Testimonials and references from some diving interns Pattaya


References, former and current intern candidates

In Time you will see this page grow and grow. I have mailed many students former and current and am compiling a little reading for your interest and peace of mind. Bear in mind that you can still contact Mermaids dive centre for “live” intern references if you so wish…that’s not to say that the references below have deceased of course 🙂 All of the interns references below are about the Diving Life PADI Instructor Internship Program. I have other references for the Technical Scuba Diving Internships also if you wish…you know what to do…contact Mermaids dive centre.

Sorry but I’ll bore you with my scuba diving story first before other references.

What better reference than from me! (? Joking) – Seriously, I took this course (Instructor Traineeship Package) but it cost me a lot more money than the packages that we are offering right now.

In 1999 I came to Thailand and traveled around a little taking a look at the North and South of Thailand. “What a great place to be”, I thought. I spent time all over Thailand and then settled on Koh Samui for 3.5 months enjoying the weather and the palm trees – basically the picture postcard stuff that we see in the western world that seems idyllic. It was wonderful but I was having to leave for the UK again soon and was getting bored.

I traveled to Pattaya and checked around many different dive shops as scuba diving had always appealed to me since I was a young lad. Having swum competitively since the age of 7 – 15 years old, I loved the water. My parents were always trying to coax me into different sports to keep me off of the streets and on the straight and narrow. I tried Judo, Archery and many other sports but nothing really seemed to appeal. Every time that I asked to learn to SCUBA dive I was told that it was too expensive for a hobby.

I walked from dive shop to shop not really happy with what was on offer service wise. All I wanted to achieve was my PADI open water course. Everywhere that I went I encountered staff that could not speak English or the boss would not be in until tomorrow. That was until I walked into my now partners office. I slapped the money on the table and that was that – I was going to learn diving for the next 4 days.

It never occurred to me that there was so much to it yet so easy to learn. My first instructor I still work with today but as a partner.

On learning the open water course I approached the boss of the company and said that this is what I want to do with my life – teach scuba diving. At that time he told me to be patient and get to the stage of Rescue diver and then decide for sure what I wanted to do. I knew in my heart of hearts that it was for me but he would seriously not take my money until I had made a certain grade. That first time underwater in the ocean has never left my best memory collection.

Rescue Diver level Had been achieved and then I was told to wait until after being a dive master as to whether I wished to pay more and become and instructor – my private goal inside my head that I wanted so badly.

Without boring you all I worked my way up through DM, divemaster, onto Instructor and then MSDT (Master Scuba Diver Trainer). Within 2 weeks of finishing the IE (Instructor Exam) I was working for another company here in Thailand (which I still have very strong ties (not Thais) with.

The cost of purchasing each course after the other worked out to be very expensive. I had to pay for my own accommodation, purchase my equipment separately – it took a lot of money and time to achieve my status and get where I wanted. Hence I feel that this (even from me) is a great reference as if the dive internship package (Diving Life) had existed then I could have saved so much money in the long term.

Steve my very good friend and now partner was right then to take things slowly but over time we have created the “diving Life” package for those adventurous enough to take on such a task. If only it existed then I could have saved a bucket full of money.

It is proving very successful and many candidates are still in touch whilst traveling around the world from one dive destination to another. Many of “us” are still here teaching in Thailand – but personally I’d have it no other way.

I have to say that this has been the most positive and rewarding experience that I have put myself through in my lifetime. – I ONLY WISH THAT THE DIVING LIFE PACKAGE EXISTED WHEN I WAS LEARNING!!!

Peter Scott PADI MSDT NO# 466096 – Hampshire/Dorset UK – Thailand


I did my IDC with Mermaids PJ Scuba last October and then went back to do DAN 02 provider and EFR Instructor with them in February this year. I think they offer the best training anywhere in Thailand. I first met their Instructors in June 2001 when my brother took Open Water course with them and since that time I’ve been back regularly. I spent 6 weeks in September/October 2002 working alongside their staff before I became an Instructor. Of the 8 candidates in my class we all passed with flying colours, nothing is left to chance and you will receive the best possible training. All the staff are friendly and helpful and are a great team. I am returning to Pattaya on 3rd November and will be taking DAN oxygen provider Instructor course with them before leaving to work another season in India. I didn’t use their job placement scheme as I already had work as I live in Vietnam and work for 5 star IDC centre there. I know that all the Instructors I met had job offers, I was even offered a job during my IDC. You have no worries about safety either as there records is second to none. There are a lot of people offering dive training but there is only one name to go for in Thailand if you want the best and that is Mermaids (P J Scuba).

Simon White. UK.

Coming into the internship as an already Advanced diver I found that P J Scuba (Mermaids) were very fair with their discount. Traveling from Egypt at the time I was unsure as to whether to lay a deposit or not as I did not know what to expect.

I did pay the small deposit and completed a 4 month internship as DM and instructor with P J Scuba (Mermaids). The facilities are certainly some of the most comprehensive that I have come across and that’s coming from where I was in Egypt where there were literally hundreds of shops. This was a great adventure for me. Thailand grew on me very quickly and I now work in Koh Tao as an instructor and have not regretted a thing.

Pattaya as a dive destination in Thailand is not the very best but as a dive learning place is excellent as there is not a day that passes when the boats do not go out. I could not believe the season just never ended. Over and above that there is a vast array of ship wrecks, along with many coral island dive sites. All are quite diverse making everyday exciting.

My only two regrets were NOT taking my Staff Instructor course and…leaving the girlfriend at home 🙂

S. Ware (Chicago )


Mermaids (P J Scuba)… I did my IDC and IE with Mermaids (P J Scuba) over a year ago now. I really had a great time doing it and learnt so much. The instructors at mermaids are excellent in knowledge and skill. I had a great time and met some great people. I was with Mermaids for about 5 months and have no niggles at all….

I have been diving for 7 years so most of my training was done in the UK I also teach for BSAC. But I know and have taught many people that have started from scratch at mermaids (P J Scuba) and are now active happy diving instructors…….

Steve the boss at mermaids would help you get a job after you pass your instructors examination. He knows many dive schools and has many contacts good bloke to know.

It’s all about contacts in this industry and reputation. Thailand is cheap to live and cheap to eat so in all its a good place to get started.

Since leaving mermaids I have worked for a dive shop in Pattaya for 5months and now I am working down in Koh Samui (south island of Thailand) which is much nicer for me (being a woman and all) Pattaya a bit of a guys place if you know what I mean.

The only thing which is advisable is to sort out visas… If you will be staying at mermaids for a while ie, 6months or so… Then apply for a student visa…

If not you have to go in and out of Thailand every month… or if coming from UK get a 3 month or multiple entry visa before you come over……. with this there is no guarantee that Thai immigration will give you it when you enter, (I know confusing)…go for student visa its easier although you will have to get paperwork from Mermaids or Peter at P J Scuba, you can also do it when you get there when people can help you…….

I find life as an instructor a great one….. Beats my shitty office job in UK… I am now moving on to technical diving which is a new challenge……

There is lots of study and hard work but if you put the effort in you will enjoy the benefits.

I hope I have been of some help to you. If you have anymore questions please feel free to ask…

Ok good luck let me know what you do

Tara H McHugh #624325 BSAC AI (PADI)


Jeff Santos… (Check IDC May 2005)

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 thats what made it so special. So thanks to all you instructors, Russel, Claus, Manx, Dave, Tom, B1, B2, Ian, and of course Desi for all the knowledge You gave me. The many friends I have made in Thailand will be friends I keep in touch with for many years to come. To my Long-stay brothers, Jay, Lee, James, Alex 1, Alex 2, Pete, and Steve, You guys are the best! I was really lucky to meet a great bunch like yourselves. To heath, Keep hugging those trees my man, I am sure I will be following in your footsteps soon. About Pattaya, hard to find the proper words to the describe this town. It is the one place I have ever been where the excitement of a big city is wrapped up in a small town (by American standards anyway). There is something for everyone here. One of my favorite moments was on Paul Manx’s (one of the Instructors) B-day. Like 12 of us went bungee jumping into that lake, then partied the rest of the night away on Walking Street . What a great night. Well thanks again all and for all you new interns, enjoy it while it lasts, because it will go quicker than you can possibly imagine. Peace, Jeff Santos

Lee C

They say life say life is what you make it ! In that case for the last 8 months I’ve been making a great fool out of what the accepted definition of work is !!!! Diving out here is only a very small part of the experience .. The people you’ll meet are friends for life and the experiences are something you will talk about forever.. A Small incident on my first night in Bangkok and it’s become legend.. No doubt you’ll all hear about it on your arrival.. That said, enjoy the diving, and you’ll see something new every day… Enjoy every day and you’ll fall in love with Thailand… After 8 months here ( my IDC is less than 3 weeks away ) I am still finding things on my doorstep I have missed for the last 7 months… I mean thing like the best kebab van in south east Asia and a Mexican restaurant to shame all other.. Oh and yesterday I saw my first shark in Pattaya ( no monster but it had a mean look in his eye – honest ) .. Come out here and enjoy it, live it but most of all take a bunch of photo’s as when your memory is old and fuzzy ( beer more than age ) they’ll always provide irrefutable proof of the fish you saw, the elephants in the street and of course the guy that drank to much and danced on stage …… I May well see some of you out here , if not all I ask is :- 1) Take care of Peter ( he’s fragile ) 2) Savor every day out here … The smells are fantastic ( mostly ) and the roadside food is safe ( mostly ) 3) Remember to bubble !!! ( that will make more sense when your out here ) Lee C PADI Professional – 480262

Aaran L. (Mermaids Dive Intern)

Right then, not too good at this kind of thing but for Pj i will give it a go. it all started in august 04 when i sent him a email, that was the best 5 minutes i have spent in front of a laptop. I got to mermaids with no scuba training at all, none, zero, zip, but i’m a DM now working in Cyprus with my girlfriend Lucy who is a OWSI, (we met at mermaids) and i now see just how good my training was because not every one has been trained to the high standards of mermaids.

If your thinking of joining the mermaids family because that’s what it is, book it now because if you don’t you will miss out on a few things, like;

Toto, Lulu and the girls who will be happy to get you an ice cold beer before you have put your gear away.

The bhat bus rides that you take with 25 others (that’s if you can beat our record) on the way to walking street.

Captine Gai and the chicken boat who always has a smile and a helping hand

“Frosty” who sounds like Santa when he’s laughing at you down at 30 meters.

Chicken on a stick this one i will leave for you to find out.

The life long friends, and so many more things i can’t put in, so for all you who know what im talking about and what we are all missing, hope your all doing well and hope to see you all soon. For all you that don’t know……well what are you waiting for book and get down to Pattaya.
One last thing thanks Pj, I know i say that every time we text, e-mail or go out for “a few quite ones” so without breaking a habit THANK YOU for all the happy times and for the all the good times we will have when Lucy and me get back in a few months so i can do my I.E

if any of you want to e-mail me feel free, arranlaughton@yahoo.co.uk might see you there in november05
dive well and stay safe
Arran mermaids intern nov04- the rest of my life.

Harvey. (Check IDC July 2005)

Arriving in a new place, trying to advance a new career is always going to be scary, but the welcome I received from everyone at Mermaids instantly put me at ease. Having been here for over three months now, I can say that this is by far the most professional outfit in this area, with fantastic instruction and instructors who are always willing to help no matter how busy they are.

The diving here may not be the best in the world, but there are some superb wrecks, and ripping currents which provide valuable experience. Unlike sites in the Andaman Sea, diving here is all year round, so you can take your time. When you do finish, most people leave with jobs to go to.

The nightlife here is like nowhere I have ever been, and is really something you have to experience first hand to understand.

I have made many good friends here, some of who have already left and are dotted around the globe, but we all stay in touch via email. With all these outstanding invitations to visit, I’m not sure where to go first, Dominican Rep., Egypt, Spain…. Happy Days!!

Alex G. AKA Sharky (Check IDC May 2005)

What can I say, I’ve just come back from the most memorable 9 months of my life! I was a little unsure about sending my hard earned cash to people I’d never met before but it couldn’t have been more worthwhile! The instructors and people of Mermaids have not only taught me so much but also become good friends. The atmosphere they create makes you feel part of the family. Thank you B1, B2, HMS, Manx, Claus, Russ, Tom, Frosty, Lance, CS, Nori, Ian, Wayne. You guys have been great! i have also made some great friends who I WILL see again! The list is too long but you know who you are, you lovely people and you really made the ride great! I cannot think of a better training ground that combines great courses, facilities, instructors and friends. Thank you all and when I’m diving with my beloved sharks, I’ll be thinking of you all (especially you Tom! Don’t worry they’re harmless, though the big ones do like the odd SEAL!!!). I will be back very soon!

Sharky #482744

C Settar

Hi Steve

Since i did not get a chance to before flying off on Monday, i just wanted to say thank you for the experience that you and the rest of your staff provided for me. I had a remarkable time, one that i will never forget. if i ever decide to continue with my instructor’s certification i will definitely be headed your way, and i hope i can return to Thailand soon even if it is not for that reason! please keep in touch and thank you again!

happy holidays,

C Settar

P Tuck – West Virginia

I am currently finishing up my dive master course at Mermaids Dive School and I plan to continue on to the Instructor level. So far I have found the instruction to be extremely professional and intimate. There are many other students at the school; however, every class I have taken has been either just I or one other student. The instructors are there everyday for you to ask questions and get instant feedback on your performance. The atmosphere is very laid back and they are willing to work around your schedule to suit your needs.

Once you finish your rescue course you begin as a dive master trainee and this is where you learn the most and have the most fun. You get to see what it is like to work in the field as you are on the boat diving everyday with customers. You are responsible for leading dive teams, assisting instructors by demonstrating skills to other students and conducting dive briefings based on your personal knowledge of the dive sites. No two days are the same and there is something new to learn everyday.

I have been here for about two months and I have found that out of everything I have done the one thing I enjoy the most is hanging out with the friends that I have made from all over the world. After we finish up a “tough day at the office” we all gather at the local pub next door to have a few beers and tell stories about diving or about our past lives in the “real world”.

This has truly been a unique experience in my life and I can honestly say that I made the right decision for myself. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I can say that it won’t be in an office or cubicle sitting behind a computer for eight hours a day. I hope that this has helped provide some insight and given you something to think about for your future.

Marc N. (Check IDC May 2005)

I am now working in the Dominican Republic for Dressel Divers and having a good time. My first certifications have gone through, I´m learning a lot but am at a good level for a newbie instructor. Thanks to you, Klaus, Tom and Russel. I´m a happy man.

Russ S. (Check IDC June 2005)

A big thank you to Mermaids and all the staff which have made my dream possible. Another 100% result for the IE which I was so happy to be included in. Many great memories and friends have been made at Mermaids and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.

Lee S (Check IDC May 2005)

Well they say that your school days are the best days of your life……true but I think that was the diving school days in my life. Throughout my 8 months in Thailand with Mermaids I have met so many new and great people and I will always remember my days there. All the instructors who brought me up from Open water to Instructor have been exellent and I owe it all to them (and PJ of course) 🙂 Special thanks to Claus, Manx, Tom, HMS, SB1 for the help and traning during the IDC, also to Lance who guided me through my Divemaster Training and to Russell who made me and Open Water diver even after calling him an Aussie. Special thanks to Pj for for a great time on the similans trip – memories that will never fade. Never forgetting of course the longstay crew, Alex, Jason, Stuart (the savoy bar & Grill), Aine, Lucy, Jeff, Linda, Sue, Rosie, Russ, Alexia, Cliff, Will, Slinky, Lee, Beou, Martin, You have all been a great laugh. Keep in touch…Lee S

Lucy D – PADI Instructor through Mermaids (Check IDC of January here)


Thought I’d better send something to you even though I must have told you a million times what a great time I had, I know it will sound biased but what the hell, it’s all true.

OK, so if you’re reading this you’re either and old intern in which case hello and hope you’re doing great, or you’re thinking about joining PJ and Mermaids. I’m really not sure where to start because I just had the best time ever doing my training in Pattaya. The school and the instructors there are 1st class, and I’ve found out just how good they are since I’ve started working as an instructor myself (so to all the instructors, I owe you a huge thank you,). I was in Pattaya for about 8 months and didn’t want to leave, I joined as an open water diver and ended up an instructor (many thanks again to the instructors on my IDC, especially Claus who made me do the presentations even though I hated them). I am now working in Cyprus and have realized how lucky I was to get the training I did from all at Mermaids. If you’re reading the LIA website and thinking that it all sounds too good to be true then you’re right, it does sound that way, but everything on this website is 100% true, it is the most unbelievable deal and I have to thank PJ and SB1 again for making it such a great course.

I’m trying to write this without sounding biased but I can’t so if you do decide to hand over your cash and move half way around the world I can guarantee you a few things from Mermaids and PJ:

1, you will have the time of your life, and you will not regret one single minute.

2, you will meet some of the best people you could ever wish to meet, lifelong friends.

3, you will work hard and have fun, but the training you get will be first class.

4, you’ll find out what PJ means when he says “do you fancy meeting up for a couple of quiet drinks” J

5, you either end up staying longer than you planned or going back there, or like in my case, both.

To any old interns, please stay in touch, and to any new one’s please feel free to ask me any questions you’ll get an honest answer, e-mail holli25x@hotmail.com

Hope that will do, I tried to keep it sort of short  🙂


Trent O. (Check IDC May 2005)

There are plenty of dive schools out there…but that’s all they are…just dive schools. Mermaid’s Diving Life Internship is an all encompassing experience. I spent 4 months from Open Water to Instructor and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. You show up when you want, vacation when you want, take courses when you want in virtually whatever area of diving you want, and there are always plenty of extremely capable instructors to help you out whenever you need it. Everyone is always smiling and having a great time whether it be in the classroom, out diving, or in the bar. There were 18 people in my IDC/IE and everyone passed – these instructors make sure you have the skills you need to succeed. They care, their hearts are in it, and we had a great time every step of the way. Mermaid’s offers truly first class dive instruction, but what’s more is that you automatically join a network of fun-loving, supportive and dynamic people from all walks of life to spend your duration with. You’d be a fool to become an instructor somewhere else. Get ready for the time of your life!

Linda Flemming (Check IDC May 2005)

It’s funny I remember Jason always saying he wanted to go live in a small beach hut on an island and teach diving. I could never really see myself doing that I thought I would get so bored. But now here I am if I’m not on the boat looking at clear blue water from the beach to a dive site then I am sat outside the shop looking at the clear water from the shore. It reminds me so much of the Similans….. only I haven’t seen any Manta ray yet!!!!!! On my first dive here however I saw 4 white tips and an eagle ray so that was cool.

Anyway back to what I was saying I didn’t really know how to put in to words my experience in Thailand but now I have come here I realize how much my time there meant to me. It’s very strange to leave that whole environment and I do miss it. My boss here is fascinated by my whole experience there and the more I talk about I realize that it was an experience and I will never forget it or the people that i met. It has also helped me to get here. I would never of dreamed a year ago I would be sitting on the beach front every morning and diving every day and only a 30 min boat ride from Bali. I just can’t get over it.

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