from twenty percent of your efforts. So focusing on that twenty percent will bring in far better results instead of trying to please everyone and do a little bit of everything. So how do you set about achieving this?

  • Make a list
    • Every evening you should list all the tasks that you are wanting to achieve the following day. Allocate a time for each of these tasks. Don’t give yourself too many tasks to accomplish as not achieving the tasks can be just as bad as not having done them at all. Be realistic.
  • Wake up early
    • To achieve what you have set out to do you have got to get up in time to make it happen. Give yourself enough time in the morning to do everything you need to do at home before heading into the office. If need be, change your bed time so that you are still getting eight hours of sleep.
  • Do some exercise
    • It has been scientifically proven that doing some exercise in the morning can make us think better, work better and become a whole lot more productive. In Robert Pozen’s book, Extreme Productivity he writes that a modest exercise habit can help keep you sharper into old age, give you more energy to take on the day, and improve your mood. A quick cycle, run or gym session can prepare you for a day of getting a whole lot done.
  • Prepare for the day ahead.
    • Do all your preparation tasks before you start your day. If it means that you eat breakfast, feed the goldfish, open the office, water the plants, put the coffee on, do all these tasks first. Make yourself comfortable. When you achieve all these preparatory tasks first you are creating an environment free from distractions and ultimately making you more productive.
  • Do not check your emails as you get to work.
    • These emails can easily distract you from your planned schedule. For sure you will need to check them at some stage but allocate a time for this later in your day. These new emails can easily consume your whole morning without achieving anything.
  • Wear earphones.
    • Researchers at Harvard Business School found that earphones block out distractions and keep you focused on the tasks ahead.
  • Write First
    • Writing or composing emails is one of the most mentally demanding tasks that you are faced with. However writing also has the ability to focus you and get your brain in tune with what you have set out to do. Writing improves productivity and if you start out with this task it will improve the quality of your writing for the remainder of the day.
  • Tackle your most difficult tasks first.
    • The author Mark Twain wrote: ” If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” If you get that task you have been dreading to do done first thing in the morning everything else in your day will seem to be far easier and you will be more productive.
  • One Minute Decisions
    • Most managers find decision making to be the most difficult and time consuming portion of their days work. When faced with a decision give yourself sixty seconds to make it. You will find that your decision will be just as good but not have wasted as much time.
  • Stick to your planned schedule and tasks
    • Do not allow yourself to be distracted from your plan for the day. Stick to your schedule, allow it to guide your day. You will achieve more and be far more productive.
  • Have a clear work space
    • Junk and mess in your office creates distractions. Clean up your office and before you leave for the day make sure you leave it spic and span. When you get to work the next day it will allow you to think clearer, work harder and be more productive.
  • Be sure to reward yourself.
    • Some time during your work day you are going to have to stop. Look back at what you have achieved and tell yourself how much you have accomplished. If it means eating a chocolate bar or doing your happy dance, do it. Make time to reward yourself.
  • Have a routine and stay with it
    • If you do something over and over repeatedly you will be able to do it better and faster the next time you do it. Once you get into your groove, stay with it. Your routine is the start of your productivity.

Hopefully by following these simple tips you will become more productive in your work environment and achieve those goals you have set yourself.

 

Take The 2016 Elite Instructor myPADI Challenge!

EIC-BlogHeader1200x500Were you a PADI Elite Instructor in 2015? If so, get ready for a little friendly competition!

Take the 2016 Elite Instructor myPADI Challenge from 1st July to 31st October 2016 and be in with a chance to win 2017 PADI Membership Renewal plus recognition in Undersea Journal, on PADI Social Media sites, the PADI Pros’ Site and (where possible) in local diving media. You’ll also win a personalised PADI Jacket and get featured coverage in the myPADI campaign.

What’s more, the individual Elite Instructor with the overall highest conversion rate during the Elite Instructor myPADI Challenge will also win a Suunto D6i dive computer.

How does it work?

To ensure a level playing field, you’ll be competing against others in your 2015 Elite Instructor category (50, 100, 150, 200 and 300 certifications), and the 2015 Elite Instructors showing the largest percentage growth in certifications (compared to the same time frame last year) will win. It’s as simple as that!

How do I apply?

You don’t need to take any action to enter or apply because PADI will track your growth for you! You’ll even be able to keep track of your progress via the PADI Pros’ Site throughout the campaign.

Click here for the Full Contest Rules

Now, get certifying and good luck!

Elite Instructor Interview: Chris Azab, PADI Course Director

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Chris Azab, a highly experienced PADI Course Director and Tec Deep/Trimix Instructor, has been diving “a long time” and was awarded the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2015 earlier this year, an award which recognises the achievements of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world.

With an impressive 11,000+ dives in her logbook, Chris conducts Instructor Development Courses in the Netherlands and Egypt, teaching in her mother tongue of Dutch as well as English, German and Arabic.

PADI Regional Manager Teo Brambilla caught up with her to learn more about her achievements as a PADI Pro, and what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to her.


chris-azab-studentsWhat inspired you to become a PADI Professional?

Ever since I started diving in 1998, I’ve loved the underwater world and its beautiful creatures. I wanted to show them to other people, so in 2001 I became a PADI Pro.

How do you think you’ve changed – personally and professionally – as you’ve moved up the ranks to become a PADI Elite Instructor?

Personally, I’ve changed my whole life! I was working for a banking and insurance company, and chose a different lifestyle. Since 2004 I have been working full time in the diving industry, making people happy. I’m always proud of what I’m doing; working as a professional teacher, thinking positively all of the time – that’s how I reached the PADI Elite Instructor status.

chris-azab-studentWhich PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most, and why?

I love to teach new PADI Instructor candidates, that’s why I became a PADI Course Director – I see so many positive changes in people. Another favourite is the Tec Sidemount course, it’s great to do dives with more tanks on the side before moving on to further Tec courses.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?

Becoming a Silver PADI Course Director and PADI Tec Trimix Instructor. One day I hope to achieve Gold status, and then Platinum. Teaching people is my passion!

chris-azab3What does diving give you that nothing else does?

During diving, it’s the silence… and then after each dive I love the smile on each diver’s face. And that’s the same for teaching, as well – seeing that smile.

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now?

When I started my PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, the Night Adventure Dive was mandatory, but I really didn’t want to do it. I reached two meters and quit the dive, but I still wanted to become an Advanced Open Water Diver… My PADI Instructor took me to Marseille, France, and let me try it again. I succeeded – not with pleasure, but I did it. The next night dive I booked was during a holiday in Egypt, and from that moment forgot my fears and I’ve found night diving great ever since.

chris-azab2Do you believe you change others’ lives through teaching scuba diving?

Absolutely. Students change from shy to confident, and I’ve had students suffering from depression turn into positive and active people. Some become PADI Instructors, quitting their jobs and travelling around the world. Some even started their own PADI Dive Center. I’ve given students the power to overcome any fear, I’ve given disabled students freedom, and helped people become positive. That’s why I want to do this job as long as I can – it’s amazing to change lives.

How does it feel to be recognised as one of PADI’s Elite Instructors in 2015?

It’s a result of hard work… being a real PADI Professional with quality teaching. I’m proud of it!

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?

Follow your heart and your dream. You are your only limit.

And finally, what does “my PADI” mean to you?

“My PADI” is my way of living. It’s a lifestyle, supported and promoted by PADI and I’m proud to be a part of it. I want to follow this lifestyle as long as I can. It’s not always easy, but I’d still choose this life. It’s an adventure as well, so let’s go for it. I remember the words from my PADI Open Water Diver course a long time ago and they still count; meet people, go places and do things. So, for now, I’m on my way to Malta…


Find out more about the 2016 PADI Elite Instructor Award.

Find out more about Chris Azab via her website.

5 Tips for Pros: How to Maintain Your Scuba Gear Properly

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As a PADI Professional, your scuba gear is exposed to heavy use – much more than the average recreational diver. Three or five dives a day teaching students or guiding certified divers will quickly leave their mark, and you’ll notice your diving equipment ageing much quicker than usual.

Of course, you can help to counteract this wear and tear with proper maintenance of your dive equipment, allowing you to get the best results from your gear despite the high strain.

Above all you shouldn’t forget that you always have a role model function as a PADI Pro, and your scuba gear in particular should always be exemplary: clean, well maintained and fully functional. This way you show your students and other divers that you’re a conscientious diving professional, and demonstrate the importance of well-maintained diving gear.

Here are 5 tips on properly caring for your scuba equipment:

#1 – Rinse your diving equipment thoroughly after every dive

It doesn’t matter if you’re diving in fresh or salt water; clean your scuba gear with clean water after every dive. This will help to remove dirt and other contaminants like micro-organisms or stinging particles from coral or jellyfish. It also helps to prevent the unwanted formation of salt crystal build-up after open water dives in the ocean.

#2 – Dry your diving equipment after every dive

neoprene-careSure, it can difficult as a PADI Pro to do this if you use your diving equipment multiple times during the day. But in between your dives, try to dry out your gear as well as you can. When dive gear is kept damp (especially when stored), bacteria or fungi can quickly develop and spread, which not only damages your diving equipment but can also trigger infections and irritations to your skin.

To dry your scuba gear hang it up outside, ideally in a dry and breezy place but not directly in blazing sunshine. Sunlight can cause faster ageing of materials and can make neoprene and rubber parts brittle.

scuba-equipment#3 – Check any moving parts regularly for dirt and defects

At least once a day, you should make sure that all moving parts on your diving equipment (such as buckles on your BCD, inflator buttons, regulator purge buttons etc.) are clean and working properly. That way you’ll be reassured that there are no dirt, sand or salt crystals stuck in your diving gear that might cause a malfunction during a dive.

#4 – Deep-clean and maintain your diving equipment on a regular basis

In addition to rinsing your kit with clean fresh water after each dive, you should also wash your gear thoroughly at least once a week with a special cleaner designed for dive equipment. This applies not only for neoprene suits, but also for your BCD.

scuba-gear#5 – Store your diving equipment properly

Between dives – and especially if you’re taking some time away from teaching – you should ensure that your gear is stored properly to avoid damage and deformation of the material. Make sure it’s completely dry before packing it away (see #2), don’t stand your fins on the blade-end (as they’ll bend out of shape), and ensure the glass in your diving mask is protected from being scratched.

In addition to these 5 tips, you should always be very careful when carrying and using your diving equipment. Strong impact can easily damage your gear, especially the small components in your BCD and regulator.

PADI’s Equipment Specialist Touch is a great tool to help refresh your memory on maintenance techniques, even as a PADI Professional. It’s also a valuable teaching aid to use with your students to help them learn the importance of caring for their scuba equipment.


christian_huboThis article was written by guest blogger, Christian Hubo. A PADI diving instructor, Christian has enjoyed over 4,000 dives whilst travelling around the world. Above the surface, he’s hiked thousands of kilometers across the natural world. Christian is a freelance web and media designer, underwater photographer, social media and marketing consultant and freelance author. His magazine articles and blog, Feel4Nature, inspires people to follow an independent, individual and eco-conscious lifestyle.