Project AWARE 100% PIC Online - Thank You

A big thank you to the following PADI International Ltd Dive Centres who are signed up to the 100% Project AWARE PIC Online Shceme.

By joining this new programme you ensure that all your students whose cards are processed online receive the Project AWARE version of their PADI certification card. You also show your commitment to the protection of aquatic resources by raising vital funds to help Project AWARE complete its mission.

Aqua Divers, Anavissos Greece S32289 http://www.aquadiversclub.com/

Capenwray Diving, Carnforth Lancashire S3632 http://www.dive-site.co.uk/

Marine Divers, Paphos Cyprus S32431 http://www.pwmarinedivers.com/

Waterhoppers, Rhodes Greece S3431 http://www.waterhoppers.com/

Ocean Turtle Diving, Basingstoke Hampshire S32106 http://www.oceanturtlediving.com/

If you'd like to sign up to the 100% Project AWARE PIC Online scheme, simply download the registration form located here, and
fax to Project AWARE Foundation (International) : +44 (0)117 300 7270

Digital Option for The Undersea Journal and Sport Diver

While you're on the PADI Pros site downloading the 2010 PADI Instructor Manual you can sign up to receive Sport Diver and / or The Undersea Journal electronically. This is a free service for PADI Members.

Switch to the electronic versions and you'll receive an email when the latest issue is available online. What you'll get is an electronic version of the magazine provided through a system called
Zinio - it's not a .pdf.

Not sure if you'll like an electronic magazine?

I found a link on Zinio's site where you can
download a magazine for free to try it out. FYI you have to create an account to get the free magazine. Looks like there's also an iPhone app.

If it were me - I'd continue getting the paper copy of Sport Diver and go digital with the UJ.

Sport Diver
magazine is a great marketing piece. Leave it at the dentist, the gym, anywhere it might find a curious reader. Attach a business card or two to the inside cover and on the back cover. You never know, right?

This is just my personal opinion, I'm as crunchy granola as they come and of course the more we can do to reduce our paper consumption the better.

If you're ready to go digital with Sport Diver or The Undersea Journal, here's how to do it:
  1. Log on to padimembers.com
  2. Click on Members Toolbox
  3. Scroll down to Member Services
  4. Click on the first link:
    Go Digital! Manage Your PADI Subscriptions here
  5. Click next to the picture of each magazine to opt in for a digital copy.
Once you choose the electronic option we will no longer send you a paper copy of the magazine. Address labels are run approximately six weeks before the magazines get mailed, so there's a chance you'll get one more paper copy after opting in for the electronic option. Currently it's not possible to receive both an electronic and a paper copy - just one or the other.

2010 Instructor Manual Available Online

2010 Instructor Manual Available as a Free Download
for Renewed PADI Members

Renewed PADI Members (Instructors, DMs, AIs, etc.) can now download the 2010 PADI Instructor Manual from padimembers.com. The 1.25 MB .pdf is the first link in the right hand column.

If you are not renewed, please call us at +44 (0) 117 300 ext. 7281 (Monday - Friday) to get renewed.
Dive Theory Online is the newest PADI eLearning course

Dive Theory Online is now live at padi.com/elearning.

Student cost: $100.

What is Dive Theory Online?
  • For Divemaster, AI, and OWSI Candidates - an exam study tool

  • For Instructors -
    Offer students the opportunity to try Dive Theory online in lieu of attending the dive theory lectures.

    Or - use Dive Theory Online to brush up on Boyle's Law (and other dive theory topics) before teaching a DM course.

Dive Theory Online gives a comprehensive overview of dive physics, dive physiology, dive skills, environmental considerations,* dive equipment specifics and decompression theory & the RDP. Each section consists of multi-media instructional sections followed by study questions. End-of-section assessments verify eLearner mastery of each section.

* What was once a single topic - dive skills and environment – has been broken down into two separate presentations – dive skills and environmental considerations.

What isn't Dive Theory Online?

Dive Theory Online is not a substitute for any required materials. All PADI Divemaster candidates are still required to own a personal copy of the DM manual, DM slates, Instructor Manual,* Diving Knowledge Workbook, and Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving (included in the Divemaster crewpak - product no. 60020). Dive Theory online is supplemental study material.

* Instructor manual required for all DM candidates beginning 1 June 2010

Dive Theory Online is not a prerequisite for professional-level PADI courses. It is optional study material.

Dive Theory Online is not a substitute for Divemaster exams, or any other candidate exam.

Want to take a peek?

PADI stores and Instructors who've previously purchased an Access Pass can preview Dive Theory online (or any of our other eLearning courses):
  1. Visit elearning.padi.com
  2. Click on User Maintanence
  3. Next - click on Preview Course Sections
  4. Choose Dive Theory online from the drop down menu

Registration and Website Info

When signing up for Dive Theory online through padi.com, the student will select a PADI member to affiliate with; however,
the Dive Theory Online program does not have an in-person component. It is online training only. The student should affiliate with the PADI Member that is completing their DM, AI or IDC training.

PADI stores who already have an eLearning link on their website are
automatically set up to offer Dive Theory online. As with the other eLearning programs, the student will click through to padi.com and select the course from a drop-down menu.

If you do not wish to offer Dive Theory online, use the
eLearning course selector tool found on the PADI Pros homepage (about halfway down).

For assistance modifying your eLearning course offerings, or to get your eLearning.padi.com login information, contact Training Department at: +44 (0) 117 300 7234 ext. 7339


PADI eLearning

By James Stockdale - UK and Ireland Regional Go Pro Challenge Winner 2008

I was extremely sceptical of 'eLearning' at first! I felt terrible about the idea of losing the personal interaction with a student. I was very closed-minded. I felt robbed of "MY" students. But, as things have progressed, so too has my attitude to the course.

First I found that increasingly the idea of sitting in a classroom for 2 hours at a time doesn't appeal to every potential student. I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of younger divers - most of them computer savvy – and, for many of them, sitting at home doing theory in their own time with a cup of tea in their hand is far more alluring than the alternative.

There's also the advantage of them spending as much time as they want on an area that they are having difficulties with. There is nothing worse than when you have a student in a classroom, who finds it hard to grasp the idea of something - you are restricted by giving fair and equal attention to everyone as well as making sure everyone progresses at a similar pace. This is a perfect example of how eLearning removes time constraints. And if the student is still unable to understand through eLearning, they are more than welcome to contact me for some 1-to1 help in person.

I've started looking at the eLearning as an opportunity on my part to focus on the practical side of things more. We have a great time utilising every shred of time in the water, and we can talk to our hearts’ content afterwards. It's more than enough time for me to find out the students’ interests and diving ambitions. They also see how easy it is to get certified as a diver.

I expect to see eLearning become more and more popular and it'll be a positive step forward for the dive industry.



NEW Project AWARE Card

The new limited edition AWARE certification card is now available.


Your student divers can now choose the new 2010 AWARE version of their PADI certification card or replace their card and support underwater conservation. For a minimum donation of £5, any diver can sport the new sea turtle card and know 100 percent of their gift supports protection for the environment they love most.

Download a copy of the Project AWARE Limited Edition Card options poster for 2010

To find out more about Project AWARE Foundation’s ongoing conservation efforts and to become directly involved visit www.projectaware.org.


15 Minute Marketing Idea - QR Codes

15 Minute Marketing Idea

What is this thing?

QR Code PreviewIt's a QR code.... and in 2010, you'll start seeing a lot more of them. Google really likes QR codes, so you can pretty much guarentee that they'll become mainstream (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/explore-whole-new-way-to-window-shop.html).  

A QR code is a special barcode that acts like an internet hyperlink. When scanned by a smart phone (such as an iPhone) it will display a webpage, business card, or message.

QR codes are an easy, cheap and fun way to promote your business.

Read on! By the end you'll know how to create these codes and use them for nefarious guerilla marketing purposes.

That funny-looking box above represents a link to padiinstructorinfo.com. Scan it with a smartphone, and PADI Desert Chronicles will appear on the screen.

The code isn't doing much sitting on this webpage - but imagine if I printed out 300 of these codes on sticker paper and put them in every bathroom stall at DEMA? Besides a possible misdemeanor for me, it would be a sly marketing move: capturing the attention of smartphones users - anyone with an iPhone, Android phone, Palm Pre, etc.

This is pretty powerful marketing - that costs next to nothing. Additionally, you reaching customers who don't mind spending money on cool gizmos. According to ComScore - over 38 million Americans own smartphones already and 64% plan to purchase a smart phone in the near future.

Creating a QR code is extremely easy. Pasted below is a screengrab from qrstuff.com - one of many free QR code generators.

As you can see it's three short steps.
#1 Decide where you want the user to be directed to: (website, telephone number, etc).

#2 Type in the web address (or phone number) into the box

#3 Print!

How to utilize QR Codes

Step 1: What is Your Goal?

  • Increase membership in your dive club?
  • Book more divers into an upcoming dive trip or charter?
  • Promote a new product?
  • Spread the word about your internship opportunity?

Step 2: What do you want people to see?
When the QR code is scanned, it will bring up a webpage link, virtual business card, phone number, or a few lines of text - your choice. Whatever you choose will display on the phone's screen.

Let's say your goal is to bring new people into your dive club.

The QR code should point at a webpage (or text) describing your next dive club meeting date, time, location and topics. Be sure to say why your dive club meeting will be the most exciting night of the year. Maybe you're having an interesting guest speaker. Maybe there will be manufacturer-sponsored prizes. You've got a new customer's attention, make it as exciting as possible.

Additionally, you may wish to hide the link that you want the visitor to click, thereby getting them to your web page through curiosity.  For example, if a customer scans the QR codes and it displays the link 'http://www.learntoscubadive.com' the customer will immediately make a conscious decision as to whether they will click the link, as the URL is quite descriptive of the content.

Try shortening the URL through TinyURL to hide the ultimate destination, thereby ensuring the end user has to click through to your site.  Try this example:

QR Code Preview
Step 3: Go Nuts!
Create your QR code (see recommended websites below) and distribute!

  • If promoting your business or dive club: place the QR codes (responsibly) in and around places where divers hang out.  Is there a breakfast spot near a training site that attracts divers? Print out the codes and put them on index cards - under car windshield wipers, stashed in the menus, around the dive centre, or on your website etc.

  • To promote a new product such as a safety whistle or underwater camera in your store, post a QR code next to the product and link to a video of the product in action (on the manufacturer's website, or something you've made).

  • Need to fill up an upcoming dive trip? Put a QR code on your trip flyers and have it point to a youtube video of the destination.

  • Print off a sheet of QR codes and use them as a calling card. Leave one with your restaurant bill or in the waiting room of the dentist's office. Maybe write an intriguing message on the back,
    "Are you Curious?"

  • Print them onto stickers and plaster them over your dive kit / friends dive kit / interesting and unusual place.

  • Some of the websites below will print your QR code on a t-shirt. Walk around town, a convention center, or your favorite outdoor concert and invite people you see using their smartphones to scan your shirt.* )

  • Hide QR codes amongst your shop merchandise, and offer discounts or added extras for those customers that can decipher them.

The QR code is still new to many folks which makes it a great conversation piece.  Esquire magazine and Fast Company recently did issues spotlighting this new technology.

Also, take my word on this one:  people who own smartphones love to show off what they can do.

Are you QRious? Ready to Get Started?

Try out the QR code experience (see below)

Using a smartphone with a QR barcode reader, scan the QR code below. If it doesn't work for you right off the screen, try printing the image out on a piece of paper.

No barcode reader?

  • Here's CNet's list of the best barcode readers for the iPhone.
  • For Android I use the app called Barcode Scanner (it's free).
  • NeoReader is a QR reader app for Blackberry, Palm and other phones - though I haven't personally tested it.

Ready to Make Your Own?

Useful websites:
Print out one or several QR codes at qrstuff.com.  You can print the codes on regular paper or make stickers on Avery labels). You can also create fabric QR patches at p8tch.com (attach to a dive bag, jacket, etc).

15 minute QR code project

  1. Go to qrstuff.com
  2. Choose "text" as the data type
  3. Update the sample text below.
  4. Paste the text into the website's text box.
  5. Print.
  6. Distribute.

To: The Curious One!

From: [your dive business name here]

Fate is telling you to become a scuba diver. Email us at [your email here] or call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX. Mention you found our QR code and you and a friend can try scuba for free in our pool. Already a diver? Come to our next dive club meeting. We'd love to meet you. Email us for details.

One last really important thing:
You've got the customer's attention. Make the payoff compelling. Rather than simply linking to your homepage, consider a short message of simple text that references your website. For example:

Hi there, we like your style. We're scuba divers, and like you, we're curious. We like to explore and try new things. Here's our website: xyzdivecenter.com - we hope you'll stop by.

Alternately, you could have the QR code point to a special page on your website inviting the customer to leave their contact info to receive a special offer. Or, if you have a short promotional video already produced, you could link to the video's URL. Be sure and watch your video on someone's phone first to make sure it looks okay.


This year, I expect to start seeing more and more of these weird little hyroglyphics all over the place.  Send me a photograph of your QR Code advertisement via email, and a winner will be selected at the end of the year to receive a special prize.  The more interesting, innovative and unusual the QR code and its placement, the higher your chance of winning.

One final QR Link for you to try:

QR Code Preview


Beating the big chill - Above and Below go Ice Diving

Unless you've been hibernating over the past month (or you're fortunate enough to reside outside of the UK), you'll have noticed that we've been experiencing a little snow and ice around our island in the Atlantic.

Most of us (me included) decided that this would be a good oppourtunity to stock up the kitchen shelves with hot soup and bread rolls, wrap ourselves in a duvet for a few more minutes each morning, and generally try to get through the snow storms as best we could.

The team at Above and Below Dive Centre, Pontefract decided differently however.  Martin and Sharon Ainsworth saw this as an oppourtunity to provide training to their customers that wasn't usually available in the UK, and often cost quite considerable amounts of money to complete elsewhere...PADI Ice Diver.

I'll not try to explain the psychology behind their decision to jump into freezing water in January (I'd be there myself if I didn't have a dislocated shoulder...honest!). Therefore I'll let Sharon Ainsworth explain in her own words how they went about this endeavour:

"As you know, Martin, not backwards in coming forwards, decided to take advantage of the sub zero temperatures, (and the fact that Blue Lagoon has completely iced over) and promote the ice diver speciality – a first for us here in the UK!!!!  - here’s how it went:

We started at 8am, preparing the site prior to divers arriving – what a surprise this was – you can see by the photo, the chunk of ice we took out was several inches thick, remarkable considering the lake is over 16 acres, and all frozen!  It was so heavy that one of our team had to get in and smash it up into smaller pieces!!

After refreshing everyone on knot tying, we began to assign roles as divers, rope tenders and safety divers working as a team.  This was a challenge in itself, as EVERYONE wanted to be first in!  Anyway, after the biggest, most senior, superior, etc, etc won, they got kitted up, roped up and descended through the hole into the crystal clear water.  AWESOME was the response from the first diver on surfacing!

We had so many divers wanting to go in, by mid afternoon, we had cut 3 separate entry/exit holes through the ice, with 3 separate dive teams around the lake.

Anyhow, 6 ice diving instructors and 15 new ice divers later, and lots of excited and smiley faces – the day was a ‘titanic’ success, (excuse the pun), so much so, we can’t wait to do it again later this week (weather permitting)

The air temperature was 2 degs C, water temp 0 degs C."

I think you'll agree that this looks like great fun, and is a great example of PADI Members taking advantage of the change in weather to get divers learning some new skills, completing further training and having a great time whilst doing it.

If any other PADI Members have been doing anything interesting over the previous months (BCD Sledging?!!!) please send your article and photographs through to me at richard.howes@padi.co.uk and I'll get the posted on this blog.


Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all PADI Dive Centres and PADI Instructors.  I trust that you all had a great break over the winter period, and not too many of you are suffering due to the chilling winter snow in the UK.

2010 has now officially started, and we're into a new season.  For those of you wanting to know how your centre performed during 2010, we'll be sending your centre ranking via email shortly.

For those members wanting to know what is in store for the coming year with regards to PADI, Standards Updates and ideas for increasing customer uptake and retention, the member forums will be running in the next few months.  Check back here for updates on dates.

In the meantime, as a new years present grab a coffee and check out some of the Scuba Related Advertisements from yesteryear:

See you all soon!