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The Pros and Cons of Liveaboard Diving – Here is Our Take

by Max
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The Pros and Cons of Liveaboard Diving - Here is Our Take

For many scuba divers, a liveaboard trip is the ultimate adventure. It allows you to explore the ocean’s depths in an intimate setting, often far away from other boats and crowds of people. There are many reasons why liveaboards draw in so many enthusiastic divers each year – with amenities like cozy cabins, amazing food, and a knowledgeable crew all part of the package.

However, liveaboard diving isn’t for everyone. There are pros and cons to every liveaboard diving trip. While you may love diving and exploring the underwater world, a liveaboard is more than just a dive trip – it’s an entire experience. You are signing up for days of traveling, living on a boat, and being transported to various dive sites. While this may sound like a dream come true for some, others may be hesitant to try it out.

Before you sign up for a trip, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of liveaboard diving. Let’s look at what makes a liveaboard vacation so great and why it may not be the right choice for some!

Also check out our beginner’s guide to liveaboard diving with countless tips and tricks, or our guide to the best liveaboard destinations for your bucket list.

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The Pros of Liveaboard Diving

There are many pros for liveaboard diving that will make your experience worthwhile. Here are the main reasons why people love liveaboard diving trips!

The Pros of Liveaboard Diving
The Pros of Liveaboard Diving

Access to Remote Dive Sites

Liveaboard trips allow you to reach remote dive sites that would be inaccessible from land. Some of the most beautiful, secluded sites, such as Wolf and Darwin in the Galapagos, are only accessible by liveaboard. This is because some prime locations can take a long time to reach, making them impossible to reach by day boats.

You get to see and explore places on a liveaboard that many other divers don’t get a chance to visit. Whether your destination is a secluded reef, an atoll, or a wreck site – you can access it without having to worry about long travel times.

Convenient Amenities and Services

There’s no need to pack and unpack your diving gear after each dive – on a liveaboard; you can simply have your gear ready and rinsed for the next dive. Everything you need will be on board, so you can just focus on enjoying your dives and having the time of your life!

Liveaboards provide varying amenities, such as comfortable cabins and delicious meals, to ensure the best experience possible. You also don’t have to worry about arranging your own dives, as the liveaboard crew will be with you every step of the way. They’ll take care of all the logistics and ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable dive trip.

Visit More Dive Sites

Liveaboard trips tend to last for several days, sometimes even weeks, meaning you can visit and enjoy many dive sites.

You’ll be able to explore different coral reefs, walls, and wrecks in just one trip. You also don’t need to worry about arranging travel between these different locations. This means you can explore more of what each destination offers and make the most out of every experience.

Encounter Fascinating Marine Life

Diving surrounded by a variety of marine life has to be a huge liveaboard diving pro. If you’re lucky, you will be able to encounter some of the rarest and most fascinating creatures in the ocean. Whether it’s an elusive whale shark, manta rays, or macro animals – there’s always something new and exciting to explore.

Increase Your Dive Log Hours

One huge liveaboard diving pro has to be the amount of dive time you can enjoy. It is not uncommon for there to be 4 or more dives per day, meaning you can increase dive log hours quickly. This is ideal for both new and experienced divers alike!

Amazing Photography Opportunities

Underwater photographers will love the incredible photo opportunities that liveaboard diving offers. You can capture stunning shots of some of the world’s most beautiful reefs and wrecks.

Many liveaboards provide photographers with amenities, like a dedicated camera room for storing and charging gear. It is this kind of convenience that makes liveaboard diving such an attractive choice for many divers.

Good Value for Money

Yes, a liveaboard vacation can be expensive. But when compared to a resort, the cost per dive can be much less.

Usually, all your meals, accommodation, dive guides, and boat costs are included in the price. It is always sensible to compare prices and research your destination before booking a trip, but you can find great value for money when choosing a liveaboard vacation.

Also, you may often be able to get high discounts on last minute bookings. Check availability and prices at Liveaboard.com frequently to get a great deal.

Smaller Group Sizes

Liveaboard trips tend to have small group sizes, depending on the vessel. This is beneficial as it allows personalized attention from the dive staff and more time to explore each dive site. Not only does this mean you won’t have to rush, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the dive sites with fewer people around.

Delicious Food Options

If you were to ask any liveaboard diver what they love about these vacations – it would almost certainly include the food!

One big pro of liveaboard diving is that all your food needs are handled. The boat will have a chef on board who serves both local and western cuisines. Snacks are often available throughout the day, and beverages, including alcohol, can be part of your liveaboard package. We always recommend checking reviews at Liveaboard.com to ensure the boat you’re looking at has good catering options!

Your liveaboard caterer can also accommodate dietary requirements, such as allergies and religious restrictions. Just be sure to inform your liveaboard operator in advance so they can make the necessary arrangements.

Options for Divers of All Levels

The beauty of liveaboard diving is that there are options for divers of all levels. From the choppy waters of Indonesia to the crystal clear bays of Thailand, there are dive sites and liveaboards to suit everyone.

You will find a mixture of dives – from shallow, easy dives to deep, technical dives. This makes liveaboard diving a great way for novice and experienced divers to explore the underwater world.

Various Optional Extras

Depending on your liveaboard, there can be a wealth of other add-ons. You could book a diving course, gain your nitrox certificate, hire a private dive guide or upgrade your food to full board. Some liveaboards are more luxurious than others, and you can expect to find a range of extras for an additional fee.

Make Life-Long Friends

Another liveaboard pro worth mentioning is the chance to make life-long friends with like-minded divers. Liveaboards bring people together from around the world, and you can expect to encounter a diverse range of cultures and personalities.

This also means solo divers can rest assured they’ll be welcomed onboard and make friends quickly. Not only can this help to enhance your dive experience, but it can also result in a long-term dive buddy.

Managed by a Knowledgeable Crew

The final liveaboard pro we have to mention is the crew. Liveaboards are usually managed by an experienced and knowledgeable team who are there to help you.

The crew can usually answer any questions and help you navigate the dive sites. Almost all liveaboard itineraries include in-depth pre-dive briefings, which are incredibly valuable for understanding the dive sites and keeping everyone safe.

The Cons of Liveaboard Diving

Now you know all the great things a liveaboard can offer, you’re likely wondering what the cons are. For some holidaymakers, liveaboard diving can have a few downsides, which you should consider before booking.

The Cons of Liveaboard Diving
The Cons of Liveaboard Diving

Can Be Expensive

Liveaboard diving can be expensive, depending on the destination and length of the trip. Alongside the price of your liveaboard, there can be additional costs you must factor into your budget.

Some trips will have associated fees, such as environment tax, marine park fees, and transfers from the airport – to name a few. You must also arrange dive insurance and consider any gratuities you may want to pay.

We recommend DiveAssurethe leading dive insurance with the most comprehensive Diving Accident and Dive Travel insurance plans. Get your dive insurance now and enjoy your scuba diving vacation without worries.

Limited Onboard Space

Most liveaboards are designed to offer comfort and convenience, but it’s worth noting that space can often be limited. This means you may have to share a cabin with another person, which can be a con when liveaboard diving. If privacy is important to you, it may be worth looking into a private cabin – although this will come at an additional cost.

You must also be careful only to pack the essentials when preparing for your trip. There may be little storage, and you don’t want to be cramped with unnecessary luggage.

Minimal Available Activities

Aside from diving, you really don’t do much else on a liveaboard. Some operators offer a range of activities, such as kayaking, fishing, and sightseeing, but many do not. As for land excursions, these are few and far between. Your boat’s itinerary will be clearly outlined before you book, so always read this thoroughly to determine what to expect during your trip.

Consider bringing your own entertainment if your chosen vessel does not have activities between dives. Books, games, playing cards, and music can all help to keep you busy during your downtime.

Adhere to a Strict Schedule

There can be some flexibility with your boat’s itinerary, but for the most part, liveaboards tend to stick to a set schedule. You must be mindful of this and be prepared to do as you are asked. You don’t want to be the one responsible for delaying everyone else’s plans!

Limited WiFi Access

WiFi access can be limited or non-existent in some liveaboards – which could be considered a liveaboard diving pro for some divers!

Some boats do include WiFi as standard, or it can be available for a fee. However, some liveaboards do not have internet access at all. This means you won’t be able to stay connected with friends and family at home or catch up on your favorite shows between dives.

Seasickness Can Be an Issue

A week on a boat can be a lot for some people to handle. Even the most experienced seafarers can be affected by a bout of seasickness. Just in case, it is always worth having medication on hand for such an occasion. But if you’re prone to motion sickness, it may be worth considering another type of vacation altogether.

Confined to the Boat

When you’re on a liveaboard, there’s no way to simply go off and explore the local area. You’ll be confined to the boat for the duration of your trip, which can be a liveaboard diving con.

You’re also reliant on the boat for meals and entertainment, so if you’re looking for something different each day, then this may not be the holiday type for you.

You must also remember you’re on board with people you likely do not know. While most liveaboard divers are friendly and sociable, there’s still a chance you could meet someone you do not get along with. Being stuck in the same boat can make this situation a little more difficult to manage.

Lots of Daily Dives

This might seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but liveaboards offer lots of diving opportunities – which can be both a pro and a con.

For some, it’s an exciting prospect and a great chance to really maximize their underwater time. But for others, a week of diving may be too much and can quickly lead to dive fatigue. You must consider your experience level and the trip length before committing.

Possible Sleep Issues

From overnight sailing to noisy cabin mates, there are a few sleep issues to consider when liveaboard diving. If you’re worried about not getting a good night’s sleep, it may be worth investing in some earplugs and a comfortable eye mask. You should also try to get into a regular sleep routine as soon as you board.

Bad Weather Can Impact Your Trip

Liveaboard trips can be weather dependent. If a storm rolls in, or there is high wind and choppy seas, you can’t seek refuge in a land-based hotel.

Any form of bad weather can impact your trip and cause delays to your itinerary. This is something you should be prepared for before you book. Always check the season and weather conditions of the location you are visiting before committing.

Final Thoughts on the Pros and Cons of Liveaboard Diving

Liveaboard diving can be an exciting and rewarding experience for divers of all levels. While there are some cons to consider, there are also many pros. The sheer amount of dive opportunities, the chance to explore new locations, and the sense of camaraderie among divers are just a few of the advantages! While some of the pros and cons of liveaboard diving are clear for most, some others are debatable and certainly a question of personal preferences.

Before you book on a liveaboard dive, it’s important to keep your experience level and preferences in mind. Consider what you’re looking for in a vacation and decide if a liveaboard is the right choice. If it is, then you are in for a fantastic adventure!

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