Diving Directly From Liveaboards Has Been Banned in the Similan Islands
If you’re not a fan of diving from dinghies then we have some bad news for you. Diving directly from your liveaboards has now been banned. It’s a move that is supposed to protect corals and marine life, personally I’ve never seen a liveaboard in the Similan Islands National Park go near a reef.
Liveaboards will have to keep their distance from the dive site or use official mooring lines. The other reason touted is safety. A diver unfortunately died after being struck by a propellor a few years back but that was an isolated incident. However we’re not sure that having dozens of dinghies whizzing about over the dive site is going to help. At least you could clearly hear the loud engines of the liveaboards.
The Big Issue
The Similan and Surin Islands National Parks simply have too many boats. Although the Similan Islands have plenty of great dive sites, most boats want to spend as much time as possible around the big three locations – Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai and Koh Bon.
New rules were introduced a few years ago to limit the amount of tourists entering the park on any given day. Rules that have been basically ignored.
The ridiculous park entry ticket policy has resulted in liveaboards having to make a virtually identical itinerary. Making the tickets valid for 5 days would allow boats to return to the Similan Island National after leaving the northern dive sites in Surin. Boats would be able to be much more flexible with the schedule, avoiding everybody being stuck in the same area.
Having diving banned directly from your liveaboard is not the way forward. Reducing numbers and allowing more flexibility on schedules is. Another fantastic idea would be to enforce the great rules that they already have in place but that’s just wishful thinking…
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