Over the years independent dive operators have promoted Papua New Guinea's dive tourism industry. In time, with the number of dive operations increasing, there arose a need for a central body, not only to co-ordinate industry activities, but also to act as a lobby group for operators' concerns. In 1995 the Papua New Guinea Divers' Association was incorporated.
In recognising the efforts of the industry, the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority granted funds allocated for general dive tourism, to the PNGDA. In January 1998 this assistance made possible the formation of the PNGDA Secretariat. It is through the Secretariat that activities such as overseas promotions, advertising, and co-ordination of environmental projects are carried out. The PNGDA Secretariat is today entirely funded through its own income sources, although it continues to work in close partnership with the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority on marketing and tourism development projects.
The PNGDA Executive Committee members are elected at the annual general meeting to serve for a period of two years.
Committee members for the period 2009 - 2011 are,
ENVIRONMENTAL MOORING PROGRAM
- President - Max Benjamin
- Vice President - Richard Knight
- Treasurer/Secretary - John Miller
- Southern Region Rep - Linda Honey
- Northern Region Rep - Yayoi Yamamoto
- Islands Region Rep - Dietmar Amon
In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, United Nations Development Program and the Seacology Foundation, the PNGDA initiated its Environmental Mooring Program. Two hydraulic drill rigs, a jackhammer and mooring pins were purchased. Purpose: to install permanent environmental moorings on all dive sites in Papua New Guinea. The moorings serve to eliminate damage caused by boat anchors on reefs. A hole is drilled into hard coral then a stainless steel pin is cemented into the hole. A chain with a float is then attached to the pin, allowing boats to tie onto the chain without dropping anchors.
Other facets of this program include awareness at primary and secondary schools, as well as joint efforts with non-governmental organisations concerned with marine conservation. As the need for more moorings continues to grow, Diversion Dive Travel, through the Coral Reef Alliance funding program, sponsored a second jackhammer.
Members of the PNGDA are ever conscious of the need to protect the marine environment and all operators exercise a very strict 'look but don't touch' policy. The Environmental Mooring Program is an on-going project. The Environment & Safety Fee (E&S Fee) helps to maintain our efforts to protect the unique marine biodiversity of Papua New Guinea.
The PNGDA continues to seek donor funding to sustain this program.ENVIRONMENT & SAFETY FEE
The Environment & Safety Fee has been established for two primary purposes:
- To ensure the continued availability of a hyperbaric recompression facility, help fund operating costs, training programs and to treat divers in Papua New Guinea .
- To sustain and expand the capacity of the PNG Divers Association to participate in a range of programs and activities in support of ensuring implementation of the Environmental Code of Ethics, and the protection and management of Papua New Guinea's unique marine bio-diversity.
The E&S Fee is US$4 or AU$5 per diver per day. The E&S Fee is NOT an insurance but rather an industry support fee.
Hyperbaric Health Australia (HHA) operates a Twin Lock unit to international guidelines. This facility is centrally located at Port Moresby Medical Services, with easy access to the country's major dive locations. Port Moresby Medical Services is a private hospital with in-patient facilities for continuous patient care. Port Moresby Medical Services also operates a medevac service ensuring prompt delivery of injured divers for immediate hyperbaric treatment. Evacuation with nursing support for injured diver stabilization and oxygen therapy is arranged using pressurized jet aircraft. As well as PNG, Hyperbaric Health operates chambers in Australia and other locations throughout the Pacific and Asia.
In the event of a diving accident patients are accepted for treatment and HHA takes responsibility for insurance billing instead of charging directly at the facility. In the absence of any insurance coverage, the patient will be required to provide a guarantee of payment for services, prior to any treatment being conducted.
PNGDA & HHA do not meet evacuation costs, which can be high. For this reason it is strongly recommended that divers in Papua New Guinea hold full medical and evacuation insurance.
The Papua New Guinea Divers Association thanks you for your support of the Environment & Safety Fee.