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Second Life : Virtually PADI? Or Virtually Stupid?

Posted by Scuba Herald on Sep 10th, 2007 and filed under PADI News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

So we get the whole idea of E-learning.
You connect your PC, you get information about how to dive, you do your little knowledge reviews and then you arrive to the dive center ready to dive…. right? Yep, bye bye the personal contact with an experienced instructor… who needs that? No one. We are too busy… we want things fast and we want them now!

At ScubaHerald we accept technology, hey, this is an online media… so in theory we are supposed to be tech junkies… that’s why we decided to go the painful way, we decided to visit PADI IDC virtual Island.

First Step: download Secondlife game – go to the kitchen and have a long cup of tea…. yes my friends, that is the first step. To download a long and heavy game that in theory you should not have in your PC unless you are an online reality freak. … so you download the game, you install it and you get ready to join a virtual world where it is easy to get confused or find where to go or what do to. But hey, who cares? This is the world of PADI Virtual Island… where everything is so easy….

First thing create your Character….

NAME: ScubaMaster LAST NAME: Rosca

After over 30 minutes of misses and tries, we finally find our way around this virtual messy universe, where a teletransport system (obviously! Tele transport, how did we missed this before!) will take us anywhere in the Second Life universe.

Ok, so we type PADI and here we begin the PADI world downfall. First surprise: PADI Isand is not the first result provided…. ohh… no, it seems users with the name PADI are hundreds, so finding the PADI island keeps getting a harder per minute.

But, it is not time to fail, let’s keep trying….

P…A…. D … I … we try to find a place called PADI Island…

(so after a few minutes … we finally find the Island… ) and like any virtual diver the Teletransporter will take us flying to the PADI Virtual HQ (Mmm what happens if you virtually fly after a virtual dive?? ).

So as soon as we arrive our journalist ScubaMaster Rosca, gets ambushed by marketing signs everywhere. Why Dive? Go Pro! Continuing Education etc..
The place looks great I have to confess, very clean, very “AT PADI WE DO THINGS BIG” , very organized… and also very empty.

OK yes my PADI members and PADI fanatics out there, I have to be honest, this is my second time in this Second Life messy place, and I still don’t find any virtual soul here, no one to chat to… no one to tell me about how great diving with PADI is.

Where are all the guys from PADI???

Where are all the young models from the Open water Video? Where is Jessica Alba? Mmm I’m confused. I feel alone. Alone on a virtual diving island, with no dive sites to dive, with no virtual divers to do safety checks, with no virtual PADI dive centers to take me virtually diving … (did I mention Virtual enough times?)

So what is the point of this new marketing strategy? Where are all my virtual buddies? Where are all the divers talking about their diving experiences? Maybe in the virtual PADI tavern (Is there something like that in Second Life?)?

ScubaMaster Roca hung around 20 minutes in the building, and the idea is quite cool for the first 2 minutes, (and only if you achieve to find the place) , but then whole virtual experience becomes virtually stupid. Ok, don’t crucify me yet if you are a hardcore virtual addict, but… what is the whole idea? I know… to reach new markets… to reach the generation X that all the dive industry is trying to reach…. but the funny thing is : there is no-one out there….!
There is not one soul.,.. non even a virtual ghost…. the place seems like a virtual mental hospital…too plain… too plastic… too dam boring… even the videos that are supposed to attract you, seem like standard publicity of your local BANK.

So PADI Virtual Island was virtually a pain…. so far the island hasn’t attracted more than 400 virtual visitors since its creation.., and it seems amazing that PADI want’s to resell marketing in this virtual desert to other dive centers (Join now! Reach thousands of members! – is that the slogan?).

So from my little corner I wonder today: Aren’t divers people that enjoy the outdoors? Or are divers silicon valley rat labs? How many of you out there have a second life in a virtual game??? Well, if you are a Second Life addict, may be you want to sell your dive gear and buy some virtual scuba tanks and go as deep as you can, because this is Second Life.

You can’t virtually bend … but you can always pay some extra dollars to PADI, in the real world, or in the strange world of Virtual stupidity.

So stop reading this, run away from the temptation of downloading this time wasting game, turn off your PC, call your friends, book a dive holiday today, and forget about any second lifes, there are no second chances, you only have one life, and it is short… dive more… waste less time… live better…

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9 Responses for “Second Life : Virtually PADI? Or Virtually Stupid?”

  1. Peter Hardy says:

    I know your article was written a little while ago; however, PADI has done a wonderful job and creating the island over time. They have added things like scuba gear retal, an orientation to SL and even a simple second life account creation that takes you straight to there island (; this was something that you were very critical of in your article that they hve addressed. I’ve also met a few divers from around the world and chatted with them; something that I can not do on your site. Promote diving and encourage people to become divers… don’t dis it. It is a great to see someone who has just earned their opwn water strips.

    Well I suppose just like your website, PADI is attracting divers and non-divers and building a communitly that reaches out to everybody and communicates to them in a way that they desire (especially Gen Y). I’ve seen PADI on My Space, Facebook, Second Life and also going the eLearning route. While this may not be for everybody, it does reach out to those that do not read traditional media or advertising.

    I have also noticed after logining into My PADI that their are more than 220,000 divers that have signed up and have registered more than 100,000 dives.

    I only hope that they keep it up.

    Hats off to them in leading the industry and for keeping divers interested in diving.

  2. Shawn says:

    I wonder if this might not take off this winter (2008) for divers in northern latitudes who, for whatever reason, can’t book that dive vacation.. I’m in Hawaii and work in the dive industry so I pretty much doubt I’ll be running around PADI Island when I can just got out my door. Although, I am sure I’ll check it out and see what it can do for marketing the store I work at.

  3. Snowshift says:

    Your article is offbase, as Peter Hardy points out above, so far offbase, you might want to consider withdrawing it. SCUBA is widely known and appreciated in Second Life. Most of my friends — non-SCUBA people in reality — have done it in Second Life. In fact, I’m putting in a SCUBA area on my property. It’s a unique alternative to the endless dance and sex clubs.

    As with most Second Life activites, it’s not intended to readily appeal to visitors who pop in to Second Life to “see what it’s all about”. You need to buy the equipment (already a show-stopper for most new people, who generally don’t buy anything their first days). Even with thousands of people online, there are many places where you won’t find anybody. Most stores do not have full time salespeople — one usually learns what SCUBA to buy, and where to buy from Second Life friends.

    SCUBA is workable now, but the potential is huge. Second Life is just now starting to have somewhat realistic undersea plants and animals. With larger areas to swim, with more realism — people would spend hours diving on a regular basis.

  4. Scuba Herald says:

    Mmm snowshif…. thanks for your comment. I still think that Second Life + Virtual Scuba diving = Virtual loosers.

    And mmmm no. We are not withdrawing any post.

    Good luck with realist undersea virtual narcosis. LOL.

  5. Scubadude57 says:

    I agree with Peter and Snowshift, I don’t see what you’re basing the article on. Scuba is very popular in SL, in the 8 days since I started, I’ve seen at least 200 people at Dive World. Your issue with not seeing any PADI people there can be answered simply, the island is ran by a team of 3 people. If you would have joined the PADI group there, you would have found over 2000 people who are willing to help. I live in Ohio, so I can’t dive for most of the year and an expierience like this is great for someone like me. Lastly, what could have made you think that it was a good idea to insult your readers?

  6. This is just too weird. Virtual scuba seems so silly I don’t know where to start so I won’t. Instead I’ll go take a real dive off the beach here and see if I can find a giant honeycomb whipray for a REAL buzz.

  7. DivinDusty says:

    I know that this is late but I know i would never trust anyone who said they got their scuba certification online that is just ridiculous. They could have just as easy sat through the the whole thing and not paid attention to any of it. We had a hard enough time keeping the people in class awake. I don’t see this making safe and responsible divers anytime soon. If you ask me your better off going to a “zero to hero” program at least that you get hands on instead of just theory.

  8. Isn’t diving suppose to be about diving and not spending time in your computer? pretty stupid if you ask me…

  9. Louravai says:


    1st, sorry for my english,…

    just here to talk about Dive Simulation, Virtual Dive and Virtual Worlds. I am involved in building Scuba gear or other accessories to “play the diver” in Second Life or in OpenSIM for exemple. Since years, i traval in different international showrooms, I am diver, off course… And my experience show that divers are really strange people… They all think that Virtaul Dive is here to replace Real Scuba Diving…

    Do you think that Plane Pilots are saying that flight simulator is for virtual loosers, or that it’s better to fly “In Real Life” than on a computer … no, they dont, because, like for scuba diving, flying and virtual flying are 2 different things… The second one is not here to replace the 1st one, they are just complementary things, for those who WANT to use it…

    Second Life, or any other Virtual World, cant be used in one minute “click and go”, they are not a software, they are communication tools, community tools, and collaborative platforms… There, you can see how a dive computer works, in real time, for example, you can find info, share info, etc … Virtual Worlds are not the Dive Spot where we will have our amazing sensations or discover incredible hidden little sealife details underwater. They are the place where we will be able to share what we saw in Real Life, collaborate and also the place where we can show to NON DIVERS what is the way to act and interact with the sea life, to protect it. Thats also a great tool for real life photo exhibits, show toom, etc, to give the opportunity to people far from the coasts, to share a bit of the beauty that, we, divers, are lucky to approach…

    Virtual Worlds are like the TV, the RADIO, the WEB Sites, they are a media, with this little detail behind the scene : the avatar’s pupeteers are MEN and WOMEN, with who you can talk live, and share things…

    Belive it or not, i am the 1st surprized, but so happy, people wrote me notes in Second Life to tell me they played scuba diving with a virtual scuba gear, and then, a few months later, they did it for real because their virtual visit was like a trigger for real life testting … Amazing, but so nice to hear this …

    BUt i am happy to see that we have actually the same critics about Virtual Worlds that we had for the Phone, the Internet, etc .. years ago.. So, i bet we are on the good way to have those worlds as new standard in communication. May be not Second Life or opensim, but people will use this… Do you know many people that could have believe you 20 years ago if someone have told “My 4 years son is talking on video with his grandfather”… I was using video conferences 21 years ago on my home computer, with a 33k connection, and people were saying “too difficult, people will never use this, to hard to install, no use, better see people for real than in a screen…”. Do you think kids are not seing their grand parents for real now, because we have webcams embedded in all laptops ?

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