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.
How divers rate us:

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.

5 Reasons to Dive with a Sustainable 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 worlds 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 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.

Scuba Diving on a Liveaboard

Liveaboards let's 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.

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).

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 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.

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 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.

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 fulfils.

Scuba diving liveaboard

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

What is your favourite 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.


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