PADI Course Director Matt Bolton

Multi Award Winning Platinum PADI Course Director Matt Bolton


PADI Course Director #463559

Matt has worked in the dive industry for over 25 years, teaching Instructor Development courses (IDC’s) for the past 20 years on Koh Tao.

Matt is responsible for teaching many of today’s successful dive centre owners, managers and Course Directors.  Several of Matt’s ex-candidates and employees now work for PADI.

Platinum PADI Course Director Matt Bolton is one of the few Asian based Course Directors to have been selected to attend the prestigious Course Director Training Course at PADI HQ in California.

He is well respected within the scuba diving industry around the world and Matt was invited to teach the very first IDC’s in India, East Timor and Oman.

Matt was also selected to teach in Penang, Malaysia, as part of a Malaysian Government Yayasan Peneraju initiative to increase the number of local dive professionals working in their dive industry.

One of Matt’s main areas of focus is the business of diving, demonstrated by his success within the industry at senior management level.

He built Crystal Dive from a small non-affiliated dive centre, to one of the most popular and successful scuba diving brands in the world.

In 2017 Matt co-founded one of Koh Tao’s most popular Latin scuba brands Isla Tortuga before starting his latest brand Black Turtle Dive during Covid.

When not teaching IDC’s Matt’s focus is devising new marketing strategies, specifically in the online sphere and developing new educational and conservation initiatives.

One of these educational initiatives is the introduction of the REACT program – Reef Ecology and Conservation Training program that he introduced at Black Turtle Dive in 2022 in conjunction with non-profit Conservation Diver.

Matt also co-founded Eco Koh Tao, a non-profit conservation group in 2007 that specializes in Reef restoration and the development of Junkyard Reef – an artificial dive site located on the west side of Koh Tao.

Matt’s latest project, in conjunction with the DMCR – Department of Marine & Coastal Resources (Thai Government) – is a new artificial reef – Black Turtle Reef.

Matt is one of a small group of Koh Tao based Dive Professionals and Marine Scientists that are certified by the DMCR to teach Coral Propagation & Reef Restoration techniques.

Matt’s work in Instructor Development, diver training, marine conservation and the business of diving has been recognized countless times with industry awards.


PADI Course Director
DMCR Coral Restoration Instructor
Marine Resource Management (MRM)
Reef Check Trainer

Conservation Diver Instructor
EFR Primary, Secondary and Care for Children Instructor Trainer
BSAC Advanced Instructor
Self-Reliant Diver


Enriched Air Nitrox
Deep Diver
Search & Recovery
Underwater Videography
Underwater Photography
Digital Underwater Photography
Equipment Specialist
Wreck Diver
Multi Level
Diver Propulsion Vehicle
Underwater Naturalist
Whaleshark Awareness Specialist
AWARE Sea Turtle Specialist
Emergency Oxygen Provider
PADI Oxygen Provider
Dive Center Employee
Coral Watch Coral Health Chart
AWARE Shark Conservation Diver
Whaleshark Awareness Diver
AWARE Shark Conservation
Dive against Debris
Sidemount Diver

AWARDS, DIPLOMAS & Achievements

PADI Platinum Course Director Award 2006, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 & 2022 (17 times) – Since its inception

2021 – Awarded ‘Outstanding contribution to Instructor Development’ for second time

2017 – Awarded Outstanding Contribution to Diver Training

2015 – Awarded Outstanding contribution to the Dive Industry for the third time

2013 – Awarded ‘Outstanding contribution to Instructor Development’

2012 ‘Outstanding Contribution to Dive Industry’

2010 Awarded ‘Outstanding Contribution to Dive Industry’

2010 PADI Asia Pacific Instructor Development Award

2009 PADI Asia Pacific Diver Retention Award

2009 Project AWARE Environmental Achievement Award

2008 PADI Asia Pacific Diver Trainer Award

2008 Project AWARE Environmental Achievement Award

2010 PADI Asia Pacific Marine Environmental Award

2009 PADI Asia Pacific Outstanding Business Award

2009 PADI Asia Pacific Marine Environmental Award

2008 PADI Asia Pacific Instructor Development Award

2008 PADI Asia Pacific Marine Environmental Award

crystal-dive-koh-tao-100000-reasons-to-dive-with padi-president


Diver Training Award
PADI President Drew Richardson & Matt Bolton

IDC Koh Tao • PADI 5 Star Award Winning Career Development Centre

Most Competitive Rates Anywhere in Thailand

IDC Koh Tao • Matt’s Industry News

Sidemount Diver Training as a PADI Instructor

I was conducting a routine dive with my Divemaster candidates using a backmount single tank configuration at Chumphon Pinnacles.   There was a technical diver also on our dive boat, diving on a Sidemount set-up and he decided to tag along with us on our dive. Half way...

The Importance of Neutral Buoyancy as a Dive Professional

As a PADI Course Director, I have the opportunity to work with and develop hundreds of budding dive professionals. I feel as though I have an obligation to set each and every one of my candidates up for success within the Dive Industry. For me, personally, this means...

What is CITES and why it is important

Planet Earth is home to about 1.8 million species. Approximately 13,000 new species are discovered every year. Together all these species form an integral part of the natural ecosystem and are vital contributors to our diets, our medicine and clothing needs. Yet, many...

Candidate Testimonials

"An Internationally Acclaimed PADI 5 Star Career Development Centre (CDC), this is a Dive Centre that provides you with an opportunity to change your lifestyle and develop a new career."


"Was a hard but great course! Thanks a lot again to all staff who teaches and prepared us so well, that finally the IE was easy going! Thanks Matt, Tina, Steph, Kenji, Steve, Manu and everybody else who supports us."


"They cater to your schedule during divemaster training so you can do it at your own pace and are also environmentally conscious which is an important factor. Anyone considering a professional career in diving should definitely consider Crystal."


"They are very dedicated, and were always there to help me with the theory, and to improve my scuba teaching skills. If you are still searching for a centre to do your IDC at, I recommend doing it with Matt."


"There was absolutely nothing that could have happened during the IE the candidates were not made very well aware of. Everything ran so smoothly for the candidates."


"It's a good decision to do your training with Matt, a lot of information is given and shared experiences. If you guys wanted to do IDC, I recommend doing it with IDC Koh Tao. Thank you for the amazing IDC."


"If you guy's are looking for good teachers and the best Course Director, this is the place..Thank you for guiding us, inspiring us and making us what we are today. Highly recommend."


"I enjoyed every single day of my IDC as well as my MSDT. Matt is an outstanding Course Director who goes all the way out for you, in preparation for the IE."


"The course was fun and you meet a bunch of new people, it’s not hard to fit in. When the day of the IE arrives, you don't even stress about it, because the Course Directors are the best."


"Did my IDC with Crystal Dive and IDC Koh Tao and I'm so happy I chose them. Matt Bolton made sure that there was lots of learning, training and laughs! I felt more than prepared for the I.E. And it showed!"

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Black Turtle Dive Koh Tao
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