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Marine Life & Conservation

Ocean Frontiers Turning its Customers Green

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Dive Operator’s “Green Shorts Challenge” keeps guests coming back for more East End diving year after year

Ocean Frontiers staffers in company teal green swim shorts are a familiar fixture on Grand Cayman’s remote East End, manning the dive shop at the Compass Point Resort or driving the dive boats and guiding dives. Those signature Ocean Frontiers green shorts have become a “hot ticket” item and status symbol among the company’s die-hard customers. Guests can win their own pair of green shorts if they dive all 55 dive sites at East End first – it’s called the “Green Shorts Challenge”.

“My goal in starting the challenge was to get my customers interested in the diversity of diving on this side of the island because I thought some of them weren’t seeing it,” says Steve Broadbelt, co-owner of Ocean Frontiers. “This is a motivation for them and it’s working.”

“I have completed the Green Shorts Challenge – as a matter of fact, I’ve completed the 55 dives twice and am well on my way to the third,” says Cecilia Sharp, who with her husband, has been diving with Ocean Frontiers since 2007. “We basically eat, sleep and dive for our stays at Compass Point Resort – which may last from one to three weeks.  Rolling out of bed and walking to the boat is the best way to start any day on Grand Cayman.”

When a customer signs on for the Green Shorts Challenge, their dive history is recalled from Ocean Frontiers’ customized reservations system. The customer gets a printout of past dives to determine the dive sites they’ve visited and which dive sites they still need to dive.  The customer then receives a challenge punch card with the dive sites listed, and every time they complete a new dive their card gets punched.

Once the challenge is met and all 55 dive sites have been visited, there is a celebration at the Ocean Frontiers dock complete with champagne and cake. The customer then receives his or her own pair of personalized teal shorts, a gold medal with the ‘Challenge’ crest cast into it hanging from a teal green ribbon, and a bronze plaque with their name on the dive dock at Compass Point Resort. The guest then becomes a part of Ocean Frontiers’ dive history and they proudly wear their green shorts at Compass Point Resort.

“It is an elite crowd!” says Divemaster Brittainy Slade. “The Green Shorts challenge is exciting for the guests, it gives them an end goal, something to aspire to!”

Slade says Ocean Frontiers staffers also get excited when a challenge is about to be completed and the activity on the dive boats is upbeat. “We all work hard and pray to the weather gods so guests can complete those last sites – we like cake and champagne too! And the celebrations are fun for everyone.”

Steve Broadbelt estimates that it takes about five visits to the island for a guest to complete the Green Shorts Challenge.  Customers are signing up and returning to Grand Cayman, often twice a year, to dive those East End sites. More than 100 divers have completed the challenge since the Ocean Frontiers launched it two years ago.

“Even if they have been coming to Cayman for 10 years, we take them somewhere they’ve never been and we go out of our way to show them something they’ve never seen before,” he says. “Every day, every dive and every diver is unique and our goal is to know our divers and deliver the unexpected. Even seasoned divers are not beyond a ‘wow’ during one of our dives!”

Its this kind of attention to the customer’s dive experience that has made Ocean Frontiers a top dive operator. The company ranked highest in the Cayman Islands in the “Best Dive Operator” category of Scuba Diving’s 2014 Top 100 Readers Choice Awards.  Founded in 1996, Ocean Frontiers is also one of Cayman’s most conservation-minded dive operations. Turning customers green, not only means awarding them a pair of green shorts, it also means making them aware of Cayman’s marine environment. Dive masters not only show guests the vibrant reefs and marine life of East End, they are also good stewards who educate visitors about conservation.

“Working for Ocean Frontiers requires putting in that extra effort to provide the green shorts service that we are known for,” says divemaster Becca Nutsch. “Sometimes this means working a bit harder, but it definitely pays off, especially when you see customers come back time and time again.”

“We were drawn to Ocean Frontiers by the great reviews of the operation and the quiet side of the island,” says Cecelia Sharp. “The staff at Ocean Frontiers is like family to us and we are spoiled by their Green Shorts service.  No request is denied.  They anticipate our needs and strive to make every diver happy and safe on the boat and in the water.”

Steve Broadbelt says the Green Shorts Challenge has been a great incentive program for the company and almost 50% of Ocean Frontiers divers are now return guests.  Alumni help spread the word about this exciting dive challenge at East End. New customers also see what’s going on in the dive boats and they want to sign up too.

“It’s working,” he says. “They are buying those tickets and coming back.”

About Ocean Frontiers and Compass Point Dive Resort

Ocean Frontiers Dive Shop is located at Compass Point Dive Resort on the remote East End of Grand Cayman. Founded in 1996 with one dive boat and a dream to introduce divers to the wonders of East End diving, the company has grown into one of Cayman’s premier dive operations with a reputation for catering to small groups and having the island’s friendliest staff.  Ocean Frontiers is also recognized as one of the most conservation-minded dive operators in the Cayman Islands with a long history of promoting ocean protection through its company programs, and an unwavering support for outside environmental projects. The winner of Project AWARE’s Environmental Achievement Award in 2004 and 2010, Ocean Frontiers has again been recognized in 2012. The company also received the PADI Green Star Dive Center accreditation in 2012 for demonstrating a dedication to conservation, the first dive operator in the Cayman Islands to receive this distinction.

The Compass Point Dive Resort, which received the Green Globe Certification award in 2010 for sustainable tourism, is the epitome of laidback luxury. It features 28 luxurious one, two and three bedroom oceanfront, ocean view and poolside condominiums, each with its own private patio or balcony and all beautifully decorated with stylish island décor, and fully equipped with all of the comforts of home. Eagle Ray’s Dive Bar and Grill is now open for business at the resort.

 For more information:

Call Toll Free: 1 800-348-6096, Grand Cayman call +1 (345) 640 7500

E-mail: info@oceanfrontiers.com Website: www.oceanfrontiers.com

Facebook.com/caymanscubadiving

Twitter.com/oceanfrontiers

LinkedIn:  Ocean Frontiers

Marine Life & Conservation

Parineeti Chopra teams up with PADI to create Ocean Change

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PADI® is thrilled to announce an exceptional PADI AmbassaDiver™: Indian actress, singer and PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Parineeti Chopra.

“A PADI AmbassaDiver is someone who is passionate about using their force for good to encourage others to protect our blue planet,” says Kristin Valette Wirth, Chief Brand and Membership Officer. “We could not have found a more respected and authentic partner as Ms. Chopra, a long time ocean lover, to advance our shared mission of saving the ocean. She is unmatched as a shining example of how to protect what you love – and inspire others to do the same.”

Chopra, who has always loved the ocean, experienced the magic beneath the surface in 2013 when she took her first breath underwater in Bali. As soon as she surfaced from that dive, she was hooked – and protecting the ocean became very personal for her, receiving her PADI Open Water Diver certification later that year in Palau. Since then, she has inspired others around the world, from her family and friends to fans in India– to try scuba diving so they can join her in seeking adventure and saving the ocean.

“The first time I came up to the surface after diving, I was crying because it was such a life-changing experience,” says Ms. Chopra. “It is now something I can’t live without. I make sure I do a diving trip every three months despite my work schedule because it is my form of meditation. And it is the place I am immensely passionate about protecting.”

“We are all equal underwater and all speak the same language. Over the years I have seen the changes that have taken place beneath the surface. During my time as a brand ambassador for Tourism Australia, I witnessed the bleaching and damage that has occurred to the Great Barrier Reef.  I was so sad to see this and am now committed to being a diver with a purpose. I have also seen first-hand how marine reserves, like the ones in Sipadan, Malaysia and Palau, prove how valuable marine protected areas are. As a PADI Diver, I want to make sure that our entire blue planet gets the protection it deserves.” continues Ms. Chopra.

With over 67 million social media followers and having recently starred in the Netflix movie The Girl on the Train, Chopra joins an elite group of celebrity influencers determined to take personal action and create real change for healthier oceans. Spending nearly all her free time diving around the world, Chopra shares her love for the ocean with her fans, as diving is an important part of her life that allows her to return to nature and reset. She will work with PADI to encourage others to experience the beautiful world underwater as PADI Divers and join her in helping to achieve balance between humanity and the ocean.

“PADI created the AmbassaDiver programmeme to support extraordinary divers who dedicate their lives to illuminating the path that leads from curiosity, exploration, and discovery to understanding, stewardship and action. Ms. Chopra is playing a very important role in ocean conservation, lighting the way for others to become divers themselves and mobilising communities worldwide to seek adventure and save the ocean with her,” continues Valette Wirth.

Ms. Chopra has big plans for 2022 – including becoming a real-life PADI Mermaid and taking part in citizen science projects during her dive trips around the world. Follow Chopra’s dive adventures, projects and hands-on conservation efforts with PADI on her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

To learn more about Chopra and the rest of the PADI AmbassaDiver team visit www.padi.com/ambassadivers.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Ghost Fishing UK land the prize catch at the Fishing News Awards

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The charity Ghost Fishing UK was stunned to win the Sustainability Award.

The winners were selected by a panel of industry judges and the award recognises innovation and achievement in improving sustainability and environmental responsibility within the UK or Irish fishing industries in 2021.

Nominees must have demonstrated a unique and innovative response to an environmental sustainability issue within the UK or Irish industry, demonstrating that the project has gone above and beyond standard practice, and provided evidence of its impact. The judges look particularly for projects that have influenced a significant change in behaviour and/or that have inspired broader awareness and/or engagement.

Ghost Fishing UK originated in 2015, training voluntary scuba divers to survey and recover lost fishing gear, with the aim to either return it to the fishing industry or recycle it. The charity is run entirely by volunteers and has gone from strength to strength, only last year winning the Best Plastic Campaign at the Plastic Free Awards.

Now, the charity has also been recognised at seemingly the opposite end of the spectrum. This is a unique achievement as trustee Christine Grosart explains;

We have always held the belief that working with the fishing industry is far more productive than being against it, in terms of achieving our goals to reduce and remove lost fishing gear.

The positive response to our fisheries reporting system that we received from both the fishing industry and the marine environment sector, was evidence that working together delivers results.

The feedback we got from the awards evening and the two-day Scottish Skipper Expo where we had an exhibit the following day, was that the fishing industry despises lost fishing gear as much as we do and the fishers here are very rarely at fault. It is costly to them to lose gear and they will make every effort to get it back, but sometimes they can’t. That is where we come in, to try to help. Everyone wins, most of all the environment. You can’t ask for much more.”

Following the awards, Ghost Fishing UK held an exhibit at the Scottish Skipper expo at the new P&J Live exhibition centre in Aberdeen.

This gave us a fantastic opportunity to meet so many people in the fishing industry, all of whom were highly supportive of our work and wanted to help us in any way they could. This has opened so many opportunities for the charity and our wish list which has been on the slow burner for the last 7 years, was exceeded in just 3 days. We came away from the events exhausted, elated, humbled, grateful and most of all, excited.”

Trustee and Operations Officer, Fred Nunn, is in charge of the diving logistics such as arranging boats and organising the divers, who the charity trains in house, to give up their free time to volunteer.

He drove from Cornwall to attend the awards and the exhibition: “What a crazy and amazing few days up in Scotland! It was awesome to meet such a variety of different people throughout the industry, who are all looking at different ways of improving the sustainability and reduction of the environmental impact of the fishing industry.

It was exciting to have so many people from the fishing industry approaching us to find out more about what we do, but also what they could offer. Fishermen came to us with reports and offers of help, using their vessels and other exhibitors tried to find ways that their product or service could assist in our mission.”

  • Ghost Fishing UK uses hard boat charters from Cornwall to Scotland for the diving projects, paying it forward to the diving community.
  • The charity relies on reports of lost fishing gear from the diving and fishing community and to date has received well over 200 reports, culminating on over 150 survey and ghost gear recovery dives, amounting to over 1000 individual dives and diver hours by the volunteer team members.
  • You can find more information at ghostfishing.co.uk
  • If you are a fisher who knows of any lost fishing gear, you can report it to the charity here: ghostfishing.co.uk/fishermans-reporting
  • The charity is heading to Shetland for a week-long project in the summer of 2023. If you would like to support this project, please contact them at: info@ghostfishing.co.uk

Chair of Ghost Fishing UK and professional technical diving instructor Dr Richard Walker was immensely proud of the team’s achievements;

I’ve been a scuba diver since 1991 and have met thousands of divers in that time. I’d be hard pushed to think of one of them that wasn’t concerned about conservation of our marine environment. To be recognised by the fishing industry for our efforts in sustainability is a huge honour for us, and has encouraged our team to work even harder to find, survey and remove lost fishing gear from the seas. The fact that the fishing industry recognises our efforts, and appreciates our stance as a group that wants to work alongside them is one of the highlights of our charity’s history, and we look forward to building the relationship further.

To find out more about Ghost Fishing UK visit their website here.


All images: Ghost Fishing UK

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