best DC300x225When you look at an area for a scuba diving holiday or arrive near the beach where you plan to dive take a scuba diving lesson, the pull towards the ocean and the need to get under the waves as quick as possible can be overwhelming! Whether you are a seasoned scuba diver or a scuba diving novice, you may not be sure how to choose a good dive center? Therefore it’s important to find out how to judge the quality of a dive center or dive school in Thailand.

    “You need to know how to choose a good dive center before you randomly pick a beachfront dive shop”

Thousands of holiday makers and expats travel to Thailand to enjoy scuba diving trips and snorkeling. There are plenty of scuba diving courses available and scuba day trips to experience, especially here in Koh Tao. The Land of Smiles is one of the top places in the world to try scuba diving, join a guided dive trip or go snorkeling, all of which, are available for professionals and advanced levels as well as amateurs including complete beginners. Here Are a Few Need To Know Advice Tips When You Choose a Good Dive Center .

Choose a good dive center or dive school on experience, quality and professionalism, not only on the price. Scuba diver facilities cost a lot of money to maintain to high standards. If the dive center you choose opts to be the cheapest in price perhaps they also opt for the cheapest in equipment and boats? A little more money spent usually mean you can expect a better quality of equipment and service in reward.

Check Out a Dive Centers Reputation.

The longer the dive center has been in business the more reviews and reputation comments you will find available. Don’t just follow trip advisors words, its not the ultimate and only resource on the internet you know!? Check Facebook Reviews, Google Reviews, Youtube & Twitter. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and if a dive center is taking care of its customers you will see this across all platforms of the web. Don’t get stuck on the odd bad review. Everyone has off days but if many people report good work from different sources, that dive center is doing something right.

Check Out a Dive Centers Credentials

Make sure the dive school has the relevant registration and safety certificates, for instance, certified SSI or PADI Center or higher, Current SSI or PADI instructor or PADI dive master professional ratings.
Other aspects may apply such as in Thailand, upstanding legitimate businesses hold a TAT license as a registered Business for Tourism.

Check Out a Dive Centers Approach to Safety

Sometimes you dont get to see how a dive center approaches safety until you take a day out with them. If you not convinced and assured of a dive centers ability to uphold, follow and most importantly reinforce diver safety practices then I would suggest continue looking around.

Sometimes a single day trip to see a dive center in action is a good way to gauge if what a dive center proclaims to offer is true or not.

You can always ask about safety training and equipment available such as CPR first aid trained staff, emergency oxygen and emergency communication available? Check to see if there is also a certified CPR/ first aid provider certificate.  If you are going out on a scuba diving boat trip, are there plenty of throw rings and life vests on board? Does this safety equipment look in reasonable quality also?

Check If Dive Center Offers Insurance?

Does your dive center offer insurance? It is a divers responsibility to like any traveler to ensure they are covered in the events of a accident. Specialized dive insurance is not as standard, included with any dive trip, a good center however may offer the option for specialized scuba diving insurance. Your travel insurance often gives you a separate option or simply does not cover this. Special scuba diving travel insurance is in expensive and offer way more coverage vs a standard travel insurance. It is well worth spending a few extra $ to be safe and relax knowing your totally covered.

If in doubt ask. If you are in any doubt about choosing a choose a good dive center or dive school, it’s better to be safe than sorry by asking the right kind of questions such as:-

How long have the instructors been diving?
Instructors should have plenty of experience with people of all levels of diving. They also need to have good local knowledge of particular diving sites so they are aware of any dangers.

Where will you take me?
Make enquiries about specific diving sites when going out on a reef or ship wreck dive. How will the dive be structured? Find out about what’s in store on a open water training course before parting with your hard-earned cash. It’s essential for beginners and even experienced divers, that diving instructors remain with you throughout your dive.

What about training materials learn to dive facilities?
Will you benefit from up-to-date training materials and methods?
Is everything safe and clean to provide a good learning environment?


You do not have to be a professional when it comes to knowing how to choose a good dive center. You need to trust your eyes and your ears and listen to your instincts.

    Look at the standard of equipment out on display
    Read the certificates on the walls and check the dates on them – are they up to date?
    Are the instructor’s certificates available to be inspected?
    Does the equipment look well maintained on close inspection?
    Do you trust the person you spoke with?

When All Is Said And Done…
You generally get what you pay for when it comes to dive centers. If you do intend to try scuba diving in Thailand, shop around and remember, cheapest is not always the best option. If you are considering a Thailand Dive Trip or scuba diving holiday, and you’re looking for quality, consider Big Blue Diving when you are looking for the Best Dive Center in Thailand.


r u 4 scuba300x225Patience. Some folks get it right away, others don't. You must be able to teach them all.

Organization. You must be able to organize your class in a logical manner.

Experience. You need to have watched lots of divers with a critical eye. You need to know how things should be done as well as how they often are done poorly.

Confidence. You need to know you can handle things when they head south. You also need your students to believe in you.

Desire. You have to want to teach.

Open mind. Be willing to learn from everyone. You can learn from an idiot who is a terrible diver. You may be learning rescue techniques, but you'll still be learning.

Ability to say no. No, you didn't quite nail that skill, here's what you did wrong and here's how to fix it. No, you didn't buy a card, you bought instruction.

Willingness to go the extra mile. Be interested in your students. They may need extra help, give it to them.

Knowledge. You can't teach it if you never learned it.

Ability to teach. Most instructors don't understand how to teach.

"inadequacies in instruction that generally fall back on the instructor rather than the certifying agency."

If your agency leaves out skills and/or knowledge you can't teach it because you never learned it. Some go the extra mile and learn additional material and skills which they then teach to their students - most do not. The agency is a factor. An exceptional person can overcome a background based in an agency with low standards, but these folks are indeed rare. Most instructors are a product of their agency. Some agencies produce them with a cookie cutter.


TripAdvisor for iPad300x225Thank you to all our customers who have written in & left their unbiased opinions on their stay with us here at Big Blue Diving. We have now reached our highest ranking since Trip Advisor hit our radar about 10 years ago and we now sit comfortably at number 3 in the rankings for Things to do on Koh Tao. Of course it would be better to be number 2 or even Number One but we actually have more reviews than the first & second placed Dive shops put together, plus they’re also bloody good, so it’ll be extremely hard to reach those positions but with your help we will continue to do what we can to please you. In fact I would like to take this opportunity to quote Richard Branson, a man I highly respect for the way with which he runs his business. He once said “Customers do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees they will take care of the customers.” So to all my staff & colleagues, thank you guys. I might not say this enough but you guys do an awesome job. Thank you.


G300x225End of an era I’m afraid. It’s with great sadness we say goodbye to not only a Big Blue legend but also a Koh Tao Icon. ‘Mama G’ as she has become known here at Big Blue, Germaine to her mum, came to us as an already extremely experienced Dive Instructor and reinvigorated the energy the Dive center needed at that time. She was immediately made a mentor and became an integral part of the Big Blue machine as Big Blue itself was transitioning from the old Big Blue at Big Blue 1 to the new Big Blue at Big Blue 2. She not only brought with her over 10 years of experience as a Diving Instructor from all over the world she also came with the awesomeness that only G possesses, in her wonderful outfits and her fantastic Irish spirit. Koh Tao’s original & only Wonder woman life at Big Blue will definitely not be the same. So from the Divemasters in Training, the Thai staff, the Burmese Staff, the gals in admin, the Divemasters, your fellow Instructors & Mentors & from us in Management we all want to thank you for everything you have brought, your love, your unselfishness, your hard work, your sense of fun & your beauty. Best of luck Mama G. You truly are a Wonder Woman.


Sidemount300x225Sidemount diving has been around for decades in the cave diving world, but was always seen as a very specialised and exclusive way of diving. This has all changed in the last few years as equipment manufacturers started to introduce much more practical methods for attaching diving cylinders to the diver. The result is that sidemount diving has really taken off, and is becoming more and more popular, for both technical diving applications and also shallow recreational fun diving.

When you first dive in sidemount you quickly realise why. It's a really comfortable way to dive. Where the BC is situated makes you want to be flat, and as the cylinders are tucked out of the way to your sides, you have a real feeling of freedom. Sidemount is an incredibly versatile way of diving and can be done using one cylinder or two. Cylinders can be easily attached when already in the water, so it's ideal for people with back problems, and perfectly suited to shore diving or boat diving. Having a redundant gas source makes your diving a little safer too as you are less reliant on your buddy in the event of an equipment failure. This redundancy makes it the perfect platform for decompression diving, not to mention the feeling of comfort on long decompression stops. Moreover, as it is easy to unclip the tanks and bring them forward, you can have a lot of fun getting through tighter spaces when penetrating wrecks, caves or swim-throughs.

TDI’s technical sidemount course is a must for anyone wanting to either do more with their rereational fun diving, or advance on to become a fuly qualified technical diver. You will learn diving techniques that are directly applicable to any type of diving, such as:

    Equipment considerations
    Dive planning
    Gas management
    DSMB deployment methods
    Propulsion techniques
    Trim and Buoyancy
    Different water entries/exits

The Sidemount Diver course is strictly non-decompression with a maximum depth limit of 40m/130ft (or within the limit of the student’s current certification, whichever is shallower). Prerequisites to enroll on the TDI technical sidemount Diver course are: Age 18 (or 15 with parental consent), SDI Open Water Diver or equivalent.

Course Fees 12,000 Thai Baht. This course can also be combined with TDI sidemount diver at a cost of 20,000 Thai Baht.


fd1300x225As a surfer and a scuba diver I’m pretty at home in the ocean – both above and below it – but it’s still an odd situation to be in. Whether you’re breathing from a tank or trying to ride out a 2 wave hold down there’s always room to improve your confidence in the water, a confidence that can really help push your skills to the next level.

There’s been one travel bucket list item that has sat high on my to do list for a long time now but I haven’t got around to completing until recently, an item that could really boost my confidence in the water…

Surfers have long used freediving techniques to prepare for being held under in the surf. Boosting how long you can hold your breath for and how relaxed you can be underwater is the name of the game and it’s something that has intrigued me for a long while.

So when I headed back to Koh Tao in Thailand I decided to finally bite the bullet and get enrolled on a course and see how it could help me – and  Big Blug Freediving were more than happy to help answer my questions and show me the world of freediving. I knew I was in safe hands!


poool300x225Big Blue Diving has a purpose built dive resort with all the necessary facilities you could need in a modern day diving resort. With a 12 meter long 3 meter deep pool, 4 classrooms, a Dive pro Beachside academic center, Tech Diving dedicated shack, a Freediving Sala, a Videography & photography media center, a team of dedicated Eco warriors and the largest & best retail center on the island we are able to offer everything a diver could ask for. No to mention our selection of budget rooms and bungalows & our beachside bar & restaurant there really is nothing Big Blue Diving can't offer you. Big Blue Diving Koh Tao- making divers since '91.


TA2017300x225Very pleased to be awarded our Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor again for the year 2017. Thats our 7th Certificate of Excellence in a row.
Founded in 2010, the Certificate of Excellence honors hospitality businesses that deliver consistently great service. This designation is given to establishments that have consistently achieved great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Establishments earning the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and have continually delivered superior customer experience. To determine Certificate of Excellence recipients Trip Advisors uses a variety of user-generated content. This includes review ratings, overall rating and quantity and recency of reviews. To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, a hospitality business must-

    Maintain an overall TripAdvisor rating of at least four out of five
    Have a minimum number of reviews
    Have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least twelve months

So thank you one & all for your reviews but most importantly thank you to all my Staff at Big Blue for doing such an awesome job. Now... Back to work!


turtle4300x225Keen to share a 'Turtley' interesting mini update. In the past month alone, we have had a number of fascinating observations, including those from rarer locations around Koh Tao at Tao Tong and Banana Rock, and resident turtles being observed outside their main areas. Among these interesting observations, are an influx of new turtles for the island, two of which were withing 24 hours of each other. Here, I'd like to introduce clockwise from top left, "Gypsy", "Morris", "Sook Jai" and "Lili".
Gypsy was observed at Green Rock, Morris at Tao Tong, Sook Jai and Lili were both observed from Shark Bay. At this point, we would like to urge people to keep their eyes extra peeled for perhaps additional new turtles visiting the island, and to see if these new individuals are spotted elsewhere. The story of Sea Turtles at Turtle Island is growing more interesting.


KNY300x225Once you’ve set your eyes on a picture of Koh Nang Yuan, you’ll probably resolve to visit it at least once in your lifetime. That’s the kind of island that Koh Nang Yuan is – unique and arresting altogether. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Nang Yuan is an island famed its scenic beauty and utopian beaches. Koh Nang Yuan is tiny, a bite-sized wonder, and covering it on foot is an easy affair. It is a stone’s throw away from Koh Tao, and a ferry-ride away from Koh Phangan (the island that is famous for full-moon parties) and Koh Samui (the island that is famous for a great deal of things).
With crystal clear waters in assorted shades of aqua and diverse marine life, Koh Nang Yuan offers great snorkelling and diving opportunities. In fact, visitors can just strap on their gear, walk into the water from the beach, and immerse themselves in the underwater world. Great diving spots nearby include Japanese Gardens, Red Rock, White Rock, Green Rock and Twin Peaks, where coral reefs and colourful fish are plentiful.