Maldives Diving Liveaboards
Joining a liveaboard in the Maldives allows guests to visit the best dive sites in the Maldives while relaxing on board enjoying the spectacular views.
Maldives diving liveaboards offer dive safaris where the scuba diving consists of channels and pinnacles with large amounts of marine species drawn to them by the nutrient-rich waters.
The Republic of Maldives consists of 1,200 islands, of which 192 are inhabited, located close to the equator 360 km from India. The islands are at sea level and small, and most can be circumnavigated in 20 mins. But they are picturesque; all have white sand beaches, palm trees and lagoons.
Maldives dive sites offer a tremendous quality of coral reefs that is amazingly diverse. The sites have a high density of fish and larger pelagic life, sometimes enjoyed during drift dives. Some of these species are predictable and on divers wish lists. The visibility is excellent and water warm, allowing divers to stay underwater for extended bottom times comfortably. The result is long interactions with mantas, whale sharks, reef sharks and even hammerheads on occasion. Other interesting marine life regularly seen are the eagle rays, Napoleon wrasse, trevally and barracuda. In the Maldives, snorkelling is also excellent, especially in the central atolls. Non-divers on a liveaboard can enjoy water activities and beach visits during the cruise.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
Maldives Diving Liveaboards - 44 LIVEABOARDS
Princess Sara Liveaboard in Maldives
Enjoy the chance to experience the ultimate luxury liveaboard in the Maldives.Book Now
Over Reef Liveaboard in Maldives
Over Reef a luxury power catamaran for private cruises in the Maldives.Book Now
The best dive sites in the Maldives are easily accessible from a liveaboard which allows the travel of the long distances between atolls in comfort and style, accessing dive sites not available when staying at resorts.
Maldives dive sites, especially in the central area, are available mostly to all levels of divers, but some of the deeper and more open sites divers will benefit from more experience and the advanced certification.
Best Places to Dive in The Maldives
The Maldives scuba diving area is an extensive and diverse so can be separated into the Central, Northern, The Far North and Far South Atolls.
The Central Atolls of the Maldives include North and South Male Atoll, Ari Atoll, Rahdoo Atoll and Vavuu Atolls.
The Northern Maldives Atolls consist of Baa, Raa Lhaviyani and Noonu and they offer regular sightings of pelagic life along with the fantastic Baa Atolls Hanifauru Bay area.
The diving In The Maldives Far North is on the atolls of Haa Alifu and Haa Dhalui, they offer uncrowded dive sites, great visibility and plentiful marine life.
The Atolls in the Far South Itineraries are Meemu, Faafu, Thaa, Laamu Addu, Huvadhoo and Foammulah.
The Far South atolls are as remote as you will find worldwide and many are mostly unexplored. Larger pelagic life frequent the many cleaning stations.
Northern Maldives Atolls are a popular area for divers who wish to see the larger pelagic life, but not wanting a remote liveaboard experience. Hanifaru Bay is renowned for the whale shark appearances pretty much guaranteed in the right season.
The Maldives scuba diving in the far north is for divers who wish to explore new sites and experience uncrowded areas with few divers and excellent marine life.
The central atolls of the Maldives are the most popular area as they offer excellent scuba diving for all level of certified divers. There is no need for any local flights and the convenience of being transferred directly from the international airport onto your Maldives liveaboard.
Best Dive Sites in the Maldives
The central area on North Male Atoll is the best area for diving with manta rays. At around 20m there is a sandy plateau where white tip reef sharks can be found, and the cleaning station is in the shallow area with plankton-rich water.
This is a UNESCO site that is famous for the Hanifauru Bay. This is one of the best places worldwide to see filter feeding manta rays and whale sharks.
At times there can be more than 200 mantas and 20 whale sharks in the area following the plankton blooms occurring inside the bay. No diving is allowed here; only snorkelling, which is limited to 45 mins.
The Far North has some unusual fish such as the Andaman sweetlips and blackfin barracuda. Often, leopard sharks are found resting during the day. The main highlight of the dive is the manta rays visiting the cleaning station. Sometimes up to 30 mantas can be spotted in one dive in the fast moving water around the submerged boulder formation.
In the far south of the Maldives is an area like Thaa that manta rays are predictable and seen on most dives. The whale shark season is May to December when these magnificent creatures are also present along with the occasional hammerhead shark. Soft and hard corals with pinnacles, walls with drop-offs are here and dive sites are open to both experienced and some beginner divers.
Read more information about The Maldives Dive Sites
The central area of the Maldives is ideal for all divers. Maldives liveaboard cruises cover the atolls close to the international airport, so there are no local flights required. For more information about the Maldives central atolls dive sites, please click on the photo.
A liveaboard cruise to the northern atolls of the Maldives includes the famous Baa Atoll where hundreds of manta rays and up to twenty whale sharks can be found in the right season. For more information about northern Maldives dive sites, please click on the photo.
The far north atolls of the Maldives are very remote with few dive boats visiting the sites. The area has great shark diving and manta ray sightings. For more information about the Maldives far north dive sites, please click on the photo.
The far south atolls of the Maldives are remote and relatively unexplored offering adventurous divers a chance to dive in places rarely seen by others. For more information about the Maldives far south dive sites, please click on the photo.
The Maldives Scuba Diving Highlights
- Common Sightings – Manta rays, Napoleon wrasse, reef sharks, barracuda
- Special Sightings – Whale sharks, hammerheads, frogfish
- Topography - Pinnacles, walls, drop-offs, reefs, few wrecks
- Visibility - 20m+
- General information - beginner divers can complete some of the dives, but the intermediate level is more beneficial due to currents.
- Onboard options - Beach visits
Best Time to Go
The Maldives diving season is year-round, but there are with seasonal changes to the dive sites depending on the dates of your Maldives diving holiday.
There are two monsoons which are November to April, and then May to October. The seas will tend to be flatter in the winter months, and the summer is a little more windy with a higher chance of rain.
Water temperature is from 26 to 30 degrees so most divers would use a 3mm shorty suit.
How to Get There
Male is the international airport, and there are many direct flights from Dubai, Singapore or many European countries either directly or through the hubs.
Local connecting flights to other islands are via Male for liveaboards departing from different islands.
The liveaboards in Maldives tend to offer boarding from midday onwards, but check the itinerary for each cruise for details of exact boarding times.
The last scheduled dives are usually on the penultimate day of the cruise, with up to 2 dives in the morning before midday. This allows to fly out directly after disembarkation on the last day allowing for the no fly time. Usually guests disembark directly after breakfast with a transfer to the local airport, full details are shown in the cruise itineraries.
Transfers from and to hotels are not included in Male due to logistical issues, but hotels are able to make arrangements for guests.
Transfers from and to Male airport to your liveaboard are via the Dhoni and take around 20 to 30 minutes.
Local time vs GMT
What to pack
Food and drink
USD is preferred
On entry for most nationalities
Dhivehi and English
Male International Airport (MLE)
Suncream, lightweight and beach apparel, cover-up
29 - 31 C daytime, 25 - 26 C evenings
Fish, rice, coconut milk, fruits