Simple Life runs two resorts on Koh Tao, both situated along Sairee Beach.
Offers a wide range, from dorm rooms to beachfront villas at the south end of Sairee Beach.
Working as a PADI Divemaster can be one of the most enjoyable jobs in diving.
In Koh Tao the main functions of a PADI Divemaster fall into several categories:
Coordinating Scuba Diving Logistics: This is a really important part of your job as a PADI Divemaster – making sure everything runs smoothly. Exactly what duties are involved depends on the dive shop – usually you’ll be required to work closely together with the dive shop manager and/or head instructor, welcoming customers to the dive shop, help them complete any required paperwork, set them up with rental dive equipment, give a dive boat orientation and dive site briefings, and keep a roster to account for all divers. Essentially, a head Divemaster is responsible for making sure the dive excursion runs smoothly, so diving activities can take place in a safe, relaxed and timely manner.
Escorting Certified Divers: Leading certified divers on underwater tours is the best part of the job. Since you’ll have dived the Koh Tao dive sites many times, you’ll be familiar navigating your way around the coral reefs and rock formations, pointing out aquatic life to customers. The objective is to keep the group together whilst sticking to a safe dive profile, yet let them enjoy a great dive where they see lots of cool stuff. The trick is learning to control the group in a relaxed fashion – something you’ll learn how to do during your PADI Divemaster course.
Conducting PADI Scuba Reviews: Another part of the job is conducting scuba reviews for certified divers who haven’t been diving for a long time. This involves three parts – refreshing their scuba diving theory with a simple quiz, brushing up their scuba diving skills in shallow water, then taking them on a proper dive where you help them get their buoyancy back under control.
Assisting PADI Instructors with Diver Training: This is rarer for PADI Divemasters, but can happen when the dive shop is very busy. Although PADI Divemasters can’t train divers themselves, they can assist a PADI Instructor in teaching a group of new divers. Normally the instructors can handle this themselves, but if they’re dealing with a large group or have very difficult customers, they may need an extra pair of hands (and eyes). In this case you may be asked to assist the PADI instructor.
There are two main schemes by which you’ll be employed as a PADI Divemaster in Koh Tao – freelance and full time. Usually you’ll start off on a freelance basis. That means that when the dive shop has work available, they’ll give you a call and ask you to come in. You get paid based on what you do, i.e. per day or per diver.
The other option which many dive shops use is to employ one or more full time PADI Divemasters. Pay rates are either a flat monthly salary OR a basic salary plus bonuses for extras such as scuba reviews, night dives, filling nitrox cylinders etc.
Either way, if you keep busy you’ll be able to afford a basic lifestyle. You won’t become a millionaire working as a PADI Divemaster, but it is a lot of fun. Accommodation, food and living expenses are very cheap here on Koh Tao, Thailand, so provided you apply yourself you’ll be comfortable and enjoy lots of great scuba diving.
Another fringe benefit is that if you do a good job and show your customers a great time, it’s pretty easy to pickup tips working as a PADI Divemaster. Often you can also keep your customers diving for several days, which guarantees you more work and is sure to make you popular with the dive shop manager.
Once you finish your scuba diving internships and qualify as a PADI Divemaster, the usual procedure is to make up a resume (CV) and circulate this round the dive shops on the island, making sure you get your face known to each of the dive shop managers. When they’re busy or have an opening, they’ll give you a call. For this reason it’s important to have a mobile phone with Thai sim card.
At Simple Life Divers, we try to keep all our best scuba diving internship graduates working with us. We can’t promise a paid working position, but if you get on well during your Koh Tao scuba internship and fit in with the dive team, there’s a good chance that we’ll be asking you to stick around once you qualify as a PADI Divemaster.
As detailed on our post-diving internship opportunities page, there are many openings for paid gap year work outside Thailand, with Simple Life’s contacts around Asia and the PADI website being a great starting point to seek DM work.
Within South-East Asia, working as a PADI Divemaster will fit closely with the work description above. But if you head to a more western country such as Australia or New Zealand you’ll see some differences. In Thailand, dive shops are able to use local workers to carry out many of the menial jobs – pumping and carrying tanks, keeping the dive boat clean, pool maintenance etc. In more developed countries where wages are higher, you may find that you need to muck-in a bit more, filling the ‘labor-void’ and carrying out many duties outside of the central role of a PADI Divemaster. That’s not a bad thing, and most likely the rates of pay will be higher, but it’s something you should be aware of!
Lisa & Ash | ZW & UK
"made more friends in that short time on the island and had more fun than we have in 3 years in the UK rat race." Read more
Davoc B. | England
"Be cool, don’t rub people up the wrong way, enjoy yourself, but don’t be an idiot, don’t hire a quad bike!." Read more
Sarah O'L. | London, UK
"Amazing… I truly miss being on Koh Tao. I have printed my favourite pictures & blue them tacked up." Read more