Phuket Thailand's best scuba diving (+66) 0806 961 461
Scuba Diving Rules Similan Islands

Scuba Diving Rules Similan Islands

Scuba Diving Rules Similan Islands, Koh Bon and Koh Tachai

Here is some information about the new scuba diving rules Similan Islands including Koh Bon and Koh Tachai.

Possible Dramatic Drop in Liveaboard Divers

The Similan Island Marine Park Authorities (The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation)(DNP) held a meeting on the 16th October 2018 in relation to a wide range of issues including the amount of scuba diving permitted in the Similan Islands and Koh Bon each day. This was a meeting that was conducted after that start of the liveaboard season and many of the rules were implemented without prior notice.

Most these rules have been made for the well being of the Similan Islands and for safety reasons.

It appears that they will limit the numbers of scuba divers to 525 per day. This decision is being fought by not only the local dive operators but also by all general tourism such as hotels, restaurants and even taxi drivers. The town of Khao Lak close to where the liveaboard boats depart from, relies heavily on the Similan Islands tourism for its survival.

Whale Shark Aussie Divers Phuket Scuba

Whale Shark Aussie Divers Phuket Scuba

Book a Similan Islands Liveaboard with Aussie Divers Phuket: Contact Us

Less Divers and Snorkelers

This number (525) of divers per day is very close to the number the liveaboard boats currently operate with. From what we understand this should not affect advanced liveaboard bookings made prior to this article (20th October 2018). This could have an effect on last minute bookings and day trips. The have also reduced the number of snorkelers to 3,850 a day. The greatest effect of this will be during the Christmas – New Year period, Chinese New Year and possibly Easter.

Scuba Diving Liveaboard Phuket Thailand Best Service

Scuba Diving Liveaboard Phuket Thailand Best Service

In the past, if a liveaboard boat had 20 passengers it was just issued 20 tickets in advance. The park authorities are now saying the tickets will be issued to individuals and possibly passport identification will be required. We believe this will be implemented very quickly.

**There is some confusion over this rule, some interpretations say that the liveaboard company requires the diver’s full name as it appears in the passport, date of birth, passport number and nationality and then the divers need to produce a copy of the passport when boarding the boat. Other liveaboards believe that they need to supply the photocopy of the passport to buy the park fee ticket**

Limiting Numbers

It appears that the tickets will be issued on a first in first served situation. Some of the liveaboard operators are already asking for a photocopy of their passenger’s passports.

Technically the need to supply full names and passport details for scuba divers has always applied to scuba diving in Phuket and Similan Islands. It was however rarely enforced. Since the sinking of the Phoenix boat in June 2018 all scuba diving trip operators have needed to supply full details of their passengers and divers.

Surin Islands Liveaboard Phuket Scuba Diving Best Thailand Surin Islands

Surin Islands Liveaboard Phuket Scuba Diving Best Thailand Surin Islands


There is also some confusion as to the cost of the park fees. In the past if you entered the Similan Islands National Park you paid a THB 400 entry fee on the first day and THB 200 per day to dive on the first day and each subsequent day. It has been suggested that the THB 400 would be paid daily and the THB 200 paid daily by divers. The THB 200 per day does not need to be paid by non-divers.

The Marine Park Authorities has also requested that all divers have individual insurance for scuba diving accidents. All liveaboard have liability and accident insurance, however, most do not have insurance to cover for decompression sickness or hyperbaric chamber treatment. Most liveaboards are now asking for a copy of your insurance policy prior to the trip.

If you do not have personal insurance then they will request that you purchase some. Most travel insurance now covers scuba diving, which we recommend that you have when travelling to Thailand. If you would like to purchase specific scuba diving insurance then we sell Indepths or DAN insurance and the price is THB 300 per day.

MV Sawasdee Fasai Similan Island Liveaboard Boat

MV Sawasdee Fasai Similan Island Liveaboard Boat

Other rules implemented

Single Use plastic bags are banned. This is for divers and boat operators. Plastic is a huge problem for the Similan Islands and this is a great rule. You will be asked to dispose of any plastic bags prior to boarding the liveaboard boat.

Maximum dive group ratios are set at 1:4

There has also been talk of one diving boat per dive site at a time. This rule is not entirely clear at the moment.

One of the issues faced by the liveaboard companies is that they do have to pre-purchase the tickets with individual names. These tickets are non-transferable so if there are any cancellations there will be a surcharge for that park fees.

Further, some liveaboard operators are now stating that they may not be able to offer refunds for late cancellations as they may not be able to resell the cabins due to their inability to purchase replacement tickets.

These rules are new and at the moment and may be fully enforced or everything could return back to normal. There is still a lot of confusion at the moment and as yet liveaboard vessels are still yet to start running for the season. Things should be clearer once the liveaboard vessels fully start around the first week of November.

Please keep an eye on this blog for any updates.

MV Pawara Sunset Liveaboard Phuket Thailand Scuba Diving

MV Pawara Sunset Liveaboard Phuket Thailand Scuba Diving

Book a Similan Islands Liveaboard with Aussie Divers Phuket: Contact Us

By Darren Gaspari

Proud owner and active PADI Gold Course Director of Aussie Divers Phuket, a professional and awarded PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Scuba Diving Centre. Member of the PADI Advisory Board for the eLearning modules 2019 and 2020.

Hi, was This Page Helpful?
(5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Posted in News & Special Offers on .

A Diving Community In Phuket

Here at Aussie Divers Phuket we don't just consider ourselves a PADI dive shop, we think of it as more, a big diving family of like minded individuals coming together to enjoy the marine environment through diving in Phuket & Thailand. We are always happy to chat with new divers or old, so please drop by anytime to see what is going on and if you have dived with us or want to dive with us than feel free to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our community Dive Blog and generally stay in touch & stay informed.

Free Pool Try Scuba Diver Aussie Divers Phuket Helpful Diving Info

Do I Need to Know How To Swim to Scuba Dive?

This is a question that I often get asked, and really it is not as simple as YES or NO. If you want to become a certified scuba diver by doing the PADI Open Water Diver Course, the answer is yes. In the PADI Open Water Diver Course it is specified that you have to be able to swim 200 metres. This can be with any stroke. You also have to be able to tread water or float for at least 10 minutes. The reason for this is not for the fact that scuba diving requires you to swim. But rather it is for your and your groups safety. In the unlikely event that your BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) was to falter then there would be no device to kee [...]

Read The Story
Aussie Divers Phuket Underwater Open Alix Courses

Creating Scuba Divers Not Just Certifications

This blog is about learning how to scuba dive well and creating good good divers, not just doing what it takes just to get get a scuba diving certifications. Here we try and explain why it is important to do a professional basic scuba diving that creates scuba divers and not just ticking the boxes for a scuba diving certification. Scuba diving is an eye opening and amazing activity. It is something that everyone should try at least once in their life. As with all things fun, it does come with inherent risks. Although the number injured or fatalities are very low. Divers need to be aware of rare but possible dangers each [...]

Read The Story
Snappers Phi Phi Day Trip Scuba Diving Padi Aussie Divers Our Dives

Is Phi Phi the best day trip scuba diving in Thailand?

Here is why Aussie Divers Phuket think that Phi Phi may be the best day trip scuba diving in Thailand. Yesterday we went scuba diving with Jake and Tara as they did their PADI Advanced Open Water Course with Aussie Divers Phuket. We headed off to the Phi Phi Island group for two dives and a third dive at Shark Point on the way back. This was the second time Jake and Tara had done this trip, the first was a few days earlier for the PADI Open Water Course. The Phi Phi Islands are less than 3 hours day boat ride from Phuket in the south of Thailand. The first dive started at the north tip of Koh Bida Nok. The north face is a w [...]

Read The Story