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Thailand has a lot to offer tourists, but for those who head for Similan & Surin Islands and Phuket, the things to enjoy are the white, sandy beaches, and the warm tropical waters. Great for diving, as anyone who’s ever been aboard a Similan Liveaboard will tell you.

But, even if you want to go diving real bad, you shouldn’t just jump into the water. Diving, like any activity, has risks associated with it, and if you want to get the best experience from it, you’ll want to be prepared. Here’s some tips to help with that.

Reef Protection Guidelines

Anyone who’s going to do some diving, whether or not they’re part of a diving company, need to conduct proper behaviour when diving, in order to ensure that the marine ecosystem doesn’t die out. These tips are for Phuket, but they’re a good guideline for anywhere else in Thailand you might be diving in.

  • Don’t provoke the marine life; it could sting or bite back.
  • Don’t pick up or touch anything, save for manmade litter.
  • Don’t walk on shallow reefs; the corals and reef species here break easy and die.
  • Always have good buoyancy control so as to keep clear of the reef.
  • Don’t drag any equipment along the reef.
  • Never put your weight on reef species; no standing, sitting or resting on them.
  • Don’t kick up sand; it settles on the corals and animals and suffocates them.
  • Don’t feed the fish; this disrupts natural behaviour.

Exposure protection

The waters near Similan Island and Phuket are warm, and clear, usually sitting at around 28 – 30º C, people diving from their Similan Liveaboard don’t really need heavy-duty exposure protection. Some people manage just find with just plain ol’ beachwear, or just a short 3mm neoprene suit. If you’re going to be diving multiple times, sensitive to rapid heat loss or have low blood pressure, opt for a full body 3mm wetsuit.

Dehydration

Surprise, it’s a risk. It’s a big risk for diving, actually. The sea breeze might mask it, but the sun is just as strong under the water. That’s why you want to drink as much water as you can if you’re going to dive, since the air in scuba tanks is filtered and dry, meaning you’ll lose a fair amount of water just by breathing. Recommendation is a litre of water before any dive, and 3-4 litres over the rest of the day.