The Open Water diving certification is the first training you'll receive in your diving journey. You may not have been underwater before, but that's exactly what the open water course is designed for - complete beginners. You'll start in the pool and progress to the ocean and you'll be surprised how much you learn during this course. Make your next trip to Thailand worthwhile and learn something while you are there.
The course lasts for 3 or 4 days (If you book online in advance we'll send you the course materials on our app before you arrive)
On day one you'll meet your dive instructor and the others in your group. We'll show you around our facilities and get you sized up for equipment. We'll get you to fill out a medical to find out if you are fit for diving and you'll get some homework to do if you haven't already started the course online.
On day two we'll get you in at 10am and your instructor will go through the open water diver manual and discuss any questions you got wrong. The instructor will also familiarise you with the scuba equipment and show you how to set it up for your dives.
At around 12 you'll go to our specially designed training pool where you'll learn all the skills required to become an independent diver. You'll start in shallow water and perform some simple skills neutrally buoyant underwater. You'll then move deeper and perform emergency skills and practice your buoyancy. This part of the course is where you learn to dive.
On day 3 you're academic training starts at 10.30 followed by your first two dives in the ocean. You'll put into practice what you learned in the pool training and your instructor will watch your underwater skills and let you know if there is anything you need to improve.
Day 4 - Boat Diving - 6.45am - Dive 3 & 4 - Best Sites
This is the last morning of the course and we meet early to move the boat to deeper dive sites where you can see the reef full of marine life. You'll be finished around 12.30 so you'll be in plenty of time to leave Koh Tao on the 3pm ferry, but we are sure you'll want to stay and do the advanced courses, so don't book anything yet.
To start with, it's fun. There are all sorts of reasons why people love to dive and have been known to spend thousands of dollars on just a single diving trip. But aside from the money, diving teaches you about the world around you. When you dive you become a part of the ecosystem, and that is a lot of fun. Not only that but scuba diving is a great way to see the world from a whole new perspective. And that is something that every diver wants. You get to see things up close that you couldn't possibly imagine seeing if you were just looking down from above. So whether you're into sports, adventure, nature, the ocean, wildlife, or simply want to explore more about yourself, take a scuba diving course.
When you learn how to scuba dive you will experience the beauty of underwater worlds. A scuba diving course will teach you the basic skills required to safely scuba dive. These include how to breathe underwater, how to use scuba equipment, how to swim, how to avoid hazards, and how to properly dive. It's a lot of fun, so join a scuba diving course and you'll learn a lot. In order to be able to do a scuba diving course, you first need to decide what kind of diving you want to do. You can do snorkeling, wreck diving, open water, night diving, cave diving, etc. Each one has different requirements. For example, a cave diver needs to be very careful because there can be many hazards in caves. You must use special equipment to survive in caves. Also, it is important to stay calm and cool when you are in a cave. Cave divers need to have some experience and training in caves, so that they can protect themselves in the cave.
The PADI scuba agency was the first certifying agency in the world and the brand name is recognised worldwide. It's like when you say you are Hoovering the carpet. You are actually Vacuuming the carpet. The same goes with PADI. You are not doing your PADI, you are doing your open water course. So is there any difference between PADI and RAID? Sure, their teaching methods are slightly different, but at the end of the course you will still be certified to 18m anywhere in the world (actually with RAID you'll be certified to 20m) and that's because both PADI and RAID work under the framework of the WRSTC (World Recreational Scuba Training Council). This means that your RAID certification would be good if you wanted to complete your Advanced Course in a PADI dive center and vice versa. The only time you really need to consider if you want to be a PADI or a RAID diver is at professional level since only RAID instructors can teach RAID and only PADI instructors can teach PADI.
PADI - The Professional Association of Dive Instructors was formed in 1966 by a scuba equipment salesman and a swimming instructor who grew it into a worldwide recognised brand. They are transitioning into the digital age by offering some of their courses online.
RAID - The Rebreather Association of Divers was formed originally to train divers in the use of rebreather units, but quickly expanded to include recreational diving courses. Their president is a former director at SSI. They are the only dive agency that is 100% online meaning their impact on the environment is minimal. No paper textbooks and no plastic cards. Everything is hosted online.
In a word, no. The PADI open water course is not better. It's almost exactly the same with some subtle differences. RAID teach their open water course in neutral buoyancy which is the state that one should be in when scuba diving. PADI teach their skills at the bottom which is easier, but it doesn't necessarily make better divers. PADI is lagging a little behind SSI and RAID when it comes to their transition to digital, so expect to have to buy the PADI open water manual as part of your certification.
Other scuba diving courses you can take after the open water diver course include the Advanced Course (PADI) or Explorer 30 Course (RAID). These are essentially the same course. RAID also offers the Advanced 35 course which unlike the PADI course it will take you to 35 meters instead of 30.
Koh Tao might be the best place in the world to take the open water diver course and other diving courses. Why? There are a few reasons. First, Koh Tao's main industry is Scuba Diving and with around 80 dive schools the competition is high. That drives standards up, so if you learn to scuba dive in Koh Tao you are guaranteed to have a good level of training. Another reason is that Koh Tao is open all-year-round and that's because the island is so mountainous. If the waves are high and the water is rough on one side of the island the dive boats simply move to the other side where they find calm clear waters close to the beach that are perfect for teaching the dive courses.
Another great reason to learn in Koh Tao is the accommodation options that are suitable to all budgets. Expect to get a room for as little as 150 Baht. For this budget you'll get a bed in a hostel with nice facilities, but you can find other big comfortable AC rooms for around 500 baht so if you are travelling with a mate this can also be a good option. If you are travelling alone and opt for a dorm accommodation you'll be sure to meet like-minded people. In fact it'll be full of people who are diving.
On the third afternoon you'll be going to the ocean to complete your first two open water dives. On the first dive your instructor will be checking to see if you are putting what you learned in the pool into action. They'll be checking your buoyancy throughout the dive and ensuring you can make the ascent neutrally buoyant. That doesn't mean you won't see any fish underwater. They'll be everywhere, but you'll be concentrating so much on your training that you may not notice them so much on the first dive.
When you get back on the boat after your first dive your instructor will debrief you and let you know what you can improve for the second dive and this is true for all of your subsequent dives.
On dive two you'll be much more confident and will start to enjoy the marine life more. You'll also be well on your way to getting your certification.
On the last morning expect your dives to be at some of Koh Tao's deeper dive sites. Your third dive will be pretty much just a fun dive, so your instructor won't ask you to do any skills on this dive. It's just to practice your buoyancy skills and enjoy the underwater world. Expect to see huge schools of fish and reefs full of life. You might even have a chance to see a whale shark or the ever-elusive black turtle.
When you come to Koh Tao you'll have an option on where you stay. Sairee is the main town, and this is where you'll find the party but that's not always a good thing when you are taking your dive training. You should condsider somewhere quieter, somewhere you'll get a good night's sleep. After all, during your dive training, you'll be rising early and you'll have long days so you might want to consider somewhere more chilled out like Chalok.
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"We absolutely loved making this video. Thanks to Bryan for being patient with us. We're definitely coming back to do our advanced course"
"We did a one day try dive experience and we're extremely nervous, but in the end we had the best time and we love it down there. La Bombona Diving are the best"