As local diving begins to reemerge region by region around the world, PADI® Dive Centers, Resorts and dive boats are readying their operations to resume diving, training and business operations while responsibly reducing COVID-19 transmission risk. Though no business can guarantee zero risk, implementing a proactive policy to manage and reduce the threat of COVID-19, and implementing it consistently, is key to reducing the risk of spreading this disease and giving divers confidence to dive in again. To assist PADI Members in this effort, PADI has compiled resources and best practice recommendations for COVID-19 risk reduction.
The guide features practices, procedures and tips based on prevailing medical recommendations, covering topics ranging from social distancing and gear disinfection to emergency preparations and course skill techniques. The full list and details about these resources and recommendations are available on the PADI Pros’ Site. Use these resources to get started, or to cross check what you already have in place. Of course, also be sure to conservatively follow local social distancing recommendations and other requirements as directed by your local government.
“It is encouraging to see parts of the world slowly start to open back up to diving. These are reason for hope,” says Drew Richardson, PADI Worldwide President and CEO. “People are still passionate about our realm and the ocean. Consumers still want to dive, learn to dive and care for the ocean. By implementing best practices to reduce risk surrounding COVID-19, it not only provides a safer environment for staff and divers, it also reassures customers, making them feel more comfortable to dive in with you as soon as they are able to do so.”
Most dive operators find that with a little forethought and a few resources, they can implement COVID-19 risk reduction as part of their normal business practices without a significant burden. In areas where diving has begun to resume, dive centers and resorts that have taken – and communicated – these precautions are seeing an increase in business. To get the word out about the best practices they are implementing, PADI Five Star Dive Resort Mares Ecuador in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador, created and shared this video with their community of divers. After the video was published, Mares Ecuador received 26 bookings.
Communicate your efforts to your customers by sharing pictures and videos on your social media channels, send emails about your current status and what steps you are taking during these times, and visibly demonstrate your precautionary measures in your dive shop. Be sure to talk to your divers about any questions or concerns they may have, and remind them of personal steps they can take to reduce COVID-19 risks. (Download the poster featuring eight simple steps from the PADI Pros’ Site.)
“PADI Dive Centers and Resorts around the world are known and trusted for their commitment to diver safety,” says Richardson. “By coming together to adopt best practices during these times and in the months to come, people will take notice that health and safety of staff and divers are the top priority across the dive industry, and develop confidence to dive in with their local dive shop.”