RAID Joins RSTC US Council

RAID, Rebreather Association of International Divers, Jim Holliday, RSTC, Recreational Scuba Training Council, Dan Orr, Paul Toomer, James Rogers, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving news, Diving PR

The Recreational Scuba Training Council Board of Directors has confirmed that they are welcoming the diving training agency RAID as a member of the RSTC.A vote was held earlier this year and it was unanimously agreed that the Rebreather Association of International Divers will join the RSTC US as an Associate Member.

The RSTC announced changes to its membership criteria in November 2015 to accept members at two levels, Associate Member and Voting Member. This strategic change is driven by RSTC wishing to actively improve diver safety, and increase membership. RAID was the first training organization to answer that call.

RAID CEO Jim Holliday confirmed that “RAID is proud to be accepted as an RSTC Associate Member and RAID is committed to meet its commitment to help uphold the safety standards of the RSTC.

Dan Orr, RSTC Coordinator said, “we are very pleased to have another agency join our council.” He went on to say, “RAID was very enthusiastic and jumped at the chance to join. We look forward to their active participation.

RSTC training requirements are recognised around the world as the global industry standard. New members are assessed to ensure compliance with RSTC standards. Members must make an ongoing commitment to ensure compliance with RSTC standards.

Scuba training organizations interested in applying for membership with the RSTC may download membership information here.

RAID, which was founded in 2007, joins PADI, PDIC, SDI and SSI as members of the Recreational Scuba Training Council.

John Dalla-Zuanna Receives OZTek 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award

OZTek 2015 Technical Diver of the Year, OZTek 2015 Industry Recognition Award, OZTek 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award, OZTek 2015 Media Excellence Award, John Dalla-Zuanna, Richard Vevers, Richard Evans, Lance Robb. OZTek 2015 Award Winners, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, The OZTek Awards celebrate the achievements and endeavours of Australia's leading Divers and Dive Industry personnel - the people who have helped push the boundaries of knowledge and exploration in the field of advanced and technical diving.

On Sunday 15th March 2015, during the Gala Award Ceremony, previous OZTEk award winner Dr Richard 'Harry' Harris announced OZTek's 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award. This is what Harry had to say to packed audience of advanced and technical diving movers and shakers.

"It is an enormous honour to be asked by the OZTek Organisers to present this very well deserved award to a close friend, a wonderful dive budy, a mentor and a constant voice of reason in the mad world of technical diving!

I would like to break with tradition and ask this man - John Dalla-Zuanna - to come and join me up here, whilst I tell you why he is such a special guy in this great sport of ours.

At the cheeky young age of just 58, JDZ is truly a veteran of the sport of cave and technical diving. Cave diving in Australia started pretty much at the time JDZ started cave diving, so it is impossible to consider one without the other. Around the time the CDAA became incorporated in 1973, JDZ started visiting the Mount Gambier area. He cut a fine figure in Piccaninnie Ponds with his Moray suit! He became qualified in 1975 as member #256 and from that time on was inspired by the sport. A trip in the late 70's to Florida to meet Sheck Exlley, Wes Skiles and Woody Jasper quickly led to adopting sidemount diving, and feeling the thrill of laying line in virgin passage.

OZTek 2015 Harry Harris and JOhn Dalla Zuanna by Rosemary E Lunn
Dr 'Harry' Harris introducing cave diver John Dalla-Zuanna at the 2015 OZTek Award Dinner Photo Credit: Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company

Thus the passion was born and returned to Australia and began teaching both open water and cave diving. He has reached the highest levels of recreational and cave diving instructor. And, as a long time FAUI instructor, a PADI Course Director and CDAA Advanced Cave instructor, countless students have come under his thoughtful and methodical influence. The CDAA has benefited enormously from John's vision for cave diving, and he has filled a voluntary position with that organisation in some form or another almost continuously. Ken Smith always said that he used to think cave diving politics were a matter of life and death, and now he realises it is much more serious! JDZ has been a calming influence on all factions of the CDAA for many yearss and is unique in that he is respected and heard by all sides.

OZTek 2015, cave diving explorer, Paul Hosie, Craig Challen, Ken Smith, Wetmules, John Dalla-Zuanna, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, technical diving, scuba diving, The Underwater Marketing Company
Cave diving explorer Paul Hosie @ OZTek.15 Photo Credit: Rosemary E Lunn

I met John at OZTek in, I think, 2003. We had been exchanging emails for awhile and I was about to leave to live in Vanuatu. John had built a rebreather heads up display from an LED light and a mobile phone vibrating motor! He generously gave me this device to put onto my KISS rebreather, which considerably enhanced the safety of my cave exploration at the the time.

After my stint in Vanuatu JDZ was one of the instructors on my penetration course and we struck up a real friendship underscored by our passion for caves, rebreathers and exploration. John had dived in so many caves around the world and along with guys like Paul Hosie, Craig Challen and Ken Smith, I quickly found a group of experienced cave divers who mentored me into the world of exploration and expedition diving. I am sure John has had a major impact on many other peoples' lives, the way he has influenced mine.

JDZ's ingenuity goes way back. He built a radio detection device called 'the Thumper' which played no small part in the mapping of Mount Gambier's showpiece, 'Tank Cave'. John was an early adopter of closed circuit rebreathers, and along with Tubby McKenzie the early leaky valve CCR Dolphin was born and dived to 85 metres on the Bayonet in the ships graveyard in Victoria. It was this creation that caught my eye and got me into rebreathers in 2002.

John the inventor became an indispensable part of the Wetmules team. (Moto: Lurching from crisis to crisis). His lithium scooter batteries propelled Craig Challen and I to the end of Cocklebiddy in 2008, where Craig added new line to the end of the cave. They also now famously caused the fire which burnt my car to the ground on the way home! His early 12 volt heated undergarments kept us warm in the Pearse Resurgence and his wonderful pasta kept us fed.

OZTek 2015. Dr Harry Harris, battery fire, Cocklebiddy Cave Exploration, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Dr 'Harry' Harris contemplating the fact that his beloved Mk15.5 rebreather was now a blackened blob inside the burnt out shell of his Nissan Patrol. (Along with all his other diving equipment, camera system, camping equipment, laptop and clothing). Harry was his way home from a two week cave diving trip to Australia's famous Cocklebiddy Cave in summer 2008, when he spotted smoke in the rear view mirror. 10 minutes after pulling over, everything was destroyed by fire.

John is a regular ocean and wreck diver. He has numerous sub 100 metre / 328 feet wreck dives to his credit and continues to teach young divers open water diving through the La Trobe university club, sharing his passion for all things aquatic. His huge passion right now is the 3D mapping of cave using a combination of video and gaming technology, and in this area he is becoming a world leader. I hope many of you got to see his talk on this today. As the current Site Director of CDAA he shows no sign of letting up, and I look foward to sharing many more dives with this wonderful friend and great ambassador for the sport of technical diving.

2015 OZTek Speakers, Heather Hamza, Alberto Nava, Richard Nicholls, Jayne Jenkins, Richard Taylor, Paul Raymaekers, Ben Reymenants, Liz Rogers, Dave Ross, Ken Smith, Lance Robb, Martin Parker, Simon Pridmore, Sue Crowe, Rod Macdonald, Daren Marshall, Barry McGill, Pete Mesley, Rosemary E Lunn, Simon Mitchell, David Strike, Dr Catherine Meehan, Michael Menduno, Richard 'Harry' Harris, Lamar Hires, Paul Hosie, Deborah Johnston, Richard Lundgren, Heather Hamza, Liam Allen, Michael Aw, Peter Buzzacott, Matt Carter, Steve Cox, John Dalla-Zuanna, John Garvin, Laura James, Paul Haynes, Paul Toomer,
The 2015 OZTek Speakers

John Dalla-Zuanna, please accept this Outstanding Achievement Award for your long standing contributions to cave and technical diving."

 

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Watson DeVore Joins RAID Team

Dive Industry personality Watson DeVore has joined the dive training agency, RAID.

"What I enjoyed most about my time as Director of Education for SSI Globally was feeling like I was part of a family. When I left the dive industry, I thought it was for good, but I guess once you are in the dive industry for as long as I was, almost 26 years, it’s hard to leave something you are so passionate about. I am really excited to be back and most of all, I feel like RAID has put the family back together again.

Watson DeVore, SSI, Dive RAID, Steve Newman, Nancy Easterbrook, Divetech, Grand Cayman, Inner Space 2013, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Paul Toomer, Paul Haynes
Steve Newman (left) and Watson DeVore (right) enjoying a beverage during Divetech's rebreather week, Inner Space 2013


Paul Toomer (former Director of Technical Training for SSI), Mike Wells (former Director of SSI Freediving), Jim Holliday (former CEO of SSI Australasia), Col McKenzie and his team from SSI Australasia and Mark McCrum (former Manager SSI Australasia) are all part of the team at RAID HQ. I working alongside them for years. I am also excited to be working with many of the former SSI distributors, now RAID around the world again.

It has also been great to see the rest of the RAID Executive team assembled. It’s almost like a whose who of the global dive industry. Colleagues include Terry Cummins (ex PADI VP) and James Rogers (ex PADI UK Director), and rebreather expert Paul Haynes. All these guys are committed to making some big changes in the dive industry and it will be wonderful to be part of something so new, yet based on an unbelievable wealth of industry experience.

Having personally co-authored and written more manuals than most people in the dive industry, I know the challenges with getting them right, especially the first time. For example, by the time you print a student manual, the information can be out of date. So with the 100% digital solution that RAID offers across 60 different courses, you will always have the most current information at your fingertips.

I did not make the decision to come on board with RAID lightly. I took a good look at how the programme was put together, and the way it handles quality control is simply unbelievable. The way the skills are taught in the water at the beginner level is not a re-write of old ideas or concepts, but rather a totally new way to teach. I believe this new way will improve the quality of diver training for years to come.

I also saw what RAID has been able to achieve corporately in such a short period of time since their re-launch early this year. Regional offices already in Australia, Asia, Africa, Italy, Korea, Philippines, Middle East, Latin America, UK and now the USA – You have to agree that this is impressive in anyone’s language and a testimony to what this global team is capable of achieving.

And again, one of the main reasons I have chosen to become a part of RAID is the fact that I will be working hand in hand with my longstanding family and friends from around the world."

 

High Profile Diving Educators Join RAID UK

***BREAKING NEWS***BREAKING NEWS*** Overnight training agency RAID has issued the following statement; "RAID UK along with RAID International is excited and very proud to announce two of the most prominent UK diving educators have joined the RAID Team. We welcome Paul Haynes and Charles Hawkes to RAID and as RAID Instructor Trainers.

Paul Haynes, Haynes Marine, Royal Marine Commando, technical diver, RAID UK, RAID International, HMS Prince of Wales, Bell recovery, MoD, BSAC, PSAI, Rebreather Forum 3, Paul Toomer, James Rogers, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving PR, diving event management
Paul Haynes

Paul and Charles need no introduction to the dive world and their respective resumes read like an encyclopaedia of diving. For example, Paul first dived in 1989 while serving as a Royal Marine Commando and quickly developed a passion for sports diving. As Director of Haynes Marine (www.haynesmarine.com), a specialist diving consultancy, with a strong background in sport, occupational and military diving, he is an enormously experienced Technical diver. Known for his North Sea deep shipwreck exploration, amongst his other credentials, Paul holds several rebreather instructor trainer qualifications with BSAC and PSAI. He has worked on many diving expeditions including on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), the race to recover the ships bell from H.M.S. Prince of Wales, which was sunk in a depth of 75 meters / 225 feet in the South China Sea during WWII. Consequently Paul is a well sought after international speaker and because of his outstanding reputation within the Technical diving community and interpersonal skills, he will deliver an exceptional level of technical instructor development training for RAID UK and RAID generally.

On the other hand, Charles first started diving in 1976 in Fiji. He became a PADI instructor in 1986 and a PADI Course Director in 1998. He is a DSAT Tec Rec instructor Trainer. He also holds qualifications with DAN, TDI, ANDI, BSAC and IANTD. Charles has extensive dive retail experience, having managed and owned a busy five star IDC centre in Scotland for a number of years before becoming a freelance Course Director. More recently Charles has gained substantial experience working within the offshore and marine training industry, developing various training programmes and training systems including evaluating training techniques to include a variety of survival, marine, medical, radio and firefighting programmes.

Charles Hawks, RAID UK, PADI, DSAT Tec Rec Instructor, Paul Toomer, James Rogers, RAID International, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company,
Charles Hawks

Together Paul and Charles are proven people trainers with versatile skills in sales, marketing and communication. They bring unique training techniques to RAID’s growing online training platform and will work closely with RAID UK Directors James Rogers and Paul Toomer in educating divers and instructors to the RAID diver training system. Paul Haynes said; "The highly innovative approach to online learning and documentation management pioneered by RAID, combined with elevated diving standards, low carbon footprint and a comprehensive suite of training programmes offers divers and diving Instructors an exciting and progressively structured personal development path.  As a consequence I am delighted to be asked to join the RAID technical training management team and feel privileged to be part of what I feel is the most exciting development in the sport diving industry for a generation". Charles Hawkes said; “In the world of global training and instruction more and more industries are choosing computer based training systems for their in house and remote training programs. It is refreshing to see the way RAID have collaborated with industry experts to produced their suite of outstanding diver programmes. I’m looking forward to helping them roll out their refreshing ideas and concepts”. RAID International CEO, Jim Holliday, says, “We’re not going to brag about the achievements we’ve made at RAID in such a very short time since our relaunch earlier this year. We just want people to consider us as a serious alternative to other training agencies by taking a look at the quality of instructors, stores and diving personalities that have come on board since our relaunch. These highly creditable dive industry personalities know we have something special and I would like to personally add my congratulations and welcome Paul and Charles to our team”. Visit: www.diveraid.com

 

   

RAID International Hits the UK

RAID International is stepping up for its UK and Maltese members following the appointment of well-known dive industry personality; James Rogers to the position of RAID Distributor for the UK and Malta with responsibility for RAID business development in that region.

Based in Newcastle and London, from 1st June 2014, James has started to work alongside UK based and RAID International Training Director; Paul Toomer and the RAID International Team generally, to promote RAID globally, applying his wealth of expertise and experience to grow and advance the business of diving.

James Rogers_RAID International_Rosemary E Lunn_Roz Lunn_The Underwater Marketing Company_scuba diving PR_Paul Toomer_Terry Cummins_scuba diving training
James Rogers / Photo Credit: Rosemary E Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company

James started diving in 1991, with a Bristol based dive centre and joined PADI in 1993. In addition to being an Open Circuit Instructor, James qualified as a SCR Instructor in 1997. He worked extensively with Douglas Nash, former Vice President of Sales and Marketing for PADI UK to grow and advance the UK dive market. He served in various positions at PADI including Distribution Co-ordinator, Sales Consultant, Sales Manager, Director of Sales and Field Services and Director UK Business and as such worked directly with most UK dive centres.

James is also well known internationally. In his near 20 year tenure with PADI, James Rogers was a regular attendee at international functions including all the UK Dive Shows and DEMA.

RAID International Logo_Rosemary E Lunn_Roz Lunn_The Underwater Marketing CompanyRAID already leads the way with the first fully online training platform; however it’s the redesign of the RAID courses alongside the new executive and key staff acquisitions that is truly exciting for the industry. James said: “RAID is utilising best practises of diver education and delivers a full range of diver training courses in ways never seen before. Simply put, it’s a “must” explore situation for all Dive Centres. Remember RAID speaks to non-divers as only a purely B2C online business model can, and allows its Members to train divers professionally whilst strengthening, not weakening, the dive training experience”.

RAID has the philosophy to build its international and local teams with experience staff that know the business on the ground. So RAID executive now consist of individuals like James who have a wealth of industry understanding and personal energy to serve RAID customers and continue to improve the industry for everyone’s benefit.

Watch this space, more RAID news to follow soon. Remember, change is essential. Be unafRAID

SSI joins HEAD / MARES

SSI are proud to announce HEAD / MARES has signed an agreement to acquire Scuba Schools International (SSI). The effective date will be January 1st 2014.

In recent years, SSI has become one of the fastest growing training agencies in the world. Dive Centers and Resorts alike are turning to SSI for the depth and quality of their training materials, plus their “signature” business support. With more than 40 years of experience, innovative products like Swim, Freediving and Extended Range keep SSI in the forefront of both the active diver and new consumer. This is only possible through the SSI network of 2500 plus Dive Centers and Resorts around the world providing "The Ultimate Dive Experience!"

Mares logo, Doug McNeese, Robert Stoss, Gerald Skrobanek, MARES, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Paul ToomerLooking at the depth of the HEAD product lines, one is struck by the obvious. Not only is HEAD one of the leading manufacturers of many well known sporting goods brands, they also own MARES, one of the world’s 3 leading diving equipment brands. Their products are a perfect match with SSI – Swimming, Snorkeling, Freediving, Spearfishing and Scuba. With direct subsidiaries in most developed countries, MARES also has distributors in 50 other countries.

You are probably wondering how will this change affect me? The short and simple answer is – it won’t. Rest assured, SSI will continue to focus on its current Business Model – Swim, Snorkel and Scuba. MARES will continue to build high quality diving equipment. You can expect the same emphasis on building strong relationships with both companies and “even more” with SSI’s development and quest for creating the finest education system in the diving industry. All will be based on supporting you, the retailer and resort, promoting equipment sales, continuing education and travel.

SSI logo globe, Doug McNeese, Robert Stoss, Gerald Skrobanek, MARES, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Paul Toomer, RF3, Rebreather Forum 3, EUROTEKIf you are concerned how this will affect your relationship with your current manufacturer or training agency – please don’t. SSI will continue to maintain relationships with ALL major manufacturers, just like MARES will with all other training agencies. In other words, there is no obligation for a MARES dealer to do business with SSI or an SSI dealer to do business with MARES. But, what you can count on is there will be many new business opportunities for you.

In order to integrate these two businesses, this merger will trigger various organizational changes. Our goal is to make this transition as seamless for you, our customers. All will take time in order for us to make the “right” decisions. For your comfort, here are some details to ease your mind:

The entire SSI management team will remain in place and continue their daily responsibilities.

Both the SSI USA and SSI EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) offices will be maintained. Some operational and back office functions will be merged into the HEAD/MARES organization:

SSI USA will remain the Service Center for the USA and Canada.

We hope you are as excited about the future as we are and what this can do for both companies and more importantly – YOU! What we can promise is unequaled business support for our dive centers and professionals. This will remain the pillar of our business.

Bringing these 2 companies together represents a huge paradigm shift for the diving industry and a tremendous growth opportunity. Welcome to a new direction, SSI / MARES. Prepare to be amazed!

Sincerely,

Doug McNeese, SSI
Robert Stoss, SSI
Gerald Skrobanek, MARES