The HTMS Sattakut shipwreck is one of the best dive sites in Koh Tao. For certified Advanced divers, the HTMS Sattakut wreck is a must-see.
The dive site where the WWII gunboat wreck lies is just 20 minutes from Koh Tao.
Featuring a 76 mm gun at the bow and another located in its stern, this vessel was fully equipped for battle.
History of the HTMS Sattakut shipwreck in Koh Tao
The HTMS Sattakut was constructed in Portland – Oregon, USA. At that time, she was known as USS LCI (M)-739.
On February 27, 1944, the U.S. Navy officially launched and commissioned a Landing Craft Infantry for military campaigns during World War 2 between 1944 and 1945.
After the war, in 1946, it was then inducted into Thailand’s navy as HTMS Sattakut where it remained in service until 2007.
On June 18th, 2011, following an extensive cleanup and the removal of hazardous elements from the vessel, Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources sunken it off the coast of Koh Tao with a view to creating a novel artificial reef and dive site.
Unfortunately, the sinking of this wreckage didn’t go as anticipated and resulted in it laying horizontally on the sand rather than upright. Later, in August, a team managed to maneuver the wreck in its upright position.
Now, the HTMS Sattakut is the largest and most successful artificial dive site project in Koh Tao. This amazing attraction spans an impressive 164 feet (50 meters) long and 23 feet (7 meters) wide, offering divers with sufficient qualifications a remarkable opportunity to explore its two large cannon guns and multiple entry and exit points.
The dive plan at the HTMS Sattakut wreck
The highest point on the wreck rests 60 feet (18 meters) below sea level. From there, divers usually make their way to the stern first. This is also the deepest point of the wreck at 100 feet or 30 meters. However, most divers don’t go that deep and stay on deck level at about 82 feet (25 meters).
If you go below the deck level and swim along the hull of this sunken ship and peer through its portholes, it’s like peering into a window that reveals remarkable scenes from inside her rooms.
For a better look inside, you should bring a flashlight.
On top of the hull, you can find the wheelhouse or steering cabin that is two stories high and has a peak of 60 feet (18 m) below sea level. This makes it one of HTMS Sattakut’s shallowest sites for exploration. Further, towards the bow of this shipwreck are three additional entry points that provide divers with incredible opportunities to explore its depths and gain insight into maritime history.
As you move forward, the large gun at the bow of the ship will become visible, with two additional entry/exit points beneath it leading down to a lower deck. The visibility at the HTMS Sattakut dive site can be challenging. Often it’s just between 7 and 33 feet (2 – 10 meters)
After taking in the breathtaking views of HTMS Sattakut, direct your attention north from its bow, and you will find Hin Pee Wee – a mere 100 feet (30 meters) swim away.
HTMS Sattakut dive site brief
- Access: From boat
- Maximum depth: 100 feet/ 30 meters
- Visibility: 7 – 33 feet (2 – 10 meters)
- Dive time: 45 minutes
- Certification level: Advanced Open Water
- Type: deep; wreck; nitrox
Can you explore the inside of the HTMS Sattakut shipwreck?
Specialty-certified wreck divers can explore the inside of the sunken HTMS Sattakut gunboat in Koh Tao. It has many entry and exit points, as well as multiple levels to explore.
The wreck specialty divers should keep an eye out for Durban Dancing Shrimp while descending the sunken staircase.
What’s to see at the HTMS Sattakut
If you begin your dive at the stern of this sunken vessel, you’ll find a school of One-Spot Snapper hovering just under the cannon. Inside the wheelhouse awaits an abundance of aquatic life such as brown sweetlips accompanied by Giant Groupers and once in a while, a Sea Snake will swoop in. Ensure to keep buoyancy and posture even when entering the wreck, avoiding contact with it. Beware of Scorpion fish lurking near the doors and portholes that may cause potential harm.
On your lucky days, when visibility is optimal, you might get an opportunity to see a whale shark passing by the wreck.
What certification is required to dive at HTMS Sattakut?
The minimum requirement for scuba diving at the HTMS Sattakut in Koh Tao is the Advanced Open Water certification. For one of their five required dives, almost all advanced open water courses conduct a wreck and or deep dive here.
For those looking to gain extra qualifications in various specialty areas such as deep and nitrox diving, or for more experienced divers seeking a wreck adventure dive – the HTMS Sattakut is an ideal spot.
How much does a dive at HTMS Sattakut cost?
Koh Tao has some of the most affordable scuba diving prices. A single dive usually starts at around 1,000 Thai Baht (approx. 30 USD). As a rule of thumb, the price decreases to 800 TBH (approx. 25 USD) per dive for more than one and up to 10 dives. Therefore, a two-tank fun dive costs about 50 USD only.
Related dive sites
For advanced divers, Chumphon Pinnacle is a must-dive, too – here you also have the highest chance to find a whale shark. Additionally, Shark Island and Aow Leuk are great spots, too. And don’t forget a night dive at the Junkyard.