Proper training and safety education is central to the enjoyment of scuba diving. With the large number of dive shops and diving instruction facilities in Phuket, many visitors decide to earn their dive certification or advance their dive training while on their holiday here. In fact, the Kata Beach-based Dive Asia has recently been designated as a Five-Star PADI Career Development Center, one of only two in all of Asia. Phuket’s warm, clear waters and the exciting variety of marine life make dive training enjoyable for divers at all levels.
While Phuket attracts a number of serious divers, most visitors who dive on and around Phuket are recreational divers. Recreational diving, also known as fun diving, is defined as participating in dives to maximum depths of 40 meters and not requiring decompression.
Most courses on Phuket are through PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), although many hotels and dive shops offer beginner or “resort courses” to experience diving without working toward a certification. A few dive shops base their training methods and certification on NAUI standards; NAUI stand for the National Association of Underwater Instructors.
Dive instruction and equipment for beginner introductory diving courses range from 4,000 to 6,000 Baht, depending on the location and duration of the diving experience. For example, the Dewa Phuket 5-Star Master Dive Academy offers a “Discover Scuba Diving” beginner-level course with one dive for 5,900 Baht, and the Dive Asia facilities in Kata Beach and Karon Beach offer a similar course for 4,400 Baht. Beginner courses almost always feature beach dive experiences rather than boat dives. For divers who have let much time elapse since their last dive or who would just like a refresher course, these classes can also be a helpful option.
For more serious scuba divers who wish to earn a certification, Phuket offers a number of excellent options. Beginning divers can obtain a PADI Scuba Diver certification or a PADI Open Water Diver certification in just a few days; prices vary according to the dive facility offering the training. Dive Asia offers the PADI Scuba Diver certification, which takes two days, for 10,280 Baht and the four-day PADI Open Water Diver certification for 14,480. Similar training is available at the Dewa Phuket 5-Star Master Dive Academy for 10,990 Baht for the PADI Scuba Diver certification and 14,900 Baht for the PADI Open Water Diver certification. The Dewa Phuket also provides training for a PADI Advanced Open Water certification for 15,990 Baht.
In addition to PADI courses, CMAS/TDA training for divers is also available through several dive facilities in Phuket. CMAS, the World Confederation of Underwater Activities, and TDA, the Thai Association of Divers, have launched joint efforts to provide diver training in Phuket. For beginners who want to try diving for the first time, a CMAS Discover Scuba course offers basic coverage of physics and physiology along with basic diving skills; this course is offered by Ocean Zone Divers in Chalong for 4,500 Baht. One level up is a course known as the CMAS Basic Diver Course; spanning three days and incorporating two dives, this course is offered by Ocean Zone Divers for 10,5000 Baht. For beginning divers who desire to obtain their open water dive certification, the CMAS One Star Diver Course is taught by Ocean Zone Divers; this course takes four days and encompasses six separate dives.