La Bombona Diving

Empowering Women: Female Scuba Instructors of
Koh Tao

By Bryan Roseman

5th June 2024

  • Koh Tao is not just a diver’s paradise, it’s also a place where women scuba instructors are leading the way and inspiring divers around the world.

  • Women instructors bring a unique set of skills to the diving industry, including attention to detail and a nurturing style of teaching.

  • Despite confronting stereotypes and physical challenges, women in diving are not just surviving, they are flourishing and growing in numbers.

  • Becoming a scuba instructor involves gaining certifications, and there are opportunities for women to take leadership roles and educate within the diving community.

  • Supporting women-led diving schools and furthering your own diving education can help to empower women in the industry and promote inclusivity.

Introducing the Women of the Deep

Rocio the owner of La Bombona Diving

Take a look into the heart of Koh Tao, and you’ll find a community where women are not just participants, but pioneers. The women scuba instructors here are not just teaching people to dive, they are breaking down barriers and setting a standard for future generations. And let me tell you, these women are as at ease discussing nitrogen narcosis as they are navigating the colourful coral reefs that make Koh Tao so famous.

Rocio Garcia Fernandez is one of these pioneers. She traded her business suit in Madrid for a wetsuit and fins to follow her dreams. Today, not only is she living her passion, but she is also killing it at La Bombona Diving, the diving school she founded on Koh Tao. Her journey shows that with determination and a love for the sea, women can make amazing strides in the diving industry.

More Than Just a Dive: Instructors as Inspirations

Women scuba instructors in Koh Tao are not just teachers; they are inspirations who demonstrate power, tenacity, and a sense of exploration. They are the ones who calm you down when you’re anxious about your initial dive, who cheer for you when you finally get your buoyancy right, and who instill not just techniques, but a profound admiration for the underwater world.

The female instructors of Koh Tao are not just educators, they are community builders. They create an environment where everyone, regardless of their gender, feels like they are part of the diving world. This sense of community is important because it promotes a supportive and encouraging culture in diving, where everyone can succeed.

Changing the Game: The Emergence of Women in Scuba Diving

Sylvia Earle In Scuba Equipment

“Silvia Earle …” from and used with no modifications.

Guardian of the Ocean

It used to be that the underwater world was considered a man’s domain, but that perception is quickly being overturned. Women have been making waves in scuba diving for years, with pioneers such as Sylvia Earle at the helm. These wonderful women have laid the groundwork for the increasing number of female instructors we see today.

Women in Koh Tao are not only involved in scuba diving, but they are also making a significant impact in the industry. They serve as instructors who ensure safety measures are followed, contribute to the conservation of marine life, and motivate others with their passion for the underwater world.

Breaking the Surface

“The sea does not favor or discriminate, and neither should we. Each breath a diver takes beneath the waves is a step towards equality.” – Isabelle Dermers, A Female Dive Instructor in Koh Tao

These women aren’t just breaking the ‘surface ceiling’; they’re smashing it to pieces. They demonstrate that diving isn’t about raw power, but rather about knowledge, ability, and enthusiasm. Their place in the industry is a declaration that defies stereotypes and fosters diversity in the realm of scuba diving.

First and foremost, the rise in the number of female scuba instructors is vital for the expansion of the industry. It introduces fresh viewpoints and teaching methods that appeal to a broader spectrum of divers. The diverse methods ensure that every student can connect with an instructor, making the process of learning to dive a more individualized and pleasurable experience.

Diving Further: Advanced Training for Leadership Positions

For women on Koh Tao who have already ventured into the world of scuba diving, the next step is to advance into leadership roles. The journey to becoming a scuba instructor is tough but satisfying, requiring advanced certifications such as the PADI, RAID or SSI Divemaster and Instructor Development Program (IDP). These programs not only sharpen diving skills, but also leadership, problem-solving, and teaching skills—traits that are critical for a good instructor.

Why We Need More Female Dive Instructors

Women instructors offer a unique set of skills and viewpoints that are beneficial to all divers. They frequently excel in areas such as communication and empathy, which can be crucial when instructing beginners. Furthermore, their presence disputes the outdated belief that scuba diving is only for the physically powerful, highlighting that diving is about skill, knowledge, and respect for the sea.

Establishing Equilibrium in the Diving World

The presence of a variety of instructors ensures stability within the diving community. It encourages a broader audience to engage in the sport, ensuring they will find guides they can connect with. Female instructors also highlight issues such as the preservation of marine environments, often motivating their students to become ocean champions.

Promoting Inclusion Under the Sea

Female instructors in Koh Tao do more than just teach scuba diving. They create an inclusive atmosphere where a passion for the sea is not limited by gender. They show that bravery, respect for sea creatures, and the excitement of exploration are shared experiences that can bring everyone together.

So, when you decide to learn from a female instructor, it’s not just about learning to dive. You’re joining a movement that values diversity and equality, both above and below the water.

Koh Tao Stories That Inspire

“The World’s Largest Scuba Diving …” from and used with no modifications.

  • The transition of Rocio Garcia Fernandez from the corporate world to being the owner of La Bombona Diving.

  • The tenacity shown from Naomi Allen in her quest to become integrated into the male-centric Tech Diving world.

  • The development of supportive groups like ‘Girls That Scuba’, which help to connect women divers worldwide.

These stories aren’t just about individual achievements; they’re about the overall advancement of women in the diving industry. They serve as strong examples of what is possible when passion and persistence combine.

The pristine waters of Koh Tao have seen many stories of determination. From overcoming the fear of the first open water dive to becoming an expert in underwater navigation, the island’s female instructors have countless stories to tell.

These women don’t just excel in the technicalities of diving. They are also advocates for the marine environment, often spearheading conservation projects and teaching divers about the significance of safeguarding our oceans.

Stories of Persistence: Women at the Helm of Expeditions

Imagine guiding a group of divers through the beautiful underwater world of Koh Tao. This is the day-to-day life for women like Rocio, who don’t just lead dives but also run their own businesses. They plan the journey, guarantee everyone’s safety, and craft unforgettable memories for their customers.

These women are in charge of their own destiny, both in a literal and figurative sense. They handle adversity with elegance and are instrumental in demonstrating that the ocean’s depths are accessible to anyone who has the courage to explore them.

Teaching the Depths: How Female Instructors are Making Waves

The role of female scuba instructors in Koh Tao is not limited to the diving spots. They are teachers of the sea, imparting not just the necessary skills to navigate it but also the significance of its conservation. Their impact molds the mindset and actions of every student they instruct, producing a domino effect that can result in substantial positive shifts in marine preservation.

These instructors are not only sharing their knowledge and passion, but they are also creating a legacy that will contribute to the protection of our oceans for the generations to come. They are proving that being a scuba instructor is not just a job—it’s a calling to become protectors of the underwater world.

Ways to Encourage and Become Part of the Female Dive Instructors Community in Koh Tao

Are you moved by the stories of female scuba instructors in Koh Tao and are considering supporting them or becoming one of them? There are a few things you can do. The most important thing is to choose to train or dive with centers that are known for promoting and employing female instructors. Not only does this support them directly, it also helps to create a more inclusive and diverse diving community.

In addition, you might want to participate in the conservation efforts and initiatives that these instructors lead. Many of them organize beach cleanups, monitor coral reefs, and other activities that you can participate in, making a real difference in marine conservation.

How to Choose a Dive School: Backing Women-Led Efforts

  • Look into various dive schools and aim for those that feature women instructors or owners in their crew.

  • Check out reviews and testimonials from past students to measure the level of teaching and the diversity of the dive center.

  • Join programs or courses that are specially made to boost women in diving, like the ones given by ‘Girls That Scuba’.

When you’re picking out a dive school in Koh Tao, make sure to understand their principles and how they help in the advancement of women in the field. Choose those that not only say the right things but also act on it when it comes to equality and variety.

When you opt for a diving center that employs female instructors, you’re casting a monetary vote for a more equitable and just diving industry. Plus, every dive you take with these instructors nudges us closer to a more inclusive underwater community.

If you aspire to be a dive instructor, Koh Tao is the place where your dreams can come true. With excellent training facilities and a nurturing community, it is the ideal starting point for your diving career.

How to Go from Learner to Teacher: Getting Started

Are you thinking about it? Here’s how to start your journey from learner to teacher:

  • Start with beginner certifications like the Open Water Diver certification to dip your toes in and build a base.

  • Move up through the ranks with more certifications, gaining more experience and skill with each level.

  • Take part in professional development programs like the PADI, RAID or SSI Divemaster or IDP to get ready for a leadership role in diving.

Most importantly, remember that becoming a scuba instructor is a journey that needs commitment, passion, and a readiness to keep learning and growing. It’s not just about diving; it’s about inspiring others and protecting the marine world we all love.

Whether you’re a beginner or looking to take your diving to the next level, think of Koh Tao as not just a place, but a community that encourages women to dive headfirst into the world of diving. The path may be tough, but the payoffs—personal, professional, and environmental—are beyond measure.

By selecting diving schools that advocate for and back female instructors, we’re expressing our desire to be part of a diving community that respects everyone’s input and cultivates a sense of inclusion. So, let’s plunge in and explore how we can aid in this underwater revolution.


Is scuba diving instruction open to anyone?

Absolutely, anyone who has a passion for diving and is dedicated to learning can become a scuba diving instructor. It does involve obtaining a number of certifications and gaining a comprehensive knowledge of diving techniques and teaching methods. It’s a demanding but immensely fulfilling journey that is available to anyone who is prepared to invest the time and effort.

What certifications are required to become a scuba diving instructor?

In order to become a scuba diving instructor, you must first become a Divemaster. After that, you must complete the Instructor Development Course (IDC) and pass the Instructor Examination (IE). These certifications ensure that you have the skills, knowledge, and competence to teach diving in a safe and effective manner.

Why do we need female scuba instructors?

Women scuba instructors are essential to the diversification of the diving industry and provide role models for women and girls that they can relate to. They help to destroy gender barriers and stereotypes, making diving a more inclusive sport for everyone. Furthermore, they often bring unique perspectives and teaching methods that can improve the learning experience for their students.

What is the duration to become a scuba instructor?

The duration to become a scuba instructor is dependent on the starting level of the individual, how often they train, and their personal progression. On average, it can take from six months to a few years to go from a beginner diver to a certified instructor, provided you are diving and training consistently.

Why is Koh Tao a unique scuba diving destination?

Not only is Koh Tao home to beautiful coral reefs and a wide variety of sea creatures, but it also boasts a friendly and supportive scuba diving community. The island has emerged as a center for diving education, renowned for its high standards and the significant presence of women in the industry. Koh Tao provides a perfect setting for those who want to learn to dive and for those who want to further their careers as scuba instructors.

Summing up, the women scuba instructors of Koh Tao are not just shaping the current landscape of diving, but they’re also creating ripples of inspiration for the future. By opting to learn from them and support their initiatives, we’re helping to create a more inclusive and vibrant diving community. So, why not dive in and join these amazing women on their journey to discover, conserve, and share the magic of the underwater world?

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