Simon R. Chance, Manager
PADI International Resort & Retailer Associations & PADI Diving Society
More new Society Partners!
The first half of 2007 has seen terrific growth in Society member benefits, including
some really exciting offers from major industry and non-industry Society Partners:
Images courtesy of Volvo Cars (UK)
PADI Driving Society – in Association with Volvo Cars (UK)
Whatever one’s position on environmental issues, cars are largely a simple fact
of life at present (although I’ve recently discovered a great alternative for short
journeys – more to follow in a future issue!)
For most of us divers in particular,
there’s always a fair amount of kit to haul around the country, as we aim for our
favourite dive sites or hunt out some new ones. That usually means we need a decent
dive wagon, however unless we are lucky enough to have a car for every day of the
week – each a specialist vehicle for a specific purpose – we’re going to be looking
for more than just a load lugger; something that can also be used for everyday running
around, shopping, taking the kids to the park, or even taking one’s partner for
a posh supper on Valentine’s day.
One manufacturer that seems to understand our
needs and lifestyle very well is Volvo. As divers, we tend to focus on safety and
reliability, while still pursuing fun and excitement and looking after the environments
in which we dive – and, while we can find ourselves in some fairly unpleasant conditions
from time to time, if we are honest we will usually want to add as much comfort
to the experience as possible! Volvo aligns closely with this mindset; with a long-established
reputation for safety and reliability, legendary lugging capacity (Volvo estates
have been very much the chariot of choice for caravanners over many years), a comfortable
“office” inside for driver and passengers, and with an approach to overall design
which is constantly developing and improving on each success, in many ways one can
picture more than a few sets of regulators hanging in the Volvo corporate garage!
However, perhaps the most telling evidence of Volvo’s corporate diver-friendliness
is that, with immediate effect, I can announce Volvo’s acceptance of the PADI Diving
Society’s members into their Corporate Affinity programme structure – thereby providing
benefits for Society members, of at least 6 months’ standing, when purchasing a
new Volvo from participating Volvo franchise dealerships across the UK! The exact
benefits will differ across the range, however they include discounts of up to 15%
depending on the model chosen, plus free metallic paint options and even extended
Volvo’s Corporate Affinity programmes work through a level of support
from Volvo Cars (UK) (provided directly through a Corporate Sales Customer Agreement
with PADI International Ltd. and the PADI Diving Society), which is also backed
up with further benefits being provided by the dealership from where the car is
purchased. Members will need to quote an Affinity programme reference number to
the salesman at their dealership, which will be communicated separately to all current
members of the Society together with further details of this important new Society
benefit; if you are a current member and have not received this information directly,
please drop me a line to
so we can ensure this valuable information reaches you. If you want to know more
about Volvo cars, or how the Corporate Affiinity programme works, why not contact
Gareth Bottomley, Fleet Sales Manager at programme “drivers” Harratts Volvo directly?
Gareth can be reached on 0114-270-1400, or by eMail at
firstname.lastname@example.org – or why not take a peek at Harratts’
www.harratts.co.uk for directions
to the showroom if you want to drop in and say g’day? I am sure Gareth and his team
will be happy to grab you a coffee and run through some tall diving tales!
Images courtesy of Volvo Cars (UK)
PADI Diving Society Member Draw – in
Association with Volvo Cars (UK)
the arrival of this major new Society Partner, the generous people at Harratts Volvo
in Sheffield have offered a draw prize of a “Car for the Weekend”, providing a top-of-the-range
XC90 over an entire weekend for the lucky winner. The draw entry period runs from
now until September 31st, after which the draw will be made by Harratts’ Fleet Sales
Manager Gareth Bottomley, at the Harratts showrooms in Sheffield. Once the winner
has been notified, and a weekend agreed at least 7 days in advance, the car will
be delivered to their door and picked up; all that will be required before arranging
delivery will be to verify that the winner holds a current, valid UK driving licence,
and is insured to drive the vehicle. By the time this goes to press, entry details
and full terms and conditions should be available at www.padidivingsociety.co.uk,
however if you would like further information please send an eMail to
or contact us at our Freepost address and we will send hard-copy information for
you by surface mail.
Look for further information about this exciting new Society
member draw, and good luck to all!
Images courtesy of Marc Prefontaine & O’Neill
From Now On, I Know Jack!
No, I don’t mean I have become a person
of limited understanding, although others who know me may believe that to be true;
rather, I am delighted to announce the O’Neill brand, developed by Industry father
Jack O’Neill, has now joined us to bring further benefits to PADI Diving Society
With immediate effect, all full Bronze, Silver and Gold level members can
claim a free ONeill “Skins” rash vest worth £20, with any purchase of an O’Neill
Sector 5mm wetsuit. The rash vests are short-sleeved and come in either Crew- or
Turtle-necked styles, and apart from looking very stylish they also form an ideal
additional thermal layer, making them perfect partners for your new wetsuit.
the 5mm category has gained considerable popularity with freedivers and divers alike,
O’Neill’s new Sector 5mm is described as being “in a category by itself – the most
innovative, comfortable, and warm 5mm available”. Looking through the spec’ sheet,
it combines “Firewall” insulating-fibre jersey on the interior to increase warmth
where needed most, “Fluid Seam” panel weld technology (a silicon-based lightweight,
non-chafing, waterproof urethane seal with flexibility described as “insane”!),
“Code Red” urethane-coated zippers for minimal water movement in that crucial area,
and “Ultraflex DS” neoprene which is manufactured specifically to O’Neill’s strict
and demanding specifications, including a durable outer skin to resist Velcro™ pulls
and snags. Shin pads are designed into the construction, as are other clever and
practical features such as the hidden key pocket so you won’t have to balance that
key on the front tyre any more!
More about O’Neill and O’Neill Wetsuits
The name Jack O’Neill has been synonymous with
surfing since the early fifties, when pioneering Jack started racking up firsts
in that particular field, however Jack has also been a diver almost as long as he
has been a surfer – and he’s never been one to neglect his fellow sportsters. His
early work in developing the wetsuit we know and love today was built on a single
desire; Jack and his friends were surfing off Santa Cruz, and diving the cold waters
of Monterey Bay, and they wanted to extend their season as long as possible. Dismissing
WW2 surplus frogmen suits and looking more to the future, Jack started to experiment
with unicellular plastic, foam linings and so forth until he struck Neoprene, from
which point the challenge now became how to make the most of this almost ideal product.
Designs developed quickly, and well-known names such as the “Long John”, now generic,
were coined in the O’Neill R&D department – which has always consisted of real
people, wearing real suits, and doing their “real thing” while on or under the water.
Over 50 years later, this R&D philosophy is still strong within the O’Neill
brand, and it was interesting to hear that the O’Neill research facility is affectionately
termed “Area 52”, reflecting not only its 50+ years of operation, but also its close
relationship with the manufacturing process. This is made possible because Area
52 lies within O’Neill manufacturing facilities, so innovations and developments
are brought directly into the process rather than being farmed out to remote subcontractors
(who, O’Neill feel, will not have been involved in the process, and therefore cannot
share the same depth of understanding in the unique importance of each step).
O’Neill development philosophy, to which they hold true at all times, is that they
have retained a focus on the cornerstone of wetsuit performance – fit – as a poor
fit can nullify any other performance feature. As a result, they have constantly
updated their sizing models over the whole fifty-plus years in the business, which
has allowed their engineering team to develop what they firmly believe to be the
most precise system of size grading in the industry. This proprietary technology
is carefully guarded in the vaults of Area 52, but is available to all by simply
trying on an O’Neill wetsuit.
As their brochure states, they “dare you to compare”!
All images courtesy O’Neill Wetsuits Limited except where stated otherwise. For
more information on the ONeill range of diving wetsuits, or to find your nearest
O’Neill Wetsuits dealer, contact Tom Copsey at
email@example.com, telephone +44-(0) 1730-811460, or visit
Images courtesy Raymarine (UK) Ltd.
A Ray of Happiness – New Society Benefits from Raymarine!
Smart on the inside, simple on the outside – no, not me or Mark Evans
(sorry Mark), this is actually how Raymarine – our latest Society Partner, bringing
you even more benefits – describe their design philosophy when putting new products together.
Raymarine designs, manufactures and distributes electronic goods and related
software for use in leisure boating and light commercial environments, and with
over 30 years of continuous experience Raymarine is a world leader in this market,
offering a highly comprehensive range of marine electronic goodies. If you’ve been
on a RIB or other boat dive in the UK in the last few years, chances are there was
a Raymarine VHF Radio, Depth Sounder, Log/Speedo, Fish Finder or even Chart Plotter
helping out along the way; and if you’ve ever fancied some Raymarine kit for your
own (or your club’s) boat, Raymarine are now offering a whopping 20% discount to
qualifying PADI Diving Society members, off any product in their current price list
up to £3,000 total RRP purchase value – a potential saving of £600 quid, which should
leave some room in your wallet for that new drysuit you’ve been promising yourself!
Raymarine’s A series units are particularly popular with the small-boat market,
having been designed specifically with a compact footprint, and able to be either
flush-mounted into a dashboard or in a bracket for easy dismounting and removal
where open-boat security may be an issue. The A65 unit pictured is demonstrating
one of its split-screen modes on the 6.5”, sunlight-viewable, high-resolution VGA
TFT screen, showing highly detailed depth information from the optional state-of-the-art
sounder and fishfinder, together Charting information fed from its GPS receiver;
as well as being able to display information from the optional Depthsounder/Fishfinder
transducer, the A65 is primarily a fully-featured Chartplotter, using leading Navionics
software to present constantly updated position information in a configurable full-colour
chart display. All housed in a rugged, submersible housing, when teamed with the
patented High Definition fishfinder – which automatically adjusts more than 220
sonar parameters every second to deliver superior fish detection and bottom discrimination
– the A65 is the perfect RIB or diveboat companion; with 1000 waypoints and 50 routes
stored on-board, and unlimited storage using CompactFlash cards, these units will
help you to find that wreck and return to it every time – even when the British
spring fogs are obscuring those secret never-fail waypoints which are handed down
from dive leader to dive leader in clubs across the land!
Larger vessels (say around
35 feet) may want to look toward Raymarine’s C series units, which share many of
the features of the A series but with larger viewing screens and some very nifty
additional party tricks; they can receive & display Navtex information, show
the output from Radar feeds (and yes, Raymarine make class-leading radars too!),
network with Raymarine and other compatible instruments and even monitor engine
data, as they are compatible with other NMEA 2000 data sharing devices. You can
even plan your journey at home using RayTech software, then plug in the plan on
the boat using a Compact Flash card and have your C series Raymarine unit drive
you around by “talking” to your Raymarine Autopilot. And if you’re lucky enough
to be playing with an even larger toy, the E and G series start to offer some full
networking options, even taking video input so any on-board camera feeds such as
engine room monitors – or even a Raymarine satellite TV for the really big stuff
– can be viewed together with chart, radar, fishfinder and instrument inputs on
their user-customizable high-bright displays. About the only thing they can’t do
is make & receive calls for you on your Raymarine VHF radio; just imagine your
Chartplotter keeping a safe track of your position, your Radar keeping you out of
trouble by telling you the positions of other shipping around you, the Fishfinder
telling you what’s going on below you, and the TV telling you what’s happening on
Very cool indeed.
So OK, clearly I’m impressed with the whiz-bang gadgetry,
but I’ve also learned one additional, intangible edge that sets Raymarine apart
and helps to earn them their “World Leaders” soubriquet. They’re not just making
this stuff because it makes a boat look fully swept-up if it has loads of electronics
around the helmsman’s position; they are driven by the significant contribution
all this gear can make to safety at sea, and have partnered on many occasions with
other maritime agencies to promote a wider understanding of this fact among mariners.
They have even developed a dedicated on-all-the-time man-overboard alert system
called LifeTag, which sounds an alarm if any crew member (including the family dog,
if suitably equipped) strays out of range of the base station; further, since LifeTag
is SeaTalk compatible, it will automatically place a symbol on the C+ series chart
plotters, calculating range and bearing back to that point to dramatically increase
the chances of a successful recovery.
An enticing range of sophisticated gadgetry,
a genuine concern for the safety of those who go to sea in ships, and now a potential
saving of up to £600 for PADI Diving Society members. Thanks, Raymarine!
To claim your PADI Diving Society discount, present
your PADI Diving Society membership card to any Raymarine approved Service Dealer
when making your purchase. Please note that verification with the Society may be
required by the Raymarine dealer, who will also need to install systems other than
handheld radios and A series products, and installation is not discounted under
this programme. For further information on Raymarine and Raymarine products, visit
Our Future Just Became a Little
…with a SIM card and £30 of text credit, absolutely free!
lines to the apocryphal story about London buses, new Society benefits seem to be
coming along all together at present. Hot on the heels of our new partnerships with
Volvo Cars (UK), Raymarine and O’Neill Wetsuits, I am delighted to announce that
we have now been joined also by the Orange people – and no, I don’t mean a tribe
of Oompah Loompahs; I am, of course, referring to Orange, the well-known communications
“Pay-as-you-go” mobile ‘phone users may be familiar with Orange’s market-leading
free SIM card programme, offering up to 1000 free texts depending on the level of
top-up; however, Orange are offering to boost that bonus for Society members, by
adding a whopping 300 free texts on your free SIM for the first month – that’s a
full £30 value, entirely free of charge, and exclusive to you as a member of the
PADI Diving Society. What's more, calls made on this SIM will be on Orange’s flat
rate tariff, Speak Easy, which means your calls cost only 15p per minute to any
UK mobile or landline, and normal text messages (once you’ve used up your generous
free allowance) are only 10p each. Furthermore, when you top-up by at least £20
in a month, you'll also get free evening and weekend mobile internet browsing. This
allows you to access sites such as BBC and Google® direct form your mobile ‘phone,
useful for last minute weather reports before you set off for a dive!
loads of other great things about being with Orange, regardless of how much you
top-up – like “Orange Wednesdays” for example, whereby you can enjoy 2-for-1 cinema
tickets every week by simply texting FILM to 241 from your Orange SIM. Perfect for
all these Summer blockbusters, a new one of which seems to be announced weekly at
Quite apart from this saving, the offer of a free SIM brings additional
potential benefits. As an example, having a mobile ‘phone on coastal RIB or other
boat dives is a genuine contribution to improved diver safety, providing direct
access to the emergency services should an accident occur, or even simply providing
the opportunity to let shore-based companions know of a change in plans if you decide
to haul out at a different location (or need to, due to changing weather or sea
states!) However, rather than risking your posh new RIZR, Prada or N95 on RIB journeys
– which, let’s face it, can be a little, er, damp at times – you can leave this
safely tucked up in the boot or glove compartment (of your new Volvo, perhaps?)
and use your free SIM in an old or cheaper handset. That way you retain the benefit
of staying in touch while out on the water, but there’s less heartbreak if your
communication device ends up in the Oggin, or under a runaway cylinder.
there’s ever been an unsecured cylinder incident on any dive boat I’ve ever been
on, of course. Oh no indeed. Absolutely not. Honest…
Moving quickly along, then,
I expect you’ll want to know how to grab hold of this new benefit, and again I am
very pleased to announce that the routine is simplicity itself; all you need to
do is to visit the special PADI Diving Society area on the Orange website (see full
URL below), enter your details and your free SIM will be posted out to you. Of course,
should you wish to transfer your existing mobile number onto the SIM, that’s easy
enough also – instructions on how to do this will be provided with your free SIM
when you receive it, and I understand that the transfer process usually takes as
little as a week to complete.
So there we have it; another great benefit to enhance
your PADI Diving Society membership, all thanks to those nice people at Orange!
to claim your free Orange SIM card.
Society Benefits from Fourth Element!
a reminder to renewing PADI Diving Society members, and an announcement to new members,
there are two excellent benefits on offer for Society members from divecool gurus
For the trendsetters among you, Cornwall-based Fourth Element –
producers of stylish, practical divewear and technical diving products – are still
offering a free “xerotherm” hat from their Fourth Element Technical range (worth
£16), or a t-shirt of your choice from their current range (a £19.99 value), with
any purchase over £60 from a Fourth Element stockist.
Fourth Element began in 1999
with a post-dive conversation in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt. Their aim was to design
and provide divers with high quality casual and technical diving clothing, which
had a simple yet distinctly diving-oriented style. With Fourth Element’s founders
having backgrounds in design and human physiology, they were in a good position
to achieve their aims – but still spent a year and a half researching designs and
fabrics for their launch range, to ensure the clothing was everything they wanted
it to be for their customers. Using the latest fabric technology in unique combinations
and designs, the Fourth Element Technical range in particular revolutionises thermal
protection for both Wetsuit and Drysuit diving, being designed around the principles
of performance, function and innovation.
Fourth Element have been great supporters
of the PADI Diving Society for a number of years now, adding to the overall value
of this unique partnership. Look for more information on Fourth Element soon, and
meanwhile enjoy this great offer for you, from a generous PADI Diving Society partner!
*** Your Fourth Element benefit: A free t-shirt worth £19.99, or free xerotherm
hat worth £16, with any qualifying Fourth Element purchase over £60 (www.fourthelement.com,
Society Benefits from Tornado Marine
The Tornado Marine fleet is now a Society Partner, offering direct benefits to PADI
Diving Society members! With immediate effect, all current Society members will
be able to claim a direct 5% discount on all bookings with Tornado Marine, which
are made via their sole UK agent Tony Backhurst (see
benefits section for contact information). This generous offer provides
not only a great incentive to shrug off the winter blues – preparing, perhaps, for
some summer diving here in the UK with some spectacular shakedown dives, while enjoying
the “yachtie” liveaboard lifestyle – but also provides Society members with yet
another way to save back their membership fees!
For those not familiar with the Tornado Marine fleet, they have been operating in
the Egyptian Red Sea since 1989, expanding operations into the Sudan late last year
on M/V Royal Emperor, and with a strong customer service ethic they have won awards
for “Best Liveaboard of the Year” in consecutive reader-voted surveys for 2003,
2004 and 2005. The fleet currently consists of six vessels, all fully registered
with PADI, carrying sophisticated navigation, safety and diving-related equipment,
and piloted by experienced Captains supported by dedicated crews. The latest and
largest addition to the fleet, M/Y Whilwind, is a brand-new launch; she is 36m long,
with an 8m beam, and caters for 20 divers who, after a hard day’s diving, can even
enjoy a “sundowner” in the jacuzzi on the upper deck before retiring to her fabulous
saloon for their evening repast.
The entire fleet has been planned around divers’ requirements, with considerable
care and attention going into the provision of spacious air-conditions interiors,
comfortable and roomy sundecks, and of course convenience in the dive deck areas.
As well as all the usual mainstream PADI recreational programmes, these is also
support for many PADI Specialties – including videography, and the
Digital Underwater Photographer Specialty – and indeed the Technical community
is also well served, with Nitrox, Trimix and even Inspiration CCR rebreather programmes
and try-dives available. They can even arrange a custom-made DVD of your diving
holiday, for you to share with friends, family and your (undoubtedly jealous) diving
buddies on your return!
I am therefore extremely pleased and proud to have them on board as a Society Partner.
For more information regarding the Tornado Marine fleet, visit their website at
www.tornadomarinefleet.com, and for bookings contact Tony
Backhurst’s team (who, incidentally, were also winners of Tour Operator of the Year
in 2004, 2005 and 2006) at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01483-271765.
Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize
divers, we’re famous for our love of trinketry – knives, clips, bags, pouches, whatever
the accessory, we have a place for it in our dive bag!
Now, as we announced in the pages of Sport Diver magazine a short while ago, a new
opportunity has opened up for us to carry that tradition out of the water and into
the park, pub, or our professional lives, with the new range of official PADI-branded
accessories from BlueCanDo. From cufflinks to keyrings, lip balm to leather wallets,
briefcases to book markers, and pin badges to pens, BlueCanDo have assembled an
impressive range of goodies which all carry the official PADI brand – identifying
you as a diver to fellow aquanauts as clearly as any secret handshake, and demonstrating
to lesser non-diving mortals that you may know something they don’t (yet)!
There are over 100 different products in the range, and each has been carefully
selected for its originality and quality. Some items can be bespoke to you or your
Society chapter, featuring names, ratings and logos, and others provide recognition
of your achievements, requiring proof of certification or status when ordering –
and, naturally, they make superb prizes or gifts too! These items are available
exclusively from BlueCanDo within the service areas of PADI International Ltd.,
and employ unique manufacturing techniques whereby the logo is captured below a
crystal-clear pure resin dome, using a hand-made process and quality management
procedures which only accept 100% clarity of resin before the item is passed for
Further, I am delighted to be able to confirm that Dean Bann – a PADI professional
in his own right, and the driving force behind BlueCanDo – has very kindly provided
some generous savings for Society members, making BlueCanDo the latest Society Partner
alongside the Tornado Marine Fleet, Mako Sunglasses, A.H. Risk Management, Suunto
(UK) Ltd. and others!
With immediate effect, Bronze
and Silver members will receive a 10% discount on all purchases over £10 at BluecanDo’s
website, www.bluecando.com, and Gold members will receive an additional 5% (total
15%) when spending over £10 during their visit to the site. Members should note
that a special promotional code is required to claim this discount, so please drop
me a line at
email@example.com to obtain your special code!
If you would like further information
on the full range of PADI-branded BlueCanDo products to build up your shopping list,
visit them at www.bluecando.com (please place link to www.bluecando.com) or call
Dean and the team directly on +44 (0)1277-204207 – and look out both is Sport Diver
magazine, and here at
www.padidivingsociety.co.uk (the new direct link to the Society
pages at www.padi.com), for further announcements regarding benefits for Society
Please note that PADI-branded accessories from BlueCanDo are only available within
areas served by PADI International Limited (PIL).
Contact us for a full list of countries served by PIL.