My best friend and mentor called. He was frustrated with folks not recognizing what a C-card or certification card is. He hears the term “PADI card” all the time. It frustrates me as well. This led into a discussion of what NAUI Instructors can do to assist building NAUI name recognition. After all, this is not only a responsibility of NAUI headquarters, it is a responsibility of all of our members. I have a couple suggestions of some things that we all can do.
While managing Ocean Divers in Key Largo for 15 years, I noticed that there were many folks who had never heard the term “C-card” or “certification card.” I realized that when they were trained they were never told that they would be receiving a “C-card” upon completion of training. They were told they would receive a “PADI card” or an “SSI card.”
I would then reeducate the diver to the fact that PADI or SSI was just one of many certification agencies, and the proper name for their card was C-Card or certification card. I also noticed some of my new hires did not know the terms either.
So this is a problem, and the question is, “How can we fix it?” The answer is not as easy as it may seem. It may take at least a generation of committed NAUI divers to make any kind of change. It is not easy because “self-respecting” NAUI Instructors, especially us old timers, don’t want to push NAUI down the throats of our students. I believe that it is time or past time to change the way we do things.
So why not push NAUI and the NAUI difference to our students? I am still reluctant to go to the extremes that the other guys do, but I think we can and should take a page out of their book. Step one is to push NAUI more heavily in our courses. Second, you as the Instructor teach your students the NAUI Difference in their training. Third, begin referring to their C-card/certification card as their “NAUI certification card” or “NAUI card” as their proof of training and certification.
What else can we do to increase our name recognition? I frequently hear from our membership that when they are at dive sites conducting training dives, folks come up and ask about what they were having the students do because they never learned that. A friend told me about another agency instructor asking him what he was teaching when he saw the NAUI students walking around a parking area with towels over their heads. It makes me wonder just how this guy became an instructor without ever seeing this technique to teach compass navigation. My friend was being recognized as different without saying anything. This is great, but it did not make much of an impact on name recognition.
I am challenging NAUI leader to purchase a NAUI banner if you do not have one and actually fly it high and proud everywhere you go with a group of divers. This includes resorts that you are going to. They will fly that flag from their boat, if they want your return business. Fly it high in your shop and in your classroom. If you have a flagpole fly the NAUI flag. Take photos of your trips and training and post them on your website, Facebook page, and other social media. Send the picture to each of your course participants and ask them to post it. When you do pool sessions and the pool is open to the public at the same time, fly the flag. If you set up a booth at any event, fly the flag.
We, as Instructors and members, can do some very simple things like teach the “NAUI card” concept and fly the flag at every opportunity. Get our NAUI members to start mixing up our own brand to serve our students.
Think about it.