By definition, a liveaboard is a boat on which people choose to live, permanently. In the recreational Scuba Diving industry, a liveaboard is more like a cruise with a purpose: diving! A liveaboards mission is basically to grant access to the remote sites which are beyond the reach of the day boats.
In fact, most of the best diving destinations in the world are located in the middle of nowhere, thus far away from the continental coasts. Some sites are literally to far for day trip boats to even be interested in going there. Indeed, a daily operation to some of the farthest destinations would be overwhelming and overly expensive. That’s why liveaboard diving cruises were created.
Liveaboard diving cruises can seem inaccessible to the average diver, but it really isn’t. Let’s learn more about it through some major guidelines. Perhaps you’ll choose a liveaboard as your next diving vacation!
Who can go on a liveaboard?
One can go on a liveaboard as an individual, or form a group and charter a boat.
In term of diving skills and required certification or experience, it varies a lot for each different itinerary. Plus, some regulations are specific to Governments and Marine Parks and affect who can dive or not dive on a given site. The liveaboard operators are well aware of this and it will be specified on the proposed itinerary, that’s a detail not to miss on.
Example: on the Red Sea, only the areas around Daedalus Reef and the Brothers Islands are government regulated and state as mandatory to have an Advanced level and at least 50 dives under your belt in order to dive there.
Unlike what most people would think, some liveaboards are just perfect for beginners. Indeed, some even have an onboard diving school. Destinations like the Great Barrier Reef, the Caribbean, and many more, can be suitable for any certification level. Moreover, you can board som
e diving cruise as a non-diver, or snorkeler, at a discounted price.
Liveaboard are a great way to log lots of dives in a short time, and thus gain a valuable experience.
The ‘advanced’ category of divers is probably the most prominent category found on liveaboards. It is true to think that most liveaboards, as they visit remote locations, are sailing to more challenging or deeper dive spots. Most, but not all. Therefore, it is why most divers interested in a liveaboard journey already have a certain level of experience and are looking forward to new discoveries and challenges.
Liveaboard destinations like far south in the Maldives, the Costa-Rican Coco Island, Raja Ampat or others, would definitely not be a good fit for beginners are would strongly advise an Advanced level and good, recent experience.
Generally, an Advanced certified diver will be able to dive on every liveaboard. Be aware, some specific sites have mandatory specific training requirements such as wreck penetration diving, nitrox and rebreather certifications for example.
Experts & Photographers
A liveaboard is probably the best thing in the world for expert divers and underwater photographers. Indeed, the time spent underwater each day is huge, so are the possibility of unique encounters and experiences.
Some liveaboard boats concentrate their cruises on experts by inviting a marine biologist onboard, for example. On the other hand, some liveaboards have their lens set on underwater photography and will schedule photography only cruises.
Why going on a Liveaboard?
The number one reason to go on a liveaboard is simply to discover a far away diving destination. You can explore a lot on daily boats but what about the best and most remote locations such as the Rowley Shoals, the Coral Sea, the Socorro and the Coco Islands.
Reason number two would be to get the most out of one destination. Indeed, some destinations have lots of land based diving opportunities but that will never get you to see as many dive sites as a liveaboard will. Think of the Maldives, the Seychelles or Raja Ampat in a whole new way; your hotel is navigating through the islands and atolls and all you have to do is enjoy and dive. Pretty convenient, isn’t?
A third reason should be to simply experience diving as a lifestyle. Eat, dive, sleep, repeat! That’s what a liveaboard is about. Indeed, everything you need will be on the boat, including the best local food and sometimes extras such as massages, hot tubs, etc. On a liveaboard, days are organised around the diving operation, and you will dive up to 4 times a day! A liveaboard is completely hassle-free. No need to disassemble your gear all the time and no need to go anywhere because everything is barely 2 meters away from you: the dive shop, the camera table, the shower, the restaurant, the lounge, etc.
Ultimately, liveaboards have the best value for money ratio in the industry. Simply because they avoid backtracking. Indeed, it’s often the back and forth trip to remote destination that is expensive, not the navigation on site nor the diving operation. Plus, with the liveaboard industry being quite competitive,
liveaboard deals and last minute offers
are always just around the corner.
Hopefully, diving on a liveaboard makes more sense now, and perhaps it seems more accessible. Eat, dive and sleep!
This post was last modified on May 17, 2017, 10:20 pm