Tips on Scuba Diving Vacations0
Scuba diving vacations offer memorable experiences for all levels of divers, combining topside attractions with the underwater world.
Source USA TODAY Regina Edwards
Avid scuba divers can optimize their dive vacation with advance planning to determine popular dive sites and trip options and to prepare their equipment. Informed divers can identify the types of dive sites (such as deep or wreck dives) appropriate for their skill level and also plan land activities for their preflight decompression day.
Dive-specific destination guides supplement travel guides for the desired location. Most travel guides provide advice and information on topside activities, local customs and attractions, dining, and transportation. Dive-specific destination guides offer descriptions of popular dive spots and include a dive map of the area. Comprehensive dive guides rate each site according to level of difficulty based on average water conditions. Browse for dive guides at your local scuba shop, bookstore or library. Dive travel guides for a regional area (such as the Caribbean) include an illustrated section on marine life. Review the dive maps to plan your trip so you can cover different dive spots over the course of a few days.
Liveaboards vs. Dive Packages
After reviewing the destination guides, consider booking separate day trips and staying at a hotel or whether to include a liveaboard for all or part of your vacation. Day trips allow vacationers to explore local attractions but may require an extended time to journey to dive sites. The number of dives per day trip is limited, usually two or three per day. Liveaboards include tanks, food and lodging for avid divers who want to explore distant dive sites in small groups. Divers on a liveaboard have flexibility to dive as often as their computers will permit, for no-decompression dives.
What to Pack
Experienced scuba divers can bring their own gear so they don’t need to worry about unfamiliar setups or uncomfortable equipment. Dive operators and scuba shops supply weights and tanks; other equipment and tanks filled with enriched air (called nitrox) should be reserved in advance. Required supplies: Certification card (including Enriched Air Diver certification if applicable), log book Personal gear (if you own these): Mask, fins, regulator setup, dive computer, buoyancy compensator device (BCD), emergency whistle, empty weight belt Optional equipment to make your excursion comfortable (if you own these): Save-a-dive kit, exposure suit, dive light(s), safety sausage, dry bag or boat bag. Research on what you can pack on your carry-on bag. Each airlines has their own rules and regulation.
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The cost of dive trips and excursions doesn’t include gratuities for the divemaster or crew. Most crew members aren’t paid much to ensure the passengers’ and divers’ comfort and safety. At the end of the dive, consider whether the divemaster and/or crew were helpful and add a cash tip of about 10 percent of the charter fee in the tip jar (usually located in the lounge or by the entryway). Some operators have separate tip jars for the divemasters and the boat crew, so don’t forget the hard-working staff who showed you the local marine life, kept you safe and helped you on and off the boat with a smile.
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