9 Great Liveaboard Destinations for New Divers

by   Profile LiveAboard   When 27th January 2020
In the picture a beautiful turquoise lagoon with rocky beaches located in Egypt in the Red Sea
Red Sea - Egypt
Diver and Bluespotted stingray
Blue Spotted Stingray - Egypt
View of Loh Samah Bay, Phi Phi island, Thailand
Phi Phi Island - Thailand
Aerial View Great Barrier Reef Australia-3
Great Barrier Reef - Australia
Beautiful view of Bahamas islands from above
Bahamas
Pair of Cute Dolphins Dancing Together in Clear Waters of Bahamas
Bahamas
Banded Coral Shrimp, Utila
Bay Islands
School of glassy cardinalfish (Rhabdamia spilota) watched by diver, Gili Air, Gili Islands, Indonesia
Gili Islands
Beautiful Green sea turtle swimming in tropical island reef in hawaii, split over/underwater picture
Hawaii
School of Sergeant-major, red Sea, Egypt
British Virgin Islands

You’ve got your dive certification and the underwater world awaits you, but where do you dive first?

Whether you want to try coral reef diving, shark dives, wrecks or walls, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our top 9 liveaboard destinations for new divers.


  • Northern Red Sea, Egypt


With colourful soft coral gardens teeming with reef fish and warm blue waters, Sharm el Sheikh is ideal for new divers wanting to discover the joys of coral reef diving.

There’s a variety of underwater landscapes covered in healthy hard corals, plus diverse reef life including blue-spotted stingrays, sea turtles, sharks and seasonal manta rays.

As well as the marine life on offer, many of Sharm el Sheikh’s dive sites have little or no current to contend with.

You can also keep your dives shallow without compromising on what you’ll see, thanks to the excellent water visibility there.

Whilst Marsa Alam diving is better suited to advanced divers, there are some great easy dive spots in the area, where you can swim with spinner and bottlenose dolphins.

Marsa Alam’s main highlight is Abu Dabbab Bay, where you can swim with endangered dugong.

Liveaboard top pick: The Red Sea Blue Force 2 offers reef and wreck safaris with no minimum logged dives requirement.

  • Phi Phi Islands, Thailand


Phi Phi Islands diving is great for new divers who want to experience a diverse selection of underwater landscapes within a small area.

As well as having huge limestone walls above water, the islands host fringing coral gardens, caverns, caves and swim-throughs.

Whilst not every dive is suitable for new divers, you can enjoy plenty of shallow dives teeming with tropical reef life.

Being affordable, Thailand is also a great place to get your dive certification then hop on a short liveaboard to discover some of the world’s best diving.

Liveaboard top pick: The Giamani offers 2-6 night Thailand liveaboard safaris, including to Phi Phi.

  • Great Barrier Reef, Australia


Stretching for over 2300 kilometres along the coast of Queensland and containing over 2900 individual reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is incredible.

Diving is possible all year and the marine life is abundant and diverse; with hundreds of fish species, numerous sea turtles, plenty of tiny critters and ocean giants.

If you visit in the Australian winter you have the chance to see humpback whales and swim with curious dwarf minke whales.

The Great Barrier Reef also offers a good introduction to Australian liveaboard diving, with numerous liveaboards to choose from that don’t require a minimum number of dives.

Liveaboard top pick: The Pro Dive Cairns fleet offer short Outer Great Barrier Reef safaris ideal for new divers.

  • Exuma Cays, Bahamas


The Bahamas is a classic shark and reef diving destination no matter your experience level.

Go there as a beginner and you can choose from tiger shark diving at Tiger Beach or head to the beautiful Exuma Cays.

This chain of 365 islands and untouched beaches has abundant fish life, as well as eagle rays, dolphins and seasonal highlights including hammerheads and humpback whales.

With plenty of untouched reefs to dive at multiple levels, it’s ideal for new and advanced divers alike.

You can also dive the famous Austin Smith Wreck whilst you’re there.

Lying at 18m depth, it is possible to access the wreck as a new diver - though we recommend an advanced certification to make the most of this wreck diving experience.

Liveaboard top pick: Try the small Phoenix catamaran for sailing and diving with just 8 other guests.

  • Bay Islands, Honduras


The Bay Islands are known for their lush fringing and barrier reefs teeming with fish and critters, plus visiting manta rays and even whale sharks.

There are plenty of shallow dive sites, as well as exciting deep walls for experienced divers.

Year-round warm waters and exceptional visibility make it easy for new divers to explore the reefs and the currents are gentle at many of Roatan’s dive sites.

Liveaboard top pick: The Roatan Aggressor explores Roatan and Utila’s best dives and doesn’t require a minimum number of logged dives.

  • Gili Islands, Indonesia


The famously laid-back Gili Islands have no motorised transport, meaning you can truly switch off from daily life and embrace peaceful island time.

Gili Islands diving is popular thanks to the pristine reefs and there are dive sites suitable for new to experienced divers, as well as freedivers and Tec divers.

The reefs are home to a stunning variety of corals and fish, plus numerous sea turtles and reef sharks.

Try Gili Trawangan diving for a good selection of easy dives and see where the sunshine-filled days take you.

  • Kona, Hawaii


With unique underwater lava landscapes and abundant endemic fish, Hawaii is a fascinating dive destination.

Kona is especially good for new divers, offering a warm dry climate and a variety of easy dives.

As well as spotting fish you won’t find anywhere else in the world, you can dive with three different dolphin species, plus Hawaiian green sea turtles, mantas and more.

Turtle Pinnacle at just 12m depth is an easy dive where you’ll find numerous sea turtles at their cleaning stations.

Discover shallow pinnacle diving and numerous eels at Paradise Pinnacle, as well as plenty of macro treasures.

Liveaboard top pick: The Kona Aggressor II offers dive safaris with no minimum logged dives and visits the best dive Kona dive spots.

  • British Virgin Islands


If you want to enjoy a mixture of coral reef and wreck diving as a new diver, don’t miss British Virgin Islands diving.

The reefs are full of life and you’ll have the chance to find goliath grouper and nurse sharks there.

As well as having numerous reefs and sheltered coastlines for easy diving, you can dive the RMS Rhone.

Many areas of the wreck are still intact, including a huge 4.5m propeller.

Liveaboard top pick: Try the gorgeous Cuan Law trimaran for Virgin Islands dive, snorkel and sail safaris with no set itinerary.

  • Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


To build your confidence in the water, try Cayman Islands diving. This much-loved dive destination has some of the best wall diving in the world.

Whilst the deeper walls are too challenging for new divers, there are shallower wall dive sites off Grand Cayman you can try.

Make sure you keep an eye on your depth and enjoy the sheer diversity of life around you.

Liveaboard top pick: The popular Cayman Aggressor V has no minimum logged dives requirement and dives all areas of Grand Cayman and surrounds.

This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com

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Date
When 27th January 2020
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