17/18 Moo 1, Koh Tao Suratthani, 84360 Thailand         Info @ Big Blue Diving        +66 (0) 77 456 050

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What's the difference between PADI, SSI & BSAC?
A: Very little! Each individual training agency is 100% recognised throughout the world. 
The differences between these training organisations are quite small but at the end of the day,
The main difference are...
i)  with PADI you have to buy the manual whereas with SSI you are lent the manual,& at the end of the course you give it back. & with BSAC you are given a CD included in the price.
ii) with PADI the skills are done in a certain order & if you have trouble with a skill you must persist with the skill untill you get it right before we can move on with other skills. With SSI or BSAC we can leave the skill that is troubling you, move on with the other skills & then come back & do that skill again later on in the session.
iii) BSAC Courses are Instructor led & there is no video to watch as opposed to PADI & SSI where there is over an hour of Videos to watch.

Q: Are the certification cards of PADI and SSI recognized all over the world?
A: Yes, it doesn’t matter with which organization you have learned to dive. So if a PADI Open Water diver for example wants to dive with an SSI Dive center, that’s perfectly fine. This counts certification cards of all dive organizations.

Q: I have done my Open Water Diver course with PADI, can I do my Advanced Course with SSI or the other way around?
A: Yes, you can cross between PADI and SSI as much as you like for the recreational dive levels. Their levels are quite similar and certification of another dive organization is totally accepted. As noted all standards are set forth by the RSTC (Recreational Scuba Training Council).

Q: If I forgot to bring my certification card with me, will I still be able to dive?
A: Both PADI and SSI have an online system and since we are affiliated with both PADI and SSI, we will be able to look you up. If a dive center is not affiliated with the organization you have done your course with, they can contact them to see if you are in the system. A signed logbook also helps.

Q: If I forgot to bring my certification card with me and I don’t show up in the system, will I still be able to dive?
A: No, we need to see proof of certification before we take you on a dive, regardless of training agency or experience level.

Q: I want to do the PADI Open Water course with my family. Does everyone need to buy their own manual?
A: When doing PADI Courses - Yes, every student needs to purchase their own manual. SSI does not require this - you are welcome to purchase one manual, or 20 - up to you.

Q: Do I need to have a medical before scuba diving?
A: It is not a pre-requisite to have a medical before scuba diving, however if you have a pre-existing medical condition which affects your ears, sinus, respiratory and circulatory systems, or have had recent surgery it is advisable to consult a Diving Physician before you leave home. Before starting a diving course you must go through a medical questionnaire.

Q: Do I need to have dive insurance?
A: If you do a lot of diving it is always good to get your own insurance.

Q: What medical facilities/equipment do you have available on land and on the dive boat.
A: We have oxygen and a well equipped medical kit on all of our boats and on land & every member of our dive staff is a certified DAN Oxygen Provider. There are several medical centers on Koh Tao, Emergency Services (SSS) and a hospital on the nearby island of Koh Samui, which is 90 minutes away by speedboat.

Q: Do I need a visa to visit Thailand?
A: The best is always to check with your Thai Embassy at home before coming to Thailand as they will have the latest advice for you.  It is possible to get a 30 day visa on arrival if you fly in to Thailand from another country, overland you could get 15 days, you could get 2 months holiday visas from Thai embassies outside the country. It is also possible to get longer visas but check with your nearest embassy for details as visa rules can change frequently.

Q: I am traveling with non-divers, what can they do when I am diving?
A: Koh Tao has lots to offer if you're not diving, excellent snorkeling & boat trips around the island various water sports, you can now do free diving (apnea) courses, Kayaking rock climbing & mountain biking, yoga, or even Muay Thai Kickboxing! Thai massage & cookery courses are popular, with a wide variety of restaurants Koh Tao has everything to offer in the way of cuisine from street stalls selling traditional food to exclusive fine dining.

Q: What if I cannot complete my dive course?
A: If you cannot complete your course with us for any reason, we can refund you some money for what needs still to be done. We will give you a "referral form" and you will have a maximum of 12 months to complete it with us or with any other dive school around the world.

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