Scuba Diving in Singapore - The Complete Dive Guide

The island country of Singapore is an emerging location for scuba diving in Asia, as it boasts of a rich diversity of marine life, multi-hued corals, and shallow waters. The diving courses in Singapore are less expensive when compared to those in the West, making it a tourist hotspot. The variety of aquatic animals, amiable weather, and diversity of nearby locations also make it convenient for divers of all levels to explore the waters around the Lion City. 

Here are 7 best places for Scuba Diving in Singapore:

1. Pulau Hantu

Pulau Hantu, Scuba Diving in Singapore
Scuba Diving in Pulau Hantu (Source)

The most popular site for diving in Singapore, Pulau Hantu is a 30-minute boat ride away from the mainland. This site comprises of two islands – Hantu Kecil and Hantu Besar, each hosting a rich variety of marine life. The colourful soft and hard corals shine brilliantly in the sunlight; the shallow dive offers crystal clear visibility. Turtles, marigold dragons, and sharks can be spotted here too, especially during the cooler months. One can even walk between the two islands during low tide!  

2. Kusu Island

Kusu Island, Scuba Diving
Aerial view of Kusu Island (Source)

This reclusive island located at St John’s Island, 6 kilometres away from the mainland, is a cosy spot for beginners to try their hand scuba diving away from the prying eyes of tourists. The shallow dives at Kusu Island offer spectacular views of hard and soft corals. Spot anemonefish, parrotfish, and turtles within the corals too!  

3. Pulau Ujong

Located 8 kilometres away from Singapore island, Pulau Ujong is a small, triangular island that is hidden away from most tourists. This serene spot is ideal for experienced divers looking for an idyllic, relaxing dive away from the crowds. The breathtaking fringing corals here are home to parrotfish, black-tip sharks, and turtles. Keep in mind that this site is recommended only for proficient divers as the currents may get too strong during high tide. Pulau Jong is accessible only by chartered boats or hired ferries.

4. Labrador Reef

One of the lesser-known reefs for scuba diving in Singapore, Labrador Reef is known for its manta rays, sand sharks, butterflyfish, angelfish, and anemonefish. It is recommended to go diving here during the high tide and swim amongst schools of tuna and other marine wonders. Keep in mind that dive training is not allowed here as the Reef is part of a nature reserve – permission is required from the National Parks Board before swimming here.

5. Sisters Island Marine Park

Recently made public, this marine park boasts of eclectic sea life and a host of fish varieties like parrotfish, clownfish, harlequin fish, eels, and turtles. The National Parks Board organizes regular diving sessions here. One can also spot the haunting Iran Sarai wreck off the coast of Sisters Island, 18 metres underwater.  

6. Igara Wreck

Nicknamed the Turtle Wreck because of the resident turtle here, the Igara wreck is located around 100 kilometres from the main island, but the trip is worth it – one can be sure to spot nurse sharks, barracudas, angelfish, and batfish here. While only half the ship remains now, the wreck is huge and still has an open cargo hold.

7. Sudong Wreck

At a depth of 15 metres, the Sudong Wreck is 50 metres long and well-preserved. This steel vessel was sunk during World War II and is almost intact. Sharks and turtles frequent this wreck making it a popular scuba diving spot in Singapore. It is advisable to dive this wreck only during slack tide as visibility is best during this time.

While Singapore has unique diving spots, most diving centres take participants to neighbouring spots in Malaysia and Indonesia for open water dives. Pualu Tioman, Pulau Redang, Pulau Kapas, and Pulau Lang Tengah are four iconic locations in the Terengganu state of Malaysia. One can request to visit the diving spots of Singapore after receiving basic training with the following courses.

Best Time to Scuba Dive in Singapore

best time to visit
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Singapore enjoys a tropical climate, with hot and humid summers and pleasant winters. The best time for scuba diving in Singapore is during the spring months between February and June when the marine life is at its best – one can hope to find lush corals and schools of fish during this time. The ocean temperature is a warm 29 degrees Celcius while the heat on land is at a comfortable 28 degrees Celcius. The months of September and October are also great for diving as the water is cooler and visibility is better. A water temperature of 27 degrees Celcius is expected, while the average temperature on land is a cool 25 degrees Celcius.

Diving Courses in Singapore

To enrol in a scuba diving course, patrons must be at least 10 years old and be able to swim at least 200 metres. They must be able to float on water for a minimum of 10 minutes without any floatation device. There are two different internationally recognized certifying agencies available – PADI and SSI. While both agencies offer similar sessions, impart the same skills, and use the same equipment, they differ in some parameters.

PADI: The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, or PADI, offers a more rigid and expensive course structure. This offers a temporary diving card for 90 days upon completion of the course – the extra card is sent to the patron’s address at an extra charge.

SSI: Scuba Schools International – or SSI – is a more flexible agency that is instructor-led. The e-learning segment of this school is available freely on the internet, and the digital certification is granted immediately on completion of the course.

1. Try Scuba Diving Course

The simplest course of them all, this scuba diving certificate is perfect for beginners who may be apprehensive about the open sea. This includes a pool session after theory classes and gives participants an idea of what to expect in the ocean. This is the best course for people who want to get over their fear of water before venturing out into the ocean.

Price: SGD 80 – 120

2. Open Water Diver Course

The prerequisite for novice divers, this course is offered by both PADI and SSI. A personal trainer-led programme with both theory and in-water practice sessions, the course also includes a free dive in open locations after pool simulations.

Price: SGD 400 - 600

3. Advanced Adventurer Course

This course brings divers one step closer to instructor certification, using more advanced equipment and staying out in the water for longer periods of time. This PADI Advanced course is a great bet for travellers looking to dive in other locations around the world, as it gives more insight into different ecosystems and habitats.

Price: SGD 400 – 700

4. Enriched Air Nitrox Course

This SSI-approved course is ideal for more experienced divers who want to go on longer dives. This specialized programme is the first step to become a technical diver or instructor. Using enriched nitrox with 40% oxygen allows divers to spend more time underwater.

Price: SGD 200 – 300

5. Deep Diving Course

One of the most advanced courses offered by PADI, the deep diving course in Singapore takes skilled divers into deep seas where visibility is low and lighting is a must. One can hope to spot more exotic marine life and wrecks here. Remember that this is an intensive course with more practice hours and prerequisites.

Price: SGD 700 – 900

6. Night Diver Course

Offered as a supplement to the open water programmes, the Night Diver Course is perfect for adrenaline junkies who want an extra shot of adventure. Armed with torches and reflective gear, prepare to conquer the ocean in the wee hours of the night with limited visibility, spotting schools of fish and exotic nocturnal marine animals on the way. This course is recommended only for experienced divers and expert swimmers.   

Price: SGD 700 – 900

Top Diving Schools in Singapore

1. Deep Blue Scuba

This well-known diving school in Singapore provides varieties of diving lessons to the people interested in scuba diving. The diving tours undertaken by the school cover the waters of the Philippines and Maldives. From basic course to open sea course, all sorts of training are provided by the school.                                
Address: South Bridge Road, 74B
Timings: Monday – Friday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Saturday, Sunday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Price: From SGD 500
Theory session: Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Pool session: Scheduled on completing theory session

2. Amazing Dive

Amazing dive
Source

The school offers options for customised diving spots to its students from Bintan, Tioman or any other place of their choice. The professional instructors provide lessons which include theory classes on pool lectures. They offer a particular open watercourse, which is quite famous among tourists.
Address: 465 Crawford Lane 
Timings: Monday – Friday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Saturday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Price: From SGD 500
Theory session: Tuesday: 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Pool session: scheduled on completion of theory session  

3. The Dive Company

dive company
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The dive company provides all the divers with maximum diving spots options including Tioman, Batam and Pulau Hantu. The professional divers give training and supervise diving for the amateurs. The school has scheduled pool lessons and theory lessons on specific days.
Address: 761A, North Bridge Road
Timings: Monday – Friday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Saturday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM, Sunday, public holidays: closed
Price: From SGD 580
Theory session: Monday: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Pool session: Tuesday, Thursday: 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM at Outram Secondary SchoolM

4. Big Bubble Centre

big bubble centre
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The Big bubble centre provides extensive training to the divers with the fee inclusive of all rentals of the equipment and course standard fees. Being slightly expensive than other diving schools, the big bubble centre has scheduled pool sessions, especially on weekends for the benefit of the locals. Once certified, they take all their divers to the waters of Maldives.
Address: 115 A, Commonwealth Drive
Timings: Monday – Friday: 12:30 PM - 8:00 PM, Saturday, Sunday: 12:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Price: From SGD 700
Theory session: self-study, followed by test at Commonwealth Drive
Pool session: Sunday: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

5. GS Diving

gs diving
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The GS diving enables the divers to cover a wide variety of waters for the divers. Apart from the waters of Singapore, they take the divers to explore the waters of Maldives, Malaysia and Indonesia. If you’re a certified diver, they will also take you to the South China Sea and even the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Price: From SGD 550
Theory session: self-study
Pool session: Friday, scheduled after theory session

6. Simply Scuba

simply scuba
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Another famous centre for scuba diving in Singapore, Simply Scuba provides training for diving and certifications. The well-trained professionals give detailed theory, and pool lessons to all the interested divers enrolled with them. They have pool sessions, specially scheduled on Saturdays. Their open diving location is at Tioman.
Address: Orchid Country Club, Spore 1, Orchid Country Club Road
Timings: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM everyday
Price: From SGD 550
Theory session: Tuesday: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Pool session: Saturday: 9:30 AM

7. Orpheus Dive

This centre organizes SSI programmes for scuba diving in Singapore and Malaysia. The main attraction at Orpheus is the scuba trip to Bali in a hidden cove near the island. The centre provides evening pool sessions at Outram Secondary School.

Address: 16 Zion Road
Timings: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Price: SGD 690
Theory session: Monday: 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Pool session: Tuesday: 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM at Outram Secondary School

8. Fisherman Scuba Studio

This SSI-certified centre organizes trips to Thailand and Indonesia on completion of the diving course. The flexible weekend timings of the pool sessions and comfortable equipment at Fisherman have brought it the recognition of being one among the top diving schools in Singapore.   

Address: 1013 Geylang East Avenue 
Timings: Monday – Friday: 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Saturday, Sunday: by appointment only
Price: From SGD 550
Theory session: Tuesday, Thursday: 7:00 PM – 10:30 PM
Pool session: Saturday: 12:30 PM – 6:30 PM, Sunday: 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM

9. Blue Reef Scuba

This company provides trips to Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Maldives on completion of the course, in addition to local trips within the country. The weekday evening pool sessions are perfect for tourists and are not very crowded either.

Address: 12 Bussorah Street
Timings: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Price: From SGD 600
Theory session: Tuesday: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Pool session: Wednesday, Thursday: 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM at Outram Secondary School

10. SEA Aquarium

Perfect for beginners and younger divers, this custom program at SEA Aquarium offers a unique experience to guests – diving in the Open Ocean Habitat with more than a thousand species of fish, turtles, and corals! The pool session at Adventure Cove Waterpark is a comfortable gateway to later open water sessions.   

Address: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa
Timings: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM every day
Price: From SGD 550
Theory session: self-study
Pool session: Saturday, Sunday: 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Tips

tips and advices
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  • Before enrolling to any diving school, read all the terms and conditions of the contract carefully. Scrutinise the inclusions and exclusions.
  • Be honest with the diving instructor and do not go for open sea diving till you are confident enough.
  • Before enrolling to any diving school, do sufficient research about the main diving agencies which are PADI and SSI. Choose the one that best suits you with safety being your priority.
  • Keep a check of all the diving equipment before going underwater. It is essential to look for broken buckles, gas leaks, the needle on air gauge etc. If found any such broken gears, refrain from diving.
  • If you are prone to sea-sickness, take all sorts of required medications before going under-water.
  • Ask as many questions as you can from your diving instructor. Do not hesitate at any point. If any sorts of doubts or misunderstandings, it is always better to get them cleared before going into the water.
  • Check the weather forecast before embarking on diving expeditions. Confirm with the instructor as well. It is advisable to schedule beginning dives during the mid-lunar cycle when the currents are at their weakest.
  • Avoid touching/feeding animals and fish while diving. Do not damage the reefs.
  • Learn the SOS and safety signals; establish these signs with the instructor before diving. Make sure the diving area has first-aid equipment.
  • Check equipment for damage, leaks, and other issues before diving.
  • Do not dive without a safety float on board, in case of emergencies.
  • Carry a waterproof box to store mobile phones, wallets, passports, keys, and other personal belongings.
  • Make sure that the instructors are PADI/SSI-certified. Patrons are entitled to demand certification and credentials if necessary.
  •  Carry waterproof sunscreen; if possible, invest in a full-body swimsuit to avoid sunburn especially during shallow dives.

Scuba diving in Singapore can indeed prove to be an adventurous activity for all the tourists. The Lion City not only offers diving lessons from a large number of diving schools, but also is one of the most reasonable and economic scuba diving options for the divers in Asia.

~This article is written by Yashasvi Kurana and Nivedha Narayanswamy~

This post was published by Holidify.com

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