Open Water Diver Course Koh Tao


Get your Diving Certification on Koh Tao! 

Learn to dive in 2.5 days and receive an Open Water License allowing you to dive around the world to a depth of 18m

What is the Open Water Course?

Learning to dive is Koh Tao's primary activity and it's no wonder why - the diving here is fantastic! The water is warm, the marine life is plentiful, and the season is all year round!

On Koh Tao you can take diving courses with a number of agencies - PADI, SSI, RAID, BSAC, and many more. However, the end result is the same - an Open Water License that allows you to dive around the world to a depth of 18m.

No matter who which agency you learn to dive with, the Open Water Course is your key to the scuba diving world, and your passport to the world's ocean. 

Our SSI Open Water Course takes 2.5 days, while many other agencies course takes 3 to 3.5 days, as can be seen below in the schedule. The main reason for this is due to the diving knowledge delivery, which with SSI is a lot smoother.

The course is available to anyone aged 10 years and older with basic swimming ability that is medically fit, or else has a doctors approval for diving. If unsure we can easily get this done here on Koh Tao for 250 THB.  

All knowledge development sessions will be conducted in our beach front location, unless otherwise requested, and in a maximum groups size of 4.

We feel this is the magic number when it comes to diving; each student diver can receive ample attention, the group dynamics are always fun and it creates a better buddy system, which in turn creates more competent, confident divers!

What's included in the Open Water Diver program?

Diving requires a number of things to be done correctly, and everything you need is included. There are no hidden costs. 

  • Includes insurance
  • Includes all equipment rental
  • Digital Certification
  • 2 Skill development session
  • Rental Digital Materials
  • Qualified & Experienced Instructors
  • Worldwide recognition
  • 4 Open Water Dives

Dive Your Way!

If smaller instruction is desired, please request this by email and we are happy to arrange - we often have people enjoying their honeymoon on Koh Tao who would prefer a more personalized trip.

Likewise, we often get divers that are a bit nervous and would sooner be in smaller groups.

Whatever the reason - no problem!!! Simply let us know and we can help you out

Book Now  Contact us

The Schedule

Learning to dive on Koh Tao is an incredible adventure, and we want you to enjoy yourselves as much as possible while here with us. Not just below the water, but above the water as well. It's your holiday, so make the most of it!!

Traditional Koh Tao Open Water
Course Schedule

Day 1 16:00 - 18:00 Course Orientation & Video
Day 2 08:30 - 11:30 Classroom Session 1 & Video
  13:00 - 17:30 Shallow Water Skills & Dive 1
Day 3 08:30 - 11:30 Classroom Session 2 & Video
  13:00 - 17:30 Shallow Water Skills & Dive 2
Day 4 06:00 - 10:00 Dive 3 & 4 (max 18m)

New Wave's SSI Open Water
Course Schedule

Day 1 09:00 - 11:30 Orientation & Theory Session 1
  13:00 - 17:30 Shallow Water Skills & Dive 1
Day 2 09:00 - 11:30 Theory Session 2
  09:00 - 11:30 Shallow Water Skills & Dive 2
Day 3 06:00 - 10:00 Dive 3 & 4 (max 18m)


So what's the difference?

Not a huge amount!

The principle difference is that SSI has no mandatory video to watch ( some have a video of 4+ hours) and the concept behind the educational segments are quite different.

As mentioned, all our SSI Dive Theory sessions are delivered beach side, with no need for a traditional classroom. We've even met people poolside at their villas for these sessions!

The reason this is possible is because SSI's delivery of the course materials is much more fluid. The MySSI App is a seamless tool that keeps things light and fresh. The theory presented through the app is then reinforced by your instructor through a relaxed, informal discussion, whereas with other agencies the theory is taught in more of a classroom style.

After that, the only major difference is that SSI grants instructors more flexibility in how they can schedule in-water skills so the course can be tailored to suit you, hence our slogan "Dive Your Way". If there is a problem then they can work around it and come back to it later, which allows lots of opportunity to develop the confidence that might be needed to overcome a novel problem. 

To read more on this, please see this blog post.

So why SSI? 

We believe SSI is the better option for our customers - it has a more modern, user friendly approach to dive theory delivery, and allows for flexibility in the skill requirement scheduling, hence adaptability for each individual.

Ultimately, no matter what Open Water Course you choose, it certifies you to dive safely and confidently around the world to a depth of 18m, and allow you to enroll in the World Diver Package, which opens up all recreational dive sites around the world.

They are all equally recognized around the world by the RSTC (the Regulatory Scuba Training Council). This group sets the requirements and standards that all scuba diving training agencies must follow.

As a result, the dive course that YOU choose is the best! We can offer you both, so entirely up to you! 

What will you be doing during this diving course?

You will learn how to dive! 

You will cover knowledge development both mornings of the course while sat next to the beach or enjoying late breakfast! During these sessions you will learn the theory behind scuba diving which includes how to keep yourself safe, how to keep within your safety limits, and the general principles that surround scuba diving. 

Over the space of 2 separate sessions you will learn the 25 or so skills required to be a safe diver. These begin in water shallow enough to stand up in, and cover skills from controlling your buoyancy (how you float) through to removing and replacing your main scuba unit whilst underwater (it's a lot easier than it sounds). 

The focus of this course is to develop a confident, comfortable diver, and in order to do this you will require skill mastery. For this reason we usually spread the skills over 2 sessions, which gives us a lot more time for rehearsals and skill development through to mastery.

Using our experience in the industry we decided to complete all the skills in the sea whenever possible since this is the medium in which we will be diving. Doing so allows us to break the skills up, as mentioned, and it makes the skills a lot more comfortable - your eyes have a salinity level similar to salt water, and so it's a lot more comfortable than chlorine. It's also a lot more interesting than counting tiles and watching hair and plasters float past.

After each session, we return to the boat to enjoy some tea, coffee, water, fruit and biscuits, and head to another dive site. Once there, we complete a dive to a maximum depth of 12m for around 45 minutes. 

At the end of each day we return to the shop with plenty of time for a Sunset debrief on the beach. 

On the final day we meet early - 05:40.

It's early, but it's worth it for all the right reasons. Not many shops dive this early, which means that we get Koh Tao's dive sites to ourselves. Less divers means more fish and fewer bubbles!

You will complete 2 dives with a maximum depth of 18m. It is also worth warning that on Dive 3 things start getting a bit more addictive because by time your confidence and ability will have increased massively.

As a result, dives feel more relaxed. Therefore you will be swimming slower and generally looking around a lot more, enhancing your diving experience. 

Usually these trips take place at Chumphon Pinnacle, Southwest Pinnacle, Shark Island, Green Rock, and very often Sail Rock (which is known as the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand). That said, we monitor conditions daily, allowing us to vary the dive sites to offer our divers the best conditions possible.

It also means that we get back for around 10:00, or 13:00 for the Sail Rock Trip, which leaves you the rest of the day to enjoy Koh Tao, do some more diving, or otherwise plenty of time to have a shower and checkout with enough time to catch the ferry that afternoon.  

Open Water Diver Course Price:

Stingray Package
THB 11,100
Koh Tao Agreed Minimum Price
Digital Open Water Materials
Open Water License - recognized Worldwide
Sail Rock Included
Between 4 and 6 Logged Dives
Includes all equipment rentals
Maximum group size of 4:1
Free Taxi Service
Free Diving Insurance
Book Now
Barracuda Package
THB 12,900
Full Retail Price of 13,600 THB
Digital Open Water Materials
Open Water License - recognized Worldwide
Sail Rock Included
Between 4 and 6 Logged Dives
Includes all equipment rentals
Maximum group size of 4:1
Free Taxi Service
Free Diving Insurance
Free Tshirt
Free Dry Bag
Pro-Photographer for Final Dives
Book Now
Whaleshark Package
THB 14,500
Full Retail Price of 15,450 THB
Digital Open Water Materials
Open Water License - recognized Worldwide
Sail Rock Included
Between 4 and 6 Logged Dives
Includes all equipment rentals
Maximum group size of 4:1
Free Taxi Service
Free Diving Insurance
Free Tshirt
Free Dry Bag
Video & Photos for final dives
Book Now


Want to Join us or know more?

There's 2 simple options - the first, follow the book now links and all will be straightforward. You will be taken to Paypal to place a deposit, after which you will receive an email confirmation of your booking, usually within 10 hours.

We start scuba diving courses every day on Koh Tao, so don't worry about the start date!

In exchange for the 1,000 THB deposit we will send you the first part of the course materials. This will give you the option of a head start on the theory development, meaning even more time for you to relax on the beach! 

We understand planning holidays is hard, and if you're like us, the last thing you want to do is spend hours trying to arrange every single detail. For this reason we offer a 100% refund policy on all cancellations within 12 hours and you can keep the course materials.

Alternatively, send us an email and see what we can do to help. Perhaps you're not sure if you want to join straight away with a course, or perhaps your timings or commitments make the above schedule not possible. No worries - simply tell us what's on your mind and we will do whatever we can! 

What's Next?

Diver-Certification-Koh-TaoThe Open Water Course is your first step in the ladder of underwater exploration. It allows you to dive around the world to a depth of 18m in similar conditions with another diver or equal or greater experience.


Having done this course, most people choose one of the following steps; 

The first, is to keep diving with us as a certified fun diver. All ex-students receive a 20% discount from certified dives with us. 

Next up there is the more traditional route, which is to take the Advanced Course. This gives you an experience of 5 different specialty areas, such as Night Dives, and allows you to dive to 30m. 

Finally, there is our most popular option - the Deep, Wreck and Nitrox Diver combination.

This route is only offered by SSI (see this blog for more information), and certifies you with 3 specialty diving courses. These 3 courses certify you to dive around the world to a depth of up to 40m, gain greater experience with wreck diving, and use Enriched Air Nitrox, which allows you greater bottom times. It will also put you well on the way to SSI's Specialty Diver which will be automatically given when you reach 12 dives FREE of charge as recognition of your achievement.

Since you completed your course with us you will receive a 10% discount from any further training completed with us! 

 Book Now Contact us

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