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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 your guide. On some dives the recommended depth is below 18m therefore advanced or Deep Diver training is advised. If you are an Open Water Diver when joining our Maldives itineraries, we recommend taking advanced training on board to maximise your enjoyment from the trip.

Many of the dives on the Best of Maldives, Manta Madness, Pelagic Magic and Central Explorer itineraries are suitable for all levels of divers, however, unpredictable and strong currents are to be expected anytime, but especially in periods of new and full moons. Inexperienced and beginner divers may find some dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. Sharktastic, South Central and Deep South & Southern Shark itineraries are not suitable for beginners and do require diver experience and Deep Diver/Advanced Open Water certification or equivalent. You are expected to be able to dive to a standard that reflects the certification and experience requirements outlined for each itinerary (see below). Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided.

The maximum depth for diving with Emperor 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 reservations@emperordivers.com.

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. Every diver, regardless of their qualification or experience will be required to participate in a check-dive, normally the first dive and prior to commencing normal diving activities. This dive allows you to orientate yourself in your diving environment and acquaint yourself with your equipment. 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, Pelagic Magic and Central Explorer

  • No minimum number of dives needed but you should be comfortable with drift dives as currents can be strong.
  • Many of the dives on the Best of Maldives, Manta Madness and Pelagic Magic itineraries are suitable for all levels of divers, however, unpredictable and strong currents are to be expected in certain areas. Inexperienced and beginner divers may find some dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. On some dives the recommended depth is below 18m therefore advanced or Deep Diver training is advised.
  • All diving is from dhonis to give precise entry and exit points. Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided.

Sharktastic

  • Not suitable for beginner divers. We recommend 30 logged dives as there is a strong current on drift diving.
  • On some dives the recommended depth is below 18m therefore advanced or Deep Diver training is advised.
  • Unpredictable and strong currents are to be expected in certain areas. If the Cruise Director feels some dives are too challenging, you may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives.
  • 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.
  • On some dives the recommended depth is below 18m therefore advanced or Deep Diver training is advised.
  • Unpredictable and strong currents are to be expected in certain areas. If the Cruise Director feels some dives are too challenging, you may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives.
  • All diving is from dhonis to give precise entry and exit points.