Oman Liveaboard Diving
Oman has some surprising marine life in the relatively untouched dive sites of the Arabian Sea with pristine reefs, whales and dolphins.
Oman diving has some fantastic marine life due to the plankton-rich waters. Whale sharks, manta rays and even mola mola are in the peninsula along with a wealth of critters and macro finds.
Whales are found during January to April, mostly humpback but also sperm whales are possible. November and December are best for manta rays and the schooling barracuda, sharks and mobula rays.
There are strict fishing restrictions in the waters surrounding Oman, where more than 1000 species of fish and crustaceans are benefiting from this. The marine park for Daymaniyat Islands protects the nesting turtles in Oman. They close all of the islands for six months to preserve the area.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
Oman Liveaboard Diving - 6 LIVEABOARDS
Saman Explorer Liveaboard in Oman is a 34m steel vessel that accommodates up to 22 guests in her 11 cabins including the spacious master cabin. A spacious indoor saloon with an entertainment system is combined with the dining area. There is a large sundeck and a fly deck with shade and sun areas, as well as an area in front of the wheelhouse for relaxing. The dive deck is spacious and organised and there are two zodiacs; nitrox is available.Book Now
Blue Dhow Liveaboard in Oman is a 76ft traditional vessel that can cater for 12 guests in her four cabins. All of the cabins are ensuite and climate controlled with a range of bed set up from triple, double and a master cabin that can accommodate four guests. She has an air-conditioned saloon with an entertainment system. Dining is alfresco with shade from the sun, and she has a large sundeck.Book Now
Oman Aggressor Liveaboard is a new 45m luxury yacht that can accommodate 22 guests in 11 large staterooms with a mix of cabin arrangements. The saloon and dining room areas are climate controlled, and there is an entertainment system and photo centre. The sundeck has a shaded area and jacuzzi with sun loungers and a bar area. Diving is via a spacious, well organised dive deck or the tenders. She has a camera area and nitrox on board.Book Now
As a liveaboard destination, Oman is one of the newer locations of the Red Sea area. But it is rising in popularity dive to the unusual and predictable marine life sightings.
Dive sites are diverse, there are the shipwrecks of Monassir Fahal, City of Winchester and The Iceland enough to keep any wreck enthusiast happy.
The best dive sites of Oman can be found at the Daymaniyat and Hallaniyat islands along with the Peninsula of Musandam. These long shallow reefs are ideal for spotting the many turtles and a massive variety of fish. Drop-offs and kelp forests are also present where larger pelagic life can be found.
To see the whales a visit to the south is required where 100 plus reside in the waters at any time.
Best Places to Dive in Oman
The liveaboards of Oman offer several different itineraries to cover the various dive areas. The main diving areas are Hallaniyat Islands, Daymaniyat Islands, the coast of Muscat and Fjords of Musandam.
The Daymaniyat Islands are a highlight of Oman diving. The small marine reserve north of Muscat has deep ocean upwellings bringing nutrient-rich water. Consequently, an abundant quantity of the marine life comes with, schools of fish, whale sharks and many more. Coral coverage is famed in the area, and the islands are closed for six months each year to protect the area by the marine reserve.
The Daymaniyat Islands of the north coast of Muscat are under the protection of UNESCO and have a healthy marine life. Pristine corals with leopard sharks, whale sharks, stingrays and turtles are commonly seen. Dolphins and even humpback whales can sometimes be seen passing the islands which are a nature reserve for nesting turtles.
The Hallaniyat Islands south of Muscat are the most isolated, with only small fishing villages in the archipelago. Wrecks are present here, but the area is home to many manta rays, dolphins and passing humpback and sperm whales. Fish life swarms healthy reefs, and divers should expect some fantastic diving here.
Musandam has over 30 dive sites with fantastic coral reefs and over 900 fish species of all sizes. Plankton feeders such as whale sharks, manta and mobola are joined by mola mola, turtles and many shark species. Here cave dives are possible with many critters and crustaceans hiding in the limestone rocks. Visibility can be lower due to the nutrient-rich waters.
Best Dive Sites in Oman
Al Munassir Wreck
The royal navy scuttled the vessel in 2003 to form an artificial reef at Bandar Chairman. Lying at 26m, she is within the recreational dive limits and rises to a shallow point of 8m. Already coral coverage is forming on her structure, and large schools of snappers, groupers, morays and stingrays reside around the structure. Turtles will also come to visit.
This is considered the best dive site of the Daymaniyat Islands with a vast variety of marine life, here the name. The density of fish life sometimes obscured the reef itself. Schools of Jacks, snappers curious batfish, barracuda, fusiliers and triggerfish are present in huge numbers at this shallow site. For sharks look for leopard, bull and guitar species with eagle rays and stingrays. Summer can also bring the whale sharks to Aquarium. On the reef, there are many moray eels, scorpionfish, seahorses, cuttlefish, lobster and nudibranchs. A fantastic dive that divers of all certification levels can join.
Off the southeastern coast of Oman, the islands are relatively untouched with pristine coral, wrecks and whales on offer.
The small archipelagos highlights are the resident humpback whales, but the appearance of manta rays and sperm whales make this area a must visit.
Marine life is profuse with schools of fish that are immense, mobulas, dolphins, giant catfish and turtles. Sites here are still being discovered so unexpected finds can happen at any time in this new tourism area.
Ras Musandam East
A wall dive with amazing soft corals that descends to 35m, generally completed as a drift dive. Here kingfish, turtles snappers, jackfish, barracuda and fusiliers are found with eagle rays in the blue. Leopard sharks are also known to appear.
Oman Scuba Diving Highlights
- Common sightings - Manta Rays, leopard sharks, whale sharks, turtles, barracuda
- Special sightings - Sperm whales, humpback whales, mola mola
- Topography - Reefs, wrecks, walls, pinnacles and lagoons
- Visibility - Ranges from 10 to 30m
- General information - Dive sites are generally open to all diver certification levels, but some experience is required.
Best Time to Go
Diving in Oman can be year around, but there are seasonal variations.
Winter season - The temperature is a little cooler ideal if you want extra time on land before or after your cruise. The plankton bloom is also at this time; the plankton-rich waters mean more chance of whale shark encounters.
Summer Season - Both the ambient and water are higher during these months. Turtles nest in May and June. The Daymaniyat islands and the nature reserve close from May to October.
Ocean temperatures do vary depending on the month of travel from 24 up to 30 C, the exposure suit will vary depending on your travel dates. A 3mm shorty is sufficient for most divers in the warmer months, but a 5mm long suit would be required in the cooler months.
How to Get There
For the cruises, there are several departure ports. Please check the itinerary for the closest airport location. Most major airlines fly into UAE and Oman, but an overnight stay may be required. Guests are recommended to arrive the day prior to boarding.
Possible arrival airports are Muscat International Airport (MCT), Khasab Airport (KHS), Salalah International Airport (SLL) and Dubai International Airport (VAE).
Local time vs GMT
What to pack
Food and drink
Omani Rial (OMR)
Required, some passport holders can purchase on arrival
Arabic, English spoken widely
Muscat (MCT), Khasab (KHS), Salalah (SLL), Dubai (VAE)
Suncream, lightweight and beach apparel, cover up for cooler evenings
25 - 40 C daytime, 15 - 22 C evening
Stews, soups, grilled meat and fish, spices, Arabian and Indian flavours