For many PADI Pros, the thought of working on a liveaboard is a dream opportunity. Maybe you’ve already toyed with the idea or started applying for that once-in-a-lifetime position, imagining endless expanses of sea and the fascinating dive sites that can only be reached by safari boat.
Whilst this is certainly a worthy attraction for PADI Pros, there’s a few lifestyle sacrifices you’ll also need to be aware of – and prepared to make – to avoid disappointment. Check out the pros and cons below to make sure you know what to expect before heading out to sea on your first job.
#1 Dive sites
Many of the best and most spectacular dive sites of our blue planet can only be reached from a liveaboard. As a PADI Pro, you’ll undoubtedly experience countless memorable dives that you wouldn’t have access to from the shore.
#2 Experienced divers
If you work as a PADI Pro on a liveaboard, you will accompany many experienced divers on their dives and depending on the level of experience they may even ask to go alone with their dive buddy. This means you’ll often only need to guide smaller groups and show them the most beautiful corners of dive sites.
Due to the previous dive experience often required for a longer safari trip, it’s less common to encounter training courses on a liveaboard, and those that are conducted usually focus on developing the specific interests of the group or skills relevant to the type of dives they’ll do, such as PADI Digital Underwater Photographer, PADI Deep Diver or PADI Enriched Air Diver. This often means you’ll be able to apply more of your personal interests and experience over a more relaxed scenario.
#4 Building relationships
Because you will spend a week or even longer with your guests on a liveaboard trip, there is plenty of time to build up a friendly relationship with the divers on board. Not only does this mean building happy memories from great trips, but it’s also a springboard for creating loyalty amongst customers who will want to come back and dive with you – and your business – in the future.
#1 Limited lifestyle
If you have ever been on a boat, you’ll remember how small the space can be, and cabins of liveaboard boats are no exception. Dive guests may only spend a few days like this, but remember you may need to call it your home for several months.
You’ll also need to be prepared to sacrifice comforts such as long showers, internet access and even peace and privacy, as well as the ability to catch up with your partner or friends at the end of each day – while you’re on board, your friends are your customers.
#2 Need for preparation
One of the benefits of liveaboards is the ability to travel to faraway destinations, sometimes several hours away from land. This means you need to be prepared for the journey as you won’t be able to pop back to shore if you need something.
From Divemaster training and above, self-sufficiency is emphasised – and bringing extra gear in case you or your guests need something is even more important when liveaboard diving. Double check your packing list to make sure everything is on board, which should include plenty of spare gear, from o-rings to masks, as well as medical supplies such as seasickness tablets.
As a PADI Professional working on a liveaboard, you may be expected to complete multiple dives every day for several days at a time, and there won’t be spare Divemasters or Instructors ready to take your place once you’re out at sea. It won’t be possible to cancel your guests’ diving plans just because you feel tired or just don’t feel like diving today – just like shore-based operations, you are required to support the needs of your paying customers, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re fit for duty. If you don’t think you can keep up with the demand, then liveaboard diving might not be for you.
#4 Diving experience
We already know that liveaboards travel to some of the best diving spots in the world, but quite often these are also the most demanding places to dive. Strong currents, difficult entries, dives in blue water with no reference and potentially tricky surface conditions mean that, as a PADI Pro with guests under your care, you need to have enough experience in the same conditions to be able to safely operate and guide the dive.
If you’ve read the above and think that liveaboard diving is a perfect match for your skills and lifestyle, then visit the Job Vacancy board on the PADI Pros’ Site today to start searching for your dream job!
This article was written by guest blogger, Christian Hubo. A PADI diving instructor, Christian has enjoyed over 4,000 dives whilst travelling around the world. Above the surface, he’s hiked thousands of kilometers across the natural world. Christian is a freelance web and media designer, underwater photographer, social media and marketing consultant and freelance author. His magazine articles and blog, Feel4Nature, inspires people to follow an independent, individual and eco-conscious lifestyle.