From a heavy military background, scuba training evolved in a very positive direction. I remember seeing an early class doing pushups with tanks on their backs. Today our thinking is to expand the life of every person that would like to experience the world beneath the surface of the sea. Even those that possess some level of disability can be brought along under a level of training that matches what they can do, not what they can’t do. Scuba Educators International (SEI) still believes firmly in our historical core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. It is OUR responsibility and has brought us to a position of respect in the industry. We call ourselves the “Comprehensive Scuba Training Agency” and we work tirelessly to certify safe and responsible divers who are comfortable in the water.
The scuba world is now recognizing the need to protect our precious waters, including lakes, streams, and oceans. Annie Crawley recently said: “We call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean.” We have segments in our training to enlighten our students and leaders how to protect and preserve our environment. This area will continue to magnify as our governmental leaders realize the importance of taking care of our world. As divers, we are in a unique position to observe those changes – especially for us aged divers who have observed the changes for 50 or more years visiting the underwater world. Scientists tell us that 80% of the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean. If the ocean becomes unable to sustain life, life on the surface will also perish. New divers may not be consciously aware of our present challenges. Our job is to provide them with the knowledge to mold them into responsible stewards of our oceans.
New scuba students come from a variety of places. On average, nearly 80% have had some connection with another diver. That should tell us to market accordingly. Also, in my part of the world in Indiana, of the roughly 180 new divers we train each year, more than half will return to take additional advanced, specialty, or leadership classes. We fully believe that academic and skill training where an instructor is constantly involved, creates a bond and level of skill that is well beyond the common two or three-day course. Additionally, that bond leads to involvement in a dive club, trips, and other social engagements which keep our divers diving.
In mid-Indiana our group of instructors have trained over 7,000 new divers and more than 250 new instructors. When life happens and a diver is out of the water for more than a year, they need a refresher before jumping back in. Then, the first dive on that super vacation will be an enjoyable and comfortable experience rather than one spent in constant survival mode. Starting in February this year, all SEI & PDIC diver c-cards produced in the USA have the statement “Dive Experience or Refresher Expected Annually.” With intentions of introducing this concept throughout our 29 countries, the industry, and the diving world.
Be sure to check out our guest speakers at DEMA Show 2019! Each guest will be speaking to the different efforts we are using to develop safe lifelong divers. Read more at www.seidiving.org!