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“Beware - poor safety and old equipment”
Review of H2O Original

H2O Original
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: As Koh Phangan's only speedboat service, H2O schedule our trips to avoid the crowds and take you to see fish, not people! With more choices than any other dive school on the island, beginner training off the beach, small groups, and high quality customer service, we invite you to join us for the ultimate dive experience. Exclusively recommended by Santhiya Resort & Spa, Anantara Rasananda, Buri Rasa Resort, and Panviman Resort.
Reviewed September 9, 2012

I have been a recreational scuba diver for over 20 years and I was concerned when I read some reviews on H2O where safety was called into question. Nevertheless, I did dive with them. However, I wouldn't do so again and certainly wouldn't recommend them. Their equipment is old and poorly maintained (hired BCD and Regulator both failed during the dive). More worryingly, they had a very cavalier attitude to safety, taking first time divers with no formal training (on 'Discover Scuba Diving') miles out to sea to dive in open water with strong currents (at Sail Rock). The reviewers awarding 5 stars here are probably inexperienced and know no better (I was there when one of them ran out of air at 15m+ and had to buddy-breathe with the divemaster). If you do decide to give them a go, be very, very careful and set up your own kit, checking it meticulously. (What diver lets someone else set up his tank and reg anyway?).

7  Thank small_world_team
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
leeh2oscuba, Owner at H2O Original, responded to this reviewResponded October 16, 2012

Please clarify the date you went diving with us, as here at H2O, we have no record of any equipment failure, nor has anyone ever run out of air in our nine years of operation. All our equipment is regularly serviced by trained professionals. All equipment, at some point, will have tiny leaks at the o-ring seals. At H2O, if any piece of equipment has even a minor leak (o-rings), it is changed either on the boat or repaired in our equipment room. Small o-ring leaks are routine maintenance for every dive company in the world, as you must know from your 20 years of experience. What you might have seen is an “out of air scenario” taking place as part of our Open Water Course. We have a 100% safety record and have never received any complaints regarding safety on the Internet.

We do take Discover Scuba Diving customers to Sail Rock and, as you can see from all the glowing reports here on Trip Advisor, many of these are DSDs and have all had a fantastic experience. With first-time divers we take all precautions into account and keep groups very small (two divers per instructor). Sail Rock is a deep dive site, but we only take our Discover Scuba customers to a maximum depth of 12m, which is the PADI standard. All 16 dive shops operating on Koh Phangan conduct the same course at Sail Rock. The difference at H2O, is we give a full dive briefing, provide medical forms prior to the dive, with skills being conducted in the pool or pool-like conditions.

At H2O we offer a high level of customer service, therefore, we don’t ask you to set up or wash your own equipment, but should you ask, you are more than welcome to do so. At H2O we set up all equipment for customers because they are on vacation and want to relax, and then the instructor can also do their own safety check. Following set-up, we inform you in our dive briefing to please check your equipment before putting it on, and then to do your own pre-dive safety check with your buddy. In theory, there is not one safety check, but three safety checks before you dive with H2O. Who better to set up and safety check your equipment than a trained PADI professional? Most customers feel reassured by this extra level of safety.

I would like to pose the question: if all these incidents occurred in one day on our dive boat, how is it you did not inform your instructor, any of the other instructors, the sales team who booked your dive, or the manager, who is always available to answer customer queries? As you write that none of these incidents actually happened to you personally, and we received no complaints from any other diver even remotely related to your concerns, you have left us wondering if any of these events, in fact, occurred. If you had communicated your concerns to any of the H2O team, we would have clarified the PADI standards for you.

Again, could you please inform us of the date you went diving and the name of your dive guide?

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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262 - 266 of 424 reviews

Reviewed August 28, 2012

did my open water diver course with them in august and my instructor was dirk from germany. very professional and reliable person with an eye for detail. therefore I felt very secure although the water is not my element at all... I can recommend this company to everyone. the only shortcoming is the boat they use now, quite an old and rusty vessel. nevertheless I was very satisfied with the overall level of the instruction and the approach of the personnel.

Thank kuchtto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2012

All instructors were very helpful and kind. Dirk, our PADI instructor #956860, was very skilled, patient and service oriented. We did not have to touch our equipment, he was getting the tank, BCD, weight belt, mask, finns, prepared for us, totally ready before every ride! We simply had to jump on the water!
The captain of the boat they use is the best I've seen. Excellent handling of the boat with big waves, looking after the passenger's comfort, engine on and nearby Sailrock to allow us to be close for the dive and not have to swim too much...
Lee, the welsh owner, has been teaching my 2 kids (11 and 13) to become scuba divers (12 meters max). He was very patient and dedicated and managed to get my boy in the water during a day with lots of wind and waves (my son is particularly sensitive to those conditions). He did a great job there.
We were actually happy the speedboat did not work since we heard every single diver got sea sick once in Sail Rock, and its engine was quite unreliable.

One negative...During our advanced PADI course we did not have the manuals. We could not read them before hand and could not use them during the course. Lee should have had that ready before hand.

Thank Marcos R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2012

DO NOT use them! They are far more expensive, but we thought that going with a smaller group and a speed boat would be better for diving. The first day we tried to go, they had engine problems, but drove 3/4 of the way out to Sail Rock, only to then decide the one working engine wasnt good enough to get there. By the time we got back it was past lunchtime and the whole day was shot. They told us they would definitely have it fixed by the next day, or if not would rent another boat to take us. They told us they were leaving late in the morning to make sure all mechanical problems were fixed. We talked to them at 8 pm and they said we were on and they would pick us up at 11:30. At a bit before 11:30 we walked to the lobby of our hotel and the diver picking us up told us he was writing a note to tell us they had cancelled again!!!! We had another day destroyed! They then said they would try again the next day, with another boat (a slow one). They would still then be charing us way more (no offers of a discount or anything to make it up to us for ruining our dive trips). But we were here for two things, diving and the Full Moon Party. We skipped the jungle party because of the rescheduling, but we were not about to skip the Full Moon Party for the chance that they would (likely) let us down yet again. SO SO AWFUL.

7  Thank LyndsayF665
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
leeh2oscuba, Owner at H2O Original, responded to this reviewResponded October 16, 2012

We do apologize for having to cancel your dive trip. However, some things are beyond our control. Unforeseen mechanical problems in a speedboat (or any motorized vehicle) can occur and, at the time of this incident, we used all available resources at our disposal to repair the problem in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, since parts had to be ordered from Bangkok and we operate on an island in the south of Thailand, they were not able to be delivered, installed, and tested before taking anyone out to sea the next day. Safety is paramount at H2O and we were simply not willing to use the boat without assurances from our mechanical expert that it was safe. In the meantime, in place of our speedboat, we do offer an alternative, which is a quality wooden Thai-style boat of equal speed to all other boats used for dive trips around Koh Phangan. Again, we apologize for having to cancel your dive trip, but stand firm with our decision to reschedule the trip due to unforeseen temporary mechanical issues.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2012

I can definatly recommend this dive company. What great fun staff they have, they will always be there for you. These guys are willing to take out of there own pocket to make your dive trip a wonderful one. This says loads to me about the quality you will receive from your dive holiday.
I will definatly be coming back to these guys. Awesome.

Thank Jason W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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