In this article, I like to highlight how the diving industry in Phuket is working. Phuket’s diving Industry has a unique way of working “together”. After reading this article you will know what to expect when booking a diving activity in Phuket.
Dive boat operators and dive agents aka dive centres
Aloha Diving did not have a boat from the beginning. So we were a part of that system too. There are 41 PADI Dive Centres and 33 SSI Dive Centres as of October 2022. That is a total of 74 dive centres from the 2 biggest training agencies, not to mention endless scuba instructors offering their services in Phuket. On the other hand, there are 13 day-trip boats in Phuket of which 3 only serve their own guests. That makes 10 dive boats for around 70 dive centres. Unfortunately, we are not blessed with that many shore dive locations that the main diving sites are only accessible by boat. Most dive boats in Phuket are owned by so-called boat operators with the sole interest to make money. Therefore they are big and can hold 40 to 80 divers to cope with the demand from the boat-less dive centre. However, the 70 dive centres and freelance instructors buy boat space on a daily basis (depending if they have guests or not) and are interested in a good customer experience. With over 10 years in professional diving, I can confidently say that scuba diving is a descending business model or in other words not as profitable as we wish. We mainly work in the diving industry because of our passion for diving. On one side the boat operator wants to make a high profit, on the other hand, the dive agents aka dive centres what to offer the best service. There is clearly a conflict of interest. As a dive agent booking boat space, the control is limited to rental equipment quality, briefing and guiding or teaching. As an experienced diver, I do not need to tell you that diving at the same dive site with 40 to 80 others at the same time is not that enjoyable. With a choice of 4 dive trip options: Racha Yai only, Racha Noi and Racha Yai, Phi Phi Islands and Shark Point or Anemone Reef or Koh Doc Mai and King Cruiser and Shark Point and Koh Doc Mai it is likely that you will dive at the same time at the same spot with other boats similar size. It is not easy to find a dive centre that owns a boat as every dive business in Phuket has a fantastic website and great reviews. If you care about how many divers will be on the boat (not in the same group – all advertise small groups) you might want to ask the following when inquiring about a diving activity:
Do you own the dive boat I am diving on?
How many divers can max be on the boat including dive staff?
If you are satisfied with the answer, great go for it and enjoy your diving.
The solution from Aloha Diving™
If you are looking for something smaller, with more dive site combinations do not look further. You are already on the right website. Booking with us means booking directly with the boat owner. As there is no middleman (the dive agent/dive centre without a boat) between you and the boat owner, we can offer diving trips at affordable prices. But the best part is that we compensate for our carbon footprint and support a Blue Carbon project around Phuket. Give back to nature when diving with us.
Since 2019 we are fully independent operating our own dive boat for 12 divers. Since then we have improved drastically the quality of the dives as we see much more marine life. We aim to be the only boat diving at the dive site for maximum freedom.