Learn about Whalesharks on Koh Tao
Koh Tao Whaleshark Awareness Specialty Course
Become aware of the plight of the Whaleshark in our oceans, increase your knowledge and awareness as a marine protector and help spread the word.
Whalesharks are the gentle giants of our oceans. The biggest fish and shark in the world, Whalesharks feed on plankton and gather in areas with abundant plankton food often making them a tourist attraction.
Save our Whalesharks
Unfortunately Whalesharks are highly valued and there is a big demand for their meat, fins and oil.
Unregulated and illegal fishing remains a huge threat to Whalesharks. They are also victims of bycatch – accidentally caught in fishing equipment that is supposed to be for other species of fish.
Tourism also presents a threat to Whalesharks as it can interrupt their feeding cycles and they can be injured by boat propellers.
Largest Fish in the Sea
We want our Whaleshark specialty course to educate you about their plight, increase your awareness so you can understand the importance of this species and their protection and conservation status.
Whaleshark Awareness Distinctive Specialty Course
The Whaleshark Awareness distinctive specialty course on Koh Tao includes:
- Whaleshark Awareness interaction guidelines poster
- Project AWARE Ten Ways a Dive Can Protect the Underwater Environment
- Project AWARE Top Ten Tips for Photographers
- 2 Open Water training dives, snorkeling sessions OR for non divers just the knowledge development sessions
- PADI Certification card
- Rental of all scuba equipment
- FREE use of Dive Computer
- Log book
- Maximum 4 students per PADI Instructor
- Black Turtle Dive customer (and environmental) promise
To enrol on a Whaleshark Awareness distinctive specialty course as a diver you must:
- Be an Open Water diver
- Have recent diving experience – we recommend completing a scuba review if you have not dived for 12 months
- 10 years of age or older
- Medically fit to dive
You can enrol as a non-diver either participating in snorkeling sessions or just the knowledge development sessions.
1 Day Whaleshark Awareness Specialty Course
The course consists of two sections:
- Attend the Whaleshark Awareness presentation
- Whaleshark Code of conduct
- Whaleshark conservation
Open Water training
- 2 Open Water dives
Whaleshark Awareness Specialty Course Cost: 6,000 baht
Our Dive Instructors are highly trained and will ensure you receive lots of attention and most importantly, progress at your own pace in a relaxed environment.
During your training we will slowly build your confidence and knowledge as you develop the necessary skills to become a marine protector and Whaleshark Awareness diver.
Whaleshark Awareness Specialty Course Schedule
The Whaleshark Awareness course schedule at Black Turtle Dive is flexible and we can work around your own personal needs and timeframe.
Please ask us about any special requests you have either via email or on one of the messenger apps on this page.
09.00 – 11.30: Orientation & Knowledge Development
12.30 – 17.00: Whaleshark Awareness training dives 1 & 2
You are now a certified Whaleshark Awareness Diver.
Whaleshark Awareness Specialty Course Information
Orientation & Knowledge Development
We start the Whaleshark Awareness distinctive course at 09.00 with an Orientation that includes completion of some paperwork and the PADI Medical statement.
Our Whaleshark Awareness distinctive specialty course consists of 2 Open Water training dives.
There are also Whaleshark Interaction guidelines and a Code of Conduct to familiarize yourself with.
You must also understand Project AWARE’s Ten Ways a Dive Can Protect the Underwater Environment.
The Instructor led knowledge development is conducted during the morning of day 1.
Some of the subjects you will cover include:
- Whaleshark nomenclature and taxonomy
- Identifying typical Whaleshark markings
- The importance of research and monitoring programs to Whaleshark protection
- Whaleshark biology, behaviour, distribution and patterns of movement
- The four major considerations when diving with Whalesharks
- How to promote Whaleshark conservation
Whaleshark Awareness Dives – Be a Marine Protector
There are 2 Open Water training dives to complete to become a Whaleshark Awareness Diver.
Whaleshark Awareness training dive 1
During the first Whaleshark Awareness dive we check your buoyancy skills are good enough to be a proficient marine protector by asking you to demonstrate neutral buoyancy by hovering.
We take a camera on the dive so we can take photos. During the dive we will be looking to encounter a Whaleshark and we will ask you to identify any distinctive features or markings.
Our observations will also include estimations of the size and dimensions of any Whalesharks encountered.
Whaleshark Interaction Guidelines
You should maintain a safe and comfortable distance from any Whalesharks encountered as already discussed during the Whaleshark Interaction guidelines & Code of conduct.
We will also ask you to observe and note Whaleshark behavior.
During our debriefing we will discuss any problems encountered during the dive and those to be avoided on future dives and any distinctive behavioral and feeding patterns of an observed Whaleshark.
If we manage to get photos we will also arrange for that data to be added to the Whaleshark Photo Identification database.
Whaleshark Awareness training dive 2
During your second Whaleshark Awareness dive if we encounter a Whaleshark we will take photographs for recording and identification purposes.
Identification characteristics can include spot patterns behind the gills, dorsal fin, the lower tail fin and if possible we will Photograph both sides of the shark.
Whaleshark Characteristics & Behavior
We will also estimate the size and dimensions of any Whalesharks observed and note any Whaleshark behavior including feeding or avoidance actions such as banking way, eye rolling or rapid diving.
Throughout any encounter with a Whaleshark we will maintain a safe and comfortable distance in accordance with the Whaleshark Interaction guidelines & Code of Conduct.
Congratulations. You are now a certified Whaleshark Awareness Diver.