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June 15th, 2003, 05:25 PM

can somebody help me with more info. on diving in Dubai?

I would like to come in touch with someone who has exprience in diving in Dubai!

Plz PM me!


June 16th, 2003, 01:19 AM

About diving in Dubai... Unfortunately we dont have any corals or anything of that sort but we sure do have nice Wreck Dives and artificial reef...

There are numerous dive Schools in Dubai, however, you might want to consider diving on the EAST COAST (Fujeirah). There is a good Dive school there (SCUBA INTERNATIONAL), they do have some nicer reef dive sites there. In the East Coast, you will be diving the Indian ocean rather than the Persian gulf.

Hope this helps.

June 11th, 2006, 09:35 AM
just came back from Dubai. there is Al Boom diving centre next to Iranian Ambassy :)
very profesional and affrordable. great service, worth try.

July 30th, 2006, 01:24 PM
I wouldn't recommend Al Boom. Its a kind of Tourist rip-off company and they are in fact very unprofessional. Had quiet some accidents and even death in the last years.

If you come as a tourist, you might join Pavillion Dive Center in the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. But much better join Divers Down. The do all kinds and all levels of dive trips all around the UAE and Oman.

July 30th, 2006, 01:50 PM
Sandy Beach Hotel
+971 (971) 2445050
Al-Aqqa Fujairah
United Arab Emirates

I've been here and it was nice. It's not a five star hotel but if you want something inexpensive, that place is the ticket. You can walk right outside from your room and beach dive. Boat trips available as well. More comments from me (

See Diving Heidi's comments ( back in June. She hasn't been there that long.

Have fun!


Dubai Diver
September 23rd, 2006, 07:20 AM
Firstly, let me just say that BoMo is way out of line slagging off Al Boom Diving like he does.

Claiming that Al Boom has had many accidents is a blatant lie and on top of that, he tries to blame Al Boom Diving for the tragic death of a dive club member (a member of the dive club did indeed die on an overnight dive trip arranged by Al Boom, but his death were contributed to a medical issue and neither Al Boom staff nor the other divers taking part in the dive were to blame for the persons death. All safety protocols and procedures were followed and every attempt was made to revive the diver, both by Al Boom staff, by other divers with medical training and by local hospital staff. The death of this very experienced diver was very tragic and it is very sad to see that some people attempt at promoting some dive centers over others on that background).

With that out of the way, my advise on "what is the best dive center in the UAE" are as follows:

If i was going diving in the Gulf off the coast of Dubai, Pavillion Dive center would be my choice. For East Coast and Musandam I would choose Al Boom Diving. Divers Down is also a good option for diving on the East Coast - Paul, the owner, runs a good operation, but facilities and boats are not as good as Al Boom and Pavillion.

on the issue of prices, there is not much difference in price between the serious dive operators.... diving trips and courses are generally more expensive in Dubai/UAE when compared to other destinations, but this is due to the higher operating costs that UAE dive centres are facing. If you are looking for a bargain, UAE is generally not the right place....

Anyone interested can log on to my website ( where i am trying to compile some info on diving here..

September 26th, 2006, 10:05 AM
I also like the Sandy Beach Motel. They have a dive shop right next to the beach and a shore dive (the only one in UAE that I know of) at Snoopy island in front of the hotel. Most of the pictures on the following page my website were taken on this shore dive. I also did some boat diving with Al boom and didn't have a problem. They didn't "baybysit" us or hold our hands like they do in some tropical destinations. They let us swim where we wanted and do what we wanted since we were adults. That's what I like in a charter.

October 12th, 2006, 01:38 PM
I live in Dubai myself and used Pavilion (Dubai), Divers Down(Khor Fhakkan) and Al Boom (Al Aqqa).
I do most of my diving in Dubai since I don't really like the 180km drive to the other side. However diving is a lot more diverse on the east coast.
As to who to use, for me it really does not matter a lot, except for the size of shops each one has there really is not much difference.

Happy diving!

January 9th, 2007, 06:50 AM
Diving in the Emirates & Musandam--Part I (due to size limitaions on posts)

The Emirates don’t exactly offer world class diving, but if traveling through the UAE and you find the urge to get wet, here’s the low down on my experience diving in the Emirates from Jan. 3-6, 2007:

• Jan. 3, 2007: Fujeirah (UAE East Coast trip) booked through Al Boom Diving in Dubai (5 Star PADI Gold Palm Resort). Tel: +971-4-342-2993. E-mail: Website:

Professional operator. Promptly responded to all e-mails. They no longer book dives in Dubai because the dredging and building projects don’t make for good diving fish life or viz wise. They run trips to the Musandam Penninsula in Oman if they have enough people (usually on Friday) but otherwise run daily trips to Fujeirah where they operate the Dive Centre at the Al Aqah Meridien. Cost is 250 dirhams for two tanks dive if you have your own gear and just need tanks and weights. Otherwise 300 dirhams. They arrange transport to and from Dubai leaving at 6:45 AM and getting back at around 5:30 PM for an extra 100 Dirhams. Two tank dive and transport to/from Dubai includes lunch.

There is a nice, clean locker room, shower and toilet at the Al Aqah Meridien Dive Center in Fujeirah. You get there about 9:00, meet the dive guests from the hotel, suit up and board a 25 seater speedboat at 9:30. There are individual dive cubbyholes on board the boat and space for everyone to sit down but not room for dry stuff so leave it in the locker room. There are no toilets or showers on board. Juice and water provided on board.

It’s about 30 minutes to Martini Rock, a staple of UAE East Coast diving. (So called either because the rock looks like the bottom of a Martini bottle or because it was a spot where expats used to repair to drink forbidden alcohol). The rock is also in Martini Bay, so take your pick as to what rationale you prefer). Water was 23C and air temp. 21 and cooler going at high speeds in the wind so dress accordingly. They rent 5 MM suits and most people were cold diving in winter with these suits. The rest of the year it should be fine. Best time to dive in the UAE is March-April.

Viz was 6-8 metres and there was a lot of plankton and sediment in the water. Lots of eels, scorpionfish, nudibranchs, lionfish, and purple soft coral and long sea grass.on one side of the rock. Large porcupine pufferfish as well. There are also non stinging jelly fish on the surface. Considering this is just about the UAE’s signature dive, it’s a bit disappointing. The profusion of black sea urchin with red eyes indicates the reef is not healthy (they feed on algae). Bottom depth is 72 feet.

We then headed back to the hotel for an hour to change tanks and have lunch (cheese and ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit and cookies with tea and coffee included in the dive package price). Picked up some new hotel guests and dropped off a few too.

Next dive was Sharm which is a 5-10 minute boat ride from the hotel. Lots of box fish, flounder, eels, urchins, sea slugs, false Moorish idol, hunting bat fish. Again water had lots of plankton.

The head dive master was a nice but very laid back German. He did a one minute briefing on both dives but otherwise kept to himself. Fortunately, there are a profusion of friendly Filipino Instructors and DMs who do all the heavy lifting. Filipinos also run the office and shop. One DM/Instructor will guide 4 divers.

Bottom line: professional operator. Nice boat and good facilities. Let down by head DM who while pleasant doesn’t do much for his guests.

• Jan. 4, 2007: Khor Fakkan booked through Divers Down, Oceanic Hotel, Khor Fakkan, Sharjah (PADI Gold Palm). Tel. +971-9-2-37-02-99. Mobile: +971-50-5-53-16-88. E-mail: Website:

I had to arrange my own transport to get here. It’s a about a 2 hour drive from Dubai and a taxi will cost about 300-350 Dirhams (and will wait for you for 6-7 hours and drive you back for the same price at no extra charge). I used Faruk (from Bombay) as my taxi driver over four days and was pleased with his courteous, reliable, on time service. His brother drives a limo and took me to Khor Fakkan when Faruk’s taxi was being serviced for the same price. Mobile: Tel. +971-50-7841863.

This dive center is run by Brits, Americans and South Africans. They are very efficient at responding to e-mails. They run weekend charters to Musandam Penninsula but need a minimum of 5 divers for this. Otherwise they do 3 dives a day at 9:30, 12:30 and 2:30. Cost 250 dirhams for two tanks with gear or 220 dirhams if you have your own gear.

The dive facility is more spacious than that at Al Aqah but the changing rooms and toilets (shared with resort guest) are not scrupulously cleaned by the Oceanic Hotel as they are at the Al Aqah Meridien and are therefore dirty with sand and water by midday. The staff will keep your valuables in their safe. They have a good selection of rental gear. The boats are really small (no toilet or showers) and there is no room for dry stuff or even seats for everyone or individual dive cubby holes on board. We had 12 people and most had to sit scrunched up on the floor of the boat surrounded by dive gear. However, the boat rides are short (10 minutes) and the staff is very adept at getting everyone’s gear on and in the water quickly. Note, you have to carry your own tanks on and off board. If there is surf, this means a swim with all your gear to the boat and back! The divemaster will help elderly or frail guests. Water and fresh orange slices served on board.

Due to last minute cancellations I was alone for my first dive (Extra guiding charge 20 Dirhams if you have no buddy). We dove the Inch Cape II wreck—a tender for the oil tankers off Fujeirah. No penetration on this shallow wreck (Imax depth 52 feet). Lots of scorpionfish, nudibranchs, lionfish. Viz was 8-10 metres which the Instructor told me was very good. Lots of sediment in the water. Note that a DM doesn’t guide guests unless you pay extra (20 Dirhams for this). They will assign you a buddy and off you go.

Headed back to have an hour surface interval, change tanks and pick up more divers. Free coffee and tea but no lunch included in the price of the dive package. Next dive was … that staple of UAE East Coast diving, Martini Rock! It’s on the Fujeirah/Sharjah border. See my description above. The only difference is this time we saw a turtle.

Bottom line: good operator; friendly, competent staff but boat small & cramped. New divers might not be comfortable not being guided by a DM.

See Part II for more info. on UAE operators.

Dubai Diver
January 10th, 2007, 01:41 AM
Hi Poleinahole.. really good on.. the UAE is not the place to go for a diving holiday, but if a diver is here for other reasons, then you should of course go for a dive as there is stuff to see down there...just dont expect the viz to be fantastic.
When are you posting part two ? Eager to hear what you think of Musandam. Most local divers rate Musandam as being better than Al Aqah and Khor Fakkan...

January 10th, 2007, 10:40 PM
I actually quite liked the diving of the East Coast of the UAE. Sure, it's not a place you'd go half-way around the world just to dive, but if you're in the area and you're a diver, you can have an interesting time. I even liked it better than the Great Barrier Reef day trips, and divers are lining up for those.

January 11th, 2007, 05:28 PM
This is Part II of my dive report on diving with different operators in the UAE the first week of Jan. 2007.

I didn't make it to Musandam for the reasons mentioned below, but have included contact numbers and names of operators who go there. Also, I did dive in Oman in Jan. 2005 with Global Scuba in Muscat. The diving was much better than the UAE (even the East Coastbecause the reefs were healthier, there were more fish and the viz was much better), but it ain't the Red Sea, Carribean, Pacific, etc. Global Scuba is French run (but the family spend a long time in the US) and they were friendly and competent and arranged all necessary permits to dive in Omna. But they had a very small boat and were experiencing some teething problems as a new operator (ie. they tried picking up some guests from the beach at the Hilton and the dive operator there caused a lot of hassle and delayed us leaving for our dive). I expect this has been sorted as I have heard good things about this operator and they keep sending me information about their growing dive services, like Junior Open Water for kids 10 and up and EANX diving courses. E-mail: Mobile: +968-929-76251

Now back to the UAE...

• Jan. 5, 2007 Dubai, Pavilion Divers, Jumeirah Beach Club that’s the 5 star next to the 7 star hotel). Tel. +971-4-406-8827. E-mail: diving@the Website: PADI Gold Palm Resort.

I had signed up for a day trip to Musandam which this dive centre supposedly runs weekly. I received “confirmation” only to find out the evening before this dive when I called to double check that everything was okay that had been called off that day due to lack of sufficient number of passengers. (The boat takes 25 but they sometimes go with 15). Considering there were only three people booked, they could have called this off sooner allowing us to plan alternatives. Certainly Al Boom diving and Divers Down could tell you a week in advance if they were going to Musandam or not. Therefore be warned: a confirmation from Pavilion Divers just means they have your credit card details and info.on file but is not a confirmation that you are actually leaving to dive in Oman!). Otherwise, they were quick to respond to e-mail bookings by e-mail but not general questions (e.g. “Do you have afternoon dives?”—answer no, but had to call to find out.)

I therefore signed up for a local Dubai dive. We were supposed to do a new deep wreck dive, the Miriam Express, but problems with the coast guard prevented us from going out for an hour by which time it was too late to go there. (There was a ferry accident in Bahrain about 8 months ago and so the UAE is jumpy about boats. The Coast Guard is controlled by Abu Dhabi which isn’t as geared to tourists as Dubai is, hence the coast guard issues.) We therefore did the Dubai signature wreck, the Cement Barge, which is 5 minutes from the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The Dive Manager comped everyone capucinos, hot chocolates, etc. by way of apologizing for the delay. Divers signed up for the Advanced Class who needed to dive a deep wreck and now couldn’t were also comped their dive, so they were very customer friendly for an incident which was not their fault. Pavilion Divers has a couple of course directors on staff so this is where many of the UAE Instructors get trained.

The Cement Barge is at 40 feet. Viz is terrible. Imagine a sandstorm and fog in the middle of the desert, add a wreck, a few solidified cement bags (which caused the barge to sink) and stir with salt water. Voila, that’s the Cement Barge. There are no coral grows in Dubai because of all the dredging activity which also means the viz is terrible (1 meter max). We dove this wreck twice. The water was colder (18C) than on the East Coast and many people refused to do a second dive due to cold and poor conditions. This operator has a nice boat (but small with no room for dry stuff, showers or toilets), but then you don’t need a big boat with more amenities for short distances. They gave us fruit (melon) to feed the few fish (bat fish, a few tiny barracuda, snapper) and served fresh croissants and coffee during the surface interval. Like Al Boom they had one DM for every four divers. You will feel like a millionaire pulling into the Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s port with all the posh yachts parked out front. This was the best part of the dive for me. Toilet and changing facilities are the best you will ever hope to find as they belong to the uber swish Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Personable DMs and Instructors coming from the US and South Africa. Cost: a princely 300 dirhams for two tanks and weights, 350 if you need to rent gear.

• Jan. 6, 2007, Ocean Diving Center, Rotana Beach Hotel, Abu Dhabi. Tel. +971-2-644-1696 or 697-9313. Mobile: +971-50-771-4795. E-mail: info@oceandiving Website:

I was eternally grateful for this new operator for taking me out at the last minute. (I called the night before to dive here given that my Musandam dive trip was cancelled). They are located in a very nice hotel on the beach (Rotana Beach Hotel, next to Abu Dhabi mall) which has a dedicated dive center with classrroms and space for gear. You use the hotel’s very nice changing facilities (includes a lovely Jacuzzi!, perfect after those chilly dives) and they will lock your valuables in the dive office.

They have a nice comfy boat with a small storage space for day packs and provide towels on board as well as water. They offer tea or coffee at the dive center.

Abu Dhabi has coral reefs and some wrecks (in excess of 20 meters) and much better viz than Dubai. First dive was Delta Buoy, about 25 minutes out. We saw schooling bat fish, a cuttlefish, angel fish, a large porcupine pufferfish and lots of sea urchins. Water was 19C. Viz. about 10 meters.

Our next dive was closer to Abu Dhabi at the breakwater. Viz was 6-8 meters and there wasn’t much to see except a lot of black sea urchins. Biggest thing I saw was a dead fish caught in an old fishing net which shows how little life there is there as it wasn’t immediately eaten up by crabs, shrimps, etc.

There was a French instructor who drove the boat and an English DM for three divers. This was the friendliest dive operation in the UAE. I had a really good day out with them they were so pleasant. They were also the cheapest. 150 dirhams for two tank dives with my own gear—which is half the cost of what Pavilion divers in Dubai was charging for a 5 minute boat ride and diving a shallow wreck with 1M viz. . (It costs 50 dirhams more if you rent gear.) Diving in Abu Dhabi is way better than diving in Dubai but not as good as the East Coast of the UAE.

Bottom Line: Overall, this was the operator I liked the best in the UAE due to the nice boat and friendly and personal service. They even helped divers clean their personal wet suits and bcds.

Other options:

• Sandy Beach Dive Center, Al Aqah Beach, Fujeirah. Al Boom used to run their dive center and it has reportedly gone downhill since they moved to the Le Meridien. Still, they offer diving (including night dives) to over 14 different sites on the East Coast daily. They run trips to Musandam and you can dive but you need to give them at least a week notice as they need to arrange tanks and weights and other equipment with another company. I have also seen comments on the web that you guide yourself on their dives. If this is the case, I don’t know how they deal with solo divers. Martie Stokes, the Operations Manager of the Sandy beach hotel for Diving was reasonably efficient in responding to e-mail questions. E-mail: Tel. +971-9-244-5555. Mobile: +971-50-455-3596.

• Charlotte Anne Charters, Dibba. Traditional Baltic Schooner which sometimes runs weekend and 4 day adventure (dive) trips to Musandam. Overnight charters are 600 per person. Tel:+971-9-222-3508.Website: Did not respond to my e-mails.

• Al Marsa, Dibba: Offers speedboat and liveaboard trips to Musandam. Dive shops contract with this company for their Musandam trips but then supply their own gear and staff. Tel. +971-6-544-1232. Website: Did not respond to my e-mails.

• Discover Nomad, Dibba. Tel: +971-50-885-3238. E-mail: Webiste: I wasn’t in touch with them but saw in the Dubai Time Out that they advertise trips to 33 dive sites and provide guesthouse accommodation in Dibba, plus trekking, deep sea fishing, kayaking, camping and dhow trips during peak season.

Lloyd De Jongh
January 12th, 2008, 12:03 PM
This is Part II of my dive report on diving with different operators in the UAE the first week of Jan. 2007.

• Jan. 6, 2007, Ocean Diving Center, Rotana Beach Hotel, Abu Dhabi. Tel. +971-2-644-1696 or 697-9313. Mobile: +971-50-771-4795. E-mail: info@oceandiving Website: Home (
Bottom Line: Overall, this was the operator I liked the best in the UAE due to the nice boat and friendly and personal service. They even helped divers clean their personal wet suits and bcds.

Other options:

• Sandy Beach Dive Center, Al Aqah Beach, Fujeirah. Al Boom used to run their dive center and it has reportedly gone downhill since they moved to the Le Meridien.

Thanks for the report, it's great! I'll definitely check out the people in Abu Dhabi soon.

I know it's been ages since this was posted, but to add an update, Sandy Beach has a new owner and things are going very well there now. I did my OW there, and the new DM is Jeff, a very experienced diver and an excellent teacher.

I have been there several times now, and the divers who regularly use the facility all say that standards have picked up since the new owners took over and Jeff runs a great dive center now.

I can recommend it. They're helpful, friendly and it's got great facilities. So the comment about Sandy Beach is definitely no longer valid.

January 16th, 2008, 12:11 PM
I have also done a dive with Divers Down in Khor Fakhan.
It was a nice friendly dive centre but on both dives there was no guide in the water with us. On the first dive the only guides were dropped off at Shark Island with half of the divers whereas the rest of us wer told to dive at Anenome Gardens with no guides. This was a complete waste of a dive as Anenome Gardens was completed trashed by the Cyclone ealier in the year and there was practically nothing to see (whereas the guides and other divers had 10 black tips circling them at shark island)

For the second dive we did Martini Rock and on this occasion there was only the boat captain and no guides at all. This dive centre is also the only one that I have used that made you lug the tank and weights down the beach to the boat and then lug the empty tanks back after the dives.

Will maybe give the Palms Dive Centre a try next time I go to the East Coast but otherwise will stick with Al Boom.

Big Pockets
June 2nd, 2008, 11:02 PM
Divers Down has all the best dive sites on the east coast within 15 minutes boat ride.
Now you can't complain at that!
Having been herded like sheep by an over-zealous DM in Florida i dream of diving without a guide. I can guide you around Martini Rock from here; keep the rock on your left (or right) and go round it.
The east coast of the UAE is still the best diving i've done.

June 9th, 2008, 02:11 AM
As an update I did 2 dives last week with the Palms Dive centre at the JAL Hotel Dibba.
I have previously seen their decent sized Catamaran dive boat out on the water but when I got there it was out on the slipway. So we went out on a small rib for 2 minutes out to Dibba Rock(2 minutes but they still charge nearly 350dhs for 2 dives with tanks and weights)

First dive was ok but the guide (Japanese) didnt really seem to know where he was going and didnt point out much of interest. Did have a Black Tip swim past just a few metres away which was good.

On the second dive, also at Dibba Rock, there were 9 divers and all their equipment on a small RIB. far too many for safety. The vis had fallen which it usually does there in the afternoon and we dived the other deeper side of the rock. towards the end of the dive the current was soo strong that I ended up having to surface (luckily no safety stop was needed as we had been at less than 5m for a while). On this dive the guide (Egyptian) was more interested in taking photos than guiding.

Changing rooms in teh dive centre were tiny, smelly and lots of small flies.Surprising when you consider its part of a 5 star resort hotel.

July 8th, 2008, 12:03 AM
Definitely do East Coast instead of Dubai. Just did Dibba rock and it was OK, though I did get a killer shot of a cuttlefish who seemed to want to be my dive buddy! Guess it's all relative depending on where you've dived. I wouldn't make the UAE a dive destination if you have to travel far. Instead, enjoy the beautiful architecture, wonderful people and AMAZING developement that is Dubai and the UAE!!! (go skiing, too)!

July 29th, 2010, 01:18 PM
I have lived and dived in Dubai for the last 10 years. I would recommend you to dive with a freelance Instructor because they have good connections with all of the dive shops. There is one PADI IDC Staff Instructor Imad Khashfeh mobile no +971507766078 or check out his facebook group Undersea diving - Imad Khashfeh who is an excellent Instructor. He dives both Dubai, Dibba, Musandam and the East Coast. He can also advice you where and with whom to dive with in Thailand and Lebanon.
Go dive ;)

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