10 Liveaboard Etiquette Tips for Divers
Your first liveaboard experience is one you’ll never forget: days on end on the water with people who want to dive just as much as you do; it’s heaven on earth. But the last thing you want to do is ruin it with poor planning or unintentional bad manners. Before you book your room, use this checklist to make sure you’re geared up—literally and figuratively—for the adventure.
- Make menu requests well in advance. Don’t be the guy who asks if they have tofu after the first dinner is served. Be respectful of the onboard staff and give them plenty of time to prepare food that meets everyone’s needs ahead of time.
- Be friendly. The thrill of the experience can be a lot to take in, but your time on the boat will be much more enjoyable if you’re peaceable toward other guests and crew members. Plus, one of those guests will end up being your dive buddy, so it’s to your own benefit to be amicable toward everyone.
- Select a room that meets your needs. It might seem more adventurous to bunk in a quad dormitory cabin, but if you usually need your own space to relax and unwind, this is not the time to test that boundary. You and others will enjoy the trip more if you all have the room you need.
- Keep your items put away if you do decide to bunk with a roommate. Cabins are small, so be respectful of the shared space by storing items that are not in use.
- Be on time. A vacation-state of mind does not constitute a reason for being late to every briefing, meeting or dive. Be courteous to other guests and the crewmembers’ time by arriving on time for all items on the itinerary. If you know you’re someone who is habitually late, then set your watch early because now is the time to break the habit.
- Keep your sunscreen to yourself (unless someone asks you to share, of course). It’s great that you’re keeping your skin protected in the hot sun, but spray-on sunscreen is not a pleasant taste. Be aware of the wind angle to avoid spraying other guests in the face with your sunscreen.
- Don’t keep wet gear in your cabin under any circumstances. Not only is it obtrusive to your roommate's space, but it can also start to smell and mold if you leave it in an enclosed area. Most liveaboards have specific areas for you to leave your wet gear, so make sure you check in with staff about where this is.
- Communicate with your instructor. In short: listen and inform when necessary. Your instructor dives these waters regularly and knows the ins and outs of what’s beneath the surface, so take what they say seriously. You should also make sure you keep them informed throughout the dive, letting them know how much air you have left before they ask you.
- Tip the crew appropriately. They often pull double-shifts back-to-back and do far beyond they are required to make sure your stay is as pleasant as possible. It’s customary to tip at least 10 percent of the total cost of the tip to the crew, and there’s nothing wrong with leaving a few gifts behind — books, DVDs or magazines — for them to enjoy during their time off.
- Watersports Staff