Liveaboard Diving: Scuba Diving The Liveaboard Way

Liveaboard Diving: Scuba Diving The Liveaboard Way

One of the liveaboard diving enthusiast

- Thomas Grønfeldt Senger

It’s just after five in the morning when Scarlett Johansson suddenly leans towards me and starts knocking her fist rhythmically against the table of the exclusive Parisian restaurant we’re dining on.

New to liveaboard diving - then read our guide

She does this a couple of times before speaking. “Good morning”, she says, in an unexpectedly masculine voice.

The shock of this rouses me, and I look around. I am in fact not in a fancy Parisian restaurant, but in my bunk, in my cabin, onboard a boat in the Red Sea. But it is in fact five in the morning.

On the other bunk, my cabin mate is stirring. I get up and open the door, where our saloon manager is waiting, patiently, with two cups of coffee. The sun has just cleared the horizon, and my day has started.

We’ve been on the boat for two days now, and the rhythm of the early morning starts has yet to completely agree with me. I sip my coffee as I get dressed. “Dressed” being a big word for what I do, as I simply throw on some swim trunks and a robe before heading for the aft deck for the morning briefing.

The diving

We’re diving Brothers Islands today, having arrived at Big Brother after sailing all night. The goal of the first dive here is the south part of the reef. At this location, there is a large plateau where sharks are often seen.

After the brief, we head down to the dive deck. Large and spacious, we each have a dedicated place that we keep all week. Here, our tanks are strapped to the bench, BCD and regs in place. We grab our wet suits of the racks on the side and get dressed. On the dive platform, a large area almost at water level at very aft of the ship, we grab our fins and put them on before doing a giant stride entry. At just after 5.30 AM.

The dive deck of liveaboard diving

The dive deck - Credit: Thomas Grønfeldt Senger

There’s a small current as we head for the plateau. The liveaboard ships are moored along the island, so we count mooring lines so we know when we’re back at our ship on the return.

The dive goes well, but the sharks decide to not make an appearance this time. We return to the boat, making our safety stop along the reef and as we swim towards the ship. We surface, climb the ladder to the dive platform, where a divemaster checks us off on a clipboard.

This is one of three checks to make sure everyone is returned from the dive. The second check is a small tag we each wear on our BCD’s, with a number on it, corresponding to our place on the dive deck. These are to be picked up from and returned to a board on the wall of dive deck.

Liveaboard diving platform

The dive platform - Credit: Thomas Grønfeldt Senger

Finally, there are our places themselves. If a place is empty of kit, the diver is probably still in the water. This allows the staff to quickly determine if there are still divers in the water before closing a dive down.

After the morning dive, there’s breakfast. Which is, as always, hearty. Freshly made omelets and other egg dishes, bread, cheese, pancakes, coffee, tea, juice, bread and more greets us in the dining hall. After breakfast we head for the sun deck for an hour’s sleep before the next dive.

There’s a simple rhythm to a liveaboard. Three or four times a day, the crew rings the bell on the dive deck. When they do, touch your hair, they tell us. If it’s wet, you just went diving, so it’s meal time. If it’s dry, you just had a meal and its time to dive again.

Add to this the fact that you have a maximum of 50 paces between your bed and the dive platform, and the whole thing starts making sense.

Offshore while liveaboard diving

Offshore reefs are literally teeming with life - Credit: Thomas Grønfeldt Senger

The Reachable Diving on Liveaboard

And while many places in the Red Sea can be done better by liveaboard than by day boat, some places are just completely off limits to anything but liveaboards. Brothers Islands included. It’s too far south, and too far from shore to be within reach of day boats.

On a good day, we do four dives, one before breakfast, one before lunch, a mid-afternoon dive, and a night dive right before dinner. After each dive, the crew meets us on the dive deck with cold drinks (for day dives) or hot chocolate (for night dives). When the dive site is too far from the liveaboard, we are sent out with Zodiacs, and often picked up by them as well.

Liveaboard diving vessels

Liveaboard vessels at Big Brother - Credit: Thomas Grønfeldt Senger

The ringing of the bell takes stirs me from my sleep on the sundeck. No Scarlett this time. Just large schools of sharks swimming in perfect formation. I head for the aft deck for the briefing, thinking about the hardship of a diver’s life.

On the trip described above, I travelled with Blue 0Two’s M/Y Blue Voyager. And we did see sharks on Big Brother.

Have you ever been liveaboard diving ? Tell us your experiences with living and diving the Liveaboard way!

About The Author

Thomas Grønfeldt Senger

Thomas is a Naui Instructor and has been diving in Australia, France, Egypt, Sweden, Indonesia, Iceland, and numerous other locations around the world.


  1. Thomas Rix

    Nice pictures and nice story. Makes me wanna go :-)
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Torben

      Hi Thomas,

      Thanks liking the articles. Feel free to browse around for more articles :)

  2. Jason Carl

    Went on a Liveaboard in may last year. On a trip in Komodo. Wow, the diving we had was amazing, and all the islands are National park so there is no way of staying in the area, unless you are on a liveaboard. This is so much wort it, the waking up an going diving as the first thing, eating breakfast afterwards and then just relaxing, diving, relaxing. Love it.

    • Torben

      I’ve been diving in Komodo as well, and yes it is lovely! Really world class diving! And of course the liveaboard life is great, definitely something everybody should try!

  3. Thomas Rix

    Got a question since I’ve kinda been tinking about a liveaboard vacation. How to find the really good liveaboard from home?
    Its not like you can just walk away when your on the boat so I’d like to figure out what boat is the best to use? I’m thinking of somewhere in europe – do you know somewhere good?

    • Torben

      Hi Thomas,
      thanks for your question! At the moment by best answer is to do a google search. We are working on answering posts that can answer all scuba diving related questions, but we are not quite there yet. I personally don’t know any liveaboards in Europe. I think you would get a much better diving trip taking a livabord i Egypt. But that is just my opinion!
      Otherwise post your question in a scuba forum like there are many diver willing to share there diving experiences. Good luck in your search!

  4. Thomas

    Just want to chime in your question, Thomas, there are in fact liveaboards in Europe. I’ve seen some in Greece and other areas of the Med, and even one in the Baltic to the U-boat massacre site (one I definitely want to go on), but if you factor in quality of diving and cost, Egypt is definitely the way to go, in particular for your first liveaboard. I’ve gone with Blue 02 a few times, and they’re great. Otherwise, look for web sites with a lot of information, and a lot of return customers (many have reviews from user on their web site, and often people will state if they’ve come back). You can also call them up and ask them about things like safety measures, dive itinerary, how they run things, and more. This can tell you a lot.

    Also, like Torben says, scuba forums are often good places to learn of people’s experiences.


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