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The Scuba Instructors guide to

finding the perfect Liveaboard

diving on a liveaboard
Advantages of a liveaboard

Dive remote areas

A liveaboard will go where most day trips don't go

Great value for the money

Even though a liveaboard can be expensive, most often you get more and better diving for the same mony.

There are more than 250 different Liveaboards to choose from, but how do you find a Liveaboard that has good diving, safety and is sustainable towards the ocean?

We'll guide you to the best liveaboards you can choose, where you get a great dive trip and at no point, risk damaging the ocean or the reefs

Here are the authors behind the guide:

Boby Taylor

Boby Taylor

Thailand Expert and Co-author

Boby has a passion for diving and has been working on several liveaboards around, the Caribbean,  Thailand and Indonesia.
Torben Lonne

Torben Lonne

Scuba Expert and Author

Torben did spend most of his youth diving and teaching diving. He loves diving on any boat but has a passion for liveaboards, and especially the one that's sustainable.

Featured Liveaboards handpicked by our chief-editor:

Blue Horizon (Red Sea Master)

The 41m/134.5 feet long M/Y Blue Horizon has a luxury and contemporary style aboard.

The stylish interior makes it feel more like a Five-Star hotel accommodation.

The itinerary includes the Brothers, Straits of Tiran, St. Johns, and Ras Mohammed National Park.

Magnificent marine life like clownfish, mantas, barracudas, turtles as well as a variety shark species can be spotted in different locations during the Red Sea safari - read more here

Where: Red Sea, Egypt
Built: 2016
Internet: Yes (free)
Nitrox: Yes

Ocean Sapphire

The luxurious boat was specifically designed for divers to provide them with the best cruising and diving experiences. 

Each cabin is equipped with air-conditioning units, comfortable beds, dressers, and en-suite bathroom facilities.

You can choose to traverse the Central, Southern, or Deep South Atolls of the Maldives. Each of the locations has its own beauty, for instance, in the Ari Atolls, guests will truly enjoy the rich corals in the site, as well as mantas and hammerheads if they are lucky - read more here

Where: The Maldives
Built: 2012
Internet: Yes ($)
Nitrox: Yes ($)

Pelagian Liveaboard

Pelagian is a luxury liveaboard that travels around the Wakatobi Archipelago. It gives a home-like experience with the help of the professional staff onboard.
Wakatobi Resort and other Wakatobi islands are some of the best spots to visit in South East Indonesia.

The secluded and remote dive sites in Wakatobi are unlike any other place in Indonesia. There are thousands of exotic marine life creatures, sea walls, critters, and bays all in one peninsula - read more here

Where: Indonesia
Internet: Yes (free)
Nitrox: Yes ($)

MSV Amira

A beautifully designed hand-built paragon MSV Amira offers a lavish charter with utmost facilities in the best itineraries of Indonesia.

You will be amazed to explore the beauty of underwater landscapes, natural scenery, vibrant coral (both hard and soft), untouched reefs, and thousands of fish species.

Visit the world-famous coral triangle of the Indonesian Sea. While trekking at the world-heritage Komodo National Park, you may get the opportunity to the rare flesh-eating lizard Komodo Dragons - read more here

Where: Indonesia
Built: 2015
Internet: No
Nitrox: No

MV Galapagos Master

The MV Galapagos Master is an astonishing pelagic sightseeing at the Galapagos Islands. 

The stunning liveaboard is built of steel and has a commodious area inside the cabins with an appealing interior

During the dives, you will get an opportunity to explore Galapagos sharks, sea lions, silky sharks, tuna, manta rays, marine iguanas and much more - read more here

Where: Galapagos Islands
Built: 2014
Internet: Yes ($)
Nitrox: Yes ($)

The best areas where you'll find a good Liveaboard trip:

Find your next
Liveaboard for a perfect dive vacation!

There are more than 250 different Liveaboards to choose from, but how do you find a Liveaboard that has good diving, safety and is sustainable towards the ocean?

See a selection for liveaboards here or dive into each country here:

5 Reasons to Dive with a Liveaboard

Diver showers after dive on liveaboard

Comfortable living on a Liveaboard - Credit: Gina Smith


Do you love the joy of diving?

But hates the hassle of equipment handling, long drives and bumpy speedboats?

There is a way you can get the best of diving, at the world's best dive spots, without any hassle.

Very quickly into my dive career, I began to realize there has got to be a more efficient way to dive; Liveaboard Diving Holidays

It just seemed like so much effort to drive 1-2 hours, pack & unpack all the gear, load it onto the boat, set it up - do 2-3 dives and drive back.

Besides that, the limitation of a static dive shop was intuitively obvious - they were all limited to the diving they did by distance.

Here are 5 reasons why liveaboard diving just rocks and why you should do it:

Reason #1: Remote Areas

The first and most obvious advantage of liveaboards is the ability to reach remote areas. Sometimes we would end up around 700-1000 KM away from our initial starting point.

This is an amazing advantage as it allows the operator to handpick all the best dive sites. And it allows you to reach areas that are inaccessible by static dive shops.

Usually, however not always - going to remote areas allows for better dive sites and less crowded conditions. For example, certain dive sites in the Maldives, like Alimatha Night Dive are just filled with boats. Same with Maaya Thila. There are thousands of Divers.

The further south you go, the fewer divers you see, which is in itself an advantage. In the context of Maldives - the further away from Male you go, the less boat traffic you see.

Scuba Diving on a Liveaboard

Liveaboards lets you dive remote dive spots - Credit: Pete Niesen

Reason #2: Convenience

Liveaboards make it awesomely convenient, I describe this as Economies of Scale applied to ‘comfort’.

Divers entering from a liveaboard

Diving Right off the Back of the LIveaboard - Credit: Christian Noval

For example, let’s say you travel 1 hour on average to your dive starting point. Then you spent 30 minutes getting your gear unpacked and arranged on the boat. Then you drive for another 30 minutes to the dive site. And do the whole way back.

That's 4 hours of unpleasant logistics for 2 hours of underwater.

Now, with a liveaboard, you travel initially more, but once you are there, your gear is just set up once and you have everything prepared on the Dive Boat. You barely spend any time getting ready in between dives and the longest ride on the dive boat to the dive site I’ve experienced was around 20 minutes. Usually, they are 5 or less.

In the end, diving becomes really comfortable when you don’t have to worry about your gear and all the setup - you just wake up, walk on to the dive boat and you are ready to dive (almost).

Dive equipment on a liveaboard

Torben Lonne -


Reason 3: Experience Level

Usually, divers who get into the liveaboard diving are quite experienced. It’s usually because they are more interested in diving than your average 10 dives a year holiday diver. Moreover, most liveaboards abide by a rule which dictates only taking in divers with over 50 logged dives.


Any diver knows how beginner divers can ruin a dive. For e.g, you could get buddied up with someone who consumes his air in 30 minutes and sacrifices half your dive time. Let’s say there are 20 dives during the trip, that’s roughly 10 hours of diving you’ll lose.


This natural threshold of experience results in comfortable diving for everyone, and a couple of days into the trip everything will be working smoothly.

Every boat has a certain protocol of operations and after the first day or two, everyone follows along effortlessly.

Divers underneath a diving liveaboard

Click the picture to get better Air Consumption - Credit: Soren Egeberg Photography


Reason 4: Cost

Surprisingly, often a liveaboard is cheaper than the other alternative, i.e: diving from resorts.

Let’s take the Maldives as an example.

The rates for a high-level boat like Orion are ~$220/per person a day. This includes 4 meals and a min. 3 dives a dive as well as accommodation.

You will be very lucky to find a hotel in the Maldives at least $300/night for a double room. Now, additionally - you are looking at the food cost, which almost always only includes breakfast and charge heavily for the other meals, nor does this include the diving itself.

Within the boundaries of optimism, the best price you are looking to spend per person for daily food consumption is around $40, when in reality it's closer to $80-$100.

The diving will cost around $100 at least and usually for 2 dives, not 3. So if you are a couple, you are looking at spending $440/night on a liveaboard vs. $580/night in a hotel or resort.

Liveaboards rarely cost much more than the Orion Price, however with hotels the $300 (hotel), $40 (food/person) & $100 (diving/person) is basically the lowest range. Hotels easily go up to 800-900$ for a double bed.

Maldives liveaboard inside


Reason #5 - Meeting Interesting Divers

This last point is really important.

Unlike day trips, on a liveaboard, there is a good chance you will acquaint everyone on the trip.

The beer-drinking sessions and dinners are definitely a part of the experience of a liveaboard. Divers usually come from all walks of life and often the people you see on liveaboards are from completely different backgrounds, nationalities and professions.

With enough time, these interactions can become interesting and a way to gain some insight into the life of people in different countries and different spheres of interest. I guess this is just one of the essential needs that travel fulfills.

Scuba diving liveaboard

It's a pleasure diving from a Liveaboard - Credit: Igor Karasi


What is your favorite way of Diving?


Do you like Liveaboard diving?
We would love to know why this is YOUR go-to way of diving?

What makes Liveaboard diving better than regular boat diving? Tell us in a comment below!


  1. Martin Hallbrick

    Hi Torben and Boby

    Thank you for a great guide.
    I was wondering about your personal opinion; where is the best place in the world that you ever dived?

    I just got home from Thailand myself where a liveaboard I booked got cancelled due to weather. Of cause that’s a bit better than risking life, but still not fun at all.
    Where in the world is the best conditions for liveaboards generally?

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Martin,

      You’re most welcome, Hope it was useful.

      For liveaboard, I think Komodo(Indonesia) has offered be some of the best dives ever, but we were very lucky on every dive. Raja Ampat, is also a great place to go, and I guarantee that you’ll be blown away here.

      Oh, Well Thailands weather can be very bad, and not at all fun to be out there and diving wouldn’t be good anyway. There’s just one thing to do: Go back and dive there again 😉

    • Harry Winstanley

      I would love to dive with you but I need to love the area and the peaple that is in the area but yes love try it to go and dive.

  2. Matthew

    Hi, do you do liveaboard tours for snorkeling? My wife and i are looking to snorkel with whale sharks and was wanting to know if this is something you do and can be done in late Aug 2018?


    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Matt,

      We don’t run any LIveaboard operation, but I’d love to guide you to a great option for a liveaboard snorkeling experience. In which part of the world are you looking?

  3. S. DAVIES

    Please offer suggestions for a location / Liveaboard date 17/18 sept 2018 for a senior Lady – no experience of diving, and adult daughter (novice)
    Safety is main consideration , plus good accommodation ?

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Sue,

      Any part of the world? Are you looking for diving/dive courses as well, or will it only be your daughter who is diving?

  4. Irena pettigiani

    Hello! I am in Phuket looking for the best place to complete my dive master course from a beginner level, I am looking for a cheap price and not so crowded school with good diving spots along the andaman sea. Thanks for your help!

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Irena,

      As for diving Phuket does diving in most of the spots around the Andaman Sea, so you’re in for some great diving.
      There’s also the option of moving to areas like Krabi, Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe, Phi Phi or Khao Lak. All places have great diving and good dive schools, so it’s more about where you’d like to spend the next few months. Small relaxed island, small party island, busy town, etc. look into the places and find one that suits your personal preferences.

      As for picking a dive school
      Since you’re already there, go and talk to them. See how they teach and feel the atmosphere, and who they are. Also, get a feel of the instructors teaching the DM programs. Ask to talk to your(to be) instructs and see if you have great chemistry.
      Also, make sure they have plenty of courses in the pipeline, so you’re able to tag along these for a better understanding of how life is as a dive pro.

      Don’t ever go for cheap price, as it’ll only lead to a bad course.

  5. Mischa

    Hi … i looking for a liveabord about september og october. I was thinking
    About 9 days. I really want to se the most beautiful diving in the World .
    I had Thinking Maybe raja ampat, north sulawesi., pulau, komodo , tonga, Salomon Island or komodo.

    I looking for beautiul corals and Manu colourfull fish . I love Sharks, manta rays and especially huge whales . I dream about diving with humback whales and beautiful dives

    I am advance divers, my max deep 32 meter, i have only 18 Dives . But ishave diving in blue hole belize, in many cenotes in Mexico ( i love the cenotes ) and in cozumel .
    I have diving sorg whale sharks, Bull sharks , nurse sharks and in the centres i Saw so extrmely beautiful Cavendish with stalagmits , fossil and experience halocline .
    I have try once to dive with nitrox

    Hope i have gave you some information about me, so you maybe Can help me to find out what liveabord and diving there Will bw perfect for me .

    Im 31 , woman and i travel alone . Ishave travel many many places in the World alone . My frist snorkelling i did in galapagos Island for 10 years ago.

    I hope to find my perfect dive experince and also a liveabord where it not just is full of couples , and not only verry young or only verry old People.

    What would you reccomend ?

    Hope so Much to hear from you

    Best regards
    Mischa from Denmark

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Mischa,

      Ahh, that’s a hard one. As most dive liveaboards are for all divers, some trips will be booked with couples and next trip will be purely single people/friends traveling.
      In my experience, when traveling solo or with my wife, divers are some of the most open people and you’ll never really feel alone on a dive boat even if it’s full of old couples. You’ll just get a lot of great (dive) stories from people with a lot of experience in life. So my best advice is to just pick a boat you like and which fits your budget and go for it.

      All the destinations you suggest: Raja ampat, north Sulawesi(might be good from a resort as well), Pulau, Tonga, Salomon Island or Komodo.
      Are all great dive experiences, and you’ll experience world class diving.

  6. Ryder Cone

    Hi – I am newly certified but my 16 year old son loves diving. He is Rescue Diver certified and has logged close to 100 dives. We were considering doing a liveaboard in the Cayman Islands but I am worried that I will not have much to do because many of the dives are to deep for me. If I stayed on a hotel while he was on the liveaboard, would that be allowed, or is that unusual? In general are there kids on liveaboards?

    Thank you, Ryder Cone

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Ryder,

      Great question! Usually, it would be possible for you to join, but the two of you go on separate dive trips where he’ll go a bit deeper than you can.

      It’s quite common with kids on liveaboards, but I’ve never experienced once without their parents. That said, I’m not sure if it’s uncommon or just me never seeing it.

      If it’s really the option you’re most interested in, then try contacting a few of the boats and ask if they’d allow him to join alone.

  7. Sarah/Se Olive

    Hi there,
    I am 15 years of age and it a great dream of mine to do deep water diving. I have never done that or anything like that and I’m not 100% sure how to find a school or lessons or anything. Would you perhaps know of anyone, pref not too expensive.

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Kind regards,

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Sarah,

      Well, a Liveaboard is properly not the best place to look. Often they’ll not be a perfect choice when looking at what you’re looking for.

      A local dive center might be a much better option, here you’ll have easy access which will cut some transportation cost and you’ll get a good long dive education. Do remember that when you start diving, price is not the place to cut down. Always choose quality over price.

  8. Tina Fenner

    Hello, Looking for some inspiration. My daughter has just graduated from Uni, having completed her Marine biology and Oceanography degree – very proud of her. I have promised her one last holiday of a lifetime. She’s an experienced Diver (Divemaster) … I’m not able to dive. We both love being on boats so a liveaboard would be great. Number one on her list is turtles … an absolute must – whale sharks would be good too. She’s not had the opportunity to dive anywhere particularly ‘exotic’ Malta and Croatia have been the furthest afield . we probably can’t go until late April next year but free from then on … and I’ll have had a chance to save. Our ideal would be somewhere where we could be be for 4 or 5 dive days shore based – then a liveaboard for a week then another week or so shore based to do more diving. My ‘treat’ would be to have a reasonable place to stay so that I could treat myself to doing nothing and being waited on hand and foot!!!! We re both interested in sustainability – although we’re not evangelical about it. Any suggestions? We’re not up the luxury end of the market … but I’m too old for bunk beds and cold outside showers!!! Many thanks. Tina

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Tina,

      That’s a lovely present for your daughter. Where in the world are you traveling from?

  9. Dante Sinistra

    Great and interesting article, lot of valuable information and inspiration. Also Maldives are very expensive but well worth the money, my dream is to go there someday and dive in some of the most beautiful locations on the entire world.

  10. Kevin van Patten

    I am looking for a Liveaboard trip that is adult only. Do you have information on where I may find that?


    • Torben Lonne

      Hi Kevin,

      It’s not that common to bring none-diving kids on a liveaboard, but of course, it happens. Where in the world are you looking for trips to?

  11. JoLee H Ford

    I was badly injured in my head 6 years ago…….bicycle wreck where I landed on my helmet and broke my clavicle in 3 places, 8 ribs and fractured my pelvis……all through my helmet (No road rash). I am planning on going to the Galapagos on a dive boat next month and I’m now having vision problems. Am I dumb to dive?

    • Torben Lonne

      Hi JoLee,

      No, you’re not dumb for wanting to dive, but you need to make sure that you’re able to dive.

      So, go to a Dive Physician, and get a go-ahead before you leave. First off, even though diving is great, there’s no need to risk your health for it. Second, you might risk that the crew/divemaster won’t take you diving if they don’t think you’re able to do it safely.

  12. Alex

    i spend the last summer with you guys, in Egypt , it was really pretty cool, i still have all my pics with the crew saving those moments , my gf in love with diving from your professional way as i’m planning to spend next vacation with you too, super thanks for being there
    next time we will choose you as well.

  13. Michael Greene

    This is really a great article about Liveaboard for a perfect dive vacation. Learned a lot of information from this elaborate post. Hopefully I will book your service in my next holiday.

  14. sherry m

    I’m going to Thailand with my family and was looking at these videos. There are many sharks in the videos. Those are incredible. I’m hoping to be going to Thailand soon for a Liveaboard dive vacation.

  15. colleen

    Snorkeling, not diving–any suggestions?

  16. Almeida

    It has been quite a while since my last dive. After coming across with you, I am considering to go back to diving. I really miss it. I just wish my girlfriend would just feel the same. Let’s see, maybe I will join you guys soon for some underwater adventure. Keep up with the good work.


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