Inside Peek of Koh Tao PADI Open Water course

It’s not unusual to hear that someone has finished their PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver course on Koh Tao, but rarely do we get an inside peek of Open Water course students in training on our little SCUBA paradise. Because instructors and students are prohibited from taking cameras on training dives, you may be left wondering. What does someone need to do to get certified? What can students expect from the four training dives? These are understandable questions. We’d be happy to give you an insider peek. First, watch this rare footage here of PADI Instructor Chris Burke’s recent class as they explore the dive site on one of their first ever SCUBA Dives. Then, read on below to answer those questions.

Did you watch the inside peek video?

If not, scroll back up and press play. That’s why you’re here, afterall, the inside peek video of Instructor Chris and his students on a recent PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver course. So go back, watch the video, then feel free to read on about details of the course.

What’s the PADI Open Water Course Like?

Imagine yourself floating effortlessly, hovering peacefully while surrounded by vibrant fish and a thriving coral reef. Is it beyond your imagination to see yourself exploring the marine world? Or is it a lifetime dream? Students taking their PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver course enjoy their first moments underwater under the direct supervision of an instructor. Over a few days, they make their dreams come true and create memories of a lifetime. You can see the dreams happening in this inside peek video above of student divers on Koh Tao

On just one training dive, Chris’s students in the video saw the world in an entirely new way. Gently swaying anemones provided safe harbor for pink anemone fish. Fusilier, rabbit fish, and barracudas schooled around the pinnacle peak. Grouper surprised them from the shadows. The marine world offers us so much life to explore. It’s impossible to name it all or to tire of it. You can believe it’s a thrilling experience.

inside peek

Fun diving after certification, Tom Vandebriel got up a surprise fly by from this gorgeous green sea turtle!

What Must Students do to Get Certified?

The PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver course is a standardized course that strictly follows PADI standards and procedures where ever it is taught. The course itself takes students through a series of confined sessions, followed by four open water dives, with some room for a flexible schedule. On Koh Tao, PADI instructors provide students with a rigorous 4-day, training program.

How’s the schedule? Typically, academics proceed confined sessions, which proceed open water dives. However, instructors may break the schedule up to get students diving earlier. Different schedules work better for different people, so a good instructor will attempt to adjust the schedule as needed for mastery learning. Regardless, the course consists of 5 theory modules, quizzes, and an exam, waterskills assessments, 5 skill training sessions in confined (swimming pool), and four open water training dives. The inside peek video above should give you a clue how valuable a PADI certification is to the adventurous spirit.

inside peek

Instructor Halie with Krystal Dunkley, a newly trained mermaid from the dive boat.

What SCUBA Skills do Students Master?

Students should expect to spend a full four days on the certification, and during that time, to master a variety of skills. A summary of skills includes:

  • dive planning
  • equipment setup
  • “buddy check”
  • buddy techniques
  • in-water communication
  • deep-water entries and exit techniques
  • ascent and descent techniques
  • buoyancy (the ability to float effortlessly in the water)
  • simple navigation
  • mask skills
  • skin diving
  • skills needed for safetyIt’s a full four days of rigorous training, and sometimes, students must complete additional confined sessions to master a skill or additional open water dives. Students should keep in mind that all skills must be mastered for a PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver certification to be issued; however, referrals may be issued (at possible additional cost). Therefore, students should plan at least five days on Koh Tao to comfortably complete certification. Don’t have the time? Consider a Discover SCUBA Dive instead.
inside peek

Instructor Chris hamming it up for the camera on dives 3 and 4 of the PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver course.

What Can Students Expect from Training Dives?

The PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver course consists four, open water training dives. On each training dive, students put into practice the skills that they learned in confined sessions. Then, the instructor or an assistant leads students on a tour of the dive site, giving them time to enjoy the underwater environment and to practice buoyancy. As you can see from the inside peek video above, these dives offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Just check out our social media profiles to extend your inside peek about our ongoing classes. We try to update often!

Got a question about SCUBA Diving?

Are you curious about the PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver course and how you can explore the marine world on SCUBA? First, you can get more detailed info on ourĀ PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver course page. Then, send us a message through our contact form. We’d love to hear from you.

Love the inside peek video above?

This video footage credit goes to Koh Tao Pro Video, a hardworking team of dive professionals who provide a videography service on training dives three and four to students at a reasonable fee. Taking home a video to share with the family helps to preserve those precious memories and to educate people back home about our precious marine life and what we need to save. (We had to replace the chosen music to go with a royalty-free tune, thanks to, but believe that the music we had to strip for copyright purposes was amazing).

Learn More

Already have your PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver certification? Refreshen your skills with a SCUBA Review, or book your continuing SCUBA education course. On a tight budget but want to take the course? Read how to extend your adventure budget on paradise Koh Tao and you’ll definitely appreciate free accommodations during your course. Not sure which course is right for you, start with the Choose Your SCUBA Adventure page.