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The Best Maldives Liveaboards


Traversing vast stretches of ocean and hundreds of islands is tricky enough on a good day, but try doing that while looking for the best dive sites, maintaining gear, and replenishing supplies.

Quite the logistical nightmare, right?

That’s precisely why Diving Squad believes that jumping aboard a Maldives liveaboard is absolutely the best avenue to explore the region and accomplish some truly epic diving!

The vast number of coral islands that comprise the Maldives dance through most diver’s dreams, as the corals, large marine animals, reefs, and sprinkling of idyllic sandy beaches make up one of the most majestic diving regions in the world.

Luckily for us, the large fleet of diving liveaboards that operate in the area can show you the very best of the Maldives in one fell swoop!

But herein lies the rub; a ‘large fleet’ means you have a multitude of different ships to pick from.

So just how do you pinpoint the Maldives liveaboard that is best suited to your needs? You just read this article of course!

Diving squad has cut to the heart of Liveaboard searching and compiled our top picks for a variety of different criteria right here.

You can peruse at will and find your perfect gateway to the Maldives scuba diving!

For you fast-paced divers who enjoy zipping by on a current, run an eye over the table below to get the abridged version of this article and easily get your bearings.

But if you prefer a more leisurely approach to your ultimate Maldives diving adventure, then sit back, take your time, and read on!

^Quick Jump to Diving Sqaud's Favourite Maldives Liveaboard!


Could life exist anywhere on Earth if there was no Sun? Hover over this box to find out...
Hydrothermal vents, fractures in the sea floor that spew sulphur compounds, support the only complex ecosystem known to run on chemicals, rather than energy from the sun. Gigantic tubeworms and mussels thrive in densities of up to 65 pounds per square foot around vents!

QUICK LOOK - The Best Maldives Liveaboards

Best ForLiveaboard Daily Cost (Euros)Max Guest Capacity MAIN Itinerary Length (Nights)Logged Dives RequiredMonths of OperationDestinations Check Best Price
OverallDuke of York€ 253248 Days, 7 Nights0July – MayVaavu Atoll,
Ari Atoll,
Norht & South Male Atoll
BudgetAri Queen€ 182248 Days, 7 Nights0Aug – MayAri Atoll,
North and South Male Atoll
LuxuryAzalea€325 +168 Days, 7 Nights50All YearBaa Atoll,
North and South Male Atoll,
Ari Atoll
BeginnersEmperor Serenity€ 220268 Days, 7 Nights0Aug – MayAri Atoll,
North Male,
Vaavu Atoll
Advanced DiversTheia€ 230188 Days, 7 Nights50Sep – MayVaavu Atoll,
Ari Atoll,
North Male Atoll
Short TripsScubaSpa Yang€ 28040 5 Days, 4 Nights0All YearVaavu Atoll,
Ari Atoll
Longer TripsSea Spirit€ 3201213 Days, 12 Nights30July – MayLhaviyani Atoll,
Baa Atoll
Groups with Non DiversBlue Force One€ 250208 Days, 7 Nights50Feb – May
Aug – Dec
Vaavu Atoll,
Ari Atoll,
North and South Male

Maldives Liveaboard Reviews

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard Overall in the Maldives

Duke of York

  • Excellent in all aspects of trip from accommodation to diving

  • Visits: Vaavu Atoll, Ari Atoll  and North & South Male

  • €288 a day.

  • 8 day/ 7 nights Itinerary.

  • No Minimum Dives Required.

  • Operates from July – May

Our recommendation for the best Maldives liveaboard, in general, is without a doubt the Duke of York.

This liveaboard scores high marks across the board to provide a well-rounded cruise that will satisfy just about everyone!

A little class, without overt and expensive add-ons, along with excellent diving opportunities, but excellent onboard relaxing space and the chance for non-diving opportunities.

Let’s take a closer look and see exactly what the Duke of York liveaboard has to offer.

First off, your accommodations are very tastefully decorated for a comfortable and homey feel.

They also feature very convenient air conditioning and private bathrooms. You’ll have your choice between cabins on the lower and upper decks, differing between twin and double beds, along with the potential for ocean views!

When the diving gives you an appetite, head over to the main deck and settle yourself into the restaurant to enjoy some Italian and Maldivian themed food.

In the relaxation department, the Duke of York liveaboard once again scores high points.

There are some very comfortable sun-loungers and deck chairs conveniently located on the sun deck for you to take in the views and work on your tan.

What’s more, you’ll have access to the ship’s onboard spa during your trips, where you can opt for a massage to work out any muscle knots that may form from all the phenomenal diving.

Speaking of diving, the Duke of York also earns top marks; you will dive into the beautiful waters off Ari and Vaavu atolls and ogle at the incredible pelagic fish that will undoubtedly be utilizing the currents in the area.

You’ll see white tip and grey reef sharks aplenty, as well as sea turtles, along with eagle and manta rays that will provide a smorgasbord of kodak moments for your camera!

These locations also feature vibrant coral life along the edges of their deep channels; you’ll spot wrasse, groupers, and fusiliers left and right.

If you’re hungry for more corals, however, you’ll get your fill at North Male. Its pristine reefs have made it one of the most famous dive sights in the region thanks to its brilliant colour palette of coral, sponge, and fans.

You can spot frogfish and moray eels, and perhaps a passing shadow as more mantas glide overhead.

For high marks in every department – from accommodation and onboard relaxation to diving – the Duke of York liveaboard is without a doubt one of the best Maldives liveaboards you can find!

You’ll almost undoubtedly love every moment of your trip, as the Duke of York chases that Maldivian horizon and brings the premium dive sites right to you!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Budget Liveaboard in the Maldives

Ari Queen

  • Cheapest Liveaboard in the Maldives, whilst still offering great liveaboard experience.

  • Visits Ari Atoll, North and South Male

  • € 182 a day.

  • 8 Days/ 7 Nights Itinerary

  • No Minimum Dives Required 

  • Operates August – May

We won’t pretend that most Maldives liveaboard adventures are an economically sound endeavour, but you do have options to try and limit the costs if you’re on a tight budget but still want a premium Maldives diving adventure!

Out of the list of potential candidates for this label, we’ve selected the MV Ari Queen Liveaboard as our best budget recommendation that still delivers excellent quality and diving.

Clocking in at around $180 per day for an eight-day trip, the Ari Queen liveaboard is undoubtedly an economically attractive option, yet still manages to offer guests a comfortable, adventure-filled journey.

The cabins all include individual climate controls, along with nice hot showers in their private bathrooms, comfortable beds, and modern furnishings for a nice cozy retreat from your diving.

For your down time in-between dives, the Ari Queen liveaboard provides a relaxed lounge and bar for you to unwind, swap stories with your dive squad mates, and plan your next subsea escapade.

You’ll also find the sun deck to be the perfect spot to read a book, soak in the views, or work on your tan. But providing a budget-friendly sea-cruise is only half the battle for us; we need some phenomenal diving too – the Ari Queen liveaboard offers just that!

Although your Maldives liveaboard budget may be on the lower side, that doesn’t mean you need to skimp on the incredible diving in the area!

The Ari Queen – as you may have guessed from the name – visits Ari Atoll along with South Male Atoll, where you’ll be able to experience towering pinnacles that swoop down into deep channels, where strong currents and large pelagic fish play.

The largest of these pinnacles is the Cocoa Thila dive site, where you’ll take shelter near the pinnacle to avoid being swept away by the current. You’ll likely see schools of sharks along with manta and eagle ray feeding parties.

We at diving squad can therefore wholeheartedly recommend the Ari Queen for a more feasible adventure that still delivers on all the incredible sights the Maldives has to offer.

You will have very comfortable digs along with plenty of space to unwind with this smaller Maldives liveaboard budget, so don’t let your purse-strings hold you back!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Luxury Liveaboard in the Maldives


  • Visits Baa Atoll, North and South Male, Ari Atoll

  • € 325 – 390 a day.

  • 8 Days / 7 Nights Itinerary

  • 50 Logged Dives Required 

  • Operates Year Round

Let’s start with some plush and luxurious diving. When you’re on the hunt for relaxation and pampering at its finest, the Azalea liveaboard may well be your one and only port-of-call for a luxury Maldives liveaboard.

The queen- and king-sized beds featured in the Azalea’s suites are a welcome step up from the twins that we are so used to on most liveaboards; these beds come packaged in beautiful cabins with all the bells and whistles.

You can enjoy modern amenities, individual climate control, and en-suite bathrooms that all work together to give you a personal and luxurious ocean-based palace, with all the breath-taking views to prove it!

Outside your cabin, you’ll find indoor and outdoor dining, featuring delicious western-style food to keep your energy levels up for your Maldives scuba diving adventures.

During your downtime, the extremely comfortable lounge – complete with a bar for those relaxing drinks – is at your disposal, and even extends to an outdoor lounge area to take in the sights!

But just sitting isn’t all you can do outdoors on the Azalea! The ship also boasts a broad sundeck to catch a little sun, and a Jacuzzi to unwind and lose yourself in the Maldives bliss.

You’ll find the diving onboard the Azalea liveaboard is just as fantastic as the ship itself, as you back roll into the very best Maldives diving sites the area has to offer.

Ari and Male Atolls are two such locations, where towering pinnacles and deep channels host a plethora of marine life, such as majestic mantas and turtles making good use of the strong currents that push between the pinnacles.

Many species of reef shark – white tips and greys – are also known to frequent the area for feeding, along with entire schools of hammerheads!

Be warned, however, the strong currents in this area can be tricky and are the reason for the skill requirement to join this trip. But don’t worry! You’ll find calmer waters on the North Male Atoll, as you drift across colorful coral reefs where you can catch sight of wrasse, moray eels, and entire schools of fusiliers!  

The Azalea goes above and beyond expectations in nearly every department to make it, in our opinion, the best Maldives liveaboard for a luxury diving experience.

You’ll have remarkably comfortable and modern accommodations along with five-star food and staffing, topped off by the most phenomenal diving the Maldives can offer!  

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard for Beginners in the Maldives

The Emperor Serenity

  • All of the PADI Beginner Courses and more available here!

  • Visits Ari Atoll, North Male and Vaavu Atoll

  • €220 a day.

  • 8 Days / 7 Nights

  • No Logged Dives Required

  • Operates August – May

The incredible diving offered in the Maldives is not reserved for veteran divers alone. If you have always dreamed of getting your dive certification abroad, then the Emperor Serenity could be your perfect match!

This Maldives liveaboard offers the ideal platform for folks just breaking into the subsea world of diving, but can also cater to more experienced divers in your group to make sure everyone has the best experience possible!

The Emperor Serenity liveaboard places no experience requirement on their trips and offers a wide range of PADI courses beginning with discover diving.

Your standard open water certification is also within reach, along with the convenience of completing the preliminary coursework before your trip, so you can jump right into the water when your journey begins.

Trust us, the sights you’ll see as soon as you plunge into the water will cement your conviction to become a diver from the very first second!

Those sights will include towering pinnacles and long reef channels, where eagle rays, sharks, and turtles will be drifting lazily by in the currents at Ari and Vaavu Atolls!

But don’t worry too much about the currents if you’re a beginner, there are plenty of sheltered locations around Vaavu where the reef ridges offer some respite from the strong currents.

These reefs – Vattaru Reef in particular – will, in turn, offer you the chance to explore the colorful collection of corals, sponges, and fans, while their resident snappers, wrasse, and snails go about their business.

You’ll also find similar coral exploration opportunities at the North Male Atoll, along with a potential wreck dive at the Singaporean wreck, ‘Victory.’

In addition to the diving aspect, the Emperor Serenity liveaboard provides you with ample space and amenities to easily relax and soak in the ocean views.

First off, the 13 different cabins all have their own air conditioning systems, bathrooms + showers, TVs, and are very well lit and spacious.

Outside the cabins, you’ll find an open-air dining area to enjoy the western style cuisine, along with a comfortable saloon to unwind with a drink and swap stories with the other guests.

If you have the motivation to begin your undersea adventures and join us here at diving squad, then this Maldives liveaboard diving adventure can be your perfect starting point.

The full range of PADI courses along with incredible dive sites, topped off with excellent accommodation choices, will definitely make it a trip for the history books!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard for Advanced Divers in the Maldives


  • Visits Vaavu Atoll, Ari Atoll and North Male Atoll

  • € 230 a day.

  • 8 Days / 7 Nights. 

  • 50 Logged Dives Required

  • Operates September – May

If you have just about as much experience in the water as a sea otter and want a liveaboard trip to match your skills, then swivel an eye over to the Theia.

This ship is all about the Maldives diving experience and isn’t afraid to get technical when the views and experiences are worth the effort.

That’s why the Theia liveaboard requires 50+ dives with an advanced diver certification, to ensure that everyone is excited and capable of the long list of technical diving on the menu!

These can include caves, caverns, night dives, heavy currents, and deep diving, all in the name of those epic experiences – you certainly won’t be disappointed!

Those epic adventures will span the very best sites the Maldives liveaboard dive boats have to offer. They will include the powerful currents and equally intense marine wildlife sightings of Vaavu and Ari Atolls.

You’ll find jaw-dropping pinnacles rising through the swirling currents, teeming with eagle and manta rays, white tip reef sharks, sea turtles, and schools of hammerheads.

You’ll tackle tough currents as you explore undersea islands – thilas – around Vaavu and plunge to incredible depths as you follow the drop-offs around Ari in search of the resident grey reef sharks.

You may even have the opportunity to see the famous Miyaru Kandu dive sight at Vaavu, where you’ll follow challenging currents through a deep channel before coming to a series of caves that are ripe for exploring to visit the groupers that often hide within!

All this great diving is sure to leave you in need of some rest and good food to get you ready for each adventure; the Theia liveaboard certainly accomplishes that need with a flourish!

Each cabin is comfortably furnished and includes air-conditioning, plenty of wardrobe space, and private bathrooms. The outdoor dining area is carefully supplied by the onboard chef, while the upper deck’s bar and sundeck area provide an ideal spot to relax after a long day of diving.

So, you grizzled veterans of the scuba diving world, the Theia Liveaboard is for you! Nearly countless opportunities for advanced tech diving abound at every diving site you’ll visit. You’ll have comfortable rooms and tasty food in the interim to keep your energy levels at peak capacity!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard for Short Trips in the Maldives

Scubaspa Yang

  • Visits Vaavu Atoll and Ari Atoll

  • € 280 a day.

  • 5 Days / 4 Nights Itinerary

  • No Logged Dives Required

  • Operates Year Round

For those of you who only have time for a weeklong trip to the Maldives to indulge your diving, the Scubaspa Yang liveaboard offers the perfect four-night trips to quickly show you the best of Maldives scuba diving.

Although shorter than the average trip, the Scubaspa Yang is still without a doubt a luxury Maldives liveaboard, where you can expect all the fixings and pampering you could possibly need for your shorter trip!

As you may have guessed from the name Scubaspa, this ship places equal emphasis on both diving and pampering, and they do both exceptionally well!

In fact, guests can opt for several spa treatments over the course of the trip, provided by one of six different spa therapists on board.

You also have your pick of activities, ranging from morning yoga and land excursions to simply relaxing in the onboard Jacuzzi and lounge area. It’s the perfect environment to relax after all your diving!

As for cabins, you can expect the same level of luxury as the above deck amenities, with a choice of four different rooms, two of which feature uninterrupted sea views through massive windows.

View or not, each room is exceptionally spacious and features large, comfortable beds along with private bathrooms and some furniture to slump into after those exhausting dives.

Make no mistake; you’ll have a whirlwind of diving opportunities even on this shorter trip as you explore the phenomenal areas around Vaavu and Ari Atolls.

The deep channels in these areas are perfect for sighting large pelagic fish. It’s more than likely that you’ll catch sight of graceful mantas and sea turtles drifting by, along with whitetip and grey reef sharks.

What’s more, you may have the chance to greet a hammerhead shark or two at the end of the deep channel Miyaru Kandu off Vaavu atoll, as well as potentially explore one of several caves where you’ll find the occasional grouper.

For a short and sweet Maldives liveaboard diving experience, diving squad believes the Scubaspa Yang has everything you need.

From breathtaking diving (in only the figurative sense), to onboard spas and yoga sessions, you will have all the ingredients you need to quickly leave the rest of the world behind and melt into your relaxing trip to enjoy each and every second!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard for Long Trips in the Maldives

Sea Spirit

  • Visits Lhaviyani Atoll and Baa Atoll

  • € 320 a day.

  • 13 Days / 12 Nights Itinerary

  • 30 Logged Dives Required

  • Operates July – May

Have the time to commit to an extended stay in the Maldives and thoroughly explore all the diving it has to offer? If that’s the case, then nearly two weeks aboard the Sea Spirit liveaboard is sure to satisfy all your diving and adventure needs!

The Sea Spirit carries only 12 passengers, making for a much more personal and spacious stay. The vessel provides those guests with exceptional service and quarters to make the extended trips as leisurely and relaxing as possible in between dives!

The cabins come as both doubles or singles and, of course, have both individually controlled air conditioning and private bathrooms for optimal privacy and comfort.

Once outside the cabins, you’ll find a large indoor dining area and saloon to while away your free time, and an expansive sundeck to work on that tan and take in that salty sea air.

For you device or photography aficionados, there are plenty of charging stations around the ship to make sure you are always fully charged and ready to go!  

These longer trips will also give you ample time under the waves as you explore the incredible sights around Lhaviyani Atoll.

You’ll have the opportunity to glide seamlessly over pristine corals observing wrasse and bluestripe snappers going about their daily business, while out in open water, you’ll likely see giant turtles munching on algae while reef sharks dart here and there.

These incredible coral sights will also be repeated at Baa Atoll as you discover the world of undersea islands – thilas – and the incredible secrets that they hide.

You’ll see moon fusiliers, midnight snappers, and wrasse en-masse as they dart about the corals, while majestic rays circle above – or perhaps even a whale shark or two!

Your extended trip aboard the Sea Spirit liveaboard will never feel cramped as you enjoy the small guest count and attentive service from the crew.

The diving will, in turn, take you to several of the best dive sites in the Maldives, and you’ll have time to truly absorb and appreciate your experiences!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard for Groups with Non Divers in the Maldives

Blue Force One

  • Visits Vavvu Atoll, Ari Atoll, North and South Male

  • € 250 a day.

  • 8 Days / 7 Nights Itinerary

  • 50 Logged Dives Required

  • Operates February – May and August – December

Perhaps a few folks in your crew are looking to have a low-key cruise around the Maldives, and simply cheer you on from the upper decks as you go diving.

The Blue Force One liveaboard may be the ideal ship to accommodate those non-divers out there while ensuring that you still have an unforgettable trip!  

Blue Force One strikes an excellent balance between offering an incredible Maldives scuba diving experience and a relaxing cruise, not missing a step in either department.

You have your choice of three sundecks to sprawl out and get your vitamin D dose while taking in the sights. Or you could jump into one of two different Jacuzzis on board for a warm soak.

If you would still like to get a taste of the ocean sports life, you can break out the snorkel or kayak for some surface adventures of your own!

There are also stand-up-paddle boards if you want to work on your balance and core strength. For a little bit more of a thrill, you can try your hand at water or jet skiing!

But for those of you who are planning to dive into the ocean blue, Blue Force One is still amongst the premium Maldives liveaboard dive boats.

The standard itinerary is geared to show you the incredible scope of marine biodiversity in the area, and manmade contributions in the form of shipwrecks, and to give you a jaw-drop moment on every dive!

You’ll find large pelagic fish, such as sharks and manta rays, as you explore the channels of Ari and Vaavu atolls. But this will then be balanced by stunning bursts of coral on undersea islands, known as thila, that you’ll find around Vaavu and the North Atoll of Male. These thila are also known to act as manta cleaning stations!

If weather permits, you may have the opportunity to explore the famous Maldives Victory Wreck of an old Singaporean cargo ship from 1981, one of the most popular sites in North Male.  

From snorkelling and kayaking to diving and relaxing, the Blue Force One liveaboard has everything covered to make sure everyone – divers and non-divers alike – have a fantastic trip.

You’ll love the full range of amenities and activities to choose from – as well as the diving, of course, for a beautifully well-rounded cruise over the brilliantly blue Maldivian ocean!

Maldives Liveaboards - What You Need to Know

Diving Insurance – It’s absolutely essential that you’re covered by proper diving insurance before you start your liveaboard adventure.  Find out more. 

Scuba Gear – You’ll need to either bring along your own scuba gear or rent it from the liveaboard for an additional fee. 

Find out more. 

Liveaboard Packing List – To ensure an enjoyable and comfortable trip, there are several must bring items. Find out more. 


Diving Season –

The Maldives experiences intermittent monsoons throughout the year.

This means some months are much better to dive than others.

 Find out more.  

Weather in the Maldives -During the height of the Maldives diving season, you’ll typically temperatures in the 80-88°F range, along with pleasantly clear and dry days.

Diving Conditions in the Maldives –

The water temperature typically hovers right around 75-85°F, making for very comfortable diving!

Many dive sites throughout the Maldives are prone to currents, so pay close attention to your diving instructors for optimal diving safety!

Water Visibility – The best water visibility tends to be during the dry season – from December to March.

At this time, the visibility can be 50-70ft or even up to 100ft, current depending.

Around May, plankton blooms reduce visibility to around 50ft or less, but attract whale sharks!

National park fees – Some islands and marine parks have national park fees that are not included in liveaboard packages, like Hanifaru Bay’s park entrance fee of 20 USD per person.

Diving Insurance in the Maldives

SPLASH! It’s important to remember that scuba diving is an extreme sport. Accidents can happen. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble.

What’s more, because diving can take you all around the world, it’s absolutely essential you make sure you are properly covered by the best scuba diving insurance before leaving your home country.

We recommend going with Dive Assure. Why?

  • Unbeatable prices.


  • They offer both short term and long term insurance.


  • Cover loss of diving equipment, emergency medical and evacuation expenses and flight/accommodation costs following injury.

Squad Inventory - Scuba Gear

Ok Squad! Here’s the deal. Scuba Diving requires a ton of gear. This should come as no real surprise, considering that the very nature of this sport is to breathe underwater – the exact opposite of what us humans are evolved to do! 

When you go on your liveaboard adventure, you have two options on the gear front:

  1. You can either rent the gear, at an additional cost, per piece. This generally costs around $25 for a full equipment rental per day (exact prices provided in the liveaboard links).

  2. Or you can buy and bring along some or all of your own scuba gear. This comes with two distinct advantages:
  • You get scuba gear that perfectly fits you and suits your tastes, budget and style. And hasn’t been peed in.


  • You will never again have to pay to rent scuba equipment! Think about all the diving you have ahead of you. Ultimately this can save a lot of money.


Below is a full listing and description of the entire inventory required to scuba dive. Let’s jump right in:

Diving Mask – Full Face Snorkel Masks are taking the world by storm but they can’t withstand pressure beyond several meters depth.  For diving you need an old school dive mask.

BCD – A BCD is the jacket divers wear to maintain optimum buoyancy, which they can adjust by operating the inflate and deflate buttons. This makes sure they neither sink to the bottom nor rise to the top of the water! As well as this, the BCD holds the divers regulator(s), dive gauge and air tank.

Regulator / Octopus – The regulator reduces pressurised breathing oxygen to ambient pressure and delivers it to the diver through a mouth piece. Remember, you need two – one for you and a spare for a buddy in case of emergencies!

Diving Torch – Absolutely essential for Deep Dives and Night Dives. So you can…you know – see. Bioluminescent plankton anyone? 

Scuba Tank – This contains the pressurised breathing gas – i.e. oxygen, that you will be breathing underwater (after it’s been reduced to ambient pressure by the regulator). Pretty essential right? 

Scuba Weight Belt – A diving weight belt assists with maintaining optimum buoyancy, by stopping divers from floating to the top of the water. How much weight you take will depend on your build, weight and diving ability.

Dive Computer – The Dive Computer is used to measure the time and depth of a dive. In doing so, it calculates a safe ascent profile, vital for avoiding decompression sickness. 

Dive Gauge – Essential for keeping track of your air consumption and the depth at which you are diving. The best ones also feature compasses and can read the water temperature (useful for bragging rights when you go on extremely cold dives!).

Scuba Fins – Fins greatly reduce water resistance when swimming and thus help to conserve energy and swim faster / against currents. They also allow you to unleash your inner mermaid/man. 

Dive Boots Designed to be worn under your fins, dive boots prevent rubbing and skin irritation from said fins – whilst also keeping your feet toasty and warm. 

Wetsuit – Crucial for keeping you warm. Even in hot countries, when you dive deep, it gets cold. Which one you pick will depend on the climate of where you’re diving. 

Ultimate Combo Package Whew! That’s a lot of gear we’ve covered. If you don’t yet have any scuba gear and want to bulk buy at great quality and value, this is the number one scuba starter pack out there.  

Maldives Liveaboard Packing List

Whether you decide to rent scuba gear or buy  your own, there are some essential items that won’t be provided for you. You would not want to go on your liveaboard adventure without: 

Reef Safe Sunscreen It’s a little known fact that some sunscreens contain products that are highly toxic to coral reefs. Dive responsibly, avoid burning to a crisp and use eco friendly sunscreen. 

Reef Safe Body Wash and Shampoo – Many brands of body wash and shampoo also contain chemicals that are toxic to coral reef and fish. Dive responsibility whilst still not smelling like a Dead Whale.

Diving Camera –  Any normal camera will break if taken diving – even if it’s waterproof it won’t be able to withstand high depth pressure and the focus will not be designed for underwater photography. To share your diving adventures with the world, make sure you have a proper scuba diving camera.   

Full Face Snorkel Mask – In between dives, you’ll get countless snorkelling opportunities on your liveaboard trip. For snorkelling, it’s much better to utilise a full face snorkel mask for maximum comfort and 180 viewing! The best ones have an attachment mount for GoPros. 

Reusable Water Bottle Having a durable, reusable and recyclable water bottle that’ll keep liquids cold is essential for both eco awareness and hydration = scuba success! We love the TankH2O – It is all of those things and looks like a scuba tank!

Microfibre Towel Essential for getting all those bits of ocean off you. Microfibre towels are compact, dry quickly and lightweight. To look like a ninja of the sea, wrap around face. 


diving squad title 300

Backpack of Choice

After trying and testing an ocean of backpacks, we’ve come to the coralusion that the Dometool Waterproof Dry Backpack is the number one backpack for divers! Why? Well:

  • It’s completely waterproof and also floats.

  • Front zip pocket for easy access, waterproof storage of your phone, wallet, etc. 

  • Equipment ring at one side, water bottle bag at the other. 

  • PVC tarpaulin materials = resistent to tearing, corrosion and aging.

Diving Season in the Maldives

Late December – May: Diving High Season- This is typically the calmest and driest stint during the year, as the Northeast Monsoon season rolls through, making for excellent diving, with calm waters, warm temperatures and great visibility of 70 – 100ft!

From May onwards, is the best time for spotting whale sharks and mantas at Ari Atoll. The Maldives Manta and Whale Sharks tends to peak around May through November for most other dive sights.

Mantas and Whale Sharks are attracted by plankton blooms which reduce visiblity to 50ft or less…but you get Whale Sharks and Mantas!

Late May – June: Diving Off Season- This is the transitional period from the Northeast Monsoon to the Southwest Monsoon that is characterised by intense rain and potentially very rough seas. This is typically the worst diving time of the year.

July – early November: Diving Low Season- The Southwest Monsoon continues, with intermittent rain and choppy seas. This results in intermittent and often low visibility, although on some days, this isn’t the case. Diving is certainly possible, but more unpredictable in these conditions. This time sees much lower numbers of divers visiting the area.

November- December: Diving Off Season- This is another transitional period as the Southwest Monsoon is replaced by the Northeast Monsoon. It is characterised by rough seas and stronger than usual currents. It is therefore considered a poor time for diving at most locations.

Maldives Liveaboard Destinations

Ari Atoll

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The towering pinnacles and sweeping channels that comprise the subsea world of Ari Atoll are a pelagic lover’s heartthrob, as giant manta rays and sleek sharks dart here and there.

You have excellent chances of spotting schools of fearsome-looking hammerhead sharks, or massive flotillas of mantas during the Maldives manta season, taking advantage of the prevailing currents that swirl around the pinnacles.

Be warned, however, those same currents can be strong and quickly throw a wrench into a beginner diver’s trip, so take care and listen to the dive instructors.

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Dive into the Squads' Favourite Read

ATTENTION! Diving Squad Member – Do you love a great book? Yarp!? We already know you love diving

Dive Atlas of the World, offers a beautifully photographed and professionally detailed tour of the worlds best dive sites, including both classics and new discoveries.

This stunningly presented book covers everything from Wrecks to Reefs, Muck Dives to Macro Photography, Blue Holes to Epic Walls and adrenaline soaked Drift Dives

Get inspired, learn something brand new and prepare for your next diving adventure.

This is hands down the most informative, stunningly presented and all encompassing scuba diving book known to Diving Squad. 

Male Atoll

Group of Manta Rays at South Male Atoll

Comprised of the North and South Atolls, Male certainly has something for everyone.

The northern atoll is home to a stunning array of reefs hosting countless marine species that are fascinating to watch, such as the elusive moray eels, hard to spot frogfish and the ponderously slow nudibranchs.

But if big seafaring creatures are more your cup of tea, the South Atoll may be for you.

The deep channels that comprise this area – and their hefty accompanying currents – make the perfect environment for eagle rays, reef sharks, and a whole plethora of other large animals, ranging from barracudas to hammerheads.

The gentle giant manta rays and whale sharks have also been known to drop by occasionally!

Tropical Hard and Soft Corals at North Male Atoll

Male Atoll Highlights:

Maldives Victory Wreck – This is one of the top wreck dives you’ll find on your Maldives scuba diving trip; most liveaboards try to stop by this dive site at North Male Atoll.

The 100-meter-long Singaporean cargo ship ran aground in 1981 and has since become home to a vibrant coral environment that in turn hosts fusiliers, groupers, and a majestic turtle from time to time.

The shallowest portion of the wreck lies just above 40ft, while the deepest is all the way down to 115ft, so some deep diving practice could be beneficial!


Cocoa Thila – This is one of the most popular pinnacles you’ll find in South Male, and reputed to be one of the best dive sights in the entire Maldives!

You’ll dive down on the pinnacle and take shelter from the currents near one of the many overhangs and ravines in the area, then all you have to do is sit back and watch!

The current will whisk incredible manta and eagle rays, grey sharks, fusiliers, red snappers, and many other stunning creatures right past you!

How to Give up Plastic - A Crucial Guide

“It is one world. And it’s in our care. For the first time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands. I just hope he realises that that is the case.”
Sir David Attenborough
Broadcaster, Natural Historian and Knight.

Some 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, devastating the marine ecosystem by killing countless fish, seabirds, turtles, marine mammals and other creatures. 

How to Give Up Plastic is the definitive guide to learning what you can do in your home, commune and workplace to start bringing about the end of our plastic dependent age.

It covers everything from easy wins such as using a reusable keep cup for your morning coffee, to lesser-known hacks like fixing a filter to your washing machine to catch some of the microfibres released from your clothes (microfibres are responsible for up to 30% of plastic in the ocean).

This is an essential overview of why we should all be working together no matter where we are in the world to reduce the amount of plastic being produce. Diving Squad is thoroughly committed to ending plastic pollution and marine conservation. 

Baa Atoll

Huge Schools of Manta Rays can be encountered at Baa Atoll

This atoll has earned UNESCO reserve status thanks to its beautiful reefs, the coral and marine life that reside within, and its smattering of thilas – undersea islands.

All of these factors work together to make it a dream Maldives scuba diving destination!

The corals are home to any number of small fish species to catch your eye, such as wrasse, midnight snappers, and moon fusiliers.

If you venture out into the channels, you can find the larger sea dwellers; majestic turtles and rays drift by and reef sharks – such as white tips and greys – move here and there. It’s not uncommon to spot whale sharks in this area as well!

Pair of LionFish Hiding in Soft Coral Bushes at Baa Atoll

Vaavu Atoll

Thinadhoo Island, Vaavu Atoll

The prevalence of strong currents of varying strengths through the numerous channels around Vaavu Atoll make it an ideal location for both beginners and advanced divers.

Beginners can start cutting their teeth on current drifting, and veterans can explore exotic overhangs and caves. The currents tend to attract larger marine life, as white tip reef sharks and eagle mantas flock to the area to feed during the peak Maldives manta season.

You’ll also find splashes of coral here and there as they take up residence on the channel ridges and host large schools of lunar fusiliers.

Green Sea Turtle crusing over the Coral Reefs at Vaavu Atoll

Vaavu Atoll Highlights:

Vattaru Reef- Vaavu Atoll certainly has its fair share of strong currents coursing through its channels.

While phenomenal for spotting large pelagic marine life, this can be daunting for new divers.

Vattaru Reef, however, is the perfect sheltered respite from these currents, as you drift along its edge and greet the butterflyfish, wrasse, and reef sharks that frequent the area.

You’ll also marvel at the great splashes of colour that the collection of corals, sponges, and fans provide.

Miyaru Kandu – Yet another phenomenal dive site on Vaavu atoll is the Miyaru Kandu.

This deep channel allows you to drift with the current as you ogle at the large pelagic fish nearby that may be doing the exact same thing, such as manta rays and reef sharks.

Towards the end of the channel, you’ll find a series of caves that often hide groupers within, as well as a ridge where you may have the opportunity to spot a hammerhead shark or two!

Lhaviyani Atoll

Diver marvels at vibrant soft corals at Lhaviyani Atoll

This atoll is simply bursting with corals, reefs, overhangs, shipwrecks, and caves; all of which are sure to keep you busy and keep your jaw squarely in the ‘dropped’ position.

You’ll see entire schools of coral-dwelling fish, such as wrasse and bluestripe snappers.

As you follow the colorful reefs to more open waters, you’ll glimpse sea turtles and reef sharks. If you’re searching for shipwrecks, Skipjacks 1 and 2 await your inquisitive eyes as you explore what remains of these two ships that have called the atoll home since the 1980s.

Herbivore fish srolling inside Shipyard wreck in Lahaviyani Atoll, Maldives

Diving Squad Debriefing

There you have it, diving squad mates! We’ve covered the very best the Maldives has to offer in terms of liveaboard diving experiences and put you well on your way to an epic diving trip.

You have your pick between luxury, shorter, longer, technical, beginners and more; we’re confident you’ll find the perfect fit for your style! Just sit back, take your pick, and get your Maldives liveaboard adventure rolling!  

Have fun and stay safe, eh?

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Help Diving Squad with Marine Conservation


  • Over 18 billion pounds of plastic enters the World’s Oceans every year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic (Every. Year).


  • As well as containing it’s own toxic chemicals, like BPA, plastic absorbs even more potent toxins from other pollutants in the Ocean such as oil, untreated sewage and radioactive waste.


  • Plastic is indestructible and never degrades. Instead it simply breaks down into smaller pieces which accumulate together, en masse.


  • Today, each square mile of ocean has over 45,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.


  • Plastic is mistaken for food and eaten by marine animals. Because it can’t be digested, it fills their stomachs and causes them to starve to death.


  • For those “lucky” individuals that don’t eat plastic, the toxic chemicals present in every part of sea water from plastic, wreck havoc throughout the ecosystem causing changes in animals behaviour, immune systems and reproduction.


  • There are 200 known ‘dead zones’, or areas deprived of oxygen and devoid of life, (area between 1 and 70,000 km²),  in the world ocean, due to plastic: this number has doubled every decade since 1960.


  • Chemicals in heavily polluted waters can make their way back to us and cause serious health issues like reproductive problems, hormonal problems, kidney damage, and nervous system damage.


  • It’s estimated that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight). AND IT’S GETTING WORSE

The Time to Act is NOW

To Diving Squad, the grizzly stats above are appalling, tragic and completely UNACCEPTABLE. That’s why we are working hard towards combating plastic pollution in the ocean.

How do we do this? Through spreading awareness, providing informative guides on eco friendly diving and donating 10% of all profits that we make towards combating plastic pollution in the Ocean.

So, how does Diving Squad make money? Through You! Every time you click on one of our painstakingly, yet lovingly researched liveaboard, gear or insurance links and spend money – we earn a % commission thanks to affiliate partnerships.

We then donate 10% of this towards Marine Conservation Schemes that target plastic pollution.

What does this mean? It means that if you book a Liveaboard through a Diving Squad link – some of that money goes directly towards Marine Conservation. Buy a piece of Gear through a Diving Squad link? Nice! You’ve just contributed money towards Marine Conservation. Booked yourself Diving Insurance through Diving Squad? Go, go Marine Conservation!

So help us…help you…help the Ocean. Together, we can do this.

To which Marine Conservation charity do we donate, you might ask?
Our squad is already hard at work selecting the ideal candidate. The winner will be announced at the end of 2019. Have a suggestion? We’d love to hear… If we pick your suggestion, there just might be something in it for you…

Contact us at: Alex Hatton:
[email protected] (Grand Admiral at Diving Squad).