FAQ

Is it hard to learn to scuba dive?


As active recreational pastimes go, scuba diving is one of the easiest to learn. While you’re gliding around enjoying the underwater sights, you’re engaged in only three basic skills: floating, kicking and breathing. Of course, there’s more to it than that — becoming proficient at using the equipment and developing knowledge of scuba concepts and safety procedures — but if you can breathe through your mouth, chances are you can learn to scuba dive.




What's the difference between SSI & PADI?


Both agencies follow the general structure and standards laid out by the World Recreational Scuba Training Council. (WRSTC) So, there is no significant difference between the two. The WRSTC provide every diving agency with a minimum requirement for each course taught, and therefore, most training standards are universal.




I wear glasses, can I still dive?


Yes absolutely. One option is to dive in contact lenses – daily disposables are best in case you lose one during some of the mask skills which can happen from time to time. If you are not a contact lens wearer then a prescription mask is a great option. We have some prescription masks available but they might not match your eyesight requirements exactly so it’s a good idea to invest in one of your own. If you are long sighted (have difficulty reading but are okay with distances), then you can buy prescription stickers that you apply to the lower section of a regular mask – much like wearing reading glasses.




Do we need a medical certificate before diving?


If you have answered yes to any of the questions on the medical form then yes. Certain pre-existing medical conditions are not compatible with scuba diving. In other words, you may increase your risk of scuba diving related injuries if you have any pre-existing medical condition




Will there be dangerous marine life?


This depends entirely on where you are diving and what you understand by “dangerous”. In some areas, there are corals or plants which may sting if you brush up against them. Most marine animals do not attack and have stingers for defensive reasons only. Your instructor will explain to you how to interact with marine life in an observatory way which means you will experience some great encounters with many wonderful species. The golden rule is not to touch anything – most humans would be annoyed if something they didn’t know came into their environment and poked them!




I’m not a strong swimmer, is this going to be a problem?


You don’t need to be Michael Phelps to learn how to dive but there are some minimum requirements for safety reasons. You will need to complete a 200meter swim (any stroke and it is not timed), you will also need to “float” for 10 minutes (this can be laid on your back, swimming or treading), you will also complete some snorkelling skills. The most important consideration is that you feel comfortable in the water. If you are not there yet then taking a couple of swim classes will improve your confidence and overall enjoyment.




Can I still learn to dive if I don’t have a buddy?


Yes, no problem! You may find that you have a one on one program with the instructor who will also be your buddy or you may form part of a group so you’ll meet new buddies. Divers are sociable and welcoming!




Can my child participate and how old in the minimum age?


Children are always welcome to join the Open Water Certification Course. It is a great way to develop responsibility and bond together as a family. The minimum age to start the Open Water Course is 10 years old.




If answering "yes" on the medical form does this mean I can't dive?


Not necessarily, there are hospitals and clinics on Koh Tao that can evaluate your health and provide you with a medical clearance certificate depending on whether you are fit to dive or not




I’m not much of a reader or my language skills aren't great, will I manage the theory?


Yes. The SSI Open Water Diver course is designed to make it accessible to everyone, no matter what your preferred learning style or language is. The program is offered in a number of languages through the SSI e-learning application.