Similan Islands Diving – Our Season so far.

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Well, what a start to the new Similan Diving season here at Oktavia Dive Center!  For us, and many of the dive operators here in Khao Lak it has been a time of change and adjustment since the new regulations governing the Similan National Marine Park were introduced in October 2018.

A long list of requirements designed to help preserve and protect the our delicate Marine Park were issued just before the opening of the season, and we here at Oktavia Dive Center have been busy making sure we meet all points to the letter and ensuring our wonderful Diving Liveaboard Cruises continue as planned and to the same exacting standards.

What has changed?

In addition to higher boat safety standards, the banning of single use plastics, and new control measures on the purchasing of Marine Park Entry Tickets, the biggest change this season has been the strict limiting of the number of visitors allowed within the Similan Marine Park on any given day.  Previous years had seen the number of daily visitors rise to unprecedented levels which not only threatened the marine life but also made for a less than pleasing experience for hopeful holiday makers wishing to explore these stunning paradise islands.

The Day Trip visitor allowance, primarily made up of speed boat snorkel trips, has been been slashed in half.  Whilst the number of diving guests allowed has reduced to just 525 persons across the whole of the Marine Park.  With these changes we have already seen an remarkable improvement to how the Islands and surrounding waters appear to our lucky guests, and we’re sure that with the continued effort we will proudly be able to offer the Similan Islands as one of Thailand’s most exclusive Dive Destinations.

Summary of Requirements for Diving in the Similans

  • RESTRICTED DAILY DIVER LIMIT – A daily limit of no more than 525 Divers allowed in the National Marine Park each day.
  • ENTRY TICKET PURCHASING – Entry tickets can only be purchased via the Marine Park Office and to a maximum of 60 days prior to the return date of any advertise trip.
  • FULL GUEST ACCOUNTABILITY – Operators must obtain the customer’s full information in order to purchase the ticket – Full Name, Passport No., Date of Birth, Nationality, Dive Certification Level.  This ensures the Marine Park Officials know exactly who is within the Marine Park on any given day.
  • CONTROLLED DIVE GROUPS – Guest to Dive Guide ratio must not exceed 4:1.
  • DIVE INSURANCE – All Divers must have adequate Insurance Cover before entering the Marine Park.

I’m very pleased to say that with the exception of a small increase to the Park Entry Ticket fees and some additional administration for us here in the office, our booking procedures and trip schedule for MV Oktavia has not changed.  We have always insisted on these requirements in the interest of guest safety and our business integrity.

The good news continues, as we also been blessed with some amazing diving so far this season.  The Whale sharks and Manta Rays have already made an appearance!  More details in the next post 🙂