So, you are now certified and have caught the diving “bug”. What to do next? There are a lot of options; one logical step is the advanced course. It consists of a little theory and five adventure dives. The deep dive is mandatory and certifies you to 30 meters. If you choose to do the advanced course with PADI the navigation dive is also mandatory. The elective dives you choose yourself, there are many options - night dive, wreck dive and buoyancy control are very popular. For more adventure dives.
Deep dive - Using decompression devices, you will plan deep dives, measure light, color and pressure changes and learn how to prevent decompression sickness and nitrogen narcosis. Although a lot of marine life lives at shallower depths there are some species that you will only see deeper down. Combined with the navigation dive this helps to build your confidence as a diver. Once certified you can dive to 30 meters opening up a lot more sites for you to explore.
Navigation dive - teaches you the basics of underwater navigation. Compass use, measuring distance and natural navigation are some of the skills you will learn. This gives you the chance to use more diving equipment like underwater compasses, maps, writing slates and reels. It also helps you plan your dives more effectively.
Three elective - dives you choose yourself. There are many options, some are difficult are impossible to do from Koh Tao such as ice diving or altitude diving but most can be arranged.
Some popular ones include
Night dive - Everyone is a little nervous about doing a night dive but most say that it was their best dive so far. Many creatures are nocturnal and therefore, are not active during the day. Some change their behavior and appearance when the sun goes down. You might see coral spawning, large hairy hermit crabs scuttling in the sand or great barracuda hunting. The night dive teaches you all you need to know to plan your own night dives including the use of specialized equipment and how to navigate and communicate at night.
Wreck dive – Seeing a ship wreck for the first time is an unforgettable experience. The wreck dive teaches you how to dive safely on a wreck avoiding potential hazards and how to enjoy the experience while causing minimal impact. There are three wrecks in Koh Tao only one of which it is possible to dive as part of the advanced course due to the depth. See dive sites for detailed Koh Tao wreck descriptions.
Please be aware, if you decide to do a wreck dive on Koh Tao, that the island only has one wreck available to most divers and under some circumstances it cannot be visited.
For more information about adavanced courses such as languages, group size, private groups and optional extras click here
PADI or the Professional Association of Dive Instructor is the most well-known scuba diving training agency on the planet, to such an extent that people often ask to do the “PADI” course when referring to any scuba diving course. Founded in 1966 they have more than forty years’ experience serving scuba divers and have over six thousand dive shops locate around the globe.
PADI run all types of courses, from kid’s courses conducted in a swimming pool to beginner, advanced, rescue and master right through to scuba instructor level and beyond. PADI has a few instructor development centres about the Island and some dive centres are recognised PADI 5 star resorts and offer only PADI courses while others offer certification through various other agencies.
As a member of the WRSTC (World Recreational Scuba Training Council), PADI recognises certifications from other training agencies such as SSI, BSAC, CMAS and NAUI amongst others. The above agencies are represented on Koh Tao but not all agencies are so it is a good idea to check before arriving if you hold a certification from another. Certification equivalent tables are displayed on some agencies websites if you are in doubt.
All PADI materials come in a range of languages. Though paper manuals are still common most centres are going down the digital route and offering online manuals for keeping and a “library” copy of the paper manual while doing the course. PADI also offers e-learning, this allows you to complete the academic sessions of the course including exams online before coming and doing the practical “water work” when you get here. For more information about online training please contact kohtao.asia.
PADI is a patron of the “Project Aware Foundation” environmental organisation and puts a lot of time and effort into creating awareness about the harm being done to the oceans through climate change, over fishing and shark finning. They also support marine conservation projects such as reef and beach clean ups. PADI are also long term associates of the National Geographic Society and offer marine conservation courses in conjunction with both them and the Project Aware Foundation.
The PADI website offers information on all available PADI courses. It has a shop locator, an online scuba community forum, dive holiday package deals and equipment sales. If you go as far as professional level you then get further access to the site offering the ability to conduct diver certification checks and access to training materials and updates. Wherever you decide to dive in the world there is always sure to be a PADI dive centre or PADI professional close by.
SSI - Scuba Schools International holds the title for the fastest growing scuba diving training agency in the world. They have gone from strength to strength on Koh Tao over the past few years with a majority of shops now running SSI courses alongside PADI courses from beginner right through to instructor level and beyond. Furthermore many well respected dive shops on Koh Tao now offer only SSI courses.