I would like to raise a few points about women in diving and why this is even a topic. As female scuba diving instructors we see this all the time. Come down to the shop meet the students, and some male students will not only be shocked but can look absolutely horrified that they are about to put their lives in the hands of a small female. Let’s lay it all out here and tell you that not only do women make fantastic divers and instructors but we are also highly effective in the business of diving!

Woman in Professional Diving instructing her students

Lieke – Giving one of the best pool dive briefings

Let’s look at women as divers:

Women have a few physical traits that can make them better divers.

Women’s bodies are more suited for diving

When it comes to air consumption, women tend to have the advantage. We are often physically smaller than men, have a smaller lung capacity, and less muscle mass. It is not a guarantee, but for new divers, especially, it is likely that we will have more air left in our cylinders than men will.

Women also seem to have more control over their own buoyancy as a diver. This could be contributed to the fact that women have higher body fat, making us a bit more buoyant. Because of this women sometimes learn how to control buoyancy as swimmers making it much easier when learning to dive.

Women are more safety conscious

This is a neurological trait. Typically, women can be seen as ‘damsels in distress’, or, in a stressful situation, some may think that women will just fall apart and break down, whereas men take charge and become the heroes. Studies are showing that this may be untrue. Mara Mather, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of southern California and Ruud van den Bos, a neurobiologist at Radboud University found then when in stressful situation men are more likely to take risks. This can be due to a natural chain reaction of hormones. First the stress hormone cortisol is released, followed by testosterone, concluding with adrenaline, this can be a hormonal cocktail for bad and risky decision making. Whereas women tend to become more risk alert in stressful situations and tend to look at the bigger picture more so than the immediate reward. This can be very valuable in diving, especially in the beginning. As a new diver you are completely out of your natural element. We hear it all the time as divers that if you experience stress underwater, what you must do first is stop, think and then act! Given our neurological make up, this is a bit more likely for women to do than men.

Female Scuba Instructor best dive briefing

Sairee Cottage Dive Briefing

Women have Natural Navigation in Scuba Diving

On land men may have women beat on this one, and it is an old stereotypical joke that women cannot navigate. Well men, again, in diving, we have you beat here.
 Marine Scientist, Mandy Shackleton, led a two year study on scuba divers. The findings were that women have greater awareness of what is going on around them in a smaller setting and tend to use cues that are in their immediate vicinity for navigation. Which in diving can be very beneficial.

Women as scuba diving instructors

Women are patient, understanding, and honestly we can make you tough. Why?
 Because this industry was tough on us and we often have to quickly adopt a ‘no bullshit’ attitude if we want to make it as a dive instructor. We have to lift as many tanks as the boys, we have to clean as many dirty regulators and we have to deal with all kinds of students, even the ones that doubt us.

Women girl scuba diving instructor

Teaching Scuba Diving in the Classroom – Toni is now working full-time on a Super Yacht

If you are a female student, then it’s a win-win, if I can be a dive instructor, you can be a diver. Don’t let anyone tell you ‘it’s too tough’ or ‘it’s a bit more of a man sport’. We are happy to listen to your fears and we understand. If you are a man and you are having trouble, first off we may just tell you to ‘man up’ but if the tough love approach doesn’t work, don’t worry we will be more than willing to hold your hand as well. Ever thought of becoming a diving instructor?

Check this video and see one of the best female IDC Candidates learning to become amazing diving instructors:

Diving is becoming easier for women

Diving has always been a male dominated sport, we know this. Women now make up 40% of the dive community which is quite an accomplishment. There are some things that are making it more attainable.

Scuba Diving easy for women and girls

Kyri leading Incredible Diving Experiences

Dive Equipment for women scuba divers

For years dive equipment was more geared towards men and men’s physics, making it much more of a challenge for women to find gear that would fit and work comfortably for them. Now almost all major scuba equipment brands have multiple women’s BCD’s, wetsuits and masks that work much better for our body types.

Social and community support

It still is quite common for a woman to walk into a dive club or class and be the only female present. But now with social media and such it is making it much easier for us to find each other. Whether you are looking for a female diving instructor or just looking for a dive buddy in your location. One of the best Facebook groups about this is Girls That Scuba and their Girls that Scuba website. This is a safe non-judgemental place where you can ask anything about diving, from ‘will a shark attack you if you are on your period?’, to safe places for solo females to go travel and scuba dive.

Female Scuba Instructor

Denja – One of the Best Diving Instructors on Koh Tao

A final Thought

Regardless of preconceptions that scuba diving is male dominated, women have a huge place in the scuba diving world. Some of the advantages mentioned above as well as the general suitability of scuba diving for women. At Sairee Cottage Diving, we are a very successful and functional team of diving staff that work along side each other regardless of gender. So don’t miss out on an ancient notion and join other successful women in diving as a career or just learn to dive and explore the underwater world with us!

Have any experiences you would like to share? Please leave a comment below.

DM Mentor Maddy

Maddy Barker
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer & DM Mentor

Sairee Cottage Diving
PADI 5 Star IDC Centre
Koh Tao, Thailand

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  1. First of all I will say that I am all for women in the diving sport, but the past few years I have seen an unfortunately tendency in articles on female divers, taking everything a man does as negative based on feelings.
    If a man offer a female diver to carry her tank, it is not to diminish her as a woman, but probably because he finds her attractive (as most men are biologically wired) and wants to do something for her as a kind gesture. If the female diver feels otherwise don’t make it a fact.
    I can tell form experience that getting accused of sexism because you want to do something nice for a woman is morale devastating and is likely to ensure no help from that man, even if needed.
    I think that maybe the way forward is communication and mutual respect between genders.
    I am signing up for Padi open water diving course in a few month, and would not mind one bit having a female instructor or classmates. And on a side note I will stand up for anyone who is exposed to indesent behavior no matter where I am and respect my fellow divers, female or male.
    And the talk about that women can’t cut it!!! of cause they can. I will give a tip to all people who doubt them selves if they get that message… DONT LISTEN TO IT, no one can know what you can or can’t do, only you can know that, Men experience that to. Thru my childhood I was often told that I was stupid and wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything, But I say “Il’l show them” Many men are competitive by nature and will try to diminish anyone to promote them selves, that does not only include to women.
    And to finish of Il’l say that I would like to see more female divers in the world as it is a sport both genders should be able to enjoy

  2. Firstly, i have no agendas or biases regarding the gender of a diving instructor but your opinions seem very bigoted and you have a chip on your shoulder. That is the reason i would have no confidence in picking you as my instructor – not because you are female.

  3. I just found this article when I googled “women better dive instructors” after voicing that thought to my (female) DM mentor. I have learned from numeorus instructors in different locations and it was always the women who really made me a better diver after the respective course. Now that I have some more experience and am currently working on my DM, I see a lot more than I used to when I first started out and I am under the impression that quite a lot of male instructors most of all try to give people a good time – even if this means taking higher risks, stretching limits and bending rules. I’m not saying female instructors don’t want to give divers a good time, but the sense of achievement oftentimes feels a little different to me, more technical, and the feedback more constructive. For example getting in the water with 8 kilos and coming out with five because your instructor did a hell of a great job on PPB. Or coming out of the water with the best air consumption in the group because your instructor was determined to streamline you and finally teach you how to properly frog kick. Or finally, after a mental theory session, really getting the maths about Nitrox. Scuba ladies are fantastic!

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