Revealing Two New Koh Tao Wreck Dive Gems!

On the 7th of September 2023, a full day of ceremony was held on Koh Tao to celebrate and welcome two new wrecks to the island! Many witnessed the sinking of the HTMS Suphairin 313 on the 7th, and then the HTMS Hanhaksattru 312 on the 8th. But the process of adding these new Koh Tao wreck dive sites started much earlier than that.

Back in 2019, there were rumors of two or three new Koh Tao wrecks being whispered in the local community. This was a cause of great excitement for the whole island, as the addition of another wreck or two would bolster the number of Koh Tao wreck dive spotsand reduce the impact on the existing sites.

Read on to discover these exciting new wreck diving gems and the positive benefits they are having on Koh Tao’s environment and community.

Wreck diving in Koh Tao

Koh Tao has some local wrecks nearby but most of them are too deep or difficult for your average recreational diver and are more suitable for Extended Range diving. However, Koh Tao did receive one wreck back in 2011, the HTMS Sattakut 742, which has become popular with recreational divers from around the world.

The HTMS Sattakut 742 sits just to the west of Koh Tao and is a 48-meter-long (157-foot) US Navy WWII vessel that saw action in the Pacific islands.This Koh Tao wreck dive iswell-known and it is in a great location to complete a wreck diver course, due to its short distance from Sairee Beach and the main pier.

Love wreck diving? Check out these 4 Best Wreck Dives for 2023.

Within 10 minutes you can get to the HTMS Sattakut from shore, with the wreck’s average depth around 26 meters (85 feet).Wreck diving has become increasingly popular in the last 10 years and there must be more than 30, 000 dives logged on this site!

With many great sites dotted around the island and numerous deeper dive sites easily accessible nearby, Koh Tao diving has become very popular.

Today, the island is blessed to be one of the busiest diving destinations in the world. Along with the large number of visitors and divers, comes the responsibility for the local community to take care of its resources.

Koh Tao’s wrecks – A boost for marine conservation and tourism

Divers are some of the most environmentally conscious people you will find and clearly understand how climate change, pollution, and our ever-growing population are changing the world we live in.

In Koh Tao, there is a large community of dive professionals who spend most of their days in the water and get to see firsthand the negative effects on the marine environment. They are acutely aware that their "office" could disappear very quickly if we do not take care of the environment.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Being an Eco-Diver.

Wreck diving is an opportunity to explore history and be part of marine conservation at the same time, as it reduces the impact of divers on the natural local marine environment. As well as being historically significant and a boost for local tourism, these new wrecks offer environmental benefits too.

New habitats for various types of marine life are being created already, giving shelter, safety and new homes while increasing biodiversity. Artificial reefs are also less likely to be damaged by environmental changes that are being experienced in other areas around Koh Tao.

Celebrating Koh Tao’s newest wrecks

Earlier this year Koh Tao received the good news that the Koh Tao wreck dive projectwould go ahead in September 2023. Thanks to the fantastic sense of community on this small island, they were able to secure two discharged ships.

The whole community was involved in the celebration of the new Koh Tao wreck dive sites. The Royal Thai Navy, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Surat Thani Province, Koh Tao Tourism Association, Koh Tao Municipality, Save Koh Tao, Koh Tao Diving Club, Koh Tao Thai Divers Team, local business owners, Koh Tao government offices,and many other VIPs organized and attended various official events on the 7th of September.

Looking for a new wreck diving spot? Read our guide to The Best Dive Sites in Malta’s Wreck-Filled Waters.

The day’s celebrations started with a ceremony at King Rama V Monument early in the morning followed by the deployment of HTMS Suphairin around 12:30 pm. In the evening, certificates of appreciation were handed out to all supporters of the project by the Governor and other dignitaries, thanking everyone for their time, effort and financial contributions.

Where are the new Koh Tao wreck dive spots?

Koh Tao’s new wrecks are both 44 meters (144 feet) long and 7 meters (23 feet) wide, and were high-speed attack ships belonging tothe Royal Thai Navy Gulf Patrol fleet. They were decommissioned in 2018 after over 40 years in service.

The position of these wrecks provides an opportunity to be able to dive at least one wreck every day of the year at Koh Tao, no matter which direction the wind may come from.

If you visit these Koh Tao wreck dive spots, remember to use the SSI Dive Log on the MySSI app to add your dives. Both sites have already been created and will be updated with live data from all divers using the Dive Log.

Which SSI wreck course is the right one for me?

1. SSI Wreck Diving

This is an introduction to recreational wreck diving. The training includes basic line laying, wreck navigation and limited penetration (swim through). The course requires a minimum of 2 dives.

2. SSI Advanced Wreck Diving

This coursefocuses onbasicwreck penetration and consists of a dry skill session and 4 training dives. Divers already certified in SSI Wreck Diving can upgrade to SSI Advanced Wreck Diving by completing the dry skill session and dives 3 and 4. The SSI Advanced Wreck Diving certification allows for limited penetrationin the daylight zoneto a maximum depth of 30 meters (100feet) and a linear distance not exceeding 40 meters (130feet).

3. SSI Extended Range Wreck Diving

This program allows for single-line penetration in thedaylightzone to a maximum depth of 40 meters (130feet) using gas reserves as a limit instead of linear distance. The course can be done insingle cylinder,sidemount, twinset, SCR, or CCR configurations.

The course includes a dry skill session, confined water training and a minimum of 4overheadtraining dives. This program is the part of SSI Extended Range, but nodecompressionis allowed.

4. SSI Technical Wreck Diving

This program certifies divers to conduct complex penetration beyond thedaylightzone. The maximum depth is based on the diver’s current certification anddecompressionis allowed if the diver is certified to do so. The course can only be done inanExtended Range equipment configurationsuch as a twinset, sidemount, SCR, or CCR. The course consists of a dry skill session, confined water training and 6overheadtraining dives.

Ready to experience the best diving in Koh Tao?

Check out SSI’s list of dive centers offering wreck courses on Koh Tao. They will help you complete the courses you need to prepare for safe diving at depth in overhead environments.