Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - New divers who want a quick start on their dive training while on vacation in the Cayman Islands, or certified divers looking to sharpen scuba skills, will find a ready solution in 2014 with Red Sail Sports. To meet demand for saturated and immersed training programs, Grand Cayman’s leading resort dive operator is introducing 3-day courses that combine PADI Open Water Certification with two specialties: Enriched Air Nitrox and Peak Performance Buoyancy. Also added to the dive training program for certified divers is an Advanced Diver/Nitrox Combination course that can be done in two days.
“We know our guest’s time on Grand Cayman is limited and they want to make the most of it, so Red Sail Sports is being creative and accommodating. Our extensive dive training program and resources allows us to do this,” said Operations Manager Rod McDowall. “We want our new divers to enjoy a great experience in the island’s warm, clear water, and this will keep them coming back. That’s good for business.”
The Enriched Air Diver course is reportedly PADI’s most popular specialty course - Nitrox allows a diver to safely dive more often and for a longer period of time. McDowall says demand for Nitrox is a big motivation for adding the combo courses, and as is the wide use of dive computers, which allow divers to accurately track dive profiles. Both the Nitrox and Peak Performance Buoyancy specialties are easy to integrate with the open water certification in Red Sail Sports’ extensive dive training program.
The three combination courses require online theory work with PADI in advance of the trip. Once on Grand Cayman students undergo a quick eLearner review and then do three days of in-water training with Red Sail Sports, both from shore and from the dive boats, to complete their certification. To add a Nitrox specialty, the student is taught the basics of enriched air diving during the morning two-tank boat trip, and then does last open water checkout dive on Nitrox. An afternoon Nitrox classroom session is then done to complete the specialty certification.
The same basic schedule is followed for the Open Water Certification/ Peak Performance Buoyancy Combo, where a student works on breath control, proper weighting and streamlining – making them more comfortable in the water and a better, more confident diver. This specialty requires an extra dive on day 3 of training. The Advance Diver/Nitrox Combo involves 5 adventure dives over two days including; navigation, peak performance buoyancy, deep diving and Nitrox.
Red Sail Sports has certified an estimated 50,000 divers on Grand Cayman through its extensive dive training program and island-wide locations over the past 25 years. Dive Supervisor Clive Webb says the most popular courses are Open Water Certification, Advanced Diver and Nitrox.
“Last year we certified 11 Nitrox divers, and so far this year we have already certified 51, so 2014 looks exciting,” says Webb, adding that resident divers take advantage of living in a top dive destination. “Our courses for local residents have gone through the roof! Most Open Water classes are full, and we’ve had to add extras - our prices are so good that we have a constant stream of residents going through scuba training.”
“The Advanced and Nitrox combo course provided an extremely efficient way for me to complete two certifications in just one weekend,” said island resident Carrie Van Lier. “Not only did I save time and money, but I found that they complimented each other perfectly at my current level of diving education.”
The Open Water/Nitrox combo course is US $575; the Open Water/ Peak Performance Buoyancy combo course is US $550. Both fees include all equipment use, manuals, instruction and boat diving. A fee of US $138 must be paid directly to PADI for online theory work done before arrival in Grand Cayman. The Advanced/Nitrox e-learner course is US $475, and a US $130 fee must be paid directly to PADI for the e-learning portion.
Red Sail Sports operates full-service dive and watersports shops across Grand Cayman. Also available are glass-bottom boat trips to the Stingray Sandbar, Catamaran snorkel trips, sunset sails and dinner sails, and all the beach sports that include windsurfing, kayaking and more.
With four Red Sail Sports locations island-wide, and other perks, package adds depth, variety and a touch of class to a Grand Cayman dive vacation
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands – Trinity Caves on the West Wall, Eagle Ray Pass on the stunning North Wall, Grouper Grotto at remote East End, Stingray City in the North Sound − all iconic dive sites in the Cayman Islands − all available through Red Sail Sports in one dive package being offered for a limited time. The Ultimate Dive Stay and Play Package, with accommodations at the Westin Grand Cayman Resort on Seven Mile Beach, is an all-access pass to Grand Cayman’s best dive sites. With four convenient locations across the island Red Sail Sports is the only dive operator that lets guests choose which side of the island they want to dive on every day of their vacation.
Custom-built dive boats pull up directly on the beach at the Westin, to pick up guests for a short ride to the West Wall dive sites. North Wall dive trips depart from the nearby Red Sail Sports Dive Shop at the Safehaven Canal. Dive excursions to the remote East End dive sites begin with a check-in at the company’s dive shop at Morritts Tortuga Club. Guests can choose their dive trips when they book their dive package, and convenience is just one aspect of the whole Red Sail Sports dive experience.
“We take the comfort of our guests seriously so their ultimate dive experience also extends to the quality of our dive boats where they have plenty of room to walk around and enjoy themselves on the ride to the dive sites and during surface intervals,” says Red Sail Sports Operations Manager Rod McDowall. “Our customers are spending a considerable amount of money to travel to the Cayman Islands. Often this is their only dive trip of the year, so we don’t scrimp on the quality of our boats or service.”
McDowall says the quality of life is in the details, and this is something Red Sail Sports took into account in designing its dive boats. The decks are spacious and all boats include luxuries such as fresh-water shower, marine head (restroom), separate camera rinse-tank, dry-table and large dive platform for easy entry. The Red Sail Sports touch includes having cold drinking water available on board for guests and serving fresh fruit served between dives.
“All our dive boats were designed with a diver's needs and comforts in mind,” he says. “There are no small and cramped boats in our fleet, so our guests can enjoy of the fantastic diving that Cayman is famous for, and do it in comfort. This is what they are here for.”
Grand Cayman is one of the best-known dive destinations in the world, famous for its dramatic drop-offs, unspoiled coral reefs, abundant marine life, famous stingrays and shipwrecks. The water is warm and crystal clear year round.
The Ultimate Dive Stay and Play Package starts from $539 per person. The package includes 4 nights at the resort on Seven Mile Beach, 3 days of diving, free breakfast, a daily 2-tank dive, 50% off night dive, 50% off Stingray City Dive a FREE sunset sail aboard a luxury catamaran, 10% off at any of the island’s Shops of Red Sail Sports and 20% off watersports at any location, discounted rates on Nitrox tanks and BCD and regulator rentals. The package is also available with 5, 6 and 7 nights accommodation, or more. To add convenience and accessibility Red Sail Sports is also offering discounted car rental from Budget as an add-on perk. Rates are valid from now through December 20, and blackout dates apply.
To book or for more information on the Ultimate Dive Stay and Play Package visit us at BOOTH # 1255 during the DEMA show.
Red Sail Sports Grand Cayman offers exciting adventures for families with both divers and non-divers who want to splash into fun the summer
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, June 23, 2013 – Summer is in full swing and Red Sail Sports is geared up with a variety of watersports adventures for families who want to spend quality time together above and below the crystal clear waters of the Cayman Islands. Famous for its world-class dive sites, perfect weather conditions, impressive safety record and beautiful Seven Mile Beach, Cayman is the perfect place to bring the whole family on vacation, both divers and non-divers. This safe, English-speaking, British Territory is just an hour’s flight from Miami, and it offers top-notch hotels, resorts and condos. In no time, visitors are on the beach soaking up the sun or checking out dive gear for their first dive.
“We feel like we are back in our happy place, and we can’t wait to get down to the beach,” says regular visitor Julie Franken of Jacksonville FL. “From the minute we step off the plane and walk into the terminal, we have to pinch ourselves to believe that we are back and it that has already been a year.”
Franken is part of an extended family of 12 from Jacksonville, FL that vacations in Cayman every July, and they just enjoyed their 10th trip to the island. Matriarch Molly Johnson, her children and grandchildren gather at two family condos at Morritt’s Tortuga Club on Grand Cayman’s East End. Watersports activities with Red Sail Sports / Tortuga Divers are central to their plans because the family includes 6 certified divers and 6 non-divers who love spending time in the water.
“It has not occurred to us to go anywhere else because it’s just so perfect there. You can go and do anything you want to do, everything Cayman has to offer,” says Franken. “I just think East End is perfect for us - the beauty, the constant breeze, the sunrise, the stars at night – its almost as if you can touch the sky!”
“Making sure the whole family has a great time on Grand Cayman is a priority for Red Sail Sports and Tortuga Divers, it always has been,” said Rod McDowall Operations Manager. Red Sail Sports, parent company for Tortuga Divers based at Morritt’s Tortuga Club, has been offering first-rate dive services for 25 years. A number of scuba experiences are available for the whole family, whether they are certified to dive or not.
During the past 10 years, several members of the Johnson family have completed their Open Water certification in Cayman. A couple of the kids took the plunge this summer; 18 year old Mary Franken enrolled in a Learn to Dive Resort Course and her cousin, 8 year old sister Elena Rankin became a “bubblemaker”. As a resort student, Mary learned the basics of scuba in the swimming pool, got comfortable with the gear and then enjoyed two guided shallow dives in the sea with an instructor. Elena also learned scuba basics in the pool, and made a short dive in the shallow end with a dive instructor. Mary Franken is so excited about diving she plans to become a certified diver before next summer.
“These experiences are the perfect way to introduce kids to scuba and help them learn about the sea,” says McDowall. “Mary and Elena could be our future divers and the next generation of environmentalists.” He adds that Red Sail Sports also offers the SASY (Supplied Air Surface for Youth) program that allows kids to gear up and blow bubbles while swimming around on the surface of the pool, but just watching the action below.
Red Sail Sports operates dive and watersports shops across Grand Cayman, from Seven Mile Beach to East End to North Side, so no matter where guests stay on the island Red Sail Sports has their watersports needs covered. Families can enjoy glass-bottom boat trips to the Stingray Sandbar, Catamaran snorkel trips, sunset sails and dinner sails, and all the beach sports that include windsurfing, kayaking and more. A Waverunner Safari allows groups to take waverunners to snorkel spots on the reef or into the mangroves together. Cayman’s reefs are so diverse that each stop offers plenty of colorful and unique sights. A safari through the mangroves offers a close-up look at the ecosystem that keeps the water clean, protects the shoreline of the island and provides a nursery for young fish.
Julie Franken says they spend every day on “Cayman time”, whether they are diving and snorkeling Stingray City, exploring the Wreck of the Kittiwake, swimming at Smith Cove, or just hanging out together and relaxing on the beach. “We love sitting and watching the view of the ocean and the sound of the wind,” she says, “but a week is never enough. We are always talking about what we will do next year when we come back.”
“The Johnson family is a living example that ‘the family that plays together stays together,’” said Rod McDowall. “Red Sail Sports is here to make sure they make the most of their time together, so they go home with new memories to add to their long list of happy times in the Cayman Islands.”
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, July 15, 2013–– The Red Sail Group, an affiliation of companies, has donated CI$15’000 to support the efforts of Special Olympics Cayman Islands, otherwise known as SOCI. The donation will help support SOCI with its mission to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults.
The Red Sail Group has long been an advocate of the non-profit sports training program, which caters to athletes with intellectual disabilities from 8 years of age onwards. In fact, one of The Red Sail Group’s own employees is none other than Andrew Smilley, who won Gold in both the 200 meter individual medley and the 400 meter freestyle at the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Four years later, Andrew brought home Gold again, winning the 1.5-kilometer open water swim at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Greece.
“Special Olympics Cayman Islands is a great program and we are happy to be in a position to support the athletes in our community and across the country. SOCI is consistently providing these children, and adults alike with opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy; and The Red Sail Group is committed to encouraging their efforts”, said Rod McDowall, Operations Manager at The Red Sail Group.
Nick Freeland, Chairman of Special Olympics Cayman Islands, expressed his gratitude to The Red Sail Group for their generous donation.
“Without the support of companies such as The Red Sail Group, we in turn would not be able to support our amazing athletes. We strongly believe that with sports training and competition, these children and adults lead fuller, more self-sufficient lives, and are able to achieve success on and off the field of competition”, commented Mr. Freeland.
In addition to supporting Special Olympics Cayman Islands, The Red Sail Group also makes significant contributions to The Lighthouse School and various education programs in the community, through donations and employee volunteer programs.
Grand Cayman (09/12/12) - Several times a week, three children with special needs from the Lighthouse School are mounted on gentle horses at the Equestrian Centre on Linford Pierson Highway for therapeutic riding sessions, or equine therapy. During equine therapy the body of the child moves in a way that is similar to human walking; the horse moves rhythmically up and down; side to side; and back and forth in repetitive patterns. This movement improves the rider’s balance, muscle tone, and head and neck control. The children with autism are responding well to the therapy and enjoying time with their new four-legged friends.
“It calms them, helps them to follow direction, helps their posture and it builds their self-confidence,” said Olga Gourzong Deputy Principal of the Lighthouse School.
The kids are receiving this therapy through sponsorships by the Red Sail Group, affiliated companies under one umbrella. They include Red Sail Sports, The Rum Point Restaurant, Tortuga Divers, Caymed Plus, BBP Insurance, La Mer Spa and The Shops of Red Sail. Red Sail Sports has long been an advocate and supporter of the Lighthouse School, but Operations Manager Rod McDowall says as a group they can do more to help.
Olga Gourzong says that at CI $25 per student per riding session, the school cannot afford to pay for long-term horse therapy. If Red Sail had not stepped in to help, the children with autism would have had to do without this therapy from October through December.
“Red Sail is always a phone call away and they rescue us whenever all other doors are closed,” she said.
“The owners of the Red Sail Group of companies are happy we are in a position to make a small difference in the lives of these children,” replied Rod McDowall. The Group is also sponsoring daily meals for Lighthouse students whose families are unable to pay because of economic or social family issues.
What other things does Red Sail do to help the Lighthouse School?
“Too numerous to mention,” says Gourzong, but lists the following things the company does to help: sponsors students on overseas trips, donates uniforms; donates prizes; sponsors school lunches and snacks; donates funds to help buy school supplies; advocates for the Lighthouse School in the community and often acts as the school’s voice.
This type of assistance from the business community is vital for the school said the Deputy Principal of the Lighthouse School. Ideally she would like see other companies step up to help and follow the Red Sail Group’s example.
“This kind of support is important for the Lighthouse School because providing children with special needs with the different therapies and services is very costly, so community based organizations are a big help to us,” said Gourzong. “Most of our students are from families who are from very low socio economic backgrounds, so getting support from companies like the Red Sail Group improves our students quality of life immensely.”
“The decision to form the Red Sail Group was to combine our ability to more effectively promote each company every time we sponsored or donated to the community,” said Rod McDowall. “Also we believe we can make a more significant and impactful contribution to local community charities we select, be they the Special Olympics, the Lighthouse School, education programs, youth sports or other causes.”