The History of Liveaboard Diving

history of liveaboard diving

What is liveaboard diving?

Liveaboard diving is every diver’s ticket to world-class SCUBA experiences. The name says it all: it’s a holiday spent living aboard a specialized vessel, which shuttles passengers directly from dive site to dive site, for anywhere from two to twenty nights. Sleeping, eating, resting, and socializing all happen on the boat, as does diving; which is scheduled up to four or five times a day.

Why is liveaboard diving so popular?

Living on the sea opens up vast possibilities for a dive safari. Divers can access remote reefs like Indonesia’s Banda Archipelago or the Philippines’ Tubbataha Reef World Heritage Site. Once there, it’s possible to dive many times a day, since the vessel doesn’t need to travel back to port. Liveaboard diving fleets meet the needs of a modern diver with nitrox gas tank fills, charging stations for cameras, and screens for photo and video viewing.

The past two decades of growth in the industry has spurred fleets to compete with each other for the best food, accommodation, style, and value; which means that divers have a range of great options.

How did liveaboard diving evolve?

In 1954, Stan Waterman, a pioneering underwater photographer and videographer, spent $45,000 converting a former lobster boat into a dive boat in the Bahamas. This became one of the world’s first liveaboards. He was followed by the famous naturalist Paul Humman, who became the caption and owner of the M/V Cayman Diver in 1972. This vessel went on to be a successful Caribbean liveaboard and many operators have since refined Paul’s original idea.

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