Maldives Snorkeling Liveaboard – Skip the Dive Boat

Booking yourself a Maldives snorkeling liveaboard boat is a great way to see the diverse sea life of this destination. The problem is, there are well over 100 liveaboard boats, but none are dedicated to snorkeling. And going on a dive boat will not be anywhere near as good an experience as we had with all snorkelers.

Maldives Snorkeling Liveaboard - yachts at anchor

How Did We Find One?

School of Black Pyramid Butterflyfish in the Maldives

We had a travel agent and experienced snorkeler friend who booked our Maldives snorkeling liveaboard exclusively for snorkelers. We do not know of a dedicated snorkeling liveaboard boat operating in the Maldives currently. But if you can gather a large enough group of snorkelers, you could book an entire yacht with snorkelers.

If your heart is set on a liveaboard snorkeling trip, you could consider the ones on this page. The reefs in the Maldives have been badly damaged by coral bleaching events, which you can read about more on our main Maldives snorkeling page. Our snorkeling trips partner does not run trips to the Maldives because of that. There are many destinations with much healthier reefs now.


Why Not Just Go on a Diving Boat?

After all, they all say snorkelers are welcome. But what happens is that they will not always go to shallow reefs that are needed for enjoyable snorkeling. Instead you will only get to snorkel where they take divers, which is often too deep for snorkeling. The priority is always on the divers. If it was a good option, we would certainly say do it. But it is a very expensive trip and a difficult place to get to, so we say do it right.

Bow of a Maldives liveaboard with crew member anchoring

Maldives Snorkeling Liveaboard or Resort?

But if you are going to travel to the Maldives for snorkeling, organizing a Maldives snorkeling liveaboard is smart because you get to see a wide range of reefs and islands all while living, eating, and traveling on a comfortable boat.

Staying on a resort island with a great house reef is also nice, but more limited in the number and variety of reefs you can snorkel.

If you find this page helpful, you will also like our free monthly snorkeling newsletter.

Snorkelers eating a meal on the stern of a Maldives liveaboard yacht

What Was It Like?

Oriental Sweetlips fish in the Maldives

We spent 10 wonderful days with 18 other snorkelers on our Maldives snorkeling liveaboard. We snorkeled 2-4 times a day, and traveled over 200 nautical miles through many different atolls in the Maldives. We started in Huvadhoo Atoll in the south and made our way north through Laamu, Thaa, Mulaku (Meemu), Felidhe (Vaavu), South Male and North Male Atolls, where we ended our journey in Male. The crew was amazing, and the food was excellent. Overall a great experience.

The main liveaboard boat travels with a smaller boat, called a dhoni in the Maldives, that takes you to the snorkeling spots everyday.

Colorful dhoni boat in the Maldives
Snorkelers getting ready on the dhoni day boat

Snorkeling Sunburns Suck!

Check out the snorkeling rash guards and reef safe sunscreen we use to protect ourselves and to protect fish and coral from sunscreen chemicals.

Whale Shark spotted from a Maldives snorkeling liveaboard

Be prepared for a lot of snorkeling! Often when you leave the main boat on the dhoni, you will snorkel two spots before returning to the main boat for a meal. Night snorkeling is a possibility too. Before every snorkel the crew gives you a briefing about the reef you will be snorkeling and what you might encounter for currents.

A unique and incredible experience that makes a Maldives snorkeling liveaboard a great choice is the opportunity to see and snorkel with Whale Sharks.

We understand that the Whale Shark snorkeling in South Ari Atoll is a bit of a madhouse with so many boats looking for them. And then when they find one, all the snorkelers from many boats get in the water at the same time to swim with the creature. Being in the water with so many other snorkelers trying to get a look at the Whale Shark, you get knocked around, not to mention the poor creature getting harassed.

But one evening, on our Maldives snorkeling liveaboard, the crew put out a bright light on the back deck of the boat to attract plankton that the Whale Sharks like to feed on. And when they showed up the crew woke us up so we could come see them. What an amazing and unique experience it was. We did not swim with them because the night was stormy and the water very choppy, but the previous boat full of snorkelers had the opportunity to snorkel with them.

Whale Shark in the water off the stern of a Maldives snorkeling liveaboard with people watching on deck

Here is a video we got of the experience:

We definitely recommend organizing a Maldives snorkeling liveaboard. You get to see a lot of the best the country has to offer.

Staghorn coral on a sandy bottom surrounded with damselfish in the Maldives

More Maldives Snorkeling Tips