The Scuba Instructors guide to
A liveaboard will go where most day trips don't go
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:
Thailand Expert and Co-author
Boby has a passion for diving and has been working on several liveaboards around, the Caribbean, Thailand and Indonesia.
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.
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 worlds best dive spots, without any hassle.
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:
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 less 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.
Liveaboards make it awesomely convenient, I describe this as Economies of Scale applied to ‘comfort’.
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.
Thats 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 set up - you just wake up, walk on to the dive boat and you are ready to dive (almost).
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 sacrifice 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.
Learn the proper Dive Deck Etiquette
Every boat has a certain protocol of operations and after the first day or two, everyone follows along effortlessly.
Surprisingly, often a liveaboard is cheaper than the other alternative, i.e: diving from resorts.
Let’s take 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 than $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 its 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.
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 fulfils.
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!