Frequently Asked Questions
We've compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about diving in Koh Tao and at Deep Dive Center Thailand!
How deep can recreational divers go when certified?
PADI Open Water dives can go to a maximum of 18 meters once certified. In order to gain a license to go deeper than this, you could do the PADI Advanced Open Water course to go to 30 meters, and a PADI Deep Specialty course to go to 40 meters. If you only have one day to dive, you could enjoy a Discover Scuba Diving program, which will take you to 12 meters, but will not result in a certification.
What is the minimum age for PADI scuba diving courses?
The minimum age for the PADI Open Water course is 10 years old. 10-14 year olds can achieve what’s called a Jr. Open Water certification, which will be to a maximum depth of 12 meters, but will automatically roll over into a full open water certification once the diver turns 15 years old. There is a program that exists in the pool only for 8-9 year olds, called the “PADI Bubblemaker” course, which is a great way for someone younger to experience the equipment and the feeling of being underwater.
The PADI Freediver course requires you to be 12 years of age, and other more advanced specialty courses require you to be 18 years of age. In order to become a PADI professional like Divemaster or Instructor, you will have to be 18 years of age.
What equipment is used in Scuba Diving?
Scuba diving utilizes basic equipment like your regulator, which allows you to breathe underwater. You will generally have two different regulators to breathe from, one used as a backup. And you will also have a device that allows you to monitor your depth. Also there is a low pressure inflator hose also attached to your regulator that allows you to send air to your BCD, your buoyancy control device. This BCD, is a jacket you wear that inflates using air from your tank, attaches to your tank, and can also hold your other diving trinkets.
You will also use fins while diving, a very useful swimming aid.
You will use weights and weight belts to make sure you are neutrally buoyant while diving for maximum efficiency!
Finally you will use a diving mask and snorkel so you can properly see underwater! All diving masks will include a nose pocket, allowing you to put air into your mask to keep it from squeezing on your face.
Other equipment might include a wetsuit to keep you warmer while diving, a diving computer to monitor your depth and time limits, a surface signaling device, a whistle, a dive knife, and various other accessories.
Do I need to be a strong swimmer to scuba dive?
Not everyone who scuba dives is a strong swimmer. However it is recommended to be comfortable in the water. In order to pass your PADI Open Water certification there is a swim test, and a float test. You can practice with your instructor and learn to get better! Note that you will be using a BCD and fins while diving, which will help you feel more comfortable and capable while diving.
Can I dive if I have a medical condition, and which ones prevent me from diving entirely?
We are not doctors, but in most cases, a medical condition will not prevent you from diving. Though you are advised to speak to a doctor to make sure this is the case. Any prescription you take or condition you have might be affected by the pressure of diving and the activity itself. In most cases you will need a doctor’s note in order to dive with anything moderately serious.
That being said, if you have asthma, a severe heart condition, suffer from blackouts or serious migraines, or recently had ear surgery, you will not be able to dive for safety reasons.
How long does it take to get certified as a PADI Open Water diver?
The PADI Open Water course is three and half days here at our dive center. When you arrive at the resort, you can check in with our dive center, and fill out the necessary paperwork and receive your course materials. There will be some course/homework the first day!
The PADI Course consists of academics, a confined (pool) session, and four open water dives.
Day 2 after your arrival you will complete the academics and possibly your final exam, as well as enjoying a nice healthy swimming pool session.
Day 3 you will complete any necessary swimming pool skills not yet done, and start diving in the ocean, for Open Water Dives 1+2, to a maximum depth of 12 meters.
Day 4 you will complete your Open Water dives 3+4 to a maximum depth of 18 meters. You will finish all remaining course skills this day, log your dives with your instructor, and celebrate being an Open Water Diver!
Once you are a certified diver, you can fun dive all over the world, as the PADI Open Water certificaiton is universally recognized and accepted as proof of training.
How much does the PADI Open Water diving certification cost?
The PADI Open Water course costs 11,000 THB and includes all equipment and course materials, as well as the cost of certification. The price is all inclusive. Click here for more course information.
Are there different types of PADI scuba diving certifications?
Yes there are! For starters there is the PADI Open Water Course which is the basic, entry level certification. From there you could do your PADI Advanced Open Water Course, which will take you to 30 meters! You could then move on to become a PADI Rescuse Diver! And beyond this there are a huge variety of PADI Specialty diving courses, like the PADI Enriched Air/Nitrox, PADI Deep Diver, and PADI Wreck Diver. and pro-level courses such as PADI Divemaster or even PADI Instructor. There is always more to learn and more kinds of diving to do!
What is the best time of year for scuba diving in Thailand?
Just kidding. Diving in March is great! But you can dive in Koh Tao year round. We wrote a bit about the seasons of Koh Tao on our blog. The weather can be a bit random, and even in our monsoon season we have days with great weather and visibility!
What marine life can I expect to see while scuba diving on Koh Tao?
Koh Tao has tons of beautiful fish and coral life. Too many to name! But the coral reefs are in great shape. You will see tons tropical fish such as the parrot fish, batfish, yellow box fish, seargant major fish, groupers, triggerfish, moray eels, turtles, pufferfish, barracuda, crocodile needlefish, angelfish, and various other kinds of smaller fish. You might also be lucky enough to see a Whale Shark!
Can I dive if I wear contact lenses or glasses?
Yes, absolutely. Some people wear contacts while diving, but there are also special masks for various prescription levels you can wear.
What are the environmental concerns regarding diving with marine life?
Take only pictures, leave only bubbles! You don’t want to disturb the marine environment. Not only do we want to preserve it for other people/divers, but we also want to be careful not to hurt ourself! Diving in Koh Tao is very safe, but occasionally there will be a kind of fish that has some toxin in it, that will make you swell up or itch uncomfortably. You wouldn’t want that!
Can I use my PADI certification from Thailand to dive in other parts of the world?
Yes! A PADI diving certification is recognized worldwide. One reason we have a standardized course is so that everywhere you go in the world, all dive centers will be clear what you have done and the skills you have completed. This way they can be comfortable continuing your education as well as taking you out diving to various depth limits.
What dive sites do you go to on Koh Tao?
All of them! Koh Tao has about 20-25 dive sites of various depths. Some are great for beginners, while others are great for more advanced divers. We also have a number of shipwrecks all over the island to enjoy! Famous sites include: Twins Pinnacles, Japanese Gardens, Mango Bay, Lighthouse Bay, Hin Wong Bay, Aow Leuk, Tanote Bay, Shark Island, Southwest Pinnacle, Chumpon Pinnacle, the HTMS Sattakut Wreck, Junkyard Reef, Green Rock, Red Rock, and Lam Thein caves.
Can I dive without a license?
Yes. There is a one day try dive experience known as a ‘Discover Scuba Dive,’ also called a DSD! (Scuba divers love their acronyms!) In this one day experience you will learn the very basics of diving in the classroom in the morning, then head out to the swimming pool to try out the gear and get comfortable. After a lunchbreak, you will go to the ocean for two dives with you instructor, to a maximum depth of 12 meters at a shallow dive site suitable for beginners. This is a great way to try out diving without a certification in one day! Though this will not result in any sort of diving license. For this you would need to complete the PADI Open Water Course!
What is freediving and how does it work?
Freediving is diving without a tank! Using specialized gear and relaxation and breathing techniques, you can learn how to go as deep as scuba divers, if not deeper, using only a single breath! Freedivers use special masks, fins, weight belts, and diving masks for this purpose. Its amazing after some time how much you can challenge yourself physically and mentally with freediving.
There are various disciplines of freediving, including static apnea (breath holding), dynamic apnea (swimming underwater in a swimming pool for as long as you can), and different kinds of open water depth dives: constant weight with fins (CWF), and free immersion diving, both to travel deep in the ocean on a single breath.
PADI now offers a line of freediving courses from beginner to pro! It is a very rewarding experience and is highly recommended! Check out the PADI Freediver Course today!
How do you become a dive instructor/professional?
In order to become a dive pro, you’ll first need to complete a few dive courses and have experience diving. The first professional level to work in the industry is PADI Divemaster. The requirements for this course are:
-Be an Open Water Diver / Advanced Open Water Diver / Rescue Diver
-Be EFR certified (this is for first aid and CPR, and there are some equivalent certifications which also apply)
-Complete 40 logged dives.
In order to complete the PADI Divemaster course you must complete a number of workshops, course assists, and exams, as well as completing 60 dives.
Once you are a PADI Divemaster, you may then complete an instructor development course moving forward to become an instructor!
How do I get to Koh Tao?
Koh Tao is in the south of Thailand. There are multiple ways to get here.
First, you could fly to Koh Samui, Chumpon, or Surat Thani. From there you could take a ferry boat to Koh Tao.
Otherwise you could take a bus or train to Chumpon or Surat Thani, then take a ferry over to Koh Tao.
There are multiple ferry companies that will help you get here. The most popular is the Lomprayah speedboat. This will travel to Koh Tao from Chumpon, Surat Thani, and the neighboring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. There are also other ferry companies like the Seatran or Songserm which can also get you here at a cheaper price but will take slightly longer on the ocean.
Finally there are night ferries leaving from Chumpon or Surat Thani where you can sleep overnight, and arrive in the early morning!
Most travel agents in Bangkok will be able to arrange a transportation package for your journey at a reasonable cost. This might be a bus/ferry ticket, or a night train/ferry ticket.
If you are very ambitious you could pilot your hot air balloon or sky dive onto the island, but your aim must and navigation must be very precise!
What is the difference between PADI and SSI?
PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and SSI (Scuba Schools International) are both globally recognized scuba diving training organizations. PADI is known for its structured approach, standardized curriculum, and widely accepted certifications. It emphasizes traditional materials and offers a comprehensive range of courses, making it a popular choice globally. PADI is often preferred in certain regions and is known for its strong presence in both recreational and technical diving. PADI is also the most popular diving training organization in the world.
How long after diving can I fly on an airplane?
During the PADI course you will be told that you should wait 12 hours after a single no-decompression dive, and 18 hours after multiple no-decompression dives.
Some people will tell you that the general guideline is to wait at least 24 hours after multiple dives before flying to be safe and conservative.