Savvy scuba divers know that a liveaboard is the ultimate diving adventure. With schedules and facilities designed solely to maximize your diving experience and comfort, a liveaboard is most definitely the best way to experience a diving destination.
But if you’re relatively new to liveaboard diving it can be hard to know how to get the most out of your trip.
And that’s why we’ve put together our top 7 tips to help you make your next, or maybe even your first, liveaboard the best dive trip ever.
Make sure you pack light but pack right
First of all, the majority of liveaboard cabins don’t have that much space. But second of all, and more importantly, you really don’t need that much. Swimwear, a few comfy outfit changes and something to keep you warm in the evenings is really all you need.
And you don’t want to waste time rummaging through a mountain of stuff just trying to find clean underwear and miss that epic sunset from the top deck.
Pace yourself so you don't burn out
We know a liveaboard is exciting. And you’re trying to experience everything to the max. But if you go too hard, whether that’s with the diving, socializing, or the other activities, you’ll end up so exhausted that you won’t have enough energy to enjoy the full trip.
If you do have the energy to do all the dives on offer, then go for it! But if you know that 4 dives a day will leave you wiped after 3 days and you’re on a 10-day itinerary, then it’s better to skip a few and save your energy.
One of the great things about skipping a dive on a liveaboard is that you get the time to really enjoy the onboard facilities. With many vessels offering jacuzzis, onboard spa treatments, and state of the art entertainment systems you can properly pamper yourself so you’re fully refreshed for the next dives.
If you know you want to skip a few dives but you’re worried about missing out, have a discreet chat with the dive team. They’ll usually be honest with you and let you know what sites are not to be missed, and which ones aren’t quite as spectacular.
Take care of yourself
And it’s not just the diving that can leave you feeling frazzled. Even the biggest of liveaboards are still confined spaces and as wonderful as your fellow divers are, you’ll probably need some time alone to recharge.
So don’t be afraid to take some time for yourself. Go chill out in your cabin, get lost in a book or, simply stick some headphones to signal you need some space.
If you want to fully enjoy your liveaboard trip you also need to take good care of your body as well as your mind. Make sure to stay properly hydrated, eat well, stretch, and get plenty of sleep.
Chat with the crew
Liveaboard crews are always full of fascinating stories and useful advice. Take the time to chat with the team and take advantage of their experience. Snap photos of that strange-looking creature and ask them to identify it. Quiz them about the history of that incredible wreck. Ask their advice on where your next liveaboard destination should be.
The crew is always full of invaluable knowledge that can not only help you make the most of your current liveaboard but also your future trips!
Or if you’re feeling a little nervous or uncertain about something, don’t be afraid to speak with them. Even just voicing your concerns can help you relax, and often there’s a simple solution to your problem or concern. But if you don’t speak with your liveaboard crew then they won’t be able to help you have the best trip ever.
What’s more, getting to know the crew is an opportunity to learn about different cultures. Ask them about their lives, their families, and their experiences. These conversations will often give you a completely unique insight.
Keep yourself warm enough
Even in the warmest of tropical waters, you’ll probably start feeling the chill by the 3rd, 4th, or even 5th dive of the day. And if you really want to make the most of all the dives on offer, you need to keep yourself warm. Nothing takes the enjoyment out of diving quicker than getting chilled to the bone.
Consider bringing an extra thermal layer you can use underneath your suit if you need it. Or maybe even a hood. It’s better to have it with you just in case, than end up missing out on dives because you’re just too cold.
If you can, get completely dry and changed in between dives. You’ll warm up much faster and stay significantly warmer for your next dives.
Lastly, don’t forget to pack something cozy for the evenings. The sea breeze can get nippy even in the hotter climates. and you’ll definitely want to spend some time outside staring at those starry skies.
Be the early bird
We know you’re on vacation, and you probably don’t want to be up at the crack of dawn every day. But trust us, on a liveaboard, it’s worth it. Nothing beats those early morning dives when the reef is just starting to come to life.
One of the best things about liveaboard diving is that you can roll straight out of bed and into the ocean. And you’re usually the first to arrive at a dive site. You’ll be in the water long before any day trips even set sail so you’ll usually have the whole site to yourself.
Dive with enriched air nitrox
When you’re on a liveaboard you’ll probably be diving 3, sometimes 4 or even 5 times per day. And you want to make the most of it.
Diving with enriched air nitrox, if available, significantly increases your bottom time at depth, especially when making repetitive dives. Plus it can help you feel less exhausted after you surface and reduces the risk of decompression sickness. Which is exactly what you want on a liveaboard trip!
Not nitrox certified yet?
Don’t panic! Most liveaboards offer you the opportunity to complete your nitrox certification with an instructor onboard. And it’ll only take you a few hours.