Diving Abroad

This section contains resources and guidance for members considering diving in other parts of the world.

Selecting a location

While anywhere in the world that has a coastline is pretty fair game, unless your remote expeditionary skills are of an exceptional level, it's probably best to choose somewhere that caters for the traveling diver, and has appropriate facilities.

You may already have somewhere in mind, but if not, then have a look at the following pages:

Holiday companies we have used, or heard good things about -

Holiday Advice

You should first check out the safety of your intended destination. Look at the Foreign and Commonweath Office website at:

You should go through this web site in detail reading, at minimum, any country advice (note any visa requirements), and the "Before you go" section.

Details of vaccinations and other health advice can be found at

Adequate insurance, covering SCUBA diving is essential. Your chosen holiday company will offer this, but check out the specific SCUBA details, and coverage will vary. Alternatively you can take out the BSAC Travel Insurance.

Be sure that your equipment is adequately insured. Normal travel insurance pays out to a maximum of 200 per lost bag, and it is easy to pack SCUBA equipment worth ten times that into a normal dive bag. You may find it cheaper to insure your equipment under an "all-risks" section of your household insurance rather than cover it under your travel insurance.

Planning and Packing

If you are planning for a group, then see Trip Tips on the BSAC website, which also contains a fairly comprehensive What-To-Take Checklist.

Don't forget to take a suitable selection of medicines with you covering likely events such as cuts and stings and upset tummies.

Diving Abroad

Sea temperatures will vary considerably. Make sure that you know the water temperature that is expected for your destination, and take appropriate thermal protection.

There are lots of sharp corals, and creature with stinging cells, so a full coverage wetsuit is recommended over a "shortie". Full protection is even more important at night, as unseen dangers can cause painful injuries.

Many find that a thin (1mm) neoprene hood makes a big difference to keeping warm, and will also stop water flushing in and out of the ears, protecting from ear infections.

Particularly warm climates may encourage ear infections, especially if there is plenty of plankton in the water, or you spend a lot of time snorkelling. Rinsing the ears after diving using a mixture of 50% surgical spirit and 50% white vinegar is very effective in preventing infections, and the mixture will also help kill some infections in their early stages.

Breezes at sea will make it feel cooler than on land, but the sun is still as fierce, and there is a considerable risk of sunburn unless adequate precautions are taken.

(a) It is very easy to become dehydrated, dangerous when diving, so be sure to carry and drink plenty of water. You will also lose salts, so take some sort of salt replacement (Diarolyte from the chemist, or Isostar from a health shop).

(b) The greater clarity and warmth of tropical waters can easily lure the unwary northern diver into exceeding depth, overstaying bottom time, or both.

Due to (a) and (b) above, there is the potential for an increased risk of decompression illness. Treatment facilities in most parts of the world are unlikely to be up to the standards of the UK, and may be a considerable distance and time away. It would be sensible therefore to limit your diving to 30 metres, plan to spend the last half of your dive to be in less than 15 metres, and to make adequate safety stops.

If you are using a computer, which is highly recommended, then do not allow your "no-fly" time to accumulate to unnecessary levels - miss a dive to help reduce it if needs be. Don't forget to leave a long surface interval - 24 hours or more - before flying home. Follow the advice and Safe Diving Practices of your training agency.

  • Don't provoke any marine creature - it may well bite back. (see SCUBADOC for first aid)
  • Don't touch or pick up anything unless you are sure of what it is.
  • Avoid walking on shallow reefs as corals and other fragile reef species can easily break and it damages the reef top.
  • Maintain perfect buoyancy control when diving so as to keep clear from the reef.
  • Make sure that you are correctly weighted, aiding proper buoyancy.
  • Avoid any equipment, such as octopus & consoles, dragging across the reef.
  • Never stand, sit, rest on or touch living reef species. Coral may have a hard skeleton, but the soft-tissue polyp may be injured and die from infections. If you need to steady yourself, use your finger-tips on bare rock.
  • Avoid kicking up sand, it may settle on corals and other reef animals and suffocate them.
  • Avoid feeding fish. This disrupts natural behaviour and can upset the ecological balance of species on reefs