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See what the dive interns here have to say about Mermaids, the dive training and the program in general. Please do check all pages and indeed the photos of the scuba diving interns.

My Life at Mermaids!!

I’ve just passed my PADI Instructor Exams with great thanks to Mermaids. The Instructor Development Course is well structured with a happy balance between classroom, pool and ocean training that gives an excellent path to the exam. The training staff are very friendly, approachable and flexible in their teaching methods – all round a good bunch and I’ve met some really good friends here too. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard work and challenging at times but a little pain for
so much gain – no problem!!

Next stop for me is Master Scuba Dive Trainer, again with Mermaids who I am more than happy to recommend to anybody thinking of taking any PADI education programs.
Steve Dunn – PADI OWSI 639949

Hi Russell and Desi! Guy and I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you again for the time you spent with us after the IE. Now we are working in the real world we are able to fully appreciate how just valuable that time was! It certainly gave us the confidence to go straight to work here – my first job was an O/W referral, I had 2 days to do all the theory, confined 2-5 and o/w dives 2,3,4, and they only called me that day when the customer was in the shop! I was remembering Dessi’s advice ‘if you’re offered a job – dont say no!’ and as this was my first one too I had to take it! Needless to say it was a very long 2 days but I used all Russell’s scheduling tips and got the job done. Guys first job was pretty similar too. We are both now getting regular work from several dive centres which is great and Guy is on cert #22 already so his MSDT is not far away!! We really think that had we left Mermaids straight after the IDC/IE it would have been a steep learning curve for us going straight into freelancing here and meeting the scheduling requirements expected. All the dive centres talk to each other so if you mess up every one will know about it and no one will call you, so getting that experience
before left mermaids was invaluable. Thanks a million Russel and Dessi and see you when we come back to do staff!!
Jo and Guy

In Indiana I was a quality engineer and had been working in factories most of my life. My employer at the time was closing the factory I was at and moving to China. So when they laid me off I got a good severance package and I had a lot of frequent flyer miles from all the traveling I had to do for work. Initially I was going to take the severance and flyer miles and take the family on a couple week vacation, it was going to be a dive vacation for me a beach laying for them. For some reason my wife wasn’t in the vacationing mood and said since I was just going to dive all the time to take a couple of my friends and have fun. That was when I started searching around the world for diving. And Mermaids came up in every search I did. So I checked out Mermaids and decided why not. When else was I ever going to have time and money to do this? For your four month program, it was going to cost the same as a family of 3 for 2 weeks in Turks and Caicos (since my flights were free because of miles use). After a lot of talking with my wife she gave in and said I could go. That is when I started contacting Mermaids and between Peter and Harvey I was feeling very comfortable about the decision I made. From the first day I arrived Harvey made me feel like family at the school and I knew I had made a great decision about attending Mermaids. All the interns and staff were great and it was no time that I had fit right in and was learning in the class and across the street in the school away from school. I felt very lucky that I started just when Mark Dove started his MSDT so I had him for most of my classes and I feel he is one of the best instructors ever and I always try to make my classes reach his standards of how he taught and had fun at the same time. And for the most part all the instructors at Mermaids were great because of the level of training that we received. I also felt very lucky to have a great great staff working on my IDC. Russell is always amazing and full of tons of useful information. And along with Russell I had Desi, Ian, Henry, and Crowley. I truly believe that you could never get a better group of people together to help prepare people for an IE. And Mermaids IE success rate reflects that. So after a great 6 month journey had come to an end (yes, it was to be 4 months in Thailand but you know how it goes) it was time to go back to Indiana. I arrived back state side at the start of winter and hated being cold again after spending the last 6 months in the Thailand heat. So I told my wife that I didn’t want to go back to working in a factory and living in Indiana. I wanted to take the education that I learned over my 6 month vacation and give being a scuba instructor a chance and live on an island in paradise. Again it took a lot of talking but she gave in when she saw how happy diving made me. I was looking for employment on PADI.com and came across a place in Hawaii and applied. Just out of coincidence Steve D, the person that I hung out with the most at Mermaids and in Thailand applied for the same job even without us talking about it first. We both had our interviews and were hired (by the time of the interview we knew each other had applied so we convinced our boss to hire both of us). We now work at an amazing dive shop called Kauai Down Under (kauaidownunderscuba.com) on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. My family has moved out and settled down and absolutely love the life style of living on the island. We have truly found our home and I owe it all to the education that I received at Mermaids. Since being here I have worked my way up to my MSDT and will surely be making my way back to Mermaids to do my Staffy in a year or so.

Thanks for everything,
Mike Fleener MSDT 492195

If your reading this and thinking seriously about becoming an Instructor then Mermaids is the place to do it! I arrived has a Rescue Diver and soon realised my skills were nowhere near up the standards of Mermaids. I had a couple of issues within my first 3 months but they were sorted out prompt, Mermaids pride themselves on exceptional customer service because after all we are customers. Don’t expect to be pampered because the structure is there to help you in the future, but if you require help in any areas just ask any member of staff and there’ll be glad to help you.

The higher you go up the ladder or closer you get to becoming an Instructor you’ll notice the professional level of help and knowledge also increases. Course Director Russell Martin is a man of exceptional knowledge his standards are very high he is also very approachable, but don’t mention the Kiwi’s early exit from the World Cup 😉 ! Staff Instructors Desi, Crowley, Ian and JW are always there for you, these guys know their stuff and are fun to be with. I really enjoyed the IDC it’s different than any other course, in fact you think you know most before you go on it, but you know nothing compared to these guys. Thanks very much guys you have been extremely helpful to me I will never forget all the help you have given me 🙂

The Dive Centre staff at Mermaids are very helpful, whilst I was half way through my stay Sheena and Terry took over the day to day running. They have made some excellent changes for the benefit of everyone. Malai and Gaow are very helpful and always brightened up my day when I saw them smiling each morning. Thanks to all of you everyone at Mermaids are helpful and friendly.

A special thanks to PJ for responding so quickly to my numerous emails and all the help he gave me whilst I was there.

The only downside (if you wanna call it that) are the distractions of Pattaya. If your like me and you like to party then this is the place be. There must be 10,000 bars and restaurants it is a party persons paradise. I was meant to be there for 3 months but some how forgot about the time and ended up there for 8 months. I have become friends with some of the best people i have ever met, so the saddest thing for was saying goodbye and leaving. You go through the highs and the lows with the people you meet so you forge amazing friendships, I will always keep in touch and hopefully meet up again some day soon.

I have been back in the UK for almost 3 weeks now. I advertised myself on the PADI Employment Board as a new Instructor, so far I have had a lot of interest and 3 job offers in Thailand, Fiji and the Andaman Islands (India). I have turned them down because I have decided to go back to Mermaids and continue my education with the MSDT and Staff Instructor courses.

If your reading this and your looking for a life changing experience and an excellent start to your diving career then Mermaids Dive is the place to do it! Sun, beautiful beaches, numerous bars, endless parties, great food (cheap), good dving, friendly people, excellent training and above all a very professionally run dive centre, what more can you ask for? Before I got to Mermaids I’d spent almost £20,000 on Scuba diving holidays, courses and equipment. I nearly died when I found out the prices they charge I just wish I’d known about it before!

The best experience of my life so far and excellent value for money well done to everyone at Mermaids.
Nick Dean – PADI OWSI #492205

My eight months at mermaid just flew by. It was a great experience and really opened my passion for diving. This was the third time I returned to Mermaid to dive. I was so pleased with my last two visits that I did not even consider to enroll in any other intern program.

There are so many things that brings back memories when I look back, but the large amount of SangSom at Roskilde bar has wiped out most of it 🙂

Stephen Blumenthal. If I had any problems or questions he was there to help. I would like to quote him: “I just want everybody to be happy”. I became an Instructor after a hard but good IDC and I would like to say hello to everyone who participated in July IDC 2006.

“That’s a Lars”

Instructor “God damm it”
Lars Johansen – PADI Instructor

Having arrived in early Feb off of a long flight to Thailand, I didn’t know what to expect. As I was already a PADI Advanced Diver I got straight out on to the dive boats, making some new life long friends and having some of the nights of my life. Progressing through all of the training with some extremely good instruction was made fun and easy, especially on the IDC where the PADI Staffies are particularly awesome. Thank you Russell, Crowley, Desi and Ian!!!!

This is an experience that I shall always remember!!!

Shake and Bake – long live the Hill Tribe…
Mike Kilroy

Alright Well, I’d like to take my hat off to all of the instructors i.e. Desi, Iain, and Russell. I actually enjoyed the IDC very much and appreciate everything that you all have taught me. However, I would have liked one more day in the ocean for practice. You are all sound guys and great instructors so many thanks for everything.

John D

My first trip to Mermaids was on Holiday. My first impression was “look at all of those people; this must be a good dive school”. I carried out my first day’s diving with Lance and Russell, as part of my Advanced course, I had a great time. The staff made sure that I was happy and I knew exactly what was going on. At the end of the day we sat and had a beer and chatted about the day and what would happen the following day. That experience made me know that I had made the right choice in school.

It also changed my life! I wanted to be an instructor and I knew where I wanted to carry out my training.

The actual experience, when I sit back, exceeded my expectations.

Having a fantastic time, people are great and really welcoming, our initial concerns that it might not be the best place to come as a ‘couple’ have been completely unfounded, couldn’t have been made more welcome and we are both sincerely looking forward to completing our IDC……………thanks again … for the experience…!

Simon Avavoine

What I enjoyed about my entire IDC …

Instructors attitudes – absolutely brilliant!

Put at ease immediately

Can ask them anything

How they teach is amazing.

The presentations have really broadened my knowledge and I loved the experience.

Russell, Desi, and Iain are all really awesome guys.

Matt Drury

Having already attained MSDT rating and accrued a reasonable number of certifications I felt it was time to continue my education by taking the Staff IDC Instructors course. Although my initial training was at another dive centre in Pattaya I felt I would benefit greatly from broadening my horizons and taking the course with the Mermaids Dive Centre.

The quality of instruction was far higher than I expected and I benefited it greatly because of it, during the entire course all new modules of training were done directly with the course director Russell should who explained in great detail all the new skills I learned and how to apply them. Anyone that has the opportunity to work directly with Russell should do so, here is a no nonsense approachable course director who is only to happy to share his experience with you in a very open manner. The other thing that impressed me was Master Instructor Claus while listening to him it was obvious that Claus is very knowledgeable in a number of areas especially in the theory and standards section of the course. I felt that had I asked Claus a question on standards or performance requirements he could quote it word for word and probably off the top of his head tell you page and paragraph that the information could be found on. Have I improved my knowledge and ability through Mermaids Dive Centre? With out doubt yes?

I feel by far the most interesting part of what I saw was the actual students that had come all the way through the Mermaids system. It was obvious that they had bonded as a unit and because of the friendly manor and almost family attitude that is prevalent at Mermaids these bonds are close and strong, in my opinion life long friends had been made in that group. I was welcomed into there circle with no reservations and made to feel as if I belonged there with them. For that I would like to thank each and every one of them and wish them well in there careers. I was fortunate to be allowed to go with them to there IE and share with them there highs and lows, (what lows there were none they all flew thru it). They also allowed me to join in on the IE celebrations and it was a party to rival all parties.

In short I can honestly recommend divers that if you want quality instruction in a friendly open no nonsense manor then you could do worse than consider Mermaids.

Colin Stuart – IDC Staff Instructor 487679

Hi PJ/ Steve

I just wanted to say thanks again for the most amazing four months I’ve ever had. Having made it to DM I will be back in August (or thereabouts) to finish off the IDC/IE. You guy’s run an awesome operation over there and the training and support I received were unparalleled. The instructors that took me under their wing/s have given me the best start I could ask for in getting into the dive industry. So thanks again and see you soon.


Jeni Chapman

Open Water – OWSI Internship 2006 – John and Vicky – South Shields – England.

Whether it’s a life experience, fun, adventure, making seriously good friends or a career in diving you’re after…we have both found that the Mermaids internship offers all of this and much more!

Together we have had so many new experiences, seen things we never thought we would, and most importantly had a good laugh.

Seriously, we have had the time of our lives here and look forward to diving with you soon.

I have only great things to say about Mermaids CDC. Right from the first day I arrived to the day I left I was looked after and helped through my stay no end. Any problems I had (which were next to none) were looked into and sorted asap. My parents were obviously worried about me being so far away from home, but when they came to visit me at the end of my stay their worries evaporated when they saw how friendly and also professional everyone one is and how good the general atmosphere at Mermaids is.

All the dive instructors/divemasters were fantastic during all the courses and diving I did. I made some of the best friends while I was there, both with people doing similar things to myself and the more qualified divers too, even with the people working in Toto’s bar next door! Had I not had to return to England to start university I would definitely have stayed longer and most likely would still be there now. I found it really inspiring how much fun you can have and how much you can learn at the same time!


Had the best 7 months of my life!!! Great people and great instruction. I have made some life long friends.

I would recommend this to anyone!

Ben Liversage

I was only at Mermaids for two months, but the operation made a lasting impression on me. It is well organized and the staff is incredibly helpful and friendly. Pattaya and Samae San’s dive sites offered a fantastic learning environment. My time there saw me complete 5 specialties, ERD/PERT 1 and my Divemaster certification. I learned a lot through these courses and vastly improved my diving skills.

Interns and staff alike made the experience a lot of fun, and I came out with quite a few great friends that I plan on keeping in touch with. I found the community at Mermaids welcoming and friendly, and had no trouble fitting into the place while I recovered from my jet lag and settled in to life in Pattaya.

I plan on getting my Instructor certification in about a years time, and Mermaids is at the top of my list of places to do it. I would strongly recommend it to anyone looking to advance their diving skills and qualifications.

Ian H

Dave A – HMS – intern / Staff instructor – serious technical diver. (Mr. Rescue Diver).

Hi my name is Dave and for my wrong doings I was very quickly re-tagged HMS and that would appear to have stuck since I arrived at Mermaids in Nov 2003….nearly 2 years have passed and now I find that I am leaving and looking back at myself and those who I met along the way…albeit with all my kit marked HMS.

I came to Mermaids from The Gambia (small country surrounded by Senegal/W Africa) where I was working….I decided that I would do something different….and came across PJ’s website (www.learn-in-asia.com) …after 3 or 4 months of questions, some reasonable and some now that I look back…just plain absurd, I paid my money.

I did have some initial concerns about sending my money to where “the Thai what bank?, is’nt Thailand just full of the worlds criminals and where all money scams start and finish….Well that could well be true…If my view is worth anything at all…..your money is safe and you’ll find that it is the best thing that you will ever do…..

I have met some of the world’s greatest individuals from students, ex spec-ops, police and the just plain

Odd-ball…most are just run-aways of some sort or another….yes myself included and as such have decided that the world is just a very colourful place.

Well….just a little about what I have managed to get myself involved with here…I have gone from a complete novice to tech diving and am now embarking on rebreather diving….Dec 05 Update now have my own KISS Rebreather…

I could go on for hours about how this, that and the other are brilliant, perfect….that is not the case…..nothing is, however what I can say is….if you are looking for a challenge and a chance to push yourself in ways that only the few have the chance to…..then get yourself here….

Mermaids is without doubt the single most influential point of my new life…..don’t they nick name the course Zero to Hero? Makes you think…

There are far too many at Mermaids that I have helped me and been good friends….they know who they are…

Good luck to all



Steve, How are things in Thailand? I sure miss the warm water there, it is on average 11 C here. but the kelp beds and the wrecks are amazing dives. so it is worth wearing the 7 mil. I decided to only work at sea world part time and I got another job with a dive boat company as there head dive master, In return I of course get paid but also I am able to use there rental equipment for the classes I teach as well as my students getting half price to dive off the boat. so it worked out good for me. So things are good in Sunny San Diego. Thanks again steve for everything, I really feel like I got a strong dive education from your dive shop working on the dive boats everyday just came natural after going through the internship.


Hey Steve,

So I’m getting ready to leave tomorrow. I just want to say thank you so much for everything. This has been a truly wonderful experience that has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. I have gained an entirely new confidence from my time here. For the most part the instructors have been amazing, providing me with great feedback and encouragement. I could not have asked for more from the training I have received. In case I don’t get to see them before I go, would you please send my warmest thanks to Sue, Russell, Desi and Claus. There is so much more I would love to have done here. Perhaps I’ll be back to do my MSDT or possibly pursue some technical diving. So many possibilities :-). Thank you for your offer for a recommendation, that would be wonderful. You have a great thing going here and I am hope your success with the program will continue to flourish

Thanks again Steve


I have spent 3 months at Mermaids going through to Instructor level. The first couple of weeks were daunting as I did not know any one and I was in a different country. After the initial getting to know period it has been an experience that I shall never forget – a very enjoyable one! I think that if you are an outgoing person you could not go to a better place, Pattaya is great!

Mermaids is run to give you the experience of a busy dive shop – the ups and the downs and it does this very well.

Dean Horne

I was nervous about sending money to a far away company that I read about over the internet. After making my investment and traveling from the US I found that the people that I was corresponding with the other side were for real and my impression of the shop was above average for the location. They have excellent instructors and a lot of friendly interns. I went through my advanced open water to Divemaster first and went back to the US. Steve Blumenthal was very helpful with this. At this writing I have been back for 2 months and am ready to take the IE today and tomorrow. Again with the help of excellent instructors.

PS. One bit of personal advice go straight through to instructor in your first trip.

Good Luck!

Marcus Law

I arrived at Mermaids in December 2006 planning a 4 month stay. Now 6 months on and I don’t want to leave!

My whole time here has been fantastic. The dive instructors, facilities and advice have all been excellent. I have made many life long friends with my fellow interns and I wish all of them the very best for the future.

Any nervous feelings that I had before arriving here were gone within hours of arrival. All course, Specs, and dives have been smoothly run.

My DM course was fantastic and I loved the IDC – Thanks Desi, Ian, Crowley, Derek and Russ. Thanks to all of the staff also especially Malai, Gaew, Crowley, Harvey, Claus, and certainly not least Russ.

If you are reading this you should come to Mermaids. It is Awesome!

Andy Reddington

Mermaids dive center provides unequivocal experience and support for those willing to work hard and accept the knowledge and experience of the helpful friendly staff. They also offer a range of courses at all levels from open water to instructor and also including technical and gas blending.

Adam Pierce

Living in Thailand has been a great experience, and it is nice to come away from a 4 month vacation with a skill you can use to earn a living. Mermaids has the best reputation in Pattaya of all the dive shops with many instructors who teach without pay simply because they enjoy teaching diving.

I recommend Mermaids as a good way to spend a few months in a great place without getting bored.


I really enjoyed my experience at Mermaids. All of the instructors are very knowledgeable and helpful. The amount of diving you get to do provides experience and education that could take years to gain elsewhere. I’d definitely recommend coming to Mermaids if you are serious about a career in diving.

Brian Yarger

My time at Mermaids has been educational but most of all extreme fun.

What makes Mermaids Dive School?

The people do; the interns, the customers, and the instructors.

Mermaids is regarded highly in Thailand and believe me you’re going to enjoy your time here!

Andy Moss

I have been here for 7 months and Mermaids is a great place to learn how to dive, all the staff are so friendly.


Last July I was at work in Regina, SK Canada selling mobile phones. I need to do something different I was tired of my 9-5 job stuck in a suit and tie. I previously just returned from Cancun, Mexico and wanted to have that life-style. So I looked up on the internet and found Mermaids Dive Center in Pattaya, Thailand. So I emailed PJ a couple questions on the school and with in less than a day my questions came back. wow that was fast. So after talking with PJ I signed up for the dive for life program and quit my job. I sold my car and bought a flight out to Thailand. 2 weeks later I was there on the other side of the world.

I started my Open water with Desi I made it thought that Thanks Desi). After that it was full throttle I did my advanced, Rescue and my dive master course. After the DM course at Mermaids being a DM is great they teach you how to run the boats and organize diving activities and help out on courses. After completing my IDC/IE (Instructors) in March I had the confidence in getting a job. Three weeks after completing my Instructors I sent out my CV/Resume to many jobs all around the world. I ended up find out that there are lots of diving jobs everywhere. I was overwhelmed I had offers in Fiji, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Honduras, Hawaii and Turks and Caicos. Well I ended up getting a great job in Grand Turk in the Turks and caicos Island in the Caribbean working at a small dive center. So now Im living my dream that I set out for last august when I went to Mermaid to start my diving career.

I highly recommend Mermaids Dive School because of the Excellent teaching standard that they follow and the friendly helpful staff. Thanks SB1, Russell, Clause, Desi, and Mali for all you help in getting me to where I am today.

Jon Piott

I had only planned to stay at Mermaids for 4 months but ended up staying for 8 months!

As I’m sure most people are i was a bit nervous arriving in Thailand, i had no idea what to expect, but i shouldn’t have worried i received all the help i needed from the first day i arrived to my last day in Thailand.

The instructors were very good and would ‘go the extra mile’ to make sure you understood the theory work.

As for Pattaya if you like cheap food and putting your feet up on the beach for a quiet night you will love it and if you’re a party animal then you really will be in your element!

The truth is Pattaya caters for everyone.

I loved my time there and am already planning a return trip!

Danny Moore – OWSI

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