Liveaboard 101: Things you need to know

Picture yourself cruising on a grand ship with the view of the sea stretching for miles on a sunny day. You feel the fresh, cool breeze and a tinge of excitement as you put on your diving gear. When you dive into the clear blue waters, you enter into a kaleidoscope world filled with colorful corals, fish, and other marine creatures. 

going on a liveaboard vessel

After an incredible underwater experience, you head back to the ship to join the rest of your dive buddies. But the adventure is not over yet because you’re in for another treat at sunset. You put on your gear again and go for a night dive as dusk settles in, just in time to watch the amazing transformation in the underwater world. Witness daytime marine animals bid good night while nocturnal creatures wake up from their slumber to dominate the evening. 

The great thing about going on a liveaboard is enjoying multiple dives, not just on a single day but several days in a row. Does it sound like a perfect way to spend your next vacation? If you’re a dive enthusiast, then your answer must be a resounding yes. 

What is liveaboard diving

Like what its name stands for, liveaboard diving means living on the boat for several days and nights where you’ll be diving from. For experienced divers, it is an amazing way to explore different dive destinations on a ship designed to accommodate a number of divers. 

Perfect examples of liveaboard vessels are Discovery Fleet Philippines’ M/Y Discovery Palawan and M/Y Discovery Adventure. The former has 20 cabins which can fit 32 divers while the latter has 13 cabins which can take in 26 to 30 divers. These vessels feature comfortable amenities like an airconditioned salon, dining deck, sundeck, and shaded decks where you can dine, relax, socialize, and prepare your equipment for the dive. 

When you go on a liveaboard trip, you don’t have to worry about food and drinks because full board meals are often part of the price of the package. If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, it is best to inform the liveaboard company before the trip so that they can accommodate you. 

Liveaboard Philippines can go anywhere from 3 to 7 days or even more than a week excursion upon special arrangement. Imagine several consecutive days where all you have to do is eat, sleep and dive… then repeat. It’s something that should be in every diver’s bucket list.

Who can join a liveaboard

A mixture of divers with different experiences and backgrounds can join a liveaboard. Most trips require at least a PADI Open Water Diver certification for you to join the dives but some destinations may require a certain number of logged dives to participate.

How to prepare for liveaboard diving

Whether it’s your first liveaboard or you’ve been doing it for a while, it’s always best to come prepared. Here are some practical tips to keep in mind when planning for liveaboard diving. 

Pack the essentials

A lot of first-timers make the common mistake of overpacking. A good way to avoid this is by making a list of essentials for the trip. The clothes that you need to bring will depend on the weather. If you’re going liveaboard in the Philippines, you can pack light clothing. 

Here are some recommended things to bring when you’re liveaboard diving: 

  • At least two sets of swimwear (swimsuits or trunks)
  • Comfortable t-shirts and shorts
  • Warm and comfortable clothes for the evening
  • Non-slip shoes and flip flops
  • Jacket with a hoodie 
  • Change of clothes when going home
  • Toiletries (choose reef-friendly sunscreen) and towel 
  • Sunglasses and a hat
  • Medication (prescription medicines and motion sickness remedies if you are prone to getting seasick)
  • Dive gear (if you have your own)
  • If you plan to rent equipment, coordinate with the liveaboard company to make the necessary arrangements.
  • If you’re bringing your dive computer, it’s recommended to bring an extra battery.
  • Certification card (highest level you are certified for), dive insurance, and dive logbook
  • Optional: underwater camera – If you love taking underwater photos, you can bring your own camera to capture the beauty of your marine destination. 
  • When it comes to electronics like a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone, it’s advisable to bring a power adapter that is compatible with the region that you’re visiting.
  • Don’t forget to bring your earphones or headphones to avoid disturbing the other passengers. 
  • Cash for tips and incidentals 

Test your equipment before your trip

If you have your own dive gear, you can have it serviced before going on an extended dive trip to ensure that everything is functioning properly. It’s highly recommended to test your newly serviced gear before you go.

Be careful not to overexert yourself

Take good care of yourself during the trip by stretching before and after a dive, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep. 

Keep in mind that you are not required to do every single dive. If you feel like skipping a dive because you feel exhausted, don’t be shy to tell your dive instructor. 

Meet new friends

One of the wonderful things to look forward to during liveaboard diving is meeting new people and making new friends. After all, going on a liveaboard is not only about diving but also about meeting new and interesting people and exploring amazing places. 

Happy diving!

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