Liveaboard diving is considered by many experienced divers the best way to enjoy dive vacations. Sometimes jumping aboard a dive safari is the only way to reach remote areas like Cocos Islands in Costa Rica or the Similan Islands in Thailand. Other times, dive charters allow you to explore vast areas and dive different parts of a country, like in the Maldives or in Raja Ampat.
What is a Diving Liveaboard?
It can be called liveaboard, dive safari or dive charter, but what is it exactly? A liveaboard is a scuba diving purposely-build boat, or an adapted existing vessel that offers diving trips that usually last longer than one night. The average duration is 7 nights but you can find both shorter and longer trips. Usually the dive boats host between 12 and 30 divers but event here you can find both smaller and larger vessel. In most of the cases the diving, as well as the food and drinks, are included in the price of the trip and most of the liveaboards range between $1,000 to $2,000 per trip. The boats offer comfortable diving deck where you can prepare you equipment and usually they have one, two or more tenders to take divers from and to the dive sites.
Liveaboard Holidays Destinations
Not every dive destination is a liveaboard destination. In some countries, liveaboards simply don’t exist. In others, dive charters may not be the best option you have. This is a list of the best liveaboard destinations worldwide.
- South America
- Ecuador (Galapagos)
Benefits of Diving from a Liveaboard
There are some reasons why experienced divers prefer to dive from a diving boat rather than staying at a land-based accommodation. Let’s go through them.
Unique dive destinations:Some of the world's best dive locations are far from the coast and can only be reached by Liveaboard. For example all the big shark destinations in the Pacific: Socorro (Mexico), Cocos (Costa Rica), Gualapagos (Ecuador).
The best sites:Even when you can go to a resort, you’re quite limited by the range local dive boats can travel. This fact can dramatically diminish the number of accessible dive sites. With a liveaboard, you’ll explore a much bigger area and you’ll be diving in the best dive sites the whole area has to offer, not just the ones you can reach from shore.
More diving:With a land-based dive operator, you can usually do a maximum of 3 dives a day (4 with some rare exceptions). When you dive from a dive safari, usually the minimum number of dives per day is 3, but often you’ll be diving 5 times each day.
More convenient:On most of the liveaboards, you prepare your equipment on the first day and disassemble it on the last one. There’s no need to prepare your BCD for each dive and no need to carry your equipment around.
Meet new people:As the PADI motto states, “Go Places, Meet People, Do Things.” Diving is not only about diving, but it’s also about meeting people and exploring new places. Dive safaris occur in quite confined areas where it is very easy to meet new people and make new friends.
Drawbacks of Diving from a Liveaboard
It wouldn’t be fair to just list all the positive parts of liveaboard diving. Of course, there are a couple of negatives as well.
Seasickness:Well that really explains itself. If you are prone to seasickness, a dive safari is probably not the best place to spend your next 7 days.
Bad weather:If you get bad weather at a resort, you can just chill in your room and, sadly, watch tv. If you get caught in bad weather on a liveaboard, you may spend the next 7 days rolling and rocking. :)
Confined environment:While it’s great to meet new people on a liveaboard, it also may happen that you get unlucky. Even though almost all divers are cool people, sometimes you might get a not-so-nice group of divers on the boat. Unfortunately, there aren’t many places to escape on a liveaboard.