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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

The Big Shark Pledge: Shark Trust’s new campaign kicks off with a call for support

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With the ink still drying on last week’s landmark listing of nearly 100 species of sharks on Appendix II of CITES, the Shark Trust insists that this is not the time for shark conservation to take a break. The UK-based NGO this week launches its biggest-ever concerted campaign to tackle the overfishing of oceanic sharks. They are calling on people across the world to join the call for stricter controls on high seas fisheries.

The Big Shark Pledge is at the heart of an ambitious set of campaign actions. Working to secure science-based catch limits on all sharks and rays affected by the international high seas fishing fleet. The pledge will build the largest campaigning community in shark and ray conservation history to support a raft of policy actions over the vital years ahead.

Many of our best known and much-loved sharks make their home on the high seas. In our shared ocean, these oceanic sharks and rays face a very real threat from a huge international fleet of industrial-scale fishing vessels. Research published in early 2021 confirmed that over three-quarters of oceanic sharks and rays are now at risk of extinction due to the destructive impact of overfishing. They have declined by 71% over the last 50 years.

The Shark Trust is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and has a long history of securing positive changes for sharks, skates and rays. The Big Shark Pledge will build on the success of their NoLimits? campaign which underpinned landmark catch limits on Blue Sharks and Shortfin Mako in the North Atlantic.

While the listing of so many species on the CITES trade agreement is certainly a positive step, there remains a huge challenge in ensuring that sustainable practices are embedded in international fisheries.” says Shark Trust Director of conservation, Ali Hood. “Sharks on the high seas face extraordinary pressure from excessive fishing practices. This has to be addressed through international agreements such as those secured for Blues and makos.”

There is hope and a feeling of momentum in the shark conservation community. Just last week, in addition to the new CITES listings, the Shark Trust, working with partners in the Shark League, secured the first-ever international quota for South Atlantic Mako at ICCAT meeting in Portugal. The new campaign from the Shark Trust aims to push forwards from here, engaging a wave of support through the Big Shark Pledge to bolster policy action.

This will be a long-term international and collaborative effort. Forging a pathway to rebuild populations of high-seas sharks and rays. By putting science at the heart of shark conservation and fisheries management. And making the vital changes needed to set populations on the road to recovery.

Shark Trust CEO Paul Cox says of the Big Shark Pledge “It’s designed to give everyone who cares about the future of sharks the chance to add their voice to effective and proven conservation action. By adding their name to the Pledge, supporters will be given opportunities to apply pressure at key moments to influence change.

Click here to sign the Big Shark Pledge

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Gear News

Fourth Element X Sea Shepherd

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This year on Black Friday, fourth element announced their new partnership with Sea Shepherd, encouraging people to move away from mindless purchasing and to opt-in to supporting something powerful.

For 40 years Sea Shepherd, a leading non-profit organisation, has been patrolling the high seas with the sole mission to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. They work to defend all marine wildlife, from whales and dolphins, to sharks and rays, to fish and krill, without exception.

Inspired by Sea Shepherd’s mission, fourth element have created a collection of fourth element X Sea Shepherd limited edition products for ocean lovers and protectors, with 15% of every sale going to the Sea Shepherd fund to help continue to drive conservation efforts globally.

“Working with Sea Shepherd gives fourth element the opportunity to join forces with one of the largest active conservation organisations in the world to try to catalyse change in people’s attitudes and behaviour. Fourth Element’s products are designed, developed and packaged with the intention of minimising our impact on the ocean environment, and with this partnership, we will be supporting the work of Sea Shepherd, in particular in their work on dealing with the twin threats of Ghost fishing nets and plastic pollution.”

Jim Standing fourth element co-founder

Read fourth element’s Sea Shepherd Opinion Piece HERE

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