Monday, July 22, 2024

What Is Liveaboard Diving?


What Is Liveaboard Diving is part of the Ultimate Guide to Liveaboard Diving

This page contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Disclosure Policy, visit this page.

Liveaboard diving holidays are a great option for divers who want to get the most out of their scuba diving underwater adventure.

How is this different from traditional scuba diving? You can eat, sleep, relax, and dive for multiple days on liveaboard trips!

Considered by many divers to be the ultimate scuba diving experience, liveaboards are something every scuba diver must do at least once in their lifetime especially considering the amazing dive destinations you can only reach by a liveaboard trip.

However, you are probably here because you’ve never had the experience of being on liveaboard dive trips so let’s break down some of the things you need to know before booking that once-in-a-lifetime dive trip.

Before we get started don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to keep informed of the latest diving tips, articles, and news.

What is a Liveaboard Dive Boat?

Liveaboard diving allows you to spend the entire day underwater at your favorite dive destinations. Once on a liveaboard, scuba divers can enjoy up to three daily dives at different dive sites with one surface interval between each dive.

The average time spent on dive sites is about 30 minutes or so. This means that scuba divers can see more reefs and marine life than they would while staying just for one night at any location.

Liveaboard itineraries offer more than just typical daytime dives or maybe even catered meals – it’s not uncommon for scuba divers on liveaboards to wake up before sunrise, eat breakfast together, and start their day with up to two-morning dives. 

Then break for lunch, head out for another couple of afternoon dives before enjoying dinner together at night, followed by stargazing from the deck as they watch dusk settle over the watery horizon or even put on your dive gear for night dives.

Liveaboard in the Red Sea, Egypt
Liveaboard in the Red Sea, Egypt

Why Consider Scuba Diving off a Liveaboard?

Diving liveaboards and dive safaris offer a fantastic opportunity to explore the ocean’s depths. At various dive sites, scuba divers can experience as much variety and diversity of marine life, from tiny invertebrates to giant turtles, sharks, and even whales.

Liveaboard trips also go to the world’s best diving destinations, including the Galapagos Islands, Cocos Islands, Cayman Islands, Socorro Islands, Bahamas, Maldives, and Egypt.

For example, on a liveaboard trip diving in the Galapagos islands, depending on the time of year, you can scuba dive with sea lions, stingrays, eagle rays, manta rays, marine iguanas, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, white tip reef sharks, sea horses, barracudas, turtles, and reef fish among the black coral and colorful algae.

What is it Like Onboard When Scuba Diving?

Liveaboard dive boats are usually very comfortable, with spacious cabins or dorms where divers can stay for days.

They also typically have an onboard dive deck where you’ll set up your gear before each day’s first dive. At the same time, the boat anchors in deep water and then slowly return to shallower water during surface intervals so that you can enjoy more bottom time than would usually be possible if staying just one night at any given location.

Who Can Join a Liveaboard Dive Trip?

Scuba diving off a liveaboard is not just for experienced scuba divers. They suit experienced and novice divers, as most liveaboards cater to Open Water scuba divers and above.

Being at least an Advanced Open Water (or equivalent) qualification will help as often the dive site will include diving like drift diving and muck diving that having your Advanced will help.

Frequently, liveaboards will allow you to obtain your Advanced certification onboard. If like many recreational scuba divers, you haven’t dived in over a year, then refresher dives can be arranged to bring you back up to speed.

Do I Need to Have a Buddy?

No, you don’t need a buddy. You will have an instructor with you on the liveaboard, and they’ll be there to help if anything goes wrong and maintain your buoyancy as well. But many divers like having at least one other person to share their experience with so they’re not alone; some choose to bring friends.

Many solo scuba divers enjoy going on liveaboard trips as it’s a great way to meet new friends and enjoy diving and relaxing together.

Scuba Divers getting back on a liveaboard after a dive in the Red Sea
Scuba Divers getting back on a liveaboard after a dive in the Red Sea

Things to Consider Before Choosing a Liveaboard Diving Trip

Liveaboards are the most expensive type of diving trip, but they also offer you the best experience.

It’s a great option for people who like to take their time and not worry about travel days or having too much equipment with them.

If you’re new to liveaboard diving, then it is recommended that before choosing this type of trip, do some research on what liveaboards have in store.

There are many different liveaboards that all operate differently, so make sure your expectations match up with each boat!

What Should You Bring On Your Diving Liveaboard?

Packing for a liveaboard can be stressful. Knowing what to bring is not always clear, especially if the diver hasn’t been on many before.

Some liveaboards will have a comprehensive list of supplies you are encouraged or required to bring. However, here are some general guidelines that every newbie should know about packing for their trip.

Some liveaboards will have a comprehensive list of supplies you are encouraged or required to bring, although always bring your Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) and torch.

All air and 12L tanks are included on liveaboard trips, and basics like weight belts and weights.

Often, the boat operators will have certain items available for rent at an extra cost, like bigger capacity 15L tanks, extra tanks, scuba equipment, and torches.

Wear shoes only when traveling between boats (or getting there and back), then take them off once you reach your destination boat – consider it good luck!

Some operators have different plug types, so check with her/him beforehand to avoid any complications later in the expedition.

When packing your bags for diving on a liveaboard, you must know what accommodations they offer so you can dress accordingly.

For example, if there is no air conditioning, heavy clothing might not be necessary, but it would be great if the weather cools off!

Why You Need a Dive Computer for Liveaboard Diving?

It is essential that each diver has their dive computer, and for a good reason.

Doing repetitive multi-level dives daily on the dive sites means you must have a computer to monitor and compute nitrogen loading and no-decompression limits for each dive.

Your computer will keep you within the safe dive limits throughout your trip and minimize the risk of decompression sickness (DCS).

The Importance Of Diving Insurance For Scuba Divers on Liveaboards

Diving insurance is essential for any dive trip as it offers more protection than just standard travel coverage, which often only includes accidents related to car rentals, baggage loss, etc…

Diving insurance will cover you for accidents related to scuba diving and medical evacuations, which can be very expensive.

What Are Typical Liveaboard Dive Trips and Destinations?

The best liveaboard destinations are spots where the best dive sites are found offshore and inaccessible by day boat. Consider somewhere like the Maldives. There are many islands to explore, and the top dive sites are scattered. If you only shore dive, you could miss the best sites.

Some of the best liveaboard diving destinations for epic dive sites are below.  We’ve curated a guide for each of them.

  • Egypt Liveaboard Diving
  • Maldives Liveaboard Diving
  • Mexico Liveaboard Diving (coming soon)
  • Galapagos Liveaboard Diving (coming soon)
  • Cocos Island Liveaboard Diving (coming soon)
  • Indonesia Liveaboard Diving (coming soon)
  • Philippines Liveaboard Diving (coming soon)

Our partner also provides up-to-date information and pricing for these destinations.

Note: these links redirect to our partner which provides up-to-date information on liveaboard availability in these destinations.

These liveaboard destinations have boats that allow beginner and experienced divers alike to experience incredible diving, amazing marine life, exciting drift dives, pristine reefs, remote islands, and above all, some of the most fantastic experiences you can have while diving.

Very large school of scalloped hammerhead sharks in Galapagos, world heritage site of Ecuadorian Pacific
Very large school of scalloped hammerhead sharks in Galapagos, world heritage site of Ecuadorian Pacific

How Long Are Liveaboard Scuba Diving Trips?

Liveaboard scuba trips or dive safaris generally last between five days and two weeks, depending on your interests.

How Many Dive Sites Do You Visit On A Liveaboard?

The liveaboard dive boats visit numerous sites in one destination, and divers are given ample time to explore each site thoroughly.

There is no set number of dive sites that can be visited, and a typical liveaboard trip includes up to 5 dives per day which varies depending on how many destinations you will be visiting and your interests or needs.

Scuba kit ready to go diving off a Liveaboard
Scuba kit ready to go diving off a Liveaboard

Why is Liveaboard Diving Special?

Many people consider a diving liveaboard the ultimate way to go on a dive trip, especially as some of the most exotic diving destinations are only available on liveaboards.

Some of the benefits of liveaboard diving compared to land-based diving are:

  • You get to eat, sleep and live on the liveaboard dive boat, so there are no worries about finding a place to stay or prepare food.
  • Liveaboards typically have multiple days worth of diving, providing more time for explorations and relaxation between dives. It’s common for people to spend a week in paradise diving at some of the most pristine dive sites available!
  • You often can only reach those amazing dive destinations with hard-to-reach scuba diving sites by being on a dive liveaboard.
  • You can mix with other liveaboard trip guests, leading to lifelong friendships or even romantic relationships!
  • Liveaboard scuba diving provides a sense of freedom and adventure that land-based dive resorts do not provide.

With so many benefits, it’s no wonder why people love liveaboard trips.

So there you have it – Liveaboard diving is probably the best way to dive. And now you know why!

All you need to find & book liveaboard holidays now at your fingertips -

If you are ready to find your next Liveaboard holiday, check out our partner which has all you need to find & book your liveaboard holiday at your fingertips.  Book your next liveaboard holiday today.

Read more in our Ultimate Guide to Liveaboard Diving
DeeperBlue.com is the world's most popular website and community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy, and Diving Travel.