Rachel Mason drums up a dozen top tips for liveaboard diving
1 Pack Light!
You will be spending most of your time in your swimsuit or your wetsuit. A couple of pairs of shorts, T-shirts, sarong, and something a bit warmer for the evenings is ideal. No need to rival Jackie O in the wardrobe stakes!
2 Location, Location, Location!
Check your arrival and departure locations. Make sure you know where the boat leaves from and where it will dock; you might not end up where you started! Also check to see if the operator provides transfers.
3 All Inclusive?
Do your research and find out what will incur additional costs. Dive gear? Drinks included? Remember to let the operator know well in advance if you have any special dietary requirements.
4 The Sun Has Got His Hat on.
Take sun protection. The best way is to cover up. Find a sunscreen with no oxybenzonate in it – this ingredient kills marine life (and ain’t all that good for you either!).
5 Flash the Cash
Whilst many liveaboards accept credit cards, tips are always paid in cash. The crew work incredibly hard, and they often don’t earn very much, so they deserve every penny.
Even the biggest and most stable boats are likely to experience some pitching and rolling. Start taking the tablets the night before3rf you embark. No-one wants to be feeding the fishes rather than diving with them!
7 Be Fussy with Your Flushing
Marine toilets clog easily. Minimise putting anything down the loo you haven’t digested. Enough said.
The dive deck is going to get pretty hectic. Keep your “station” tidy and organised. Be courteous and considerate of your travel companions to make the experience enjoyable for everyone.
9 Cabin Fever
If you get the opportunity to choose your cabin, midship cabins are the best if you want to keep the motion to a minimum. Midship will also keep you further away from any engine noise.
10 No Fly Zone
If you are flying home after your trip, remember to take account of your “no fly” requirements. Use the opportunity to check out the area for a day to two before flying home.
Make sure you have specialist dive insurance. Standard travel insurance won’t cover you if you have to be airlifted to a decompression chamber. DAN Asia Pacific is the industry standard, and rightly so.
12 Wet Gear
There might not be enough time before disembarkation for your kit to dry. Pack a (reusable) waterproof bag that will hold your wet gear and keep it separate from the rest of your belongings. Wet gear also weighs more, so keep a couple of spare kilos when you do your packing!