Website for Dive Professionals
By Michael Lawrence
From how we communicate to how we shop to how we conduct business, the recent advances in digital communications has forever changed the texture of the world. This new global community benefits from ever increasing access to people, knowledge, professional opportunities and a growing array of instantly available services.
This revolution has been apparent to Greg McKay, owner of Fort Lauderdale–based Pro Dive. Established in the industry for more than 20 years, Pro Dive is widely recognized as one of the leading PADI Instructor Development Centers in the world. Determined to create a truly global network of dive pros, McKay recently announced the simultaneous formation of two entities. The first is the Pro Dive Professional Association (PDPA). The second is an extensive PDPA website, a virtual dive store devoted exclusively to certified dive professionals. It is a place where the pros can research new info on training and equipment, consult industry leaders on crucial questions, access professional services and shop for training materials and equipment.
The PDPA site links to the Pro Dive site. To qualify for membership you must be certified at a professional level, generally either divemaster, assistant instructor or instructor. The PDPA is open to professional members of any recognized certifying agency, such as PADI, NAUI, SSI, YMCA, BSAC or CMAS. The final step is to register online, with your certification number, and to pay annual dues of $20 U.S. After that, you become a PDPA member and are given a site access number.
What will you find inside? The site is a resource center containing a vast array of information and a quick track to changes in the industry. Dive professionals face the same situations and have the same questions worldwide. Here you will find the answers. The site is organized into several areas. One section, the Pro Shop, is your virtual dive store. The Pro Shop carries a full array of high-quality, name-brand dive equipment offered at a respectable professional discount. The same is true with sportswear. Working with Amazon.com, the Pro Shop also has a bookshelf with the world’s largest selection of books relating to diving. Training materials are available, sold at quantity pricing. And, no matter how remote your destination, if there is a reasonable way to get it there PDPA will expedite your order and will ship within 24 hours.
In terms of business resources, there are several sections devoted to keeping you abreast of the most current info in the field. A Training Section is devoted to changes in dive training procedures or standards. A series of how-to articles offers suggestions on an endless array of scenarios. The Equipment Section is a center for equipment updates and general discussion. Members are also kept informed about seminars and training sessions, programs available either free of charge or at a significantly reduced cost for PDPA members.
The Business Section contains how-to articles and tips from experienced pros. One big plus is a monthly interview with a major player in the dive industry, someone who has seen the industry develop and knows just what it takes to survive and thrive in this business. Online discussion groups expand the scope of information.
The Student Referral Section was created to assist cold water or landlocked instructors sending their certification students to warm water resorts for open water certification dives. It allows the back-home instructor and the warm water instructor to get to know each other and refine their techniques and style, creating a personal network and making for a smoother transition for students.
Other resources include specialized dive travel consultants and full booking services for either professional or personal travel. The JobFinder leads you through the process of finding a job and offers tips on presenting yourself as a professional.
If this global professional community intrigues you, log onto www.pro
diveusa.com, click on PDPA and take a look. The world of diving has just become a more efficient place!