The watersports department at Beaches Turks and Caicos (BTC) was recently recognised by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) for its stellar performance in providing mentorship and diver training with over 25 years of membership in the association.
The BTC team in celebrating this momentous anniversary, simultaneously certified three Open Water Scuba Instructors (OWSI) to bring the cadre of resort instructors to 14.
BTC’s watersports department is provides diving enthusiasts with two scheduled dive trips per day and has increased the capacity of those exploring the open waters to almost 50 guests per day. Elvis Grant, dive shop manager was a happy leader as he shared the benefits of being recognised by PADI and the increase in the cadre of open water scuba instructors. Said Grant, “As a team, being able to provide diving opportunities for almost 50 guests each day will greatly enhance our scuba experiences.
"Many of our guests return for the fantastic diving expeditions available in the Turks & Caicos and for the open water scuba instructors to not only teach those exploring for the first time but also to work with more advanced divers, is part of our commitment to provide memorable vacation experiences.”
With the increase in the number of instructors, BTC which is currently an Instructor Development Centre (IDC) has been able to provide one course per year. Additionally, BTC is able to certify divers, by taking them from the beginners’ level to becoming an advanced scuba diver.
Grant who has more than 28 of years diving experience with Sandals and Beaches resorts sees a bright path for the newly minted instructors. “We are on the cusp of achieving what no other resort has been able to achieve in Turks and Caicos and the Northern Caribbean. Sandals and Beaches resorts have certified more people than any other single operation in the world. With us looking at becoming a Career Development Centre, we expect to be able to create an academy that will undoubtedly allow us to become the resort of choice for guests who have scuba activities as a preference,” Grant added. General Manager, James McAnally while congratulating the Watersports team shared, “this PADI Instructor Development Centre accreditation for 25 consistent years, makes us the only resort with such an accomplishment in the entire TCI and the Northern Caribbean.
"This is due to the hard work and commitment of the team. Commendations are in order for them in helping to maintain and establish BTC as the premier resort for guests who have an interest in scuba and other watersport-related activities. These men and women continue to give each guest more than what he or she expects.” The three newest members to become instructors; Arvin Frayna, Elisee Exumat, and Ruben Manzano all shared their commendations on the work of their colleague and mentor Leonard ‘Johnny’ Suckrajh, dive instructor at BTC, for helping them to be the professionals that they have become. Manzano said, “In October, we were able to certify almost 120 scuba divers. With the passion of each member of the team, we are able to commit to providing e a safe space for learning and becoming certified with PADI here at BTC.” “Our passion for growth in scuba goes beyond personal development at this level of being an instructor. We value our role as instructors, as we guide guests to experience advanced certifications and achieve new rankings while on vacation at the resort.
"As we grew in the industry, Johnny was the first person to guide all three of us to the experiences of scuba diving. As a resort, we live and grow as a team and with the training and development programme available, the opportunities to grow and experience our full potential is always within our reach,” Manzano added.
Michael Clarke, Sandals’ Corporate Director, Watersports and PADI Director shared, “The Sandals and Beaches brand offers so many possibilities from a watersports perspective and diving is just one of them. Our group has over 25 of the best, state-of-the-art dive boats in operation across the region and they are customized specifically for diving and making the entire process of moving equipment and accessibility easy for our guests.
"We also have 157 highly experienced diving instructors and, overall, almost 700 staff in watersports. Our guests keep coming back because of the service delivery backed by highly-trained staff, a high safety record, and top-tier equipment that we service. We are amassing over 89,000 dives yearly with over 27,000 persons and it shows that people really enjoy this. It speaks to the fact that we’re doing many things right.”