How to Start Scuba Diving?

Updated: May 25

So you’ve decided to learn to scuba dive? Congratulations! This is by far one of the best decisions you’ll ever make, and will open up opportunities to explore a whole new world! But how do you start scuba diving? Just finding out your options and deciding on the right path can be confusing when you are new to it all. So we thought we’d make the process easier by putting all of the relevant information right here in one place for you!

Do you want to get certified?

If you are looking for a trial session, you can try diving on Koh Tao with a PADI Discover Scuba Diving program, which allows you to experience the underwater world in one day. Lead by a professional and experienced instructor at our PADI 5-star dive center within our dive resort on Koh Tao, this is the perfect way to start scuba diving if you don’t feel you want or need a full license. This is a great option if you don’t want to spend your valuable holiday time in a classroom, or if you don’t travel often and can’t see yourself being in any other scuba diving holiday destinations anytime soon. However, if you plan to keep it up and go on more diving holidays, Koh Tao is the best place to get your PADI Open Water Diver license. So you are in the right place!

medical check for learning to scuba dive

Are you medically fit for learning to scuba dive?

While most people have no issues, there are some medical conditions that can prevent you from learning to dive. Koh Tao has a surprisingly great medical network for such a small and remote island, however, there are not any specific dive physicians based here so it pays to get any potential issues checked in advance. In order to take part in any PADI diving courses on Koh Tao, you will be required to fill in a medical form. The form consists of a list of questions to which you simply indicate with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer, whether any of the conditions apply to you. If you have any ‘Yes’ answers, you’ll need to consult a physician prior to starting your course. Don’t panic though, a positive answer doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t dive, just that you’ll need to get checked out a bit more thoroughly to ensure that your Thailand diving holiday is safe and hassle-free.

snorkeling in koh tao in Thailand

Can you swim?

The PADI Open Water Diver course requires that participants are able to float/tread water for 10 minutes, unaided by any floatation devices. You also need to have some basic swimming skills and be able to complete a 200meter swim or 300meter snorkel. You do not need to be a strong swimmer, and swimming lessons are available on Koh Tao should you need a little extra training prior to getting started on your course with us.

Choosing the right course

Most new divers go for the PADI Open Water Diver course, the most popular diving course in Koh Tao, Thailand, and indeed the world! Depending on where you learn, the course structure will vary slightly. In Thailand, diving packages for certification courses typically run over 2-4 days. Here on Koh Tao, PADI Open Water courses with Coral Grand Divers run over 4 days in total, consisting of orientation at around 16:00 on day 1, followed by 2 full days, and one half-day on the final morning to complete your certification dives.

There are different ways to learn, and you don’t necessarily need to take time out of your holiday for classroom sessions. With PADI eLearning, you have the opportunity to complete the theory side of your course in advance so that all you need to do on arrival is the fun bit – the water sessions! It is even possible to complete your shallow water skills training sessions at home, and just complete your 4 certification dives on Koh Tao, therefore saving even more holiday time. Let us know if you’d like any further information on these options. Do bear in mind though, that to get the most out of your course and the caliber of training at our Koh Tao dive resort and PADI 5-star dive center, we do recommend taking the time to complete the course in full with one of our instructors if possible.

scuba diving in Koh Tao in Thailand

Choosing a dive school

Home to some of the best diving in Thailand, Koh Tao is a famous location to get your PADI Open Water license, and you’ll find no better option for Koh Tao dive courses than our PADI 5-star dive center. With great value diving packages, an idyllic location, heaps of experience, and incredibly high standards when it comes to all components of your training, there are so many reasons why you should get certified with Coral Grand Divers. Plus, thanks to the all year round diving season on Koh Tao, we can accommodate you at any time of year. So get in touch today to book your course and get scuba certified on Koh Tao!

Family considerations – age and depth restrictions

Learning to dive on Koh Tao is such a fantastic family-friendly experience - there’s nothing like exploring the underwater world together to develop and strengthen bonds with your loved ones. Between the Coral Grand Dive Resort in north Sairee and Montra Resort in Mae Haad, some fantastic family-friendly beachfront accommodation options for your Koh Tao dive package. For your family based diving activities, you do need to be aware of the differences between junior and adult certifications, however...

The minimum age for getting scuba certified is 10, but for Junior Open Water Divers aged 10 and 11, the maximum depth limit is 12meters, as opposed to 18meters with the full license. Divers aged 12 to 14 will still receive a Junior Open Water Diver card, but can already go to 18meters under the direct supervision of their PADI Instructor. For the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, the general depth limit is 30meters, however for junior divers aged 12 to 14, this is reduced to 21meters. 10 and 11 year olds are unable to take the whole Advanced Open Water Diver course due to the 12meter depth restriction, but they can still get involvedand complete the Adventure Diver certification.

deep dive in koa tao

Koh Tao scuba diving is some of the best in the world as most of the corals and fish are in the shallows, which is perfect for children’s dive courses so don’t let any depth limits put you off. Once a junior diver reaches the age of 15, the normal limits apply, and there is no need for any additional training – although you can request an updated card online through the PADI website if you wish.

diving computer

Scuba diving equipment

You don’t have to have your own set of scuba diving equipment to learn to dive on Koh Tao, as equipment hire is included in the cost of our dive packages. Koh Tao scuba diving courses tend to vary in the specific inclusions from dive center to dive center. At Coral Grand Divers we guarantee you’ll have everything you need, including the use of a dive computer throughout your course.

If you like diving it is a good idea to start investing in your own gear though, and while it may not be feasible to travel home with a full set of scuba diving equipment, you can start to build up your collection with smaller items first. A good quality mask and snorkel should be your first priority, followed by a diving computer and a set of fins. Our team of knowledgeable instructors at our PADI 5-star dive center are happy to advise you and help with your scuba shopping, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.

We hope this gives you all of the information you need as you begin your journey into the wonderful world of scuba! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or would like to book.

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