Discover The Best Boats for Diving: An In-Depth Guide

#1 Pick

Everglades 295 Center Console


2820 XLD Sport Cabin

Best Budget

The Ocean Quest


Score 9.4 OUT OF 10

Best Budget

Score 9.6 OUT OF 10
Score 9.5 OUT OF 10
Score 9.5 OUT OF 10

We are about to dive into the world of the best dive boats. Whether you’re gearing up for a snorkeling trip or a deep sea scuba diving adventure, we got you covered like a snug wetsuit. We know the boats that can ride the waves and take you on an epic underwater journey. Let’s go hunt some treasures.

Now, as any seasoned diver will tell you, the boat makes all the difference. You need something sturdy, something reliable, and something that can handle Neptune’s moods. That’s why we stepped in. Our team scoured, searched, and even test-dived some of these beasts to bring you the creme de la creme of dive boats. So strap in, pull out your checklist and let’s dive in.

Top Recommended Diving Boats

From the Bahamas to the Great Barrier Reef, these boats are top of the line and won’t drain your savings. We’re talking about budget-friendly vessels that receive rave reviews from divers. They are ready to embark you on an unforgettable “eat, sleep, dive” holiday.

1. Everglades 295 Center Console

Score 9.5 OUT OF 10
Everglades 295 Center Console

Laying our eyes on the Everglades 295 Center Console, we knew we hit the jackpot. Trust us, it’s not just a winner in our book, it’s a favorite among the diving community. The impressive deck space and its ability to fit up to ten passengers make it a shoe-in for top spot in our list.

Feast your eyes on this stunner. The Everglades 295 Center Console is a mid-sized powerhouse that’s all about luxury. It measures an impressive 28ft 7in which opens up a ton of deck space for all your gear and up to 10 of your diving buddies. Ddon’t worry about the haul, with two beefy outboard motors, this baby can glide through waves like a dream.

This wonder of the waves comes with an inboard opening hull-side dive door. As if that wasn’t enough, it also features a removable ladder for easy boarding and keeping swimmers and divers safely away from the motors. Let’s not forget about the bonus fishing options, including storage for your rods and onboard fish boxes. So brace yourselves for the catch of the day.


  • Hull-side dive door for safe and easy access.
  • Durable build with impressive deck space.
  • Comfortable and convenient seating for up to 10 passengers.
  • Additional fishing options like an onboard storage for fishing rods


  • The 2820 XLD Sport Cabin, while it’s got a ton going for it, could be a bit pricey for some. We all know the saying “you get what you pay for,” and it holds true here. If you’ve got the bucks, it’s well worth the investment.
  • Another downside could be its size. It’s a beast of a vessel at 28 feet. This can make maneuvering in smaller spaces or harbors a bit trickier than your smaller dive boats.
  • Lastly, even though it’s stacked with luxury liveaboard facilities, it might not be the best choice if you’re strictly into diving. It’s more of a multi-purpose boat, ideal for a number of recreational activities, so some scuba divers might find it a bit too much.

2. 2820 XLD Sport Cabin

Score 9.4 OUT OF 10
2820 XLD Sport Cabin

Let’s talk about the 2820 XLD Sport Cabin. This gem right here is a perfect guide to liveaboard diving. It’s not just a diving boat – it’s a swiss army knife on water. Whether you’re into fishing, cruising, or relaxing with your personal time, this boat covers it all.

This beauty comes with twin berths, storage, cushions, and even an electric flushing head – and that’s luxury for you out there on the open waves. There’s a neat lounge seat and a fully-fledged galley, complete with a sink, refrigerator, and stove for those who want creature comforts.

The 2820 XLD has an outboard motor which leaves ample deck space for all your diving equipment. Also, don’t forget the dive door on the side for an easier splash time. Plus, safety latch for when it’s not in use.


  • This boat has everything. The diving equipment storage is top-notch. The deck space is never an issue, even with a boatful of divers and gear.
  • You’ve also got that luxury liveaboard experience with all the comforts of home, making it ideal for multi-day dive trips.
  • Plus, the motors being outboard gives you an added layer of safety. You don’t want to be worrying about coming into contact with the motor when you’re focused on your dive.


  • One downside might be the size. It’s a bigger boat, so if you’re planning to navigate smaller harbors or inlets, you might find it a bit difficult.
  • As for the price, it is pricey as quality and luxury don’t come cheap. Be ready to shell out some serious dough if you’re considering this boat.

3. The Ocean Quest

Score 9.6 OUT OF 10

If you’re on a budget but still dream of exploring the Great Barrier Reef, you might like the Ocean Quest. It’s a 36m/118f catamaran that is permanently nestled amongst the reef and divers are ushered every day from Cairns.

  • Catamaran Length: 36m/118f
  • Moored on the outer barrier reef
  • Ensuite bathrooms in all cabins
  • In-house televisions for entertainment
  • Dive equipment included


  • Affordable dive option for the Great Barrier Reef
  • Included meals and dive equipment for convenience
  • Option to stay up to five night


  • Alcoholic drinks and snacks cost extra
  • No Nitrox available

4. MY Blue Pearl

Score 9.5 OUT OF 10

Embarking on a journey through the Red Sea’s picturesque diving spots is made easy by stepping aboard the MY Blue Pearl. Your diving safari is set against the backdrop of the majestic Red Sea islands, coupled with the serenity of the tropical, sea breeze-filled atmosphere.

This budget-friendly liveaboard is not only classy but also designed to cater to every diver’s needs. Loaded with ample deck room and relaxing lounge chairs, nestled under shaded areas, it proves to be a haven for divers and sun lovers alike.

Accommodating a maximum of 20 guests in ten rooms, all with en suite facilities, the MY Blue Pearl ensures plenty of room for every diver. The boat also prides itself on its extensive variety of dive gear, ready to facilitate the exploration of the diverse wrecks and reefs that make the Red sea a diver’s paradise.


  • The MY Blue Pearl hosts a culinary delight for its guests, serving buffet-style meals three times a day. The dishes range from local delicacies to western favorites, promising satisfaction for all taste buds onboard.
  • Given its diver-designed nature, the Blue Pearl provides an array of dive equipment to cater to different dive preferences. Plus, its professional crew helps divers experience the best of liveaboard boats in the Red Sea.


  • It isn’t the go-to choice for those seeking solitude and privacy. With capacity to accommodate 20 guests at a time, some might find it to be too crowded for their liking.
  • There’s a lack of dedicated and secure space for camera equipment, so you might need to plan your gear accordingly.

5. Sportsman Heritage 251

Score 9.4 OUT OF 10

Our next pick comes in the form of a center console boat, and a fine example of one too. Let’s chat about the Sportsman Heritage 251, a bit of a show-off in the boat world if you ask us.

The Sportsman Heritage 251 is not your average tub. It’s got a considerable length of 25′ 2″, which is one of the reasons it can comfortably hold up to 12 passengers. But it’s not just about space, it’s also got some serious muscle with twin outboard engines, perfect for those high-speed ocean travels.

What really sets this boat apart though, is the attention to detail. It comes with a hard-top overhead for sun protection, and a tempered glass windshield that can withstand the ocean’s mood swings. The comfort of its passengers hasn’t been ignored with soft vinyl seats that are just a treat to sink into. Also, its well-planned design includes a side dive door, built with rugged reinforcements and sturdy hinges, making it ideal for diving excursions.


  • Seats up to 12 passengers comfortably
  • Robust twin outboard engines for powerful performance
  • A well-crafted dive door built into the hull for easy dive access
  • Ample storage for your gear and catch
  • Comfortable lounging options with soft vinyl seats


  • Its size may pose maneuverability challenges in tight spaces
  • Potentially higher maintenance costs due to twin engines

6. Lowe SF 234

Score 9.5 OUT OF 10

This here is an exemplary model of a pontoon boat with modifications to meet the diver’s needs. Now, don’t get us wrong, it’s not all bells and whistles since it’s primarily designed for fishing. But some smart additions set it up as a decent choice for hobbyist divers.

Kicking things off, we’ve got a boat that measures a good 23 feet 7 inches in length. This essentially means you’ve got room to stretch out, party a bit, or store your fishing rods and equipment. And with a seating capacity for up to 12 people, you can be the popular guy or gal who always has room for more.

The Lowe SF 234 isn’t just a pretty face, though. This beast comes with four pedestal-mounted fishing seats and a 13-gallon live well to keep your catches fresh. For the fishing enthusiasts among us, it also offers a rod locker and built-in tackle storage. But most importantly for us divers, it boasts dive doors on both the port and starboard side. 


  • This pontoon boat, with its ample seating capacity, is ideal for group diving expeditions or even just a fun day out on the water.
  • With dive doors on both sides, one could argue that it offers more flexibility than the usual stern door configuration.
  • The spacious decking provides you with ample room for storing equipment and gear, provided you’re okay with a bit of clutter.
  • Being primarily a fishing boat, it comes with rod holders and other fishing amenities that you might find useful.


  • Though the Lowe SF 234 facilitates diving, it lacks purpose-built features specifically for diving.
  • The boat might feel a bit overcrowded when the diving gear comes in along with a full headcount.
  • The unconventional placement of the dive doors (on the port and starboard side) might be a little tricky to maneuver for some divers.
  • Without designated spaces for storing equipment, things could get messy on board with the gear lying around.

Key Factors to Consider Before Buying a Dive Boat

Before you shell out a hefty sum on a dive boat, you’ve got to scratch beneath the surface. Ask yourself, what are you really looking for in a boat? If it’s just a way to get from point A to B, you might be better off with a ferry ticket. But if you crave convenience, comfort, functionality, and hey, a little bit of style, then you need to sift through your options carefully.

Look out for boats that offer ample space, easy to get on and off, and with bountiful storage options. Your scuba gear and dive equipment will appreciate the extra room. Also, be mindful of the boat’s design. Boats specifically for diving usually have swim platforms and easy access features that make the pre and post-dive transitions smooth. Consider an inflatable boat too, they’re light, easy to maneuver, and offer plenty of space for crew members and their gear.

Size and Built

When it comes to dive boats, size and build matter a lot. The bigger the boat, the more divers it can accommodate. Yet, it’s not just about the number of divers a boat can handle. It’s also about providing enough room for gear storage, dive equipment, and a comfortable dive deck spacious enough to prep and jump into the water. Too big, and you get into problems with maneuverability and docking. Too small, and you’ll be left wanting for space, especially after that first dive when everyone’s gear is wet and bulky. Let’s just say, you’re looking for that Goldilocks size – not too big, not too small, just right.

Cost & Maintenance

Buying a dive boat isn’t like buying a kayak for a weekend adventure. It’s an investment. And like any other investment, you have to consider not just the upfront cost, but also what it’s going to cost you in the long run. This includes things like fuel, storage, insurance, and maintenance. Depending on the size and type of boat, these expenses can add up quickly. It’s important to remember that like with any other recreational activities, diving is a passion. But it doesn’t mean you have to sell your house to afford it. Matching your budget with the right boat is a balancing act but definitely doable.

Boat Features Relevant to Diving

Down to the nitty gritty, the features. Your diving boat needs to have certain features that go beyond aesthetics. First off, dive doors. These are essential as they provide easy water access and, importantly, a somewhat non-strenuous way to get back on board. Then there’s deck areas. These should be spacious enough to facilitate pre-dive preparations and post-dive gear storage. Some boats specifically designed for diving also have special storage areas for your gear. Power boats and pontoon boats are common picks among divers for these reasons. The key is to look for a boat that offers comfort, functionality, and safety suited for diving.

Dive Doors and Platforms

Going back to the subject of dive doors, these are more than a fancy feature on a boat. They’re the best solution for a swift and safe entry and exit from the water. A boat with a dive door and a dive platform is like having a high-end car with power steering and anti-lock brakes – they just make the whole diving experience smoother. In terms of the type of boat, power boats and pontoon boats often feature dive doors and large deck areas. Make sure to choose a vessel that is properly equipped for your planned diving locations, whether that’s exploring the Indonesian Archipelago or the intriguing depths under Raja Ampat. And always remember, safety should never be compromised.

Safety Rails and Grips

A good diving boat isn’t just made for a smooth dive experience. It’s also built keeping safety in mind. And that’s where things like safety rails and grips come in. These fixtures can make all the difference when you’re gearing up on a wobbly deck or trying to climb back in with your gear. They’re the helping hand you need when your own two are already occupied. A boat without them is like a pick-up truck with no tailgate. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where's the best place to dive with a liveaboard?

Some of the best diving spots are located a bit offshore and not that easy to reach. If we have to pick, we’d widely recommend Thailand, Maldives, Indonesia, Philippines, Fiji, Australia, Egypt. Each offers a unique diving experience that you just can’t get from a short boat trip. So, get yourself on a liveaboard and discover the underwater treasures these places have in store.

If you’re just starting and don’t have your open water license yet, you should sort that out first. You’ve got to learn to walk before you can run, right? Now, if you’ve got your license but you’re still a tad green behind the gills, don’t sweat it. There’re plenty of liveaboard trips that cater to beginners, too. Just make sure to do your homework before booking.

With so many fabulous liveaboards sailing the seven seas, it’s tough to pick just one. Yet, there are a few that caught our fancy. We’re quite smitten with the MSV Amira, Ocean Sapphire, and MV Galapagos. They offer some of the best diving experiences in the world. But don’t take our word for it; hop on one of these and see for yourself.

It depends on various factors like the type, size, and condition of the boat. A decent, well-maintained used diving boat could set you back anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 or even more. But If you’re in the market for a shiny new one, be prepared to dig a bit deeper.

As self-proclaimed boat enthusiasts, we’re always asked this one. There are several key factors to consider like the size, build, and dive-friendly features. A diving boat should have a dive door or platform for easy entry and exit. Safety rails and grips are also crucial to help divers maintain balance. Let’s not forget the cost and maintenance, because let’s face it – boats are not cheap.


In the end, choosing the best boat for diving comes down to personal preference, dive spots, and specific requirements. The top-notch boats we have explored, ranging from the elegant Everglades 295 Center console with its state-of-art features, to the amazing Lowe SF 234 pontoon boat, all offer unique features that cater to different needs. You might want a boat with deluxe cabins or double cabins to accommodate your group or a small, sturdy vessel for solo ventures. The sea of selection is vast, just like the sea creatures you are yearning to discover beneath the waves.

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