Scuba Tips to Plan Your Maui Vacation
Maui Scuba Diving Checklist
The flight and hotel are all set, and it is time to plan your Maui scuba diving adventure. Are there specific dive sites you would like to visit? Which dive company will you choose? What should you pack for scuba diving during your trip? Are you new to diving and just looking for the best beginner dive experience? Properly preparing for diving during your Maui vacation will ensure the best experience for you and your family. Here are some tips on how to prepare for your next scuba diving holiday. Keep this list handy so that you can refer back to it next time you plan a trip to Maui.
1. Research Maui Dive Sites: Shore Dives vs. Boat Dives
Scuba diving in Maui offers options! Whether you are a brand new diver, a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, you can find the perfect dive site. For example, shore diving sites in West Maui are ideal for non-certified and certified divers, whereas boat dives like Molokini Crater Backwall and Lana’i Cathedrals may require you to have an Advanced scuba certification!
Maui has as many shore dives as boat dives, so pay attention to whether or not the Maui dive shop you choose offers both or just one. Banyan Tree Divers Maui, for example, only facilitates shore diving tours. We can help you with boat diving referrals, but we do not offer this service unless you charter a boat privately. Contact us if private boat diving interests you.
We always recommend shore diving for beginner divers in Maui. Non-certified divers get to experience shallow depths with calm conditions. So shore diving in Lahaina is also great for people who get seasick on boats!
For certified divers, we recommend both options! First, go for two shore dives. Along the Maui coastline, you can see tons of sea life, like Hawaiian Green Turtles and White Tip Reef Sharks! Second, book a day of boat dives to visit the iconic sites of Lanai.
For a more comprehensive description of Maui’s shore diving sites, check out our blog post, Maui Shore Diving: Official Guide. See the popular Maui Information Guide for an excellent description of boat and shore dive sites.
2. Choose a Maui Dive Shop or Service
Researching dive companies on Maui can be dizzying. There are MANY options! Choosing the best dive company for you depends on what you are looking for in a scuba diving experience on your Maui vacation. Reading reviews is an excellent place to start. TripAdvisor and Google do not filter their results, so what you read comes from previous guests.
Call the company ahead of time and get a feel for what they offer and their availability. For example, we operate a dive service, so we can answer any questions and help guide you in the right direction if you are looking for something we cannot provide.
You can find a variety of Maui dive shop sizes. Perhaps you are a solo diver looking for a dive operation with abundant options and availability. In this case, it might be helpful to go with a dive shop that offers shore and boat diving, as well as a variety of time slots to fit your vacation schedule. If you are looking for a boutique operation with more personalized attention, then a smaller dive service is the way to go.
Perhaps you are a couple or a family looking to scuba dive together for the first time. West Maui shore diving is perfect for first-time divers. There are several excellent shore diving operations in the Lahaina area. Often your decision will come down to price comparison. Our competitive prices reflect our service quality, the added benefit of guaranteed small groups, and private diving options. If you are looking for the cheapest deal, then we might not be the service for you. But if you are looking for a safe, memorable highlight of your Maui vacation, then we can’t wait to style you out!
No matter if you choose a Maui dive shop or service, take the time to do a little research and make sure they reflect the scuba diving experience you hope to have during your Maui vacation.
3. Packing Dive Equipment for Your Maui Vacation
The date for your Maui Vacation is quickly approaching. It’s time to pack and get your dive gear ready. What follows is a good packing list for various levels of dive experience. The first three listed items apply to all scuba divers, while the rest apply mainly to certified divers bringing equipment from home.
Ocean temperatures in Hawai’i range from 76 to 82 degrees, depending on the time of year you visit the islands. It’s common for all Lahaina dive shops to provide wetsuits for your scuba dive. 3mm shortie wetsuits are perfect for summer in Maui, while 3mm full-length wetsuits get offered during the winter months of January to March.
♦Reef Safe Sunscreen
Starting in 2021, the Hawai’i ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate sunscreens will go into effect. Yay! Be sure that the sunscreen you are using contains only zinc or titanium dioxide. Avobenzone is also an ingredient to avoid and is often found in so-called “reef-safe” sunscreens, even though it is also harmful to reefs.
♦Mask and Snorkel (if you have one)
A comfortable mask is your most important piece of scuba equipment, so bring your mask and snorkel if you have them! However, reputable dive operations rent quality scuba masks that rarely fog and have comfortable mask straps that don’t pull your hair. Do you wonder if our dive service falls into this category? Why yes, yes we do!
♦Dive Boots and Fins
Fins are tricky. They take up a ton of space in your luggage, but it’s nice to have them for both snorkeling and diving. If you don’t mind packing them, they are nice to have but keep in mind that you can rent snorkel equipment for a nominal fee from the Snorkel Store, Boss Frog’s, or Snorkel Bob’s dive companies provide fins for you. Banyan Tree Divers Maui provides the added luxury of dive boots to protect your feet and high-quality open-heel fins from Mares, Aqua Lung, and other trusted scuba brands. Dive boots are necessary for shore diving in Maui. Be wary of dive companies that don’t provide boots to protect your feet.
Whether or not to bring a wetsuit depends on personal preference. A wetsuit tends to take up a lot of space in your luggage, and it’s annoying to have to worry about drying it thoroughly before you return home. If you are like me and need a 5mm thick wetsuit no matter how warm the water is, then packing a wetsuit can be a bit of a pain. However, it is nice to know that the only person who has worn your wetsuit is you. Do you need to bring it? Probably not. Do you have space for it? Then why not pack it?
If you have made it to the point in your adoration for scuba diving that you have invested in scuba equipment, then congratulations! Welcome to the club of fun, adventurous, and often quirky enthusiasts. Before you pack your regulator:
Is the needle moving when you breathe from it? If not, you are good to go. The pressure gauge needle should NOT move when you test your regulator. Always remember to replace the dust cap!
The importance of soaking and rinsing your BCD with fresh water immediately after diving will make itself apparent when you get your BCD out of storage. If you neglect this simple step in equipment care, you might have problems putting your BCD back into use. Saltwater is incredibly detrimental to your dive equipment. Failing to rinse your BCD inside and out can lead to excessive salt deposits, undermining the material’s integrity. It is also a good idea to test your BCD with a tank to make sure it isn’t self-inflating.
Conversely, you will want to make sure that your BCD is holding air. Avoid leaks in your BCD with proper fresh water washing and careful handling. If your BCD is self-inflating, you will want to have the LPI connector replaced at your local dive shop repair station.
A dive computer should be the most prized possession in your scuba arsenal because it allows you to plan and execute dives safely! I would argue that a dive computer should be one piece of equipment in which avid divers first invest. They are easy to pack and give you peace of mind in every dive you make. Make sure the battery gets fully charged and set to dive mode. If you recently purchased a new computer, take some time to read the instructions first!
4. What Else Could I Forget?
♦Scuba Certification Card
|Don’t forget that you will need to show proof of your dive experience. Be sure to pack your scuba certification card or purchase a digital copy of your card from your certification agency. PADI provides an app containing all the proof of your dive training in one place.|
♦Dive Insurance Paperwork
|DAN is the most widely used provider of scuba diving insurance. If you decide to purchase dive accident insurance, then bring that information to Maui.|
♦First Aid Kit
|Dive operations maintain a first-aid kit in the unlikely and unfortunate event you encounter a sea urchin or take a spill exiting from the water. However, it is a good idea to have your own travel first aid kit for possible post-dive wound care.|
♦Log Book or Log Book App
|Your logbook proves your dive experience and acts as your dive journal. But many certified divers do not take the time to record their scuba diving history, which is nonsense! Keep a record of your memories in your logbook. After a few Maui vacations you will be thankful for it!|
A lot goes into planning a Maui vacation, and taking the time to prepare sets you and your family up for a successful and stress-free trip. I hope you have found this preparation list helpful. Click HERE for an excellent, printable scuba diving vacation checklist that will save you some time. Thank you for reading!