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Guidelines for Diving in the Maldives

Diver Experience

To dive with a dive buddy you must be a PADI Open Water diver or equivalent and be able to complete each dive with your buddy or following the guide. Inexperienced divers may be asked to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided. The guides may decide, upon seeing each diver's ability, not to enter the water for every dive and remain onboard providing surface support only.

You are expected to be able to dive to a standard that reflects the certification and experience requirements outlined for each itinerary (see below).

The maximum depth for diving in the Maldives is 30 metres with an equally qualified buddy. Your maximum diving depth will be dependent on your level of training and experience. It is your responsibility to check what depths your insurance policy covers before arrival. Decompression diving, solo diving and technical diving is strictly prohibited.

To help gain experience and confidence, it is possible to complete the Advanced Open Water Course, Specialty Courses and Adventure Dives (Nitrox, Deep, Drift and Night) whilst on the trip. Click here for the price list.

We are happy to help you with any questions about experience levels, suitability of dive sites and courses, contact

Skills Review

Many agencies recommend a Skills Review if it has been longer than six months since your last dive. Emperor Maldives advises divers to follow the agency recommendation for safety reasons. The Skills Review should be completed prior to your arrival in resort and signed by an instructor in your diving logbook. Evidence of the date of your last dive should be shown in your log book to avoid problems on check-in. In the interests of safety, Emperor Maldives reserves the right to restrict diving activities if the instructor has any concerns regarding diver safety.

About Currents & Visibility

Diving in the Maldives is often reliant on the current as this is when we get the most 'action dives'. Currents can vary from really gentle to extremely strong. Many dive sites are transformed by medium-plus currents giving us lots of encounters with sharks, trevallies and schooling reef fish.

The 'action' is found at the point when the current is rushing against the thila (pinnacle) or into the mouth of a channel. Divers who need to get to this point may need to descend quickly (sometimes a negative descent) and use leg work to fin against the current. Therefore, a good level of fitness is needed to enjoy the best action.

The moon phase, seasonal changes and incoming or outgoing currents have a big impact on current strength and visibility.

Visibility is changeable and can range between 10 - 30m+ depending on conditions, current and the season.

  • North-east monsoon (approx. November to April) dive sites on the eastern side of an Atoll have good visibility whilst the western side has reduced visibility.
  • South-west monsoon (approx. May to November) it's the opposite.
  • Mantas migrate with these seasons and will be most frequently be found in areas with reduced visibility.

Itinerary information

Best of Maldives, Manta Madness and Pelagic Magic

  • No minimum number of dives needed but you should be comfortable with drift dives as currents can be strong.
  • All diving is from dhonis or zodiacs to give precise entry and exit points. Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided.


  • Not suitable for beginner divers. We recommend 30 logged dives as there is a strong current on drift diving.
  • All diving is from dhonis to give precise entry and exit points.

Deep South & Southern Sharks and Central South

  • These suit experienced divers with a minimum of 100 dives as there is a strong focus on drift diving.
  • All diving is from dhonis to give precise entry and exit points.