Liveaboard Diving

Maldives FAQs

Travel

Coronavirus: Entry requirements

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Maldives.

Pre-Travel Health & vaccinations
General Health

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have had the required vaccines for all of the countries you will be visiting. Please contact your health adviser or pharmacy, at least 8 weeks prior to departure, for advice if you are unsure which vaccinations you require. 

We strongly advise that you ensure that your standard vaccinations are up-to-date (tetanus, polio, MMR, etc.) and check with your nearest travel clinic for the latest information and recommendations.

Please make sure you use insect repellent and cover exposed skin to reduce the risk of insect borne diseases. 

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever certificates are required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for those having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Travelling with Medications

If you are travelling with medication, please ensure you bring your physician’s prescription with you.

Insurance

Diving and travel insurance 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 and the maximum depths that you will be diving to (within the limits dictated by your diving certification). It must also provide full cover of emergency air evacuation costs and recompression treatment. 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 itineraryAdditionallythey may not cover all costs incurred as a result of a diving-related accident. 

Please be aware that, if recompression chamber treatment is required, this is likely to involve evacuation from Blue Voyager by private speedboat or seaplane. 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.

Passports & Visas
Passport validity

According to Maldives Immigration, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least one months after the date you arrive in Maldives. However, we recommend 6 months validity.

As regulations and entry requirements can change, we strongly recommend checking your home country’s government travel advisory, or the Maldives Immigration website for the most up-to-date information.

Make sure your passport is not damaged or you may be stopped by immigration.  You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

All visitors will be issued with a 30-day visa on arrival, free of charge, if entering Maldives as a tourist. For further information on entry requirements and visas, contact the Maldives immigration department.

Traveller Declaration

All travellers to Maldives must complete a Traveller Declaration Form within 96 hours of arrival and departure.

The Traveller Declaration is a self-declaration form which you can submit on your own, free of charge by visiting https://imuga.immigration.gov.mv/

International flights advice

Book international flights into and out of Malé – Velana International Airport (MLE).

Ideally, you will arrange flights to arrive the day before your liveaboard start date and depart the day after disembarkation.

Guests who do not wish to spend a night in Malé before or after their liveaboard itinerary should book a flight that arrives in the morning on the day of embarkation and depart in the afternoon or evening on disembarkation day.

PLEASE NOTE: It is illegal to bring alcohol into the Maldives. All luggage will be scanned by customs officials at Malé International Airport and prohibited items will be confiscated.

Domestic flights and transfers

For itineraries that start and/or end in locations other than Malé, at least one domestic flight is required to get to or from the embarkation or disembarkation point.

Upon arrival at your itinerary’s start location, you will be met at the airport by Blue Voyager staff and transferred by dhoni directly to the liveaboard.

PLEASE NOTE: Domestic flights are not included in the liveaboard price.

We are happy to be able to make domestic flight reservations on your behalf; Please let our reservations team know if you would like us to book domestic flights for your itinerary.

Country Information

Is diving in the Maldives suitable for everyone?

Most of the liveaboard diving in the Maldives is generally not suitable for newly certified or inexperienced divers due to depths and strong currents.

Diving conditions throughout the Maldives can often be challenging even for experienced divers with currents, channels and deep walls being the norm in many locations; Negative entries and drift dives are to be expected on all itineraries.

The majority of dive sites visited on our liveaboard itineraries are beyond Open Water certificaition depth limits and best suited to divers who are certified to a depth of at least 30 metres, i.e. Open Water with Deep Adventure Dive training or PADI Advanced Open Water / SSI Advanced Adventurer, or equivalent, with at least 30 logged dives. Divers should also be comfortable diving in moderate to strong currents and able to deploy an SMB during safety stops, often while drifting.

On itineraries that include southern atolls the currents tend to be considerably stronger than the central and northern atolls and the water is deeper, especially around Huvadhoo, Fuvahmulah and Addu. 

Please refer to specific itinerary information for details of the dive sites and minimum certification and experience requirements.

Any guests who do not fulfil the requirements for the itinerary they are joining, or who the crew feel have insufficient experience or skills to dive safely in certain conditions, may be denied participation in some or all dives during the liveaboard itinerary.

Recompression chambers

As of 6th June 2023, there are five operational recompression chambers in the Maldives. The largest and longest operating hyperbaric chamber is located on Bandos Island in North Male Atoll, 15 minutes by speedboat from Malé. The others are located at Kuredu Island Resort (Lhaviyani Atoll), Kuramathi Resort (North Ari Atoll), Kandima Maldives Resort (Dhaalu Atoll) and ADK Hospital in Malé.

Climate & weather

The Maldives enjoy a warm, tropical climate all year round with two distinct, monsoonal,  seasons: ‘Dry’ from November to April and ‘Wet’ from May to October. Despite this, rain can be expected at any time of year, although the wettest months are generally during the autumn months.

Daytime temperatures average around 30°-31°C throughout the year with night-time temperatures averaging 25°C.

Water temperatures

Water temperatures in the Maldives are fairly constant at 26°-29°C (78°-84°F) throughout the year, except in the far south where it can drop to 24°C (75°F) in some locations.

Language & religion

The official, common language of the Maldives is Dhivehi, although English is also widely spoken.

Islam is the state religion of the Maldives, and the entire indigenous population is Sunni Muslim. Criticism of Islam, as well as public practice of all other religions, is a criminal offense.

Restricted & Prohibited items

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Maldives. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.  

It is illegal to bring in anything deemed contrary to Islam, including ‘idols for worship’, bibles, pork and pork products, and alcohol. All luggage will be scanned by customs officials at Malé International Airport and prohibited items will be confiscated.

Time zone

The Maldives only has one time zone (MVT) which is UTC/GMT +5 hrs

Money matters

The official currency of the Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) which can only be obtained or exchanged for other currencies while in the Maldives. Exchange rates are controlled by the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) with the USD-MVR consistently being around 1/15.40

The US Dollar is also accepted as legal tender and generally preferred although change in cash will often be given in MVR. 

PLEASE NOTE: The banks and, by association, resorts and vendors in the Maldives are very pernickety about the condition of US$ bank notes and will not accept any that are well-worn, crumpled or badly creased, defaced, torn or damaged in any other way. They will also refuse to accept old-style notes even if they are still in active circulation. $20 and $50 bank notes must have been issued later than 2006 and $100 bills must be the newer version (2013 onwards) which features a blue security strip.

The above also applies to USD cash payments on Blue Voyager.

Health

Medical facilities in the Maldives are limited; there are 2 hospitals on Malé Island and 2 on Hulhumale. There are also health centres on most of the atolls. 

Please make sure you use insect repellent and cover exposed skin to prevent any insect borne diseases. We recommend that travellers follow normal precautions with food in order to prevent stomach upsets, and be sure to drink bottled water only.

Communications

Mobile phone coverage is available throughout the Maldives with the two local providers covering 99% of the entire archipelago. Most phones with international roaming will work in many locations, although costs can be quite high for data use.

Local pre-paid SIMs and data packages can be purchased at the Malé International Airport, or from one of the shops on Malé Island.

Alternatively, if your smartphone is e-SIM compatible, there are various options available that will work in the Maldives. 

During Your Trip

Diving conditions

Diving in the Maldives can be challenging even for experienced divers. Many of the dive sites we visit are channels and deep walls at the outer edges of the atolls where currents are the norm; Negative entries and drift dives are to be expected on all itineraries.

The majority of dives on all itineraries are beyond Open Water certification depth limits and best suited to experienced divers who are certified to a depth of at least 30 metres, i.e. PADI Advanced Open Water / SSI Advanced Adventurer, or equivalent, and are comfortable diving in moderate to strong currents.

For central atolls itineraries, we require divers to have a minimum of 30 logged dives as well as experience diving in currents. It is strongly recommended that all divers joining these itineraries have Deep Dive (30 metres) training and experience. 

On itineraries that include southern or northern atolls, the currents tend to be much stronger and the water is deeper, so Advanced Open Water certification, or higher, with a minimum of 50 logged dives are mandatory requirements.

Diving limits and regulations

The Maldivian Government, Ministry of Tourism (MOT) regulations state that, without exception, all scuba diving must be within recreational, no-decompression limits to a maximum depth of 30 metres for Advanced Open Water and higher certified divers.

Under the same regualtions, divers with Open Water certification are not allowed to dive deeper than 18 metres unless they have additional deep dive (30 metres) training.

The MOT also states that divers are not allowed to use gloves although reef hooks are permitted and strongly recommended.

Technical diving, solo diving and dives exceeding 30 metres, or requiring decompression stops, are prohibited by law in the Maldives.

Diving equipment requirements

Maldivian Government regulations state that all divers must be equipped with the following items during all recreational diving activities:

  • Regulators with submersible pressure gauge and alternative air source or redundant air supply;
  • Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) with oral and low-pressure inflator;
  • Mask, snorkel and fins;
  • Dive Computer;
  • Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB) with reel or spool (to be deployed underwater before safety stop);
  • Emergency signalling device comprising an inflatable surface marker and a whistle.


During any night diving activities, all divers must also be equipped with an underwater torch (per diver).

Reef Hooks: Reef hooks are not mandatory but are strongly recommended; the use of gloves is prohibited under Maldivian diving regulations.

There are reef hooks available to rent on board for guests who do not have their own.

What thickness wetsuit is suitable?

With water temperatures averaging around 27°-28°C in most areas, the majority of guests are comfortable in a 3mm shorty or full-length wetsuit. However, divers who tend to feel cold easily, or joining itineraries that cover southern atolls, may require additional layers or be more comfortable in a 5mm suit.

Rental wetsuits on Blue Voyager are 3mm shorties.

Equipment rental

Equipment and cylinder rental costs can be paid for in advance, or onboard. However, pre-ordering is essential to ensure that the required sizes and quantities are available.

Please let us know your requirements as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Rebreathers

Although technical and decompression diving is prohibited by law in the Maldives, the use of rebreathers is permitted within the recreational dive limits dictated by the Maldivian Government.

Blue Voyager is equipped to support rebreather divers with booster pumps,  cylinders and provision of CO2 scrubber (Sofnolime). However, due to limited supplies, pre-ordering of all rebreather items is essential. Please contact our reservations team to place your order and for up-to-date prices.

Twin cylinders / side-mount

Manifolded twin cylinders are not available on Blue Voyager.

Guests wishing to dive with twin, back-mounted cylinders need to bring their own tank bands and harness and will be charged for an additional cylinder. Please note however that the standard tank valves can not be changed. Therefore guests using two cylinders will need two sets of regulators.

Rigging is available to rent for side-mount divers who do not have their own.

Diving Courses

We offer a range of diving courses on Blue Voyager with certification through SSI (Scuba Schools International). The courses that are available are equivalent in structure and standards to PADI certifications and can be pre-booked or arranged on board.

The instructor will register the student details with SSI, then help them to download the SSI app to complete the knowledge development elements in offline mode (this can not be done in advance). The instructor will also provide some personal presentations onboard and answer any questions as well as conduct the required training dives.

Nitrox

To get the most out of your dives in the Maldives, we recommend diving with Nitrox, which is available at a fixed package price for the duration of your itinerary and can be paid for in advance or onboard.

For guests who are not already certified to dive with Nitrox, SSI Enriched Air Nitrox certification can be completed on board Blue Voyager. (Charges apply; please contact our reservations team for details)

Night dives

Night diving in the Maldives can be difficult due to currents and water depths and therefore may not always be possible. On itineraries that cover central atolls, one night dive and/or one sunset dive will usually be offered per week, at the discretion of the captain and dive guides. However, night dives are not possible in the southern atolls due to the strong currents.

Electricity

UK style 3-pin (Type G) plugs are standard throughout the Maldives.

Power outlets on Blue Voyager are mostly UK 3-pin although guest cabins and common areas also feature USB sockets and a combo of European two-pin sockets/UK 3-pin at 230V.

Guests whose electrical items have other types of plugs or require a different voltage will need to bring adapters with them as there are none available on the boat.

Food & Drinks

Meals are provided on a full board basis including a light breakfast, full breakfast, lunch and dinner served buffet style in the indoor, air-conditioned dining area. 

We offer a choice of international and locally inspired cuisine and can cater to special dietary requirements with advance notice. Should you have any specific dietary needs or allergies please advise your sales consultant at the time of confirming your liveaboard trip to ensure we can make provisions for your needs.

Special dietary requests: Gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free and low-fat products which are common and readily available in many parts of the world are very difficult or impossible to obtain in the Maldives. While we always do our best to accommodate dietary requests, please be aware that there are limitations based on what is available locally and the choices offered may be less varied than elsewhere. If this is likely to constitute a health risk or seriously compromise your enjoyment of your holiday, we suggest bringing some items from home.

Complimentary tea, instant and fresh brewed coffee and drinking water are available at all times as well as snacks and fresh fruit. Carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices are available for an additional cost. 

Once they have finished diving for the day, guests may also select beer, wine, or spirits from our cocktail bar for an additional charge.

Alcohol

Please be aware that it is illegal for travellers to bring alcohol into the Maldives; please do not purchase any duty-free on your inbound journey as it will be confiscated when you arrive in Male. 

There is a selection of wine, beer and spirits available to purchase on board for when you have finished your day’s diving.  

Although alcohol is available in most resorts in the Maldives, it is only to be consumed where it was purchased. This means it is illegal to bring alcohol from a resort onto the liveaboard vessel and also to take alcohol purchased on board off of the boat.

Communications on board

Should you wish to have internet access during your liveaboard itinerary, 1GB, 2GB or 5GB data packages can be purchased on board Blue Voyager; prices start from 11 USD for 1 GB which is payable on board only and subject to Maldives GST.

Please note that, although internet connectivity is available in the majority of areas across the Maldives, we cannot guarantee a continuous service for the entirety of your cruise, especially when travelling between atolls, or visiting more remote, southern areas.  

Fishing on board

Fishing is not permitted on Blue Voyager.

Many of the locations we visit are marine protected areas where fishing is prohibited by law.

Marine, park and port fees

The Maldivian Government collects a Green Tax for all visitors, which is charged at US $6.00 per person, per night and must be paid in advance of your liveaboard departure.

The applicable amount will be added to your invoice when you book your Blue Voyager liveaboard itinerary.

Hanifaru Bay Visitor Fees

On itineraries which include Baa Atoll, if it is possible to visit Hanifaru Bay, a 30 USD per person entrance fee applies. This is a government-controlled charge, payable on board in USD cash* only, and is subject to change without notice.

Tiger Harbour (Tiger Zoo) Fees

On itineraries which include Fuvamulah Atoll, there is an entrance fee of 30 USD per person to dive at Tiger Harbour.  The charge is imposed by the local dive centre whose guides lead the dives, is payable on board in USD cash* only, and is subject to change without notice.

*PLEASE NOTE: USD bank notes MUST be in perfect condition, i.e. no tears, stains, creases, pen marks or discolouration, and no older than 2006. We are unable to change other currencies for USD on board so please make sure you have sufficient USD cash if there will be fees to pay on your itinerary.

On board payments

Payment on board for items such as alcoholic drinks and Master Liveaboards merchandise, as well as equipment which has not been paid for in advance, can be accepted in cash (USD only) or by debit or credit card. 

  • All onboard pricing is in USD.
  • Extras paid for on board are subject to Goods and Services Tax which is currently 16%. 
  • 20 and 50 USD banknotes must be dated later than 2006 and be in good condition; 100 USD notes must be the newer (2013) version. (Refer to Country Information – Money Matters for clarification). 
  • Card payments (debit or credit) are subject to a 3% surcharge.
  • Non-USD payments will be calculated using the exchange rate at the time of settling your on-board bill, which may be less favourable than rates in your home country. 
Tipping guidelines

We believe that tipping is a matter of personal choice; Should you feel that our crew has made your holiday extra special, they will certainly appreciate a tip as a sign of your appreciation. An envelope will be provided by your cruise director at the end of your itinerary and all gratuities will be divided equally amongst all crew, including the captain and dive guides.

If you are unsure how much to tip, we suggest 25 USD per guest, per day. Tips can only be accepted in cash.