Am I Ready for a Liveaboard?

Liveaboard Diving

Liveaboard diving is an excellent choice for exploring multiple-island destinations like Palau, Fiji, and the Philippines. Some liveaboard diving can take you to remote locations that offer fairly advanced dives; therefore, you may think to yourself, am I ready for a liveaboard? Well, although liveaboard diving may be the only option when heading out to extremely remote locals that only offer advanced dives such as the Galapagos, Cocoas Island, and some areas of the Red Sea, there are plenty of places to visit that offer liveaboard diving trips for beginning divers as well.

In truth, diving on a liveaboard is for everyone. It all just depends on the dive destination. We want to dispel some of the rumors about liveaboard diving so you can plan the dive trip of a lifetime. Here are the top questions we get when customers ask, “am I ready for a liveaboard?”

Is liveaboard diving suitable for everyone?

Diver on Liveaboard

The fast answer to this is yes! Everyone can enjoy liveaboard diving, young and old, beginner or advanced. The trick, however, is finding the liveaboard destination that suits you best. Some liveaboards do not allow junior divers; however, some do. If you have children diving with you, do your research to find a kid-friendly liveaboard. These are more likely to occur in less remote regions like the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and Australia. The same can be said for finding beginning diver-friendly liveaboard trips. These will include similar destinations and tend to stay away from deeper dive sites and areas with strong currents.

What is a liveaboard trip like?

Lunch is served

If you have never been diving on a liveaboard, you are in for a treat. It is like staying in a floating hotel. Much of the transfer time between islands and dive sites is done at night while you sleep, so when you wake up, you better be ready to dive! Nearly all liveaboards offer fantastic catering with beautiful breakfast spreads, hearty lunches, and elegant dinners all aboard the ship. Most liveaboard crews even go as far as to set your dive gear up for you and store it when you are not diving. If you are looking to get spoiled in every way, liveaboard diving is for you!

Liveaboard diving vs. day-boat or shore-based diving

Liveaboard in Thailand's Similan Islands

One of the main differences between liveaboard diving vs. day-boat diving is that you are restricted to the dive sites within an hour or two boat ride from your hotel when you stay at a resort. Diving on a liveaboard opens up a whole new world of diving. Since you can continue motoring further into the big blue, not having to come back every afternoon, you can see much more of the country you are visiting. Since you will be visiting more remote locations, the dive sites are typically more well-preserved, with much fewer divers present. In fact, it is a common occurrence that your group consists of the only divers at each site. Lastly, since you have nowhere to rush to and from, liveaboard diving often feels more relaxed. You usually do not even have to deal with your dive gear the entire trip until it is time to pack it up to go home.

Preparing for your first or next liveaboard trip

Scuba gear and accessories

Preparing for your first liveaboard diving trip can be an exciting yet, possibly, nerve-wracking endeavor. You will be miles and miles from shore for an extended period of time, so you won’t want to forget any necessary items. But don’t fret; we have got you covered! Since liveaboard diving is kind of our thing, we want to take the guesswork out of your packing and give you all the tips and tricks we know to help you prepare for your first liveaboard excursion. If you are already a seasoned liveaboard diver, listen closely, you may still pick up some new tricks to help make your trip even more enjoyable.

Personal Items
When preparing for a liveaboard diving vacation, the main thing to remember is that you will be living on a boat for a week or more with many other divers and a full-time crew. Now is not the time to bring different outfits for every day of the week, four pairs of shoes, and a suitcase full of toiletry items. When diving on a liveaboard, you need to think simple and pack as little as possible. Let’s be honest, do you really need more than a couple of swimsuits anyways? Cabin space is limited, so whatever you bring will have to fit in some small square footage.

Here is our bare-minimum packing list:

  • Two swimsuits
  • 2-3 sundresses or shirts/shorts combos
  • Pair of pajamas
  • Sweatshirt
  • Rain jacket
  • One pair flip-flops
  • Hat
  • Medications
  • Toiletries
  • Earplugs

Liveaboard Tip #1: bring a small, collapsible storage bin to keep all of your personal items in one spot inside your room. This way, smaller things like charging cords, headphones, and sunglasses do not get lost.

Many liveaboards offer rental gear; however, diving with your own equipment is always more comfortable. We highly recommend investing in your own set of dive gear. Make sure you pay attention to the current water temperature of your dive destination, so you pack an appropriately thick wetsuit. Liveaboards cater very well to photographers and videographers as well, so make sure you bring an underwater camera!

Underwater photographer

Liveaboard Tip #2: pack an extra camera battery and a solar charger. Liveaboards will have electricity; however, there are a limited number of outlets that you will be sharing with everyone else on board. Investing in a small solar charger will allow you to charge your electronic devices wherever and whenever you want.

Special Needs
If you have any special needs, such as a food allergy, it is best to let the crew know ahead of time. Most liveaboards will do their best to accommodate special needs when requested; however, it is important to know that most liveaboards are based in remote, international locations, and they may not have access to the foods or other items you need. Therefore, it is best to have a backup plan and bring supplemental items for yourself from home just in case. Also, if you are prone to seasickness, remember you will be out at sea for a week or more. Make sure you pack enough sea sickness medication to last the entire trip.

Liveaboard Tip #3: pack two separate sets of your medications. Since you will be out at sea and away from a pharmacy, it is best to have a backup set of medications in case one set gets lost or wet.

Diving on a liveaboard is an exciting adventure no matter the destination you choose, and knowing what to pack can make that adventure a little more comfortable. So what are you waiting for? Book your first liveaboard diving adventure today!