Mermaid dive Pattaya Dive Internship Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Scuba Internship frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please do read the comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Mermaid LIA’s Scuba Diving Life internship instructor training program in Pattaya, Jomtien, Chonburi, Thailand. The adventure divers / interns that are coming for the internships always have a lot of questions (and quite rightly so as it is a big step). Hopefully some of the questions about the diving course and internship on the tip of your tongue will be answered here. If you, as a potential dive intern have any additional questions then you know what to do by now – mail me. Many of the questions and answers here are relevant to the Dive master traineeship course also. If you have any questions that are not answered here and you’d like to see them added then please just contact Mermaids dive centre.

It is noted that similar programs are copying and pasting the Mermaids FAQ’s. All here (the entire site) is written personally and I like to keep you as informed as possible. Sadly due to plagiarism I have kept some info off of the FAQ’s – as I personally wrote all of this info I know all of the answers – I can expand on any points that you have. (Be wary of dive companies that do not have the intelligence to write their own FAQ’s!:)

Click on the questions to find the answers – please do check them all as they are not in any order and are important to the last…

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. For every 1 baht more that you have to pay I shall refund you 2 baht. The scuba diving kit for a dive job and intern dive student lodgings is all included as explained (the utilities for the accommodation i.e. water and electric are your responsibility. 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?
The rooms are single with double beds (but can take 2 people with single beds if required) Air-Con, warm water, TV and a fridge. Security is very good and 24/7 also. They are basically mini apartments / condos / hotel style. The rooms are very clean and opposite Mermaids dive center for convenience. You’ll be there amongst friends also. There is a real sense of community spirit. dive student lodgings There are NO sharing of facilities – all apartments are SELF-Contained with private bathroom / shower. 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.

NOTE: The Mermaids hotel rooms have Wi-Fi internet connectivity as dive interns like to bring laptops.

Please Note:

  • The diving hotel accommodation is opposite the dive center for convenience.
  • Bedding and pillows etc are all supplied with the interns apartments.
  • In-house laundry is available as a room service. This cost of this is very inexpensive.
  • Water and Electric amenities averaging $30 US per month apply.
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:-) Generally we have a new candidate or two interning each week – the course CAN BE STARTED ANY TIME (Official start dates of the 5th, 15th and the 25th of EVERY month of the year – year in and out). Interns can begin the course on any day of any week of any month – whatever schedule or date is convenient to them.

Having a healthy amount of dive students allows us to actively operate and excel with Dive Career Development programs such as the padi master scuba diver trainer programs.

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.

NOTE: October 2006 – Diversjobs announced a partnership with Mermaids Career Development Center. Partnered with the longest serving dive jobs board in the industry and receiving an exclusive service from them – job hunting can be swift. As a PADI CDC dive center Mermaids has strived so hard to ensure that what you are training for i.e. a dive job is absolutely achievable. As a Mermaids trainee you shall have full assistance in finding a dive job that suits you. Once a Mermaids diver the service is for life! Use our resources and partnership with Diverjobs any time a dive career move is required. Make a great start to your scuba diving career.

Can I have references from passed and ongoing students?
Why, certainly you can. All you need to do is contact Mermaids dive centre and I can supply you with a few recent and older students/candidates so that you can hear it from the customers point of view. You can also check out Mermaids scuba diving intern references! If you require any further email addresses to contact and correspond with passed and present dive students – please do ask. There is no better impartial advice that you can receive!
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.

What money does an instructor earn in Thailand teaching scuba diving?
This is a very frequently asked question. Mermaids can offer the very best opportunity for scuba diving employment with a fantastic diver jobs service. Obviously dive work offers a fantastic “life style” of living in a beautiful tropical country and working your passion for a living – but that’s just it – YOU DO NEED TO MAKE A LIVING!!! There are instructors that earn $500US per month and are happy with that as they are on a pension and do it as a hobby. There are also many instructors that earn $1500++US per month – it’s down to you and how hard you are prepared to work. Bare in mind that you’ll be whistling on your way to work.

What about in other countries?

We have seen a trend in western countries that the starting salaries tend to begin approximately 20% – 50% higher than Thailand’s industry. This is in general but an average from what we have seen. (The cost of living is usually higher and hence offsets gains).

What about Divemasters – can they earn a living?
There is an income to be earned with working in the scuba diving industry for sure. You will find that Instructors generally earn more than Divemasters due to the amount of duties that they can perform over and above. Always remember that “life-style” is very important. I recently (2004) placed 2 dive masters in positions where they are on $600 per month as a standard wage. This is not a great deal but when you factor into that the cost of living and that their housing is provided – it’s actually quite respectable. On the flip side of the coin there are many dive masters that work just for the diving experience and do not get paid – but they get their free diving. When you turn “dive pro” (Divemaster being the first rung) you get many advantages. On top of the wealth of knowledge that you should have if trained well you’ll generally be entitled to diving discounts where ever you go and get the chance of free diving if you assist. Some shops do not hire Dive masters as they have the DMT’s (Dive master trainees). The best paid DM’s that I know are a couple who earn approximately $75 per day each. Now here – that’s good money. Different dive shops and different countries alike have different policies but you’ll generally be able to find work as a Divemaster pretty much anywhere if you apply yourself. As a divemaster trainee through one of our Mermaids apprenticeships you will have additional specialty certifications and will have had dedicated dive tuition to make you a first class dive professional and not “just a DM”.
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.

Are flights and transfers included within the cost?
Air Flights are not included within the cost of the package. This would be virtually impossible for us to do unless we only accepted interns from certain countries. As we have such a broad range of intern candidates from Canada, US, South America, UK, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand – it would be very difficult to have a fixed price. The package price is for all of the activities and accommodation whilst here. Transfers once you are in Thailand can easily be arranged for you. We can arrange for a car transfer to collect you at Bangkok airport (Suvarnabhumi Airport) and deliver you to Jomtien – that is as long as you wouldn’t like a night in Bangkok first!
I am interested in becoming an Instructor, or possibly an MSDT/Staff instructor. What exactly is the difference between the three?
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 (Open Water Scuba Instructor) what shall I be able to teach in scuba?
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:

Can I use my Mobile Telephone in Thailand?
Mobile phones / cell phones can indeed be used in Thailand, and we have a coup-le of very good services. Thailand has several very good Mobile Networks but DTAC and AIS networks are the most prevalent. Both of these companies can be used with Western Handsets. Simply on arrival we can show you where you can gain a SIM card for your phone. Once you have your Thai SIM you sell be able to make local and international call at very inexpensive rates. This also means that you shall not have to pay any charge for incoming telephone calls from abroad when your family or friends call you. To have a mobile telephone here in Pattaya is a good way for family and indeed new friends here to stay in touch.

SIM Cards in Thailand are very inexpensive indeed. Once you have your SIM card the phone services are simply ‘pay as you go’. This means that for $2 – $15 you can ‘top up’ your calling credit. Each time you call someone your credit is adjusted to show your new balance. Simply keep the phone in credit to make and receive calls.

The mobile telephone services Thailand have good international call rates also. However, if you have a laptop then Skype or a similar VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) can be used. Mermaids Hotel and Dive Centers have FREE ADSL WiFi Internet for use by all of Mermaids divers. If you have a good VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) you shall be able to make free international calls to family and friends..

What is the cost of living in Pattaya, Thailand? AND how do I get money?
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.

Some of the guys and gals join me on a “Friends Trip” diving holiday to the Similan Islands (Phuket Thailand) from time to time – check out similans (there are many of them documented).

AND of course we give you a “special” introduction to Pattaya on your arrival!!!

What about Insurance, hospital facilities and the local recompression chamber?
For insurance I would suggest an international medical package through BUPA (Bupa.com) or any other reputable company. I know of many people that opt just for the travel insurance that gives you minimal accident insurance but that’s their choice. Another good resource that I came across is Activesure.co.uk – they seem pretty good and all round. As for diving insurance I would wait until you come here in order not to waste any of your policy time and also you’ll have a better idea of what policy is best for you. Please note that insurance is not mandatory in Thailand as it is in many other countries. Dive insurance can be checked out at Horsell.com – this is PADI’s official insurance broker but other diving insurance can be sought at Diversalertnetwork.org – or DAN for short. Many people find the DAN plans more comprehensive – please note that diving insurance is NOT expensive. Try the South East Asia-Pacific site – Danseap.org – a couple of other dive travel and dive equipment and general travel insurance companies to check are Dive-master.net & Scubasure.com & Buddyindepth.co.uk

PLEASE NOTE: For insurance – if you are looking at independent dive insurance or personal accident insurance coverage then the company will more than likely ask you how many dives you will be making below 30 meters. You might make a couple of dives below this depth for training but the majority (99%) of your diving will be 30 meters or less.

Recently I came across Dogtag.co.uk which seem to have excellent travel insurance coverage with Scuba insurance all in one. Very reasonable rates also. For UK citizens so I believe…

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.

Mermaids makes visits to the Re-compression chamber in Sattahip on a regular basis. We like you to have a full understanding of as much as possible. Check one of our chambers trips here. 2007 will see the launch of Mermaids Decompression Chamber Operator Courses.

Is the qualification recognized world wide or only in Asia? – Can I get a scuba job in many countries?
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.

I have a laptop / palm top and would like to use email – is there access – can I stay in touch with friends and family?
There are internet cafes on literally every corner that you can use for between $1.5 – $3 per hour – hence very in-expensive indeed.

If you wish to use the internet at the shop then we have a FREE terminal that all of the dive interns are welcome to use at any time of the day – this is always connected.

If you are coming with a Laptop or Palm top and it has Wi-Fi – then Mermaids have a FREE ADSL Wi-Fi connection that you can use at the shop. The range is superb and reaches as far as the open air Thai restaurant out of the back of the dive center. It’s great being able to check email over a great lunch (and for FREE). For details of how to connect your computer to our “in-house” Wi-Fi” Network then please click here…

Many of the diver accommodations can receive a service called “Pattaya Wi-Fi”. This is a relatively new service (mid 2007) and costs 1000 Thai baht (approx 15 UK pounds or $30) per month. The diver can simply pay for this service directly to “Pattaya Wi-Fi”.

Electrical goods – what voltage power points and what pin type do you use in 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 :-).
Do you wish speak directly about the internship programs?
If you would like to speak on the phone with reghards to the diver training that we offer here in Thailand – this can be arranged. Simply contact me with a land line telephone number and best time to call you. Be sure to offer your country code as well as your area code. Within 48 hours of your mailing I shall be on the telephone calling you.
HOW CAN WE OFFER such great VALUE for money and DEALS and still make a profit?
We must be cutting some training out right?….WRONG!!! Our diver training is as comprehensive if not more so than most companies in the dive industry due to the fact that we are specifically set up for long term internship programs. To the very finest detail we have the complete length of the program planned out from accommodation and student personal effects and equipment lockers to mentor induction programs and set study days (open lectures) for certain study groups. We have been in business for a very long time and are a PADI CDC (Career Development Center) – the only one in Pattaya/Jomtien. The CDC achievement is NOT given away by PADI easily and hence we can benefit from the very lowest in costs of materials from PADI – this low price we pass on. Due to thriving business and long standing contacts we benefit also from great equipment purchases and prices from our suppliers. Thailand is very in-expensive anyway – but with the accommodation deal that we have it costs very little in housing (dive student lodgings). Our chef cooks great meals daily but again Thailand is very in-expensive for food and hence we keep costs low here. Oil for running the boats in Thailand is very cheap. We have our own pool for training and hence do not have to rent this. Overall – Mermaids are not greedy!!! Scuba training can be expensive but we like to give as much value as possible. We like to offer FREE specialty courses. These are normally quite expensive and would cost the intern a lot of money but they cost us VERY LITTLE to run – so we like to give them as bonuses. – Why not? It is only fair…

We have earned a superb reputation within the dive community for producing first class dive instructors through our diving traineeships. This is due to the fact that we do not simply give the necessary courses and training to pass the exams and gain the dive professional qualifications. We want you to be the very best at that level and put 150% effort into your training and success. This dedication to your dive education has been noticed by many and is top priority within our mission to train. We do not simply produce dive instructors but “highly employable, first class dive professionals”. As a highly regarded dive professional you’ll easily be able to secure scuba diving employment.

How much is reasonable to pay for a flight? Which AIRPORT and how do I get to the dive center?
Flights to Thailand are surprisingly cheap for the distance…and this is good to leave you concentrating more on your scuba dive education. Please do check the internet for some great deals. If traveling from the UK – then check out companies like http://www.ebookers.com or www.lastminute.com – I find these type of companies to be very good indeed. Generally flights by companies such as Emirates and Gulf Air tend to be the cheapest with not bad service. A flight from the UK should really be below £550 – this cost will vary up and down depending on the time of year and also if you are wishing to have an open ended ticket for a long length of time. Please do check out this URL but also contact me if you require assistance searching for a good air flight price if from the UK or any other country – I am only too happy to assist.

When booking a flight you will need to fly to Bangkok International Airport – this is “Suvarnabhumi Airport” (Bangkokairportonline.com). This is a new airport that h opened in late 2006 to celebrate the King’s 60th accession to the throne. Once you have your flight booked all we need to know are your details and then we can arrange for a driver to collect you. It does not matter what time of the day or night you land. If you land in the morning then we shall have the driver bring you to the dive training facilities where we shall meet you and then take you to your apartment. If you fly in at night then we shall have the accommodation waiting for you and arrange to meet you at the dive center the following day after you have had a good nights rest. The apartments have 24/7 staff that have your key and will be waiting for you with a smile and will get you settled nicely.

Is the dive traineeship deposit refundable?
The deposit for the internships and trainee programs will not be refunded under any circumstances. We are aware that your plans may change so our policy is to be 100% flexible on course starting dates. We have had candidates postpone for as long as 1 year due to circumstance changes – this is no problem. In the event of a major emergency we will also give you the option to credit your payment to an interested friend or relative – (you never lose your deposit, it can be credited for dive courses, pleasure diving or trips to anyone that you know). We are a serious training facility that prepares to receive you in the highest manner with the accommodation being booked, instructors having scheduled your courses and your materials in stock. We commit to your education 100% and will deliver. We accept you as a student as soon as the deposit is laid, as this shows a commitment to us, giving you 100% full support for your lead up to your adventure/ career change/ dive job etc…like any training facility or university in the world – the deposits and full course payments are non-refundable but join us and you’ll reap the benefits…

…It’s best to be totally frank and honest about this. We all know where we stand.

contact Mermaids dive centre if you wish any further details on the policy or program alike.

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. When you are trained to instruct or work as a pro diver – you’ll soon learn that you do not pay your bills or put food on your table by having someone carry tanks for you and you training them for free in return.

WARNING: Training centers offering guaranteed jobs for 10 – 20,000 baht per month are operating illegally. This is a ploy to get custom but the divemaster jobs are not supported by work permits. If you are caught this will leave you in prison awaiting a court case, a heavy fine and then deportation from Thailand. We WILL ONLY assist to find dive master jobs and diving instructor jobs within a company that needs staff (not just a trick to get you to train with them) and hence they will look after you.

Please do check Thaivisa.com – as a westerner it is IMPOSSIBLE to hold a work permit with a job on a salary of 10,000 or so baht per month.

Are the study materials all in English or do you have other languages for the programs?
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.

Do you offer an interesting range of specialty divers courses that I can 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.

I wish to study Thai. Is it difficult and also will I have time during the dive program?
I have no reason to say that I did not learn most of my Thai in shops and restaurants in the early days. Not saying that I am:) but speaking with many different people from different parts of Thailand and speaking literally the same stuff – can confirm or make unconfirmed what you know/understand. This environment for learning should not be relied on as correct – but a framework and certainly interesting into Thai society.

There comes a time where you really need to learn to read and write. Certainly read. To read and actually spell allows you to remember so much more vocabulary where many of the words sound (to us) exactly the same. To spell is to be able to differentiate between the Thai words. It’s no longer in publish as the Bangkok Post Publishing company (printing books) is no longer in operation. However if you can gain a copy of ” Essential Thai” by James Higbie you’d really, and I mean REALLY be doing yourself a great favour in learning Thai. The learning is progressive, easy and the transliterations superb and easy to understand. As you progress you can use such tools as James Higbies’ Grammar Reference also (This has been invaluable!). I swear – If I dedicated to using this method all along I’d be even further advanced.

Never rule out Benjawan Poomsun Becker’s Basic, Intermediate and Advanced learning books also (Fantastic!). These had a great impact on my learning of reading – certainly the intermediate – Advanced books – and again the transliterations that she uses are superb. (Personally I found the tapes (as with Higbie) to not really be helpful but possibly personal taste.

Like anything, learning Thai takes practice and dedication. I know of guys (REALLY) that have been here for 30 years that could not ask a direction. Yet I am astounded by some of the scuba diving interns ability to pick up the basics quickly and be very polite with the staff.

Thai lessons can be found in many areas of Jomtien and Pattaya – language schools are as common as 7-11’s. There is no reason why you should not be able to learn Thai here in Jomtien or Pattaya alongside the diving program. With many Thai teachers around you can easily find a good one that will work on your schedule.

check out your dive centre – Things to ask your dive training school

Testimonials

NOW Working at Mermaids!

When we decided to travel to Thailand to do an Internship, everyone said to us you must be crazy!!! Sure with an 8 month old baby, we almost thought the same thing. Choosing the right Dive School was crucial for us to make our new life work and after many ups and downs searching for the right place and at the point of almost giving up our dream we contacted PJ and within hours joined up with Mermaids. Wow, they helped us with everything including finding us a fabulous nanny and a great apartment (all this before we even arrived) We have been here 7 months and are working on our MSDT and IDC Staff.

During this time, we’ve had great advice and instruction on all of our courses and ...


Good Times Leading to a Great Career!

Hey everyone, I just want to thank you all for a great 8 months in Pattaya. When I saw the website offering a scuba diving internship in Thailand I was a bit skeptical, but I have to admit it was one of the smartest moves I have made up to this point in my life. When you consider that I had NEVER been diving before coming to Thailand, and now I am a PADI professional, it is unbelievable. The hands on training provided by mermaids staff is second to none. They went out of their way to take the time to make sure I mastered the skills necessary to become not just a competent diver, but to excel and that’s what made it so special. So thanks to all you instructors, Russell, Claus, Manx, Dave...


Repeat Offender!

This is the second time I have been to Mermaids first was to do the Divemaster course which was very good and now the second which I have just done was OWSI!! All courses a taught to a very hi in the sky standard, the Course Directors, well they are the best around that’s for sure so Hats off to you Russell and Desi!! It’s been a pleasure to be part of Mermaids and I am sure I will be back!!


Divemaster Internship

After much internet research we contacted Mermaids to inquire about a divemaster internship, we received prompt and informative replies to all our questions, we also stopped by the centre on a quick visit and after seeing the operation and diving with the mermaids staff we were sold! We came to Mermaids initially for 3 months (that was 6 months ago) and after completing our DM course, we decided to stay for open water instructor training. The training at mermaids really is fantastic and having now successfully completed our OWSI training we decided to stay just a little bit longer to become specialty instructors. Not bad considering we only ever intended to be DMs!

We’ll have to ...


OWSI/MSDT Training with Mermaids

It's been 2 years since I finally completed my OWSI/MSDT training with Mermaids (I was one of those repeat offenders that just kept coming back!!)

Having now worked in the "real world" diving industry I cannot thank the amazing crew at Mermaids enough. I believe that you offer the best diver internship going around.

Several instructors I have worked with since have completed what is billed as "zero to hero" internships yet none of them have come out of their program with the kind of hands on experience and skills that I gained working under the likes of Russell, Desi, Ian B and Slinky and the awesome support staff at Mermaids.


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