Business Analysis: Scuba Diving on Koh Tao

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present: Jonathan Lee, the certified PADI advanced open water scuba diver!
Scuba diving on Koh Tao - with partner

Or I would, but unfortunately all the pictures from scuba diving are still being developed, so in this post, I’ll be doing a business analysis of Scuba Diving on Koh Tao.


There are two ‘career paths’ you can take with scuba diving: working in an industrial capacity as a master scuba diver, or working as a scuba instructor. This article will primarily cover scuba instruction, within the PADI certification system.

Becoming a scuba instructor is a two-stage process. In the first stage, you work to become a divemaster, which certifies you to work as an underwater guide – showing less experienced divers around a dive site, providing help in emergencies, and generally getting paid to lounge around underwater.

To become a divemaster, you need to:
1) Get the open water certification – $300 and four days
2) Get the advanced open water certification – $250 and two days
3) Get the rescue diver certification – $230 and three days
4) Get the divemaster certification – $800 and from three weeks to three months
The second stage is to become a proper scuba instructor, which allows you to teach novice scuba divers in the classroom, as well as take them into the ocean to test them on their scuba skills.

5) Get the scuba instructor certification – $3000 and two weeks.
Both of these positions, divemaster and scuba instructor, are ‘lifestyle’ jobs – you don’t make a lot of money, but you get to live out the scuba lifestyle indefinitely. You earn enough to cover the costs of living, enough for one or two vacations per year, but you will never really save up money. Unless you find a secondary source of income (e.g. programming on the side), it’ll be incredibly hard to return to the first world, due to a lack of savings and the lack the real career progression in scuba diving.

Of course, if you’re committed to this type of lifestyle, scuba diving on Koh Tao, why would you want to return?
Scuba diving on Koh Tao - with partner and instructor

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