Mermaid dive Pattaya Dive Internship Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Scuba Internship FAQ … But please ask us more!

Below are a few of the most commonly asked questions Mermaids receive on our scuba internships. Please read through them but also contact me with any further questions that you have.

What are the hidden costs?

There are NO hidden costs for the diving internship programs at all. A dive intern / trainee shall pay nothing more than the stipulated course fees for the diving. All PADI fees for each course and the IDC and IE are covered. All of the diving, equipment, materials, accommodation – all included. (the utilities for the accommodation i.e. water and electric separate. This averages at between $25-50 US per month – this is with normal usage i.e. 3 showers per day and only using the air-condition when you are in the room).

If Bonus courses are offered with the internships – these are 100% FREE. There are NO bonus courses fees for manuals, certification fees or materials. ALL 100% free. No hidden costs.

What is the quality of the equipment received with the package and is it really mine after the course?

All of the equipment supplied with the diving life traineeships is brand new high quality Scubapro, Suunto and Technisub gear. We’re the only traineeship program to offer a Suunto dive computer with the package also. Made with extremely durable materials and well known brands the equipment is extremely suitable for a recreational scuba diving job. All of the dive equipment is yours to keep from the moment that we “kit you up”. This equipment is your “tools of the trade” and will be needed for your dive career. A list of the intern scuba equipment package can be seen by clicking “scuba diving kit for a dive job“. It includes every piece of dive equipment required to be a professional diver including a Suunto Dive Computer. (Also included in the professional packages is a pocket mask, reel and lift bag etc).

What is the accommodation like?

We use a hotel for our divers that we have used since 1999. It’s just meters from the dive centre with lots of convenience in being so close. The have double beds, Air-Con, warm water, private bathroom/shower, Wifi, Cable TV and a fridge – essentially a hotel room. Security is very good and 24/7 also. They are basically mini apartments / condos / hotel style. There is a real sense of community spirit. There are NO sharing of facilities – all apartments are SELF-Contained and private. Any dive intern that wishes for a spouse or partner to stay with them is perfectly entitled to do so at no extra charge – you have the room and it is up to you if you have guests or not. Make it like home as it will be for up to 6 months. (If you have further needs i.e. a bigger family etc then room upgrades are available from approximately $200+ per month extra. If you are coming as a couple then the rooms are fine for two people – and you get a discount too as the room only needs to be paid for once.

Please Note:

  • Water and Electric amenities averaging $25-50 US per month apply.

What are your facilities like?

Mermaids dive internship facilities

How many days will I need to study?

This can really be dependant on the dive student and also how advanced you are. For example if you are already a dive master and wish to take your time you can study 3-4 days per week and take on another activity also. Many people like to take a TEFL course or teach English also – there is a lot to do here in Pattaya. If you are a novice diver working your way up through the ranks we usually see the best results from a 5-6 day week (5 usually). This will comprise of approximately 2 days in the classroom and 3-4 days on the boat. DON’T for one minute think that this is a chore as all is extremely good fun and interesting. Some self study will be expected but hey, who is going to complain about studying under the palm trees.

As a general rule of thumb look at 75% of your time here being dive study related. I.e. if you are here for the 6 month program then 4.5 months will be study and diving with 6 weeks of leisure time. This “leisure” time can be used how ever you wish – for a little traveling, meeting friends or take advantage of our un-limited diving policy. You can jump on any one of our 3 boats for pleasure diving when ever you wish.

Splitting the Internships: There is no problem splitting any of the internships also. This is actually very common indeed due to their length. We have dive trainees coming here form all over the world with different commitments. Some interns like to return home for Christmas or a birthday etc – ALL OF THIS IS NO PROBLEM – all you simply do is let us know of your movements and you can simply pick the dive training back up where you left off the last time that you were here. You might wish to take the 6 month OWSI PADI Instructor training in 3 x 2 month segments, or 2 x 3 months segments (for example) – this is absolutely fine and has been done many times in the past.

Do many people attend the diving life program?

We have always got a few interns / students taking a dive internship and diving life program at any one time – sometimes many people. This is great as it builds a sense of community and everyone can assist each other with study and practical exercises. Not only that but it gives you a good few social buddies too.

Are there any AGE restrictions?

NOT AS SUCH. You do need to be 18 years old in order to become a PADI professional i.e. Divemaster or above. Having said that there is no reason why we can’t train 17 year olds to Rescue diver certification and then wait for the following training – as indeed we have. There is NO maximum intern age for the inturnship. We have trained people from 17 – 59 years of age. I would not be surprised to have a 60 year old++ join the program at some stage. Due to the fact that there are younger guys and gals that would like to get involved in the scuba diving industry we added the Master Scuba Diver program that takes dive trainees up to the highest possible recreational scuba diving qualification ready for when they turn 18 and they can them become a dive professional and work in the dive industry. Details of the Master Scuba Diver Trainee program can be seen here.

When is the start date of the diving life program?

The “Diving Life” program is a continuously running program that can be joined at any one of three dates every month. We have interns that are attending college with set holidays and semesters, gap year students, ex-forces re-settlement divers, trainees that are working overseas jobs, interns from the forces that have set time frames etc – we have to be flexible on the enrollment date and this is to assist you. The start date of any of the dive trainee programs should not be a factor for anyone as they are only 10 days apart. – diving intern programs for the scheduled start dates.

The weather does not affect the dive intern program as we are sheltered from the monsoon to a very large degree and are lucky enough to have a 365 day dive season. The main bulk of the rain is from May – Oct but this again does not interrupt the program. This is superb as it allows any dive trainees to arrive and complete their dive training in one sitting instead of having to carefully choose when they arrive and/or having to go to another area to complete. It tends to rain for an hour or so and then you’d not know that it had been raining. The chart below is a very general guide – it can get a lot hotter here in the months of Dec – April.

As you can see from the chart above (courtesy of our good friend at Asiadivesite) – we have GOOD diving conditions ALL year around. Pattaya is the ONLY place in Thailand that allows for this and hence perfect for the internships allowing for unbroken training – this coupled with the diverse training sites that we have make it perfect for hardy intern dive training.

How successful is your job assistance scheme?

In the entire time that Mermaids CDC have been running the diver intern program (since late 1999/January 2000) Mermaids have been able to assist in placing all qualifying candidates that wished to for dive work in either Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam for diving jobs. Mermaids now have contacts in Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Crete, Egypt, Honduras, Belize, the Bahamas, Greece, The Cook Islands, Cyprus, Crete, Mexico, North America, Turks and Caicos, Canada, Malaysia, UK, Spain and Portugal. Turks and Caicos are actually becoming the most popular destinations for dive work.

Finding work is one of the most important questions any diver looking to turn professional diver can ask. Mermaids trained me through the instructor program and dive job availability was my main question. Although it was not a “diving life” trainee package that we have now, the late Steve Blumenthal found me dive work within 10 days of becoming a dive instructor. The quality of dive training that Mermaids offer ensures that excellent and employable PADI dive instructors are produced. The place where I had work requested that Steve give another Mermaids trained diver for another employee just days after I started. With Mermaids scheme and some effort on your behalf, dive work can easily be found.

Can I stay at your dive centre for more experience after the internship is complete?

Of course you can and we try to actively encourage it without any pressure. The reason being that you are much more attractive to a diving employer with a little experience. Mermaids being an active Dive Career Development Center offers the padi master scuba diver trainer programs – These programs are designed to allow maximum experience prior to finding dive work. This experience is not essential but has been seen to assist in scuba dive employment.

If you are a new diving instructor from elsewhere then you are more than welcome to join us for a short 1 month or 3 months internship providing you with many certifications and specialties taking you to Master Scuba Diver Trainer or Staff Instructor rating. This will allow you within a traineeship to gain teaching dive certifications with students whilst learning and honing many more dive skills.

As a Mermaids dive intern you are welcome to stay diving with Mermaids for the rest of your accommodation entitlement no matter if you have been certified as an instructor. This allows the diver to wind down pleasure diving and staying with friends. If you wish to stay on further and gain more unlimited diving then we have a month package for 20,000 Thai baht (approx $550) – this includes unlimited diving and 1 month accommodation. This is actually very good value for money when you consider that 1 days diving is retail $90.

I have some family and friends coming out and / or I would like to return home for Christmas etc – is this a problem?

This is not a problem at all. It is very common for dive interns to have family or friends over visiting them – or maybe the intern wishes to return for a mother’s birthday or Christmas etc- as mentioned this is very common. Simply take all of the time that you need and then return to continue from the state of training where you left off. All of your equipment and materials will be safely stored in your personal locker and safely awaiting your return.

If any of your family or friends would like to gain scuba certifications or take day trips here (hey, you could lead them!) then they receive an automatic 20% discount on all regular scuba diving courses and dive trips.

Why does it have to take 6 months for the Instructor training?

PADI the governing and certifying body, stipulates that you need to be an “Open Water Diver” (from any diver agency) for a minimum of 6 months prior to applying for your instructorship. If you come to us with NO experience (as many do) then it will take a minimum of 6 months to complete – realistically 7 months. If however you are an Open Water diver or Advanced (for example) diver already and have been for 2++ months then the training can be achieved in 3 – 4 months. Note that if you come with no experience then realistically the program is approximately 7 months in length. This is the 6 months to be an open water diver and then an additional month required for taking the IDC (Instructor Development Course) and also the IE (instructor Exam).

How can I sign up?

Simply contact Mermaids dive centre and I shall send you the booking form. Easy as that.

Is Thailand FEMALE friendly?

I thought that I’d add this to the FAQ’s as this is a frequently asked question, certainly by the ‘lone traveling’ female. Thailand is generally very female friendly. Out of all of the countries that I have traveled in personally I have never heard so many women say how safe they feel in a country such as Thailand. There are no “shirt tuggers” or “hasslers” like you in many countries. Western women here tend to have as much safety and freedom as any of their male counterparts. Pattaya city is a great place to scuba train and generally have fun. Granted there is the night life that appeals to a certain audience (usually male orientated) but this can be found throughout Thailand and basically S. E. Asia alike. It does not mean that we need to visit these places. Pattaya hosts so many wonderful pass-times there is something here for the young, the old, the male or the female. Scuba Dive and train, interne and learn, but let’s also dine well, go to the cinema, play golf, water ski, paraglide, mountain trek…there is so much to do here that it is a shame for anyone to miss out, female or male.

Sonja Collier, a dive intern from the UK took a lone female travel around Thailand and the neighboring countries. You can see travels

Increasingly Mermaids is receiving female dive interns and many couples. If you travel here alone you will not be alone unless you wish for your personal space.

Please do ask for female references so that you can email them directly if you wish for an impartial view.

Can I work part time to fund the course or split payments?

This is a very commonly asked question. Unofficially some candidates do teach a little English here for some spare change. This is good fun as you can learn Thai also but do not rely on it as a great income. As an English teacher usually the rules applying to work permits are different but PLEASE still be aware that working in Thailand in any capacity (as with most countries in the world) without a work permit is completely illegal. The best thing to do is ensure that your finances are in order and enough to cover the cost of the course & any relevant living expenses. This way you are able to concentrate on the dive training and being the very best instructor to get out there, dive and earn some real money.

Many people often ask if they can gain bar work / employment, waiter / waitress work or hotel work etc as a form of income – this is impossible. All service jobs such as these are STRICTLY reserved for Thais as they protect their labour force. All of these types of jobs are not available and if you could find one you would be breaking the law to work in this capacity.

As for split payments throughout the course, this is not possible. In order to join the program the entire course must be paid for prior to course commencement. We accept 40% as a booking and deposit but the remainder must be paid on arrival. If you pay the full course fees in advance then additional incentives will be given for this – contact for more details of “Full payment incentives”.

What do I do about visas for Thailand?

Most countries’ citizens are granted an automatic 30 days tourist visa on arrival, however as you have probably figured this will not be long enough. We need to assist you to gain a student visa for your stay here in Thailand.

On booking we issue you a “Letter of invitation to study with us in Thailand” and also a copy of our “company registration document”. Armed with both of these documents you will be able to use these to support your application and gain a student visa for your stay. A very good visa can be achieved easily with the correct paperwork which we ensure that you have. Please note that for those traveling with partners we will assist the partner with a visa also.

Once here in Thailand you will need to make border trips to maintain a valid visa status – this is easy to do and having interns here there is always a travel partner. Basically you will be able to maintain 3 months in the country on a student visa but then you will need to hit the border to reactivate your visa (commonly called a “visa run”). Pattaya and Jomtien host many companies that make these trips daily. Generally a bus collects the “runner” early morning to make tit to the border and to return mid afternoon. For the more adventurous of us we turn these essential runs into a short break – Many of the interns take short breaks and a couple can be seen here – Alex’s triptravels

Will I need any inoculations (jabs) before my visit to Thailand?

Please do consult your local physician with regards to this matter but generally Hepatitis, Typhoid, Polio and Tuberculosis shots are required. There is no risk of Malaria where we are based and hence there is no need for any Malaria pills. Japanese encephalitis is often mentioned by Doctors but this is not required for Pattaya/Jomtien.

Pattaya has extensive medical facilities. All major chemists such as “Boots the Chemist” are here and hence any prescriptions and general medications can be found.

Do I need to have a dive medical examination?

If you are reasonably fit then it is fair to assume that you will be able to dive with no problems. Once you turn DMT (Dive master trainee) you will need to have a physical examination here (approximately $3US – not expensive) in order to be signed off as a professional diver.

Before you begin diving with us you will need to complete the PADI medical form. This is a very simple form that has “YES” and “NO” answers. You will be asked a series of simple questions with regards to your medical history. Simply answer them truthfully. If any of the questions are answered wit a “YES” then a doctor will need to be seen prior to your diving – This is a PADI policy (and a good one). 90% of guys and gals that have to see a doctor CAN STILL dive – it is just a precautionary measure.

You can see and see the scuba divers medical form here.

What exactly is the difference between OWSI, MSDT and Staff Instructor?

An OWSI (Open Water Scuba Instructor) is the first instructor rating in the PADI system. Essentially this allows you to teach Open Water, Advanced, Rescue diver, Divemaster and Assistant Instructors. This is a great rating and one that allows those serious to enter the dive industry for employment.

An MSDT is an OWSI with specialty areas of instruction and also a minimum of 25 students under their belt for experience. An MSDT will be an instructor in 5 specialty diver areas – these might be Wreck diver, Deep diver, Enriched Air diver, Night diver and Drift diver for EXAMPLE. There are many to choose from. An MSDT will have certified 25 student divers to gain the MSDT rating. The divers can be trained in any area. At Mermaids we like to ensure that the MSDT candidate gets a good spectrum of experience in teaching by teaching Open water, Advanced, Rescue, DM and the specialty areas. This gives them great experience.

As a PADI Staff instructor you will gain your first taste of ‘instructor training’. At this point you shall be working with the Course Director running the Instructor Development Course. Assisting the PADI CD and grading the new instructor candidates on their performance as potential instructors. This is a fantastic program. Not only does this rating show a dive center that you have some very good experience and take diving seriously – it also opens a few more doors as many dive centers offer IDC’s. Due to this if you can be useful to the CD (usually the shop owner) on the IDC’s and your estimations in their eyes will increase. This rating will make you very employable.

See the padi master scuba diver trainer programs details …

As an OWSI what can I teach?

Great question. The certification named OWSI (Open Water Scuba Instructor) is a little misleading as some believe that you can only teach the PADI open water course. This is not true.

As an Open Water Scuba Instructor you shall be able to teach diving in:

WLiving costs in Pattaya?

Pattaya can be very reasonable or very expensive depending on what you are doing. The everyday prices for food and beer etc is very in-expensive indeed. An average (but tasty) western meal will cost approximately $4US+ (120 Thai baht). If you like Thai food then you’ll save even more money – a good dish of Thai food can be $1+ (30 Thai baht). Beer is extremely cheap also, priced at $1US ++ (35 Thai baht) depending on what and where you are drinking – this is what I mean by “Pattaya can be very reasonably priced or expensive”. If you are in the expensive (but not necessarily better) pubs, clubs and restaurants every night then money can slip through the fingers. If you enjoy a beer, a good feed and good company each day in a moderately priced place then bank on $10US per day.

Check the “cost of living page” – especially for those day to day expenses.

A budget for spending money can be 15,000 baht ++ per month (approx $500US+).Bear in mind that you get fed very well on the boat each day also. Wait until you taste the food…it’s seriously good! With $500 you can stay here and dive a lot and relax have a good social life. If you are a partier then you would require more of a budget.

CAN I use ATM’s or other banking services in Pattaya?

Funds can be easily accessible in Thailand as long as you are prepared. Travelers cheques (Checks) can be good as they are secure and tend to achieve good rates of exchange – certainly better than cash.

If you wish to use your bank ATM card to withdraw money from your home bank this is possible. Please ensure that your local bank in the west is informed that you will be withdrawing in Thailand. In the past we have seen a few cards stopped due to the banks thinking that fraudulent withdrawals were being made. If you inform your local bank of your travels then this problem can be avoided.

Generally the ATM’s are Cirrus, VISA and MasterCard. If your card does not have one of these symbols then do not despair as you can still withdraw money form a “money changer”. A “money changer” is a banking service where you can take money from your cash card by signing for it. You will need your passport and your card. With these two things you will be able to withdraw up to $500 daily (generally).

Opening a bank account:

For those dive students on a student visa opening a bank account here in Pattaya has not been an issue. As long as student visa is held, we can assist with an address to gain your bank account. This will allow you to transfer funds across and not pay daily ATM charges etc.

What else is there to do in Pattaya during my time off?

Now you’ve got me, where do I start? Pattaya hosts so much entertainment in one concentrated area that it is amazing. If you like sports and recreations then there is everything from Jet Ski-ing, Go-Karting, Football, Tennis, Table Tennis, Hash Running, parasailing, windsurfing, beach volleyball and Squash to mountain biking, climbing, scuba diving:-), paint balling, mono ski-ing, gymnasiums, swimming, massage, flying, exploring, paragliding, Off-roading (motorbike and 4×4), Badminton, Rugby, bowling, serious drinking:-), darts, snooker and pool leagues and cinemas – sorry there’s more but my fingers hurt. Pattaya can cater for all tastes of recreation and sports. All of the interning pupils find additional sports and recreations to be involved in.

Over and above the day time activities Pattaya boasts a hive of activity of an evening. There are so many restaurants in town that you can eat at a different one every night for a year. The many clubs, pubs, bars and discos all have their own special attractions providing something for everyone.

There really is not a more fun place to be whilst learning something that you love. Our fantastic team have invented many a way to have great fun.

Mermaids also offer scuba diving live-aboard trips to variuos areas including the Similan Islands.

Medical Insurance for Thailand?

You will require some form of insurance for a stay in Thailand to be safe. Medical treatment in Thailand is world class however it is not free. Many travel insurances include hospital cover but please check with your provider before travel.

Pattaya’s hospital facilities are superb. The Bangkok Pattaya hospital is probably the most advanced around in general. You’d be amazed at the care here and the cleanliness of the facilities. Every time I have ever been for a scrape or knock etc the treatment has never been anything but superb. Many (most) of the doctors and nurses have had western education. Check out to see the level.

The nearest facilities (re-compression chamber) are in Pattaya. This is a single chamber. Sattahip naval base which is 45 minutes from Pattaya by road has extensive facilities. During the Divemaster internship – interns are given an assignment to plan and ensure the fastest and safest emergency plan for recompression / decompression sickness. We have this plan and all necessary telephone and response numbers etc but it’s the Dive masters job to clarify all data etc and add to it. Helicopter assistance can take 15 minutes to the re-compression chamber. Bare in mind that we run these courses daily – we’ve an awful lot of experience in “dummy runs” to the chamber – believe me we know the drills inside out and upside down.

Are your Qualifications Recognised World Wide?

All of the courses that we run are recognized world wide. As a divemaster or (OWSI) Open Water Scuba Instructor you are internationally licensed to teach scuba where ever there are diving facilities. You will be affiliated to PADI whom are the largest recreational diving organization in the world with in excess of 70% of the recreational scuba market share. PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) is seen to be the market leader and with your professional dive qualifications you’ll be able to work and dive in the majority of the top diving destinations in the world. There are sites out there that assist with scuba dive job placements as any norm employment agency would assist. Great sites such as Dive4jobs.com and Diversjobs.com – allow you to post your dive resume and search listings. Once a PADI professional you will have access to the professional area on the PADI web site also which is a superb resource for dive jobs and careers.

Diversjobs.com have an exclusive partnership with Mermaids Professional Divers. Diver employment has never been so readily available until October 2006. Divers-jobs offer Mermaids divers an exclusive suite of scuba diving work offers and dive employment internationally.

Are the internships set in stone?

NO. The dive internships do have a certain structure to them as is set out on their individual pages but we like to think that we’re flexible to peoples’ dive training needs and requirements. For example the length of the internship course can be changed, specialty courses can be exchanged for others that might hold more appeal to you, upgrades on dive equipment or accommodation can be arranged if you wish and we can even reduce the amount of course content for those that wish for the bare bones. The best thing to do as always is contact Mermaids dive centre for a full break down of the courses and an assessment of your specific needs. We are extremely affable and flexible.

Tailor your own course – choose all diver courses that you feel will suit your diving needs and Mermaids can make a tailored package for you.

Thai Electrical Sockets Thailand

The power points in Thailand take the two flat or round pins at 220 Voltage. The power is the same as the US. Please note that if you require power and pin converters, they can be purchased here very easily and inexpensively. (There is some good power advice here – POWER – courtesy of Thai Guru).

Is Thailand safe for AMERICANS?

YES. We have several members of dive staff that are American. 40-50% of our interns and certainly the majority of my friends and colleagues here. Thais have a collective term for westerners – the word, “Farang”. Farang basically translates to westerner or foreigner – Thais DO NOT differentiate between nationalities. You would NEVER hear a Thai saying, “The Englishman came in first followed by the Swede and Dutch lady. The American came to the ball with the South African man”. Sorry to give such a bad example but really; this would never happen – we are all the same here – all just westerners. Thailand is very American friendly :-).

Can I work for the courses to have them FREE?

No. We offer a unique dive training package but NO working for dive courses. We don’t do this for a couple of very good reasons. Firstly and most importantly, it is completely illegal to work for courses or any form of payment in Thailand unless a work permit is held. I know of NO shop that will pay up to $3000 for a work permit to utilize resources to train someone – sorry to be harsh but it’s better to be clear and factual. Any shop that offers this is operating an illegal practice (if not offering a work permit) and has an alternative method to part you from your hard earned money. Secondly (and actually, equally as important), we have seen that where there are “work for courses”, generally the training of the “intern team member” is usually sub standard as the “intern team member” always takes a back seat to the paying diving customers, no matter what they promise you.

We charge for 1st class instruction producing highly employable dive professionals but in an all inclusive package. Long term this is beneficial as you are always treated as a customer and yet get real experience. All accommodation etc is included. We state ALL of our costs up front and the cost is FULLY INCLUSIVE – there are no hidden costs. We offer very unique diver training with courses that cannot be offered any where else in Asia but are internationally recognized. We have built a strong reputation of producing highly employable dive professionals, to the point where dive operators contact us for staff – you will be trained to the highest standard. The program is very simple – we offer a 1st class and very reasonably priced service. We take your dive education very seriously to make you employable and the service is chargeable. It’s a very simple and fair business transaction and one that I am sure that you’ll enjoy as a professional diver.

Are your student materials in English?

We have Japanese, Dutch, English, Russian, German, French and Thai speaking scuba dive instructors and the programs can be taken in any of these languages. Full materials such as the PADI manuals and training aids will be supplied in the language of your choice.

I only speak English – is this a problem?

Mermaids offers courses in the languages above but in excess of 95% of our students are native English speakers. The majority of our staff are native English speaking also.

Having more than one mainstream language will be an advantage as a dive professional but is not essential. It can be the stipulation for a few dive job postings but not the majority. Many divers including myself have built successful dive careers but only speak 1 language.

What specialty divers courses can I take?

Yes, as a very pro-active scuba diving career development center we strive hard to ensure that you have many useful sand interesting courses to train in. Below are a few of the specialty courses that we offer:

I like to keep fit – is there a Gymnasium in Pattaya?

You are in for a very pleasant surprise. Pattaya has many great gyms for use and all at very good prices indeed. Pattaya and Jomtien both have Gyms for cardio and weight training. We have an assortment of sports clubs with tennis, pools, squash, gyms, saunas, steam rooms etc.

One of the most popular Gyms here in Pattaya is Tony’s Gym. This is an incredible complex not far from the Dive Center and very inexpensive indeed. Trust me you shall not have to compromise on any of your fitness training in Pattaya.

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