Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have many questions before starting your training. These are the most commonly asked questions that our divers have. If you have a question not on this list and can’t find the answer on our website, please feel free to contact us.

No problem, the concept behind an internship is that you are here to gain experience so there will be plenty of time to increase your number of logged dives at no additional charge. Just let us know how many logged dives you have completed.

Yes, PADI have designed Dive Theory Online. PADI Dive Theory Online consists of six easy-to-learn sections, covering Physics, Physiology, Equipment, The Recreational Dive Planner, Diving Environment and Dive Skills. Although not compulsory, the lessons will benefit anyone who is interested and wants to improve their dive theory knowledge.

You need to fly to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI). There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Philippines, Brunei and Perth.

For all commonwealth countries there is no need to obtain a VISA. Upon entry at passport control you will be issued with a 3 month social VISA. We do however suggest that you check online at the Malaysian Embassy for updates.

Yes, we suggest you buy standard personal travel insurance that will cover you for recreational scuba diving up to a maximum depth of 30m.

No, you will not become cheap labour and you will not be working for us. You will be assisting and gaining experience alongside our fully qualified and permanent staff team of PADI Instructors and Instructor Trainers. You will become one of the team !

Yes, you can take as much time as you like, however do bear in mind that you will be here to learn and gain experience, your days off are not replaced so we do encourage you to join in and come to the island as much as you can. Having said this, rest time is important. You need to let us know the day prior that you are not coming for our logistics & training schedule purposes.

We will collect you from our accommodation in KK Times Square at 0800 hours daily and bring you along with other guests and interns that day to our marina where you will board our fast speedboats for a 10-minute ride to Gaya Island – not a bad daily commute! If you are not staying at our lodge you can either meet us at the lodge or meet us at Sutera Harbour Marina.

Once at the island dive centre you’ll talk to the Go PRO team who will brief you on the schedule and guests that day and suggest which programs they recommend you join for experience. Alternatively, the team will have set training components of your course so you may be learning skills, attending workshops, preparing or sitting exams. At the beginning of your program you will receive an orientation from one of the Go PRO Team to discuss the course components so that you are prepared. Your time will be spent on the island, only during the Instructor Development Course (IDC), which is a very structured 14 – 16 day program, will you spend approximately 7 – 9 days in the classroom.

Most definitely, this is the benefit of completing an internship with us! The island operates every day and in the event that we do not have any paying guests on PD (Pleasure Dives) for a day which is very, very rare then you can still shore dive from the dive centre.

We are the only dive centre in Sabah to boast TWO PADI Course Directors. Our Platinum PADI Course Director is British born Richard Swann who is also our company Managing Director. Richard is a Platinum PADI Course Director and last year was one of only 71 Course Directors worldwide to earn this level of recognition. He heads up a team of Go PRO PADI Instructors who assist him throughout the professional level courses and remains in full control of every individual’s program and teaches every component of the IDC. Our second resident PADI Course Director is Fauzi (aka Pablo) he is a local Sabahan and highly respected instructor trainer. Both are underwater photographers.

All our courses are taught in fluent English. Our team are of British, Malaysian and Chinese nationalities. For more information please visit the Go PRO Team & Staff Team page to find out more about us.

The number of interns at any one time ranges from around 4 to 10 people. Each internship is tailored to the individual but we do find that we always have 2 – 4 people at approximately the same level, which means there are usually others to share the same experience and you will be together for some of the training sessions which is great for building friendships and teamwork.

We highly recommend divers at the professional level own their own equipment, however this is not a necessity since we provide dive equipment rental at a greatly reduced rate for interns. Our Dive Shop stocks many reputable dive branded merchandise for all levels of scuba diving, and worth browsing! However you must own your own personal: Dive Compass, Pocket Mask, RDP Table & Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) plus a timing device (watch or dive computer). A dive computer is highly recommended but not required. We have reduced-cost combination packages with items specially prepared for our interns, or you can buy prior to your internship elsewhere. Please bring a laptop computer or iPad.

Although in an ideal world they would be useful, its a lot of weight to carry around. We have a selection of manuala for reference in our IDC classroom but they must remain in the classroom. If you are completing your PADI DM and/or IDC then the respective CrewPak is included. If you are completing your IDC only then you will need your PADI Instructor Manual & Guide to Teaching Manual, The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving & Recreational Dive Planner – RDP Table and eRDPML, these items would have been included within your PADI DM Course. If you are crossing over from another organisation you will need to purchase these items from us or elsewhere before you arrive.

The IE confined and open water will take place either at our dive centre OR another local dive centres’ location within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. You will be very familiar with the location, your PADI Course Director will also be present at the IE for moral support and all IE logistics fees (tanks, weights, park & jetty fees, land and boat transfers) are included within the package price.

We encourage all interns to complete an IDC and become a PADI OWSI or MSDT. At this level there are plenty of jobs available and you will have a worldwide opportunity for employment since the PADI organisation is the world leader so finding a job is not difficult providing you are committed. As part of the IDC internship we conduct an employment workshop with material that we pass to you to help you search, prepare and approach potential employers to get results. As you would expect from a PADI IDC Centre we have good network contacts who are often looking for employees; and to date, newly qualified instructors looking for employment have found employment!

Choosing where to complete your professional scuba diving internship is the most important decision of your professional diving career.


It doesn’t get any better than Downbelow!
They planned our entire 2 week stay in Borneo, we didn’t have to lift a finger. We saw everything you can imagine; Pygmy Elephants, Orang Utans, Proboscis Monkeys, Crocodiles, Horn bills!They know all the best local spots and really take care of you which is so important when traveling somewhere new!
Tamsin & Phil, Independent Travellers
One stop shop for marine and wildlife adventure
I spent a month with Dive DownBelow studying to be a PADI Open Water Instructor. Great location (near markets, shops and cafes), professional staff and a fun experience all round.
Carl Charter, GoPro Intern
A very memorable holiday!
The whole Dive Downbelow team is great and this was a huge contributor to us having a very memorable holiday with you. Thank you for your help all through the trip, and also thank you to Tim who was very professional, patient and made our diving course so enjoyable and successful.
Dmitry & Helen, Independent Travellers

Our Commitment to Conservation!

RESPONSIBLE TOURISM project_aware_logo

During the past 15 years the company has established itself as a leading conservation and education provider locally and on the international platform. At Downbelow we are committed to responsible tourism. We design experiences and provide courses that foster appreciation, awareness and conservation of our environment and development of local people. In the course of this labour of love, our effort has been acknowledged by various publications and awards. To date, Ghost Net Removals, Underwater and Beach Clean Ups, Coral for Life, Tree for Life & Project Aware remain a large focus of our day to day life Downbelow!

What Makes Downbelow Different ?

  • Customised Itineraries To Save Money & Maximise Time
  • Genuine Focus On Conservation & Outreach Community Programs
  • TWO Full Service Island Based PADI 5 Star IDC Centres – Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
  • Own and Operate Our Adventure Lodge Accommodation – KK Times Square
  • Fully Comprehensive Quality Control Standards and Procedures
  • TWO Resident PADI Course Directors – In House and Full Time
  • Gained International Awards for Excellence, Education and Experience
  • Awarded the PADI Green Star Award for Environmental Practices to Reduce our Environmental Footprint
  • Hassle FREE – airport to airport service all under one company
  • Dedicated experienced travel consultant for planning your trip, during your trip and post trip support
  • Approved British Ministry of Defence Commercial Dive Centre
  • Company Profits Support Welfare & Marine Conservation