When you go on vacation, is getting as many SCUBA dives as possible important to you? Do you want to spend much time diving as possible? Would you like short travel times to the dive sites? Would you like to dive on less visited dive sites? Then a liveaboard dive trip might be for you.
What is a liveaboard dive trip, you ask?
A liveaboard dive trip is one where you live on board a vessel the entire trip. You may or may not dive from the vessel you are staying on. The liveaboard vessel is a combination of hotel, dive shop, and restaurant that will transport you to or near your dive sites. Just like hotels, liveaboards can range from very basic to luxury accommodations. All offer great diving.
The Liveaboard Vessel
The vessel’s captain, crew, cook(s), and dive staff are what makes the difference between a so-so liveaboard trip and a fantastic trip. The captain is responsible for the safety of the vessel, crew, and passengers aboard his vessel. Having a captain that is knowledgeable of local conditions, both weather-wise, sea conditions, marine life, and diving is a must for good experience.
A crew that is experienced with people who are traveling and diving is also a must. The vessel’s cook or chef can also make or break a trip. If you have food allergies, the knowledge and skills of the people preparing your food can be a matter of life or death. Having good food and drink available during a liveaboard trip can make a great trip. Meals are usually a group affair, where all the guests are served at the same time, and place.
Mealtime is usually a special time on the vessel. Meals are usually served to the guests as a group. Guests can talk about the recent dives, share stories, pictures and get to know one another. Meals can vary from quite simple to almost formal.
The Dive Staff
The dive staff will be the folks who help take care of the all dive equipment, air fills, minor gear repairs, rental gear, getting the guests into and out of the water, advising guests on dive sites, dive conditions, dive gear, local flora and fauna, and of course guiding the dives for the guests. Bonus for anyone that is knowledgeable in photography and cameras.
Everything on a liveaboard revolves around the dive times. Different liveaboards will offer different numbers of dives per day, some will offer 3, others, 4, and others yet 5 dives a day. There are several factors that impact the number of dives that a liveaboard can offer. The local government regulations, travel times to dive sites, ocean conditions, weather, and even previous dives. Of course, you don’t have to do every dive offered. You are on vacation, remember?