Frequently asked questions

General questions

Frequently asked questions

Before Your Trip

Why choose a liveaboard scuba diving holiday?

There are many advantages to booking a liveaboard scuba diving holiday rather than land-based diving, not least of which is the convenience. Everything you could possibly want is provided within comfortable surroundings where you simply eat, sleep, dive and repeat as much (or little) as you want for the duration of your time on board. After assembling your equipment on the first day, there is no need to disassemble it until the last day, or carry it anywhere; you simply need to put in on (we’ll even help you with that if needed), then you’re all set for your next exciting dive.

Find out more reasons why you should book a liveaboard for your next scuba diving holiday in our blog: Advantages of Liveaboard Diving

Which destinations does Master Liveaboards offer?

Master Liveaboards offer liveaboard scuba diving holidays across the globe including; Pacific Ocean (Galapagos, Palau, Truk Lagoon, Bikini Atoll, and Solomon Islands), the Caribbean (Bahamas), and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar). Contact us if you would like to tailor-make your own scuba diving holiday experience.

Do I need travel and diving insurance?

In short, ‘Yes’. Diving and travel insurance is a condition of booking for all guests on all of our vessels.

All guests travelling aboard our liveaboards must ensure they are fully covered for all diving accident and emergency situations, including air evacuation. This is a mandatory requirement, as outlined in section 3 of our terms and conditions.


Your insurance must cover all of your scuba diving and snorkelling activities. It must include the type of diving and maximum depths you will be diving to (within the limits dictated by your diving certification), and provide full cover of emergency air evacuation costs and recompression treatment. Please be aware that while some basic travel insurance policies cover scuba diving, they often specify maximum depths which may be less than your certification limits and / or the dive sites on your itinerary. Additionally, they may not cover all costs incurred as a result of a diving related accident. It is your responsibility to check that your insurance provides adequate cover for your chosen itinerary.

 

We also strongly advise our guests to obtain comprehensive travel insurance to cover against unforeseeable delays and potential missed flight connections. Please read our blog ‘Do You Really Need Travel Insurance?‘ for further information of why the right type of travel insurance is so important.

Can I book insurance with Master Liveaboards?

Unfortunately, the short answer is ‘No’. However, Master Liveaboards offer a referral program with Dive Assure who specialise in diving travel insurance. Please visit our Dive & Travel Insurance page for more information and a link to the Dive Assure booking platform.

Pre-travel health: General advice

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fit to travel and have had the required vaccinations for the countries you will be visiting. We are unable to give specific advice on vaccinations or other medical precautions as this information should be provided by a medical professional. 

Please contact your local health adviser, pharmacy or travel clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for the latest advice and recommendations for your liveaboard destination.

Useful travel health advice can be found on the following websites:
UK – Travel Health Pro
US – CDC Travelers’ Health

Insect-borne diseases
All travellers are advised to take appropriate precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitos and other insects, especially when on land. The Travel Health Pro website has a useful fact sheet relating to insect bites and effective repellents.

Severe allergies
If you have a severe allergy, please inform us before you travel. If you have preventative or curative medication relating to an allergy please be sure to bring it (and a copy of your doctor’s prescription) with you.

Fit to Dive

It is the responsibility of each diver to ensure that they are fit to dive.

Guests who have a pre-existing condition, even if it is controlled with medication, or have any symptoms that could be restrictive to diving need to obtain a doctor’s note clearing them to dive, prior to embarkation.

 

To this effect, all guests are required to read, complete and sign a medical statement AND provide proof of a doctor’s evaluation if the answer to any of the questions on the form is ‘Yes’. As this may not be possible in the destination we strongly advise guests to do so before travelling.

Any guests who are unable to complete the statement as directed, or provide a current doctor’s certificate (less than 1 year old) clearing them to dive may be denied participation in scuba diving activities during the liveaboard itinerary they have booked with us.

Liability releases

Every guest joining any Master Liveaboards cruise is required to sign the relevant liability releases (waivers) for the itinerary and activities they will be participating in. It is recommended that you download, read and complete these forms prior to commencement of your trip.

All waivers are available in multiple languages on our Liability Waiver Forms page.

Child policy
As a general rule, Master Liveaboards does not allow children under the age of 16 (unless part of a full charter group or by prior agreement).  Those between the ages of 16 and 18 years must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who will be responsible for their supervision at all times, including during dives.
 
PLEASE NOTE: We can not accept any children under the age of 16 years old on Bahamas Master.
 
In cases where consent has been given for a child under the age of 16 to join a trip, their supervision and behaviour onboard is the sole responsibility of their parent(s) or accompanying adult which may mean that parents or guardians are unable to dive together.
 
Guests are not advised to bring children under the age of twelve (12) on a liveaboard due to the environment and the nature of the holiday.
Dietary requirements

Most special dietary requirements, whether allergy or simply personal preference, can be catered for. However, in some destinations, certain products are not readily available and can be difficult to source. Please inform us of your requirements as far in advance as possible to ensure there are plenty of dishes to suit your needs.

PLEASE NOTE: We will of course try our best to meet your needs but cannot guarantee the availability of all requirements in destination. You are welcome to bring specific products with you, where permitted by local regulations, if the lack thereof may affect your wellbeing or holiday.

Diving experience

Each Master Liveaboards destination and itinerary has specific requirements regarding diving experience. Please consult our Diver Certification and Experience Requirements document, which can be found under General Information on our downloads page to ensure you meet these requirements for your comfort and enjoyment.

Please be aware that divers who do not meet the minimum requirements, or who our crew feel lack sufficient experience in certain conditions, may be denied participation in some or all scuba diving activities.

What does Master Liveaboards define as technical diving?

Tech diving may mean a lot to different people but, at Master Liveaboards, we define it as follow: 

  • Any dive to a depth more than 40 metres;
  • Any dive with planned decompression stops;
  • Any dive with accelerated decompression (more than one Nitrox mix or greater than 40% Nitrox);
  • Any dive with variable gas mixtures (including rebreathers)*
  • A dive within an overhead environment beyond 40 linear metres of the surface

*As rebreathers use variable gas mixes their use is also classed as technical diving even when used at recreational depths, i.e. less than 30 metres.

Any divers who want to do any kind of technical diving, as defined above, in any destination, need to complete our technical diving request form and technical diving liability release 

Rebreather divers

Most Master Liveaboards vessels are able to support rebreather divers with 2 Litre or 3 Litre CCR cylinder sets and bailout cylinders available to rent. Additionally we are able to supply Oxygen which is charged per litre, and Sofnolime which is charged by the tub.

Please refer to the specific destination’s onboard extras for cylinder rental costs, and prices for gases and Sofnolime.

 

Cylinders and Sofnolime MUST be requested in advance by completing the Technical & Rebreather Equipment Request Form and returning it to our reservations team as early as possible to ensure your requirements can be fulfilled. It is imperative that all rebreather divers give us sufficient notice of how much Sofnolime they will need for the entire duration of their chosen itinerary so that we can ensure the required quantities are available.

Rebreather divers are also required to complete the technical diving liability release in addition to standard waiver forms.

Marine, park & port fees

Most of the itineraries operated by Master Liveaboards are subject to port and marine park fees, as well as other local taxes and permit costs, which are not included in the liveaboard price, and are obligatory for all guests, whether diving or not. The applicable amount* for your specific itinerary will be noted as an on board extra at the time of booking your liveaboard.

*Please note: These fees can not be paid in advance of departure, and are subject to change without notice. The full amount due at the time of your liveaboard departure needs to be paid aboard the vessel, along with any other onboard extras, prior to disembarkation.

Travel

General foreign travel advice

For the latest travel advice, including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, please visit your relevant official government website.

For example, the UK Government website offers Foreign travel advice  for British citizens travelling abroad including safety and security considerations, entry requirements and travel warnings.

Likewise, The U.S. Department of State website has essential International travel advice and tips for North Americans.

Coronavirus: travel restrictions

Travel restrictions and procedures have been put in place to handle the pandemic worldwide and are constantly being updated by governments.

Please consult our specific destination FAQs to find out more about current protocols. Please also see our COVID-19 Precautions page for further information.

Vaccinations

While we provide general advice in our trip information documents for each destination, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have had the required vaccinations for the countries you will be visiting. Vaccination requirements can change at relatively short notice and we can not guarantee that information provided by us is the most up to date.

We therefore advise checking with your local health adviser, pharmacy or travel clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for the latest requirements and recommendations for your liveaboard destination. We also advise ensuring that your routine vaccinations and boosters are up-to-date, i.e. MMR, Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio, Typhoid, etc. 

Appropriate precautions should be taken to avoid being bitten by mosquitos and other insects by using insect repellent and covering up as much as possible, especially when on land. 

Passports and visas

Please consult the relevant destination FAQ section, or Trip Information documents for information regarding country specific passport and visa requirements.

PLEASE NOTE: The information provided by Master Liveaboards is intended as general guidance for our vessels’ operational destinations only. While we endeavour to keep this information as up-to-date as possible, entry requirements for different nationalities can change.

It is the responsibility of all travellers to check their home country’s information sources and ensure they have a visa (if needed) or other required documents for their final destination and  transit.

Flying after diving

Current studies show that you should wait at least 18 hours before you fly after multi-days repetitive diving. However, we recommend not flying for 24hrs after your last dive.

On most itineraries we usually schedule two (2) morning dives for the last full day of the liveaboard itinerary, before the vessel returns to port for disembarkation the following day. Should you choose to book a flight which departs less than 24 hours after one or both of these dives you will not be able to participate in the dives.

Please bear this in mind before you book your onwards international or domestic flights.

Hand luggage – what should I pack?

We recommend that guests carry any overnight essentials, as well as necessary medications and valuables in their hand luggage. This ensures that, in the unlikely event of checked luggage going astray for any reason, guests will at least have the bare essentials with them making any delay in the arrival of their luggage slightly more bearable.

Packing list

Our blog, Packing for a Scuba Diving Liveaboard, provides helpful advice and information about what to bring on your Master Liveaboards scuba diving holiday. To ensure you don’t forget anything important, we have also created a Packing Checklist which can also be found under General Information on the downloads page of our website.

You will also find a checklist for essential items in our Trip Information sheets, which can be found under Useful trip information for each destination on the downloads page.

Onboard

Accessibility

Due to the layout of the decks and guests cabin, the vessels are generally not accessible for wheelchairs and the majority may provide challenges, or be unsuitable for some guests with limited mobility. Additionally, most destinations do not have experienced HSA (Handicapped Scuba Association) guides on board who are trained to assist divers with a variety disabilities.

However, in some cases, we may be able to accommodate guests with prosthetic limbs, vision or hearing impairments, as well as limited mobility. Amputees and guests with limited mobility need to consider the following before deciding whether their preferred destination is viable:

  1. Must be able to navigate stairs
  2. Must be able to step over thresholds
  3. Enough physical capability to get into a dinghy / climb ladder onto skiffs (without equipment)
  4. Must be able to step, with assistance, from dinghy to dive platform

Should you have any questions or concerns please contact our reservations team.

Safety Features & Equipment

The safety of all of our guests and crew members is our utmost priority, and we are dedicated to maintaining a secure environment on every trip.

All Master Liveaboards vessels are fully equipped with modern marine safety features and equipment to enhance their operational safety. We comply with all maritime regulations, but also go above and beyond. Onboard safety equipment includes:

  • Navigation and Communication Systems:
    • Satellite communication;
    • VHF Radios – both fixed and handheld;
    • Compass, chart plotter and charts;
    • Radar;
    • AIS (Automatic Identification System).
  • Fire Suppression and Detection Systems:
    • Detectors and alarms;
    • Fire extinguishers;
    • Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA);
    • Fire suppression systems;
    • Fire blankets;
    • Other firefighting equipment such as nozzles, hoses, pumps and hydrants.
  • Life-Saving Equipment:
    • Life jackets;
    • Life rafts;
    • Pyrotechnics (flares);
    • EPRIB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon);
    • SART (Search and Rescue Transponders).
  • Medical Equipment:
    • Fully stocked first aid kit;
    • Automated External Defibrillator (AED);
    • Oxygen (O2)
  • Other features:
    • Emergency lighting and signage;
    • Emergency escapes and alternative evacuation routes;
    • Hull breach kits;
    • SOPEP (Ship Oil Pollution Emergency Plan) kit;
    • CCTV.

Our crews are fully trained in the use of all safety equipment, and participate in regular drills to keep their skills and preparedness fresh. Additionally, all guests receive comprehensive briefings upon embarkation, which include familiarisation with the vessel’s safety features and emergency procedures.

CCTV cameras

As part of our commitment to the safety of our guests and crew members, all Master Liveaboards vessels are equipped with CCTV cameras, which are located in the following areas on each vessel:

  • Engine room
  • Dive platform
  • Dive deck
  • Sun deck
  • Cabin corridors
  • Galley (kitchen)
  • Communal indoor area(s), e.g. dining room, salon, camera prep areas

We wish to assure all guests that the placement of all CCTV cameras is for the safety of all on board and are not set up or intended to invade privacy in anyway.

Diving courses

We can offer a variety of diving certification courses on most of our vessels for continuing your diver education, such as PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Diver, or learning new skills with a PADI speciality course.

Additionally, for those who have not dived for a while, we can offer a refresher course (scuba review). Please be advised that this is NOT a certification course; it is an opportunity to review and brush up on previously learnt skills under the guidance of one of our instructors or dive-masters.

All courses are carried out in conjunction with PADI online learning. You can find out more and register here, then you just need to inform our team that you have registered for the course onboard. Please contact our reservations team to find out which courses might be possible on your liveaboard holiday.

PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to offer courses on Galapagos, Truk Lagoon or Bikini Atoll itineraries

Diving equipment rental

Diving equipment rental is available on all of our vessels at an extra cost. We advise pre-booking to ensure availability.

PLEASE NOTE: Use of a dive computer is  mandatory for every diver on all of our vessels. Dive computers are available to rent for those guests who do not have their own.

Is nitrox available?

Nitrox is available on all our vessels at an extra cost. If you are not qualified, you can also take the opportunity to do your specialty course.

Cylinder sizes

All of our cylinders have convertible valves so they can accommodate DIN or INT (Yoke) regulators.

The standard cylinder size which is included in the liveaboard price on all Master Liveaboards vessels is 11.1 Litres aluminium (Luxfer S080 and / or Catalina S80), with air fills.

On most of  our vessels there are a limited number of larger cylinders available for an additional charge which are 13.2 Litre aluminium (Luxfer S100 and / or Catalina C100). In some parts of the world these are often incorrectly referred to as 15 Litres.

In some destinations, there are also smaller cylinders available for sidemount, bailout and stage use. Please refer to the relevant vessel for further details of which sizes are available for your chosen destination.

Our blog How Big is My Tank? sheds some light on the confusion around cylinder sizes and what to expect from a ‘normal’ or ‘big’ tank.

Diver responsibilities
  • Use of a dive computer is mandatory for every diver on all of our vessels.
  • All guests are required to complete a medical statement and sign the relevant liability releases prior to departure of their liveaboard. Guests who have any condition that may be incompatible with scuba diving need to provide a doctor’s certificate clearing them to dive.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the minimum required number of dives and experience prior to commencement of your chosen itinerary. Any divers who do not meet these requirements may be denied participation in some or all activities on the itinerary.
  • All divers are expected to dive conservatively at all times, make a safety stop at the end of each dive, and stay within the limits of their scuba diving certification and experience.
  • It is your responsibility to check your  insurance policy details (and exclusions) to ensure that it covers all eventualities. Please be aware that most insurance policies will not cover costs in the event of an accident occurring where the diver has exceeded the limits of their training (or policy), or is deemed to have not followed safe diving practices or the advice of their dive guide. 
Clothing and footwear

Dress code on board our vessels is very casual and most guests feel comfortable in little more than swimwear, shorts and t-shirts. However, we ask our guests to put a t-shirt over their swimwear while seated at the dining area; A sweater is advised for cooler nights, particularly after multiple dives. Guests tend to prefer bare feet on board the boats but are advised to bring sturdy sandals or trainers to wear on island visits.

Towels

We provide towels for guests to use in their cabins and additional towels for use on deck. These are laundered and replaced regularly throughout the cruise to ensure they are always fresh and clean.

Toiletries

All guest cabins and deck bathrooms are equipped with liquid soap dispensers which can be used as shower gel and / or shampoo.

However, many guests prefer to bring their own shampoo and hair conditioner with them. We strongly encourage guests to only bring environmentally friendly products, and to take any unused items home.

Typical food onboard

Meals on board range from mild local dishes to western cuisine and are normally served in a buffet style. There is a variety of fresh fruit available at all times and all dishes are served with the freshest vegetables and highest quality seafood and meats available. There is always a range of dishes served at each meal time to ensure that all guests are satisfied and full!


Guests may help themselves throughout the day and night to a variety of complimentary snacks, soft drinks, purified water, juices, teas, and fresh brewed coffee.

Alcohol

Guests who are diving are reminded to drink responsibly while on board, and not to drink any alcoholic beverages until after their last dive of the day. 

A range of alcohol (beer, wines and spirits) is available to purchase on board all of our vessels for when you have finished diving for the day. Guests wishing to bring their favourite spirit brand with them to consume on board may do so, where permitted by local regulations and customs.

Batteries

If your dive or camera equipment requires a unique size battery, or will need a lot of replacements during your holiday, please bring sufficient extras with you. Alternatively, consider using rechargeable batteries as there are plenty of sockets to plug in a charger on board.

As there is very limited or no access to battery recycling facilities in the destinations where we operate, we kindly request that you take your spent batteries home with you to be recycled or disposed of properly. 

First aid

We have a fully stocked first aid kit, medical grade oxygen and an AED on all Master Liveaboards vessels. Our crews are trained Emergency First Responders, and able to handle all boat and diving emergencies.

Fishing

Fishing is not allowed on any Master Liveaboards vessel, or from the dive tenders.

Many of the areas covered by our liveaboard itineraries are marine sanctuaries and environmentally protected areas meaning fishing is prohibited by law, or requires a special permit.

Smoking

Smoking is only permitted in designated outdoor areas aboard the vessels.

Tipping

Crew gratuities are not included in your package and are at your discretion. Our crew work extremely hard to ensure our guests receive the best possible service from start to end of each trip; tips given in recognition of this are always greatly appreciated.

Should you feel that the crew on board have gone above and beyond in making your liveaboard experience as memorable and comfortable as possible, and would like to show your appreciation for all their hard work, you can leave a tip, in cash, in the envelope that will be provided at the end of your trip. In some destinations, we are also able to charge gratuities to credit or debit cards. 

As tips are discretionary we do not specify an amount to give but, the industry standard is generally 10% of the cruise cost. We suggest between 35 – 50 USD per night which, for a 7 night trip, is 250 USD – 350 USD.

All gratuities are divided equally between the members of crew, including the dive guides.

Payments on board

On the majority of Master Liveaboard vessels, payment for marine park fees and other on board extras can made in cash or by credit card (Visa or Mastercard).  

PLEASE NOTE: Galapagos Master can NOT accept credit or debit cards. All on board payments must be made in cash only, preferably in USD.

  • Exchange rates for cash payments in currencies other than USD or local currency are based on local bank rates at the time of payment.
  • Card payments on board are subject to a surcharge, which ranges from 3%-5% depending on the destination.
  • Please refer to specific destination FAQs or downloadable Trip Information documents for further information regarding accepted currencies and card charges.
Responsible tourism

Master Liveaboards is committed to promoting responsible tourism and is aiming at becoming plastic-free on all of our vessels. We are asking our guests help to us achieve this goal.

Additionally, many of our vessels use environmentally friendly products where available and we encourage guests to do the same when joining one of our liveaboard itineraries. Visit this page to see what you can do!

Photography, videography and drones

Master Liveaboards love photographers and videographers and have tried to make their lives as easy as possible. Most of our vessels offer dedicated rinse tanks and a large camera preparation, storage and charging area. Our crew is experienced in handling photography and video equipment and we love receiving images from our guests! Please note that, in some destinations, there may be local restrictions for photographers, videographers, and/or the use of drones.

Please refer to our Information for Photographers & Videographers for further details.

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