Maui Diving

maui diving There are many choices when you decide to delve into the underwater world on Maui. Depending on how long you’re on island and what other activities you’re going to do will determine who you might choose to dive with. You also will want to take into consideration your experience level, whether or not you get sea sick easily, where you want to do most of your diving, and how early you’re willing to get up. There are a few constants when diving Maui, however: 

  • The best diving is in the morning due to trade winds kicking up in the afternoons and increasing wave and wind-driven current. 
  • Charters leave EARLY in the morning, typically between 6 and 7am.
  • You don’t have to catch a boat charter to do some good diving, there is good shore diving on island. 
  • There don’t appear to be any truly “bad” dive charters on the island.
  • Not all dive boats allow snorkelers or “riders”, so if you’re looking for that, check with the individual operator.
  • Water temperatures Dec-June are 74-76 degrees, and July-Nov 77-81 degrees, with full wetsuits recommended year-round.
  • Whale season is December through April, providing great opportunities to see whales on the surface, and hear (and feel) whale song during dives.
  • All boat diving is guided.
  • All boat charters that I am aware of provide water and/or lemonade, as well as some kind of snack during surface intervals.
  • Most operators offer a limited schedule for twilight and/or night diving, with Thursday being a common day, though I haven’t a clue why that is. 
  • All operators I’ve found offer some kind of a multi-charter discount of anywhere from 10% to 20%, so you’ll want to ask about that if you’re booking 3 or more charters.
  • Be very aware of altitude! Diving and altitude do NOT mix, so keep in mind that Haleakala, Eco-Adventures Zipline, helicopter rides, and air travel are off limits for 18-24 hours after diving. Plan carefully and you won’t have anything to worry about.

In the Lahaina area, there are basically three choices for boat charters:

  • Extended Horizons departs out of Mala Wharf and goes to Lanai and West Maui sites daily. They operate a 36’ aluminum boat that carries 13 divers, have a head, shade, and AL80 tanks. They are also the only “green” dive operator, running their boat exclusively on bio-diesel fuel.  Extended Horizons is typically the choice for the more experienced diver, though beginning or inexperienced divers are well taken care of as well.
  • Lahaina Divers departs from Lahaina Harbor and goes to Lanai, Molokini, Molokai, and West Maui sites. They have two 46’ Newton dive boats that carry up to 24 divers each, are handicapped accessible (seriously!!), have huge heads (big enough to change clothing in), shade, multiple places to sit, AL72 tanks, and provide sandwiches and snacks. Lahaina Divers is known for it’s excellence with beginning or occasional divers, and does offer more advanced diving to Molokai and the backwall of Molokini. They give latitude to demonstrated competent divers who have computers. The boat ride to Molokini is about 60 minutes long, and provides gorgeous views of the shoreline of Maui. In addition, their boat schedule is posted on their website, so if you want to do multiple dives to different locations, you can easily schedule exactly what you want to do and be assured that will be where you’ll go.
  • Hawaiian Rafting Adventures departs from Mala Wharf and goes to Lanai and West Maui sites. They operate a 30’ Rigid Aluminum Inflatable boat that carries 12 divers. They have shade and AL80 tanks, but no head and very little dry storage. For folks who want a little more adventure, or those who want to sleep a bit later in the morning, this could be the best choice for you.