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Going to Koh Tao to become a divemaster

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by wiltol, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    Go for it mate. But make sure you choose the summer because it is the peak diving season in the Gulf region.
    wiltol and Wingy like this.
  2. Land Fish

    Land Fish Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Just got back from liveaboard in Siliman Islands (not sure how different it would be from Koh Tao) and met a few DMs/Instructors on board. Here is what I learnt. Money is not great, and tips are an important part of their income (if they depend on it). On the flip side, they get taken around the islands for diving as guide and/or teaching students, both with income. The dive guide I had was a DM who quitted his manager job in a tech company. He didn't think he'd make a living by being a DM and he was doing it for fun.

    Is the info useful at all? :focus:
    wiltol likes this.
  3. Tippytoes12

    Tippytoes12 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    Hi there

    I think you are doing the absolute right thing for you at this point...you will have a wonderful time in Thailand and will have a qualification for life.

    You can never predict the future , I have a very good friend and colleague who did the same, ie started DM training , but part time here in the UK. He is now an instructor and because he is so good and because diving has become so popular where we live, he is now a salaried part time instructor , but also works about thirty hours per week in our profession. We meet instructors and DMs all the time who went to various Asian countries for a holiday and never came back.

    Have a wonderful time
    wiltol likes this.
  4. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    I spent time on Koh Tao back in 2001. I enjoyed the experience and the diving wasn't fantastic, but it was fun. However, at least back then it was considered to be a SCUBA cert factory. My only question is will potential employers of you as a part-time DM look at that and pass over you for someone who has been DM certified under what they may consider (rightly or wrongly) a more rigorous program?
    wiltol likes this.
  5. Edward3c

    Edward3c Instructor, Scuba

    Just got back from Koh Tao.

    There is so much competition for business its worth getting there and seeing what 'offers' you can get for the training your want.

    If you do an internship you will be tied to the operator, after all they want a return on their investment. On the other hand if you paid to do the divemaster course you would then be able to 'freelance'. Because I was slightly out-of-season the operators normal staff were away on holiday and I was mainly 'buddied' with a freelance DM as I don't like racing round sites (their own DMs/guides couldn't match me for gas consumption and I hate finishing a dive with more than half a tank).

    As for accommodation, the island is that small you can ride to/from most places within a few minutes.

    From what I heard from those there, the biggest bugbear was the visa renewal trips every few months.
    wiltol likes this.
  6. Salt

    Salt Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New England
    It's not a career. You are doing this for fun. I get it. I was in the same situation when I quit my job a few years ago and wanted to dive.

    I looked at going to Thailand and Utila but ended up going to Utila, mainly because it was closer and I ran out of time to complete my research. Utila is similar: cheap, lots of backpackers, tons of dive shops teaching lots of classes and producing lots of DM's.

    I ended up getting my AOW and Rescue but didn't stay for my DM. I decided to travel and do some more diving while travelling. Part of me regrets not having done it. I know it would have been fun.

    FYI, you do have to pay for the DM programs. You basically pay to do the internship. It can be pricey plus you'll need to buy a dive computer. You'll probably have to secure your own housing too. Usually takes 4-6 weeks for the DM program. Finding paid work afterwards can be difficult but I did meet some people that were able to freelance. You can always do the DM then travel.

    Some things to consider:
    1) Is it good diving? Is there enough to see?
    2) Will you get tired of diving the same sites over and over?
    3) How cheap is it? (food, housing, classes)
    4) What is the nightlife like?
    5) Is there a good sense of community at that particular dive shop?

    wiltol likes this.
  7. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver N/A

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    Very little DM work in Koh Tao... the place is an instructor factory...so an OWSI or MSDT can do the job, plus so much more. But some schools might keep you on after qualification IF they have need and IF you are exceptional (and IF you are willing to work for peanuts).

    DM course in Koh Tao won't teach great dive skills. The island is synonymous with cheap, fun diving - not quality. That said, there's masses of dive students, lots of chance for assists and it's high volume tourism... so you learn how a busy dive operation works.

    Most DM trainees are backpackers who go up-sold from Open Water to DM (or instructor)... it's a young crowd. Most of the instructors are interested in boosting their miserly commissions through encouraging continued-education and kit sales, getting laid and enjoying a beach lifestyle for a while. It's not the place for developing really high quality diving skills.

    Koh Tao is an amazing place to stay and integrate with the dive industry. There will be plenty of nights bare-foot dancing at Lotus Bar or celebrating in Choppers... Try to be there for Song Kran. It's a good place to be single, also :)

    The diving is a 'low-average' for SE Asia.... Chumporn Pinnacle, Twins and Sail Rock are ok.... the other sites are smashed bare by ill-trained open-water rototillers. The location is good for placid training conditions, but don't expect world-class by any stretch.
  8. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    Andy nailed it.
  9. Salt

    Salt Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New England
    Not to hijack the thread but I might be in a similar situation with 4-6 weeks of free time in February/March. Where would you go if you wanted to get in a bunch of quality cheap diving and have a good time? Are there better places in Southeast Asia if the diving in Koh Tao isn't that good? Phuket?
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  10. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver N/A

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    For a similar level/vibe of DM course, but nicer locale.... consider Scuba Junkies on Mabul (Borneo, Malaysia).

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