Oceanworld Manly's Jade Hayes
As a 19 year old science major at Sydney University, Jade Hayes began working at Oceanworld. In a few short years she jumped from administrative assistant to human resources to general manager, acquiring a degree in Commerce along the way.
Our Manly: Shark Dive Extreme, convince me that is safe!
Jade Hayes: I wouldn’t let anybody go diving if it wasn’t! It’s not in the nature of grey nurse sharks to attack people. The thing you have to worry about the most is the turtles! They bite more than anything else. No, it’s perfectly safe.
O M: Even if you’re a beginner, you can learn to scuba dive and do a shark dive on the same day? That’s incredible?
J H: It’s not a certification, but we give you enough skills to get through the dive. We give you the basics. It’s only at a maximum of four metres. It’s not deep so it is very easy to get to somebody in trouble. But the divers do not let anybody in they are not 100% confident can get through it. The majority of all our customers are beginners.
O M: That must be pretty thrilling?
J H: Absolutely, and many of our customers go on to get certified afterwards. My first dive was a shark dive. And now I’m certified as well. Most of our staff is.
O M: Overnighters sound like a lot of fun?
J H: Oh yes. Most of the time they are on exclusive nights and you get the whole aquarium to yourself with a minimum group of 20 people. Guided tours, BBQ dinner, animal shows, and tunnel tours. But four times a year we do a family sleepover so if you can’t organize a group of 20 you can book as a single, a family or in groups up to 10.
O M: What’s your favorite thing about the aquarium at night?
J H: The quiet. It’s beautiful, the fish swimming around. Different than the chaos of school holidays!
O M: Do fish have personalities?
J H: (Laughs) We find all of our fish have personalities. We have a couple of octopi with amazing personalities. The turtles, in particular, are crazy. They really are. The stingray Tizzie, our biggest stingray, is a pig. Anytime someone gets in the water she comes up and gives them a massive cuddle.
O M: Are young people sufficiently prepared for the realities and responsibilities of climate change?
J H: Yes. We promote a strong conservation message here. Kids are more interested in the environment these days than when I was younger. Kids’ awareness is drawn to the oceans in a good way. It’s not just sharks and scary things. We have a kids club that teaches everything from the impact on our reefs, what happens when you pollute your local environment, to making your own small environment for animals at home with aquariums and reptile cages.
O M: What does Oceanworld do to be green?
J H: We recently replaced all of our lighting with special low wattage, environmentally friendly technology. We don’t give out plastic bags except for environmentally friendly eco bags. All our paper is recycled; we have taps with a spring in them so that they can’t be left running. We had a green audit done, calculating our carbon footprint. That provided so much information- our electricity use over the year, our travel, how many reams of paper we ordered, IT. Now we are in the process of neutralizing our carbon footprint.
O M: How does the internet affect your business?
J H: I spend half my day on the internet! I don’t know what I’d do without Google. Internally we use it as a great resource for learning. Externally, our website gets a lot of hits everyday. It’s great for us as a marketing tool.
O M: Do you miss Steve Irwin?
J H: I think everybody misses Steve Irwin.
If you've ever wanted to dive with huge grey nurse sharks, giant stingrays, sea turtles, wobbegong sharks, moray eels and a vast array of marine life visit Ocean World. And Our Manly congratulates Ocean World for its steps toward sustainability.