Make time for continuing education while you eat, sleep, dive, repeat
There’s a misperception among some newbies that liveaboards are for advanced divers.
Sure, when I think back on my 2016 Cocos adventure (“Shark Diving Cocos Island, Costa Rica,” scubadiving.com), I’m reminded that I was frequently diving at the limits of my training and ability—and loving every minute of it.
But while Cocos can for sure stretch your skills as a diver, liveaboards are the perfect setting for continuing education of all kinds.
When I did my Advanced Open Water Diver course on Cayman Aggressor IV years ago, I was surprised to find big burly guys not much more experienced than I having a ball doing their Wreck Diver Specialty certs in completion of their Master Scuba Diver rating. (I tagged along on a Cayman Brac dive on the magnificent M/V Captain Keith Tibbetts and was bitten by the wreck bug then and there.)
Last year in the Red Sea, I was on a boat full of new divers (“Egyptian Treasures: Uncovering the Wonders of the Red Sea and the Nile,” scubadiving.com) eagerly signing up for every class they could take, from Peak Performance Buoyancy to Night Diver to Enriched Air Diver. (You can hardly get on a liveaboard where Enriched Air Diver is not being taught— beat the rush and get yours before you go.)
Why are liveaboards so good for this? First, you’re a captive audience—and so is your instructor. You’re going to get personal time like nowhere else, and you’ll also get to know the boat staff in deeper and different ways than you otherwise might. Class time also is flexible and personalized, with comparatively few students—often one—in any given specialty, so you and your instructor call the shots.
And while it can seem like you’re taking away precious time in the water, a little bit of structure to those eat-sleep-dive-repeat days makes the rest of your time all the sweeter.