PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty Course

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Complete the Underwater Naturalist Course Koh Tao

Our PADI Underwater Naturalist specialty course allows you to explore the diversity of aquatic animals that exist in the ocean around Koh Tao.

If you have ever been scuba diving and not known the name of an invertebrate, a Coral or an unusual symbiotic relationship taking place before your eyes, the PADI Underwater Naturalist specialty is the diving course for you.

You get so much more out of diving if you are able to recognize the marine life, their characteristics and the activity they are involved in as they go about their daily business in and around the local reefs.

Included in the PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty Course

  • 2 Underwater Naturalist Open Water training dives
  • PADI Underwater Naturalist manual
  • 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 enroll on an PADI Underwater Naturalist specialty course you must:

  • Be a (Junior) 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

1 Day PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty Course

The course consists of two sections:

  • Knowledge Development – Instructor led knowledge development session and completion of the knowledge reviews
  • Open Water training – 2 training dives

At Black Turtle Dive we take our customer promise very seriously. All courses are conducted with a maximum of 4 students per PADI Instructor.

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 ability as you develop the skills necessary to become an Underwater Naturalist Specialty Diver.

Koh Tao Underwater Naturalist Course Schedule

The Underwater Naturalist course schedule at Black Turtle Dive is flexible and we can work around your own personal needs and timeframe.

Please feel free to ask if you have any special requests either via email or on one of the messenger apps on this page. 

Underwater Naturalist Specialty Course Cost: 5,000 baht

Have you already completed the Underwater Naturalist Adventure dive?

Our 1 dive Underwater Naturalist course is priced at 3,500 baht.

Course Schedule:

Day 1:

09.00 – 11.30: Orientation & Knowledge Development
12.30 – 17.00: Underwater Naturalist training dives 1 & 2  

You will then be certified as a PADI Underwater Naturalist diver.


PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty Course Information

Orientation & Knowledge Development

We start the Underwater Naturalist specialty course at 09.00 with an Orientation that includes completion of paperwork and the PADI Medical statement.

The PADI Underwater Naturalist specialty course consists of 2 training dives that we take in the ocean around Koh Tao.

There is an Instructor led knowledge development and a two-part, 20 question open book knowledge review to complete that your instructor will review.

The Instructor led knowledge development is conducted during the morning of day 1. Some of the subjects you will cover include:

  • What is the meaning of ecology and ecosystem?
  • How scientists classify organisms and what two taxa does an organism’s scientific name represent?
  • The seven taxa into which organisms are classified
  • The two methods used to classify organisms
  • Classifying organisms into different categories
  • The six-kingdom and three-domain systems of classification
  • What is symbiosis?
  • What do the terms mutualism, commensalism and parasitism mean and give examples of each in Koh Tao?


Koh Tao Marine Life & PADI Underwater Naturalist Course

There are 2 Underwater Naturalist Open Water training dives to complete to become a PADI Underwater Naturalist.

Underwater Naturalist dive #1

Your first dive on the coral reef will be focused on observing, locating and identifying aquatic life and demonstrating good diving techniques that minimize any disturbance to aquatic life during the dive.

During the dive your Dive Instructor will ask you to locate and identify two aquatic plants, four local aquatic invertebrates and five vertebrates. After the dive, we will review both their common and scientific names.

Underwater Naturalist dive training dive #2

The second dive will expand on what you and your Dive Instructor discussed during the knowledge development session as we explore the marine environment.

Together with your Instructor, you will be looking to find examples of as many symbiotic relationships as you can.

Look for relationships such as the mutual symbiotic relationship the burrowing Shrimp has with the Watchman Goby and the Anemone fish has with the carpet Sea Anemone.

We will also search for the cleaner Wrasse that set up cleaner stations on the reef and remove parasites from passing larger fish.

On the dive we can identify predator and prey relationships such as the Blue Spotted Ribbon Tail Stingray, who feed on Crabs, Shrimps & Molluscs using their mouth underneath their body.

Identifying Marine Life Behaviour & Characteristics

Watch out for the White Eyed Moray Eel who live in crevices and venture out to eat Crustaceans, small fish and Octopus.

Another regular visitor to the Coral Reef is the Hawksbill Sea Turtle that feeds on Sponges, Jellyfish and sea Anemones, even the ones that are highly toxic to other marine animals.

Your Dive Instructor will also guide and help you to identify human impacts on the marine environment around the Coral reef.

These human impacts may include evidence of fishing, pollution or anchor damage.

Congratulations. Once you have completed all the above modules, you will be certified as a PADI Underwater Naturalist specialist diver.


Frequently Asked Questions

What will I learn on PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty Diver course?

You will learn about different types of aquatic life and how they are classified. You will learn about different types of symbiotic relationships and you will learn to identify those during your dives.

We will also review some common misconceptions about marine life and talk about Project AWARE and proper interactions with marine life.

For the dives you will get to use an underwater slate and pencil to take notes and record sightings that are then reviewed.

How long is Underwater Naturalist Specialty Diver course for on Koh Tao?

The PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty course takes 1 day to complete on Koh Tao.

You will meet your instructor in the morning to go through the theory portion of the course. In the afternoon you go out on the dive boat to put what you learn into practice.

You will typically visit 2 different dive locations around the island.

What is the cost of Underwater Naturalist Specialty Diver course Koh Tao?

The cost of the PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty is THB 5,000 (2 dives) or THB 3,500 (1 dive).

Included in this price are all course materials, dive equipment rental (including dive computer), instructor fees, boat trips and insurance.

If you have completed the PADI Underwater Naturalist Adventure dive as part of the PADI Advanced Open Water course, you only need to do 1 more dive to complete the specialty.

Food and accommodation are not included. However, you can contact us to find out about accommodation options. We have AC rooms available at discounted rates when taking a diving course with us.

Ex-students will enjoy a 10% discount on the course price.

How many dives is PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty course Koh Tao?

The PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty course consists of 2 Open Water training dives.

If you have completed the Underwater Naturalist Adventure dive as part of the PADI Advanced Open Water course, this dive credits towards the Specialty certification and you only need to do 1 more dive to become a certified Underwater Naturalist Specialty Diver.

In that case the course price is THB 3,500 instead of THB 5,000.

What is the difference between Underwater Naturalist and Fish Identification Specialty courses?

In the Fish Identification Specialty course you will look at different types of fish and you will try to identify the species and place them in their appropriate fish families.

In the Underwater Naturalist course you will not only look at fish but also different types of aquatic life, such as invertebrates and plants.

During the course you will discuss how these interact with each other and you will get to see and document this as they exist in their natural habitat.