Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be able to go onto an island on a day trip boat?

Sometimes where it is possible but never guaranteed as we plan the destination daily according to sea and weather conditions. If you are looking for a customized boat experience the Phuket Boat Charter might be interesting for you.

Why should I schedule a hull cleaning and how often?

Boat hull cleanings keep our boats performing at their highest. When we keep our boats clean underneath the waterline we prevent drag that slows our boat down. This results in less time at our destination or maybe we’re so far behind we miss the better anchorages or mooring balls.  Also, when performance goes down, fuel consumption goes up. Another major factor is hull cleanings help prolong the bottom paint with regular maintenance. 
Boat cleaning schedules vary. If I had to give a generic answer, I would say every 1 month, but there are many factors involved including current paint condition, salt or fresh water, water temperature (as higher the temperature as faster the growth) how you use your boat, frequency of use and when you use it. For example, if the paint is over 2 years old and losing some of the anti-fouling properties the hull will need to be cleaned more often to maintain performance until your next paint job. Boats in salt water require more frequent cleaning because growth rates are higher and include barnacles. If you are a sailboat racer you will want cleanings more often than a liveaboard that occasionally does local excursions. Trawlers typically cover long distances at lower speeds and while trawlers are fuel efficient vessels, regular cleaning costs will easily be offset in fuel savings over long trips. We can tailor a service to your boat’s needs.

Why do the anodes (zincs) need to be replaced? And how often do you recommend that this procedure happen?  

Anodes protect your underwater metals from galvanic corrosion. Anodes are sacrificial metals. They are more active in giving up their electrons and will corrode before your prop, shaft, thru hulls, struts, strainers, sail drives, etc.  For example, two metals (such as a stainless shaft and bronze prop) in electrical contact will create a charge, similar to a battery, and deteriorate your boat’s valuable underwater metals. We replace these sacrificial anodes so your valuable metals are not subject to corrosion.  
There are different metals used as anodes: Aluminum anodes are versatile in both salt and fresh water. Zinc is still used everywhere but is ideally used in salt water.  Magnesium should only be used in fresh water. Many factors affect the timing of anode replacements such as your marina, your boat, boats around you, anode size and type.
Generally speaking, boats moored in salt water should have their anodes inspected and replaced every 6 months.

Which sunscreen is allowed in Thailand?

Thailand bans sunscreen with harmful chemicals for coral reefs in country’s national parks. The Royal Gazette has announced the prohibition of the use of sunscreen that contains any of four chemicals considered to be harmful to coral reefs in the national parks, effective August 4th, 2021 onwards.

The use of sunscreen with oxybenzone, Octinoxate, 4MBC, and Butylparaben are banned in the country’s national parks as such chemicals are damaging corals every year, according to the order. According to academic studies, chemicals found in sunscreen have damaged coral embryos, obstruct the corals’ reproduction system and lead to coral bleaching. About 3,500 brands of sunscreen were discovered to contain at least one of the harmful chemicals, according to the studies citing by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. Violators will be charged for violating section 20 of the National Park Act B.E. 2522 and can be fined up to 100,000 baht.

Tourists are strongly encouraged to use water-resistant sunscreen or sunscreens with mineral-based products, such as zinc oxide, during their visit to the national parks.

Where is the best place to see a Whale Shark?

The ever allusive whale sharks have increased in numbers over the last couple of year here in the Andaman Sea. They still are a difficult to find however you chances are increased by going on a liveaboard adventure and trying this dive sites.
• Richelieu Rock (Liveaboard trip)
• Koh Tachai (Liveaboard trip)
• Koh Bon (Liveaboard trip)
Phi Phi Islands (Overnight Trip)
Shark Point (Scuba Diving day trip)

Where is the best place to see a Manta Ray?

The ever allusive Manta Ray have increased in numbers over the last couple of year here in the Andaman Sea. They still are a difficult to find however you chances are increased by trying this dive sites.
• Koh Tachai (Liveaboard trip)
• Koh Bon (Liveaboard trip)
Racha Noi South Tip (Scuba Diving Day Trip)

When should I replace my zincs?

Zincs should be replaced when there is 40% section remaining. This is why it is important to have a diver check the amount of section remaining with each monthly cleaning.

What sort of food will be on the day trip?

Food is a mixture of Thai and Western (more Thai). Our boat can cater for vegetarian or vegan on special request. Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements and we will do our best to provide you with meals to your liking.

What should I bring on a Liveaboard Diving Safari?

We recommend that you bring as little as possible. Personal clothing items including bathing suit, t-shirts, shorts, a sweater and light cotton trousers for cooler evenings. For sun protection, please bring reef safe sunscreen & a hat. You may wish to bring your personal diving gear however if you prefer you can rent equipment on board. Shoes are not required whilst on board but you might require sturdy sandals for land excursions. Please bring personal amenities or required medication with you as these may not be available at your local destination. For your own leisure you may wish to bring reading material.

What products are used for the bottom cleaning procedure?

We use white 3M pads to clean the hull.  This is the least abrasive pad and preferred method.  If a hull has been left without cleaning for some time or the antifouling is failing we use more abrasive red 3M pads. For hard growth (barnacles or mussels) we use a scraper. No chemical is used in our underwater cleaning process.

What kind or emergency equipment is provided on the diving vessel?

Our vessel MV Matachnu is equipped with:

  • Sufficient emergency oxygen with an “ON Demand“ System which guarantees maximum possible O2 care in the event of an emergency.
  • Flairs and Signal smoke according to international standard.
  • Automatic fire extinguisher in the engine room.
  • First aid kit
  • Automatic Identification System (AIS)
  • VHF Radio
  • Life Jackets
  • Tender Boat
  • Search Light remote controlled
What is the maximum dive depth on dive trips?

The maximum depth is 30m but, with the appropriate qualification can be to 40m.

The depth limit for certified divers are:

  • 18 Meter for Open Water Divers
  • 30 Meter for Advanced Adventurer
  • 40 Meter for Deep Diving Specialty Courses
What is the difference between hard and soft growth?

In Phuket, Thailand we generally see hard growth as barnacles and mussels. These organisms frequently attach to metals, such as your prop and shaft and will significantly impact your boats performance.  Anti-fouling Paint is designed to prevent barnacles but long periods without cleanings can result in barnacles attaching to the hull as well. Consistent maintenance helps reduce hard growth. Soft growth is the layers of marine slime and algae that clings to your boat’s hull and slows your boat down. Soft growth start to bild up at the waterline quickly.

What is included in the price of a liveaboard diving safari?

Liveaboard cruises are two days to a week or more living on a boat and diving up to four times every day. The boats are usually only for divers, although non-diving friends and partners, even children, are usually welcome to join. The cost of a liveaboard cruise may appear expensive, but almost everything is included in the price, most importantly accommodation and meals. When compared to staying in a hotel, eating at a restaurant three times a day and taking diving day trips, the price of a liveaboard all of a sudden looks very good value. Meals are served four or five times, buffet style, and soft drinks are usually free, too. Depending on the boat and location of guests’ hotels, there is often a free transfer at the beginning and end of each trip. Things which are an extra charge are, rental equipment and the national park entry fees which apply to most countries in this area. The fees are payable to local authorities to protect the park from illegal fishing or other harmful activities.

What is a typical liveaboard cruise itinerary?

Each liveaboard trip is different in some way to other trips, but most have similar itineraries. Diving usually starts early in the morning and continues through the day and into the evening. There are periods of no diving, known as surface intervals, but these are usually a lot more fun than just waiting on a boat. Typically, the first dive is before breakfast, at around 7-8am. Some trips offer a light breakfast before the first dive and a more substantial meal afterwards. There is a mandatory surface interval between each dive, and this is often two hours. During this time, the tour leader and boat captain will endeavor to offer the best choice of activities, such as snorkeling or an excursion to a beach. Dive 2 takes place just before midday, and dive 3 mid-afternoon. The 4th dive of the day on a liveaboard is usually a night dive, but can also be a sunset dive. Night dives are nearly always shorter in time and at a shallower depth than day dives. And they should take place in a bay or other area unlikely to be affected by currents. This routine is typical for most full-diving days onboard a liveaboard cruise (diving safari). However, days of departure and return may have only one, two or three dives. This also applies to days when the ship is sailing between diving areas which are far apart.

What is a liveaboard boat?

A liveaboard boat is like a floating hotel that you can scuba dive off. They have cabins to sleep in, on board lounges, kitchens, however and tiolets. Some even have onboard luxuries like a Masseuse. In Phuket they range from over night trips up to 8-9 day adventures. You will need to be a certified diver to scuba dive from them however non divers can come on for the ride.

What if I have specific food requirements?

All special food requirements, whether from an allergy or simply personal preference, can be catered for by our chefs. As it is not always possible to source specific food items in remote locations, please inform our reservations team well ahead of your cruise departure date to ensure we have plenty of options to suit your needs.

What do zincs do?

Zincs protect your running from galvanic corrosion. Galvanic corrosion occurs from dissimilar Alloys being in an electrolyte such as seawater. Zincs are a type of Anode, other types of Anodes include Aluminum and Magnesium. You might ask yourself which type of Anode should i be using on my boat! Zinc and Aluminum Anodes are used in saltwater while Magnesium Anodes are best suited for freshwater.

What do I need to take on the day trip boat with me?

Sunblock, towel, swimwear, in low season it’s a good idea to bring rain wear and a warm jacket. Most things are included in our trip price. Soft drinks and beers are the only items you need to pay for. There is a limited supply and selection on the dive boats so please feel free to bring your own and store it in the icebox onboard.

What are the criteria when organising diving groups?

Experience and air consumption are the main criteria for our decisions.

What are the benefits of a diver cleaning my boat?

A monthly cleaning is more than a cleaning, it is preventive maintenance. Our divers are trained to inspect your hull with each cleaning and report any issues that you might not be aware of. Common findings are damage to the hull or running gear, blocked thru-holes due to debris in the water or zincs that have lost there effectiveness.

What are National Park fees?

The best diving in Southeast Asia nearly always takes place in remote locations, and in areas where fishing and other activities which are harmful to the environment are forbidden. Local authorities need to employ rangers/guards and the necessary infrastructure to maintain the national marine parks and protect them from illegal activities. Different countries have varying entrance and diving fees for their marine parks, but the money is payable direct to the authorities and not part of the cruise or day trip. Therefore, dive centers separate the cost in their pricing. The fees normally need to be paid in local currency (Thai Baht), but US Dollars are required in Myanmar.

What about diving accident insurance?

Scuba diving accidents are very rare. The most common is ‘decompression sickness’ (The Bends), which is caused by irresponsible diving. Treatment for The Bends is expensive, as the patient needs to spend time in a decompression chamber. Although diving accidents are very rare, diving insurance is very cheap. DAN is one of the most well-known insurance companies specializing in diving, and their rates are not much more than a meal or a couple of beers in a restaurant while on vacation. It’s a very good idea to take out dive insurance.

Is the equipment included?

Equipment is not included on scuba diving day trips, unless it is a special package.

I would like to try diving. Is this possible and do I do it with others?

We offer introductory dives bring you the fun of diving closer and are therefore carried out in small groups of a maximum of 2 – 3 students per instructor.

How often should I paint my boats bottom?

A boats bottom should be painted every 2 years or when your diver starts complaining of excessive growth! With Copper-coat your are safe at least 5 years before hauling out.

How much does a Hull Cleaning in Phuket cost?

The age or type of bottom paint, vessel length and what’s growing down there are all factors that affect pricing. What’s growing down there depends on water temperature, salinity, the density of local underwater flora and fauna, the substrate (what your hull is made of) and how often you use your boat. The location of where your boat is in a Marina or Private Dock can cause unusual growth due to high current, proximity to a leaky septic tank or fertilizer runoff caused by a heavy rain. A professional hull diver will tell you, no cleaning to the same boat is ever the same. A diver will determine what his time is worth and price accordingly. If you are interested in a free cleaning, running aground at your local sandbar is an option.

How many student divers are in a scuba diving class?

We teach scuba diving in small groups. A maximum of 4 student divers per Scuba Diving Instructor.

How many divers are in each group on diving day trips?

We dive in small groups with a maximum ratio of 5 guests per guide.

How long does a dive last?

We plan all our dives for a duration of one hour minimum. We do not have a dive time limitation. Therefore you can stay as long your air last (30 bar / 500 psi minimum pressure).

How long are the surface intervals?

Safety is the highest priority at Aloha Diving and therefore the surface interval is a minimum of 90 minutes.

Does the cruise price include Dive & Cancellation Insurance?

Insurance is not included in your cruise price, however, please note that dive insurance is highly recommended  for diving activities. Whilst incidents are seldom and can be avoided, our cruises often operate in remote locations therefore we ask all of our guests to please ensure they have adequate insurance coverage for medical evacuation and re-compression treatment. Non-divers do not need to be covered for diving, however, you must be able to show that your travel insurance has adequate medical evacuation coverage. We also highly recommend each guest purchase comprehensive travel insurance to cover you for non-dive related incidents, illness or travel cancellations.

Do you offer SNUBA?

No – We discontinued offering SNUBA in 2013 as we think there are better ways to discover the underwater world. We would be delighted to take you out on a boat day trip for try diving.

Do you offer free Nitrox?

Unfortunately we can’t offer Enriched Air Nitrox for free. But we offer you a Nitrox course for free when purchasing a diving computer through us.

Do you have English speaking guides on the boats?

All our guides speak English and at least one other language.

Do you have DIN or Yoke connection?

All tanks either Yoke (INT) valves or DIN valves. For Sidemount Divers we have the appropriate tanks available.

Do I need to know how to swim to scuba dive?

The short answer is no (but it helps). You can do the Discover Scuba Diving – SSI Try Scuba Diving without knowing how to swim. If you would like to become a SSI certified diver then you will need to know how to swim 200m or snorkel 300m!

Do I need to be present during the dive service?

No. It is not required for you to be present during the dive. During scheduling we will gain all necessary information to conduct the dive. If you would like to be present, we would be happy to schedule a time to meet face to face.

Do I need a licence to Scuba Dive?

No, you can try scuba diving with this one day activity also called Try Dive, Discover Scuba Diving, Taster Dive or Discover Scuba.

Do I have to supply my own zincs?

No. We can supply the zincs for you, however, if you would like to buy your own, you can meet us at the boat with them or provide a location at your boat we can pick them up like a dock box or in the cockpit.

Divemaster or Master Scuba Diver or Master Diver

Definition of terms Divemaster – Master Diver – Master Scuba Diver

While Master Diver or Master Scuba Diver is the highest recreational diver level the Divemaster rating is the first professional level. The Divemaster involves some membership fees.

Can non-divers join day trips?

Yes, of course. However, please note that not all diving day trips are suitable for swimming and snorkeling.

Can I wear my glasses under a Scuba Diving Mask?

Diving mask for eyeglass wearers

Anyone who knows the element water, know that you can see underwater only blurred with the naked eye. To recognize the magnificent scenery under water in all its beauty you need a tool. For this reason offers Aqualung, Mares, Subgear and co. a variety of diving masks.

The choice is limitless in the matter of colors, sizes and shapes. But what if you are wearing eyeglasses? Are you for scuba diving suitable? Yes you are because you have many options. The best diving mask with prescription lenses is your indispensable partner for snorkeling and scuba diving also when handle an underwater Camera.
Maybe you are facing the problem of how you can experience the colorful corals, sea anemones and underwater animals because eyeglasses just does not fit under the diving masks. With a diving mask with corrective lenses you can enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling at maximum.

When buying a diving mask you should decide if you like to have a mask with prescription glasses or you just prefer to ware contact lenses.

Meanwhile, it is easy to get a diving mask with prescription lenses, so you can snorkel and scuba dive despite refractive error.

Popular diving masks with prescription lenses

Two glass masks are best for this purpose, since the optical lenses are glued from the inside on the discs and can be changed by yourself or by a scuba diving retail shop.

There are diving mask models, where the glasses can be exchanged. If your prescription changes, you do not need to buy a new dive mask.

The following masks are designed for changing lenses:

  • Aqualung Look, look and look 2 HD
  • Mares X-Vision LiquidSkin, X-VU LiquidSkin, X-VU LiquidSkin Sunrise (designed for asian faces) and Star LiquidSkin
  • Subgear PRO EAR 2000
  • Cressi Big Eyes Evolution Crystal, Eyes Evolution and Focus

The list is not final and the product lines of the manufacturers also changes regularly.

The vision is for the divers the most important of his five senses. The other four are completely turned off underwater or reduced to a minimum. Assuming the diver used an appropriate tool – the diving mask – he can see just as well under water as on land.

The diving gear manufacturers have a range of different mask models which are suitable for eyeglass wearers. For example, there is the Aqua Lung Look HD double-glass mask with following increments:

  • From -1 to -10 in 0.5 diopter increments
  • From +1 to +3 in 0.5 diopter increments

These lenses may not correct exactly your eyes but are a good option for the classic “holiday divers” or snorkelers who does not want to spend a big amount of money.

Aloha Diving is dealer for: Aqualung, Mares, Scubapro, IST, Deep Blue and Poseidon.

With Aloha Diving you can try before you buy any mask on a Scuba Diving Day Trip free of charge.

For passionated scuba divers – and professional divers such as our instructors is the best option to let the mask lenses adapt by an optician. The glasses can be adjusted flexibly whether short or long-sighted or even astigmatism:

  • Single Vision whole glass diving mask
  • Single Vision Half glass diving mask
  • Bifocal whole glass diving mask
  • Three strengths whole glass diving mask

Your arm gets too short?

For divers in which the arm or the high pressure hose gets too short to read the instruments such as pressure gauge, compass, depth gauge or dive computer, there are cost-effective solutions by glue discs at the lower edge of the mask. This offers the possibility to use the top without correction for distance and instruments can be seen clearly through the lower part.

Contact Lenses for snorkeling and diving

As a cheaper alternative to prescription glasses you can use contact lenses. When using contact lenses, it may happen that the water penetration into the diving mask flush out the lens from the eyes. Best you use daily lenses, because they are much cheaper than monthly lenses and easier to replace. Get an advise regarding contact lenses from your optician.

Can I take my non-diving partner on a day trip liveaboard?

In almost all cases, the answer is ‘yes.’ Most of our liveaboard cruises (diving safaris) visit places where non-diving guests can enjoy snorkeling. They even come along at a discounted price (approx 10%). There are few diving locations, such as Richelieu Rock & Hin Daeng in Thailand, where there’s nothing to do or see for non-divers, but we will make this clear in our prices and correspondence.

Can I scuba dive without a certification / license?

How to try scuba diving without license? We have a program called Try Scuba Diving which is designed for uncertified diver to safely explore the underwater world. Other terms for Try Scuba diving are: discovery dive, resort dive course, try dive, discover scuba diving, test dive and checkout dive.

Can I be on a fixed schedule?

Yes. We can create a schedule tailored to your boat needs. From there, Aloha Diving will take care of the maintenance of hull cleanings, anode replacement, etc. We will send a follow up report.

Are there any dangerous creatures I need to worry about?

Injuries to scuba divers from marine creatures are very rare. There is a lot of talk about sharks however attacks to scuba divers is extremely rare. There are a lot of different creatures in the sea that can bite or sting however 99.9% of the creatures are placid and timid and will not bother you. The golden rule is don’t touch or intimidate and you won’t get hurt. Very wise words.

Although I’m a certified diver, I haven’t dived in quite a long time.

This is quite common, and there is a very simple solution. Some dive centres are very strict about this, and others more flexible, but if you haven’t dived in the last twelve months, you should take part in a ‘scuba review,’ which is a diving session in a pool, or a local/easy reef dive with a scuba diving instructor. He/She will review the necessary skills which you learned when you took the Open Water Diver course. Depending on how well you perform and how much you can remember, this ‘scuba skills update’ is usually fun, easy and very personal.

According to which standards do you teach divng?

We teach according to the two largest diving organisations in the world SSI and PADI. But by far the intensity of the pool diving exercises, the length of the training dives, the good training level of our instructors and the small teaching groups are far beyond those standards.

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