From the sunken reef of Molokini Crater to underwater arches teeming with sea turtles, Maui is an excellent scuba diving destination. The Hawaiian island’s relatively warm and clear seas make it and ideal spot for beginners and certified divers alike. Here’s what you need to know about diving on Maui.
- Learn to scuba dive on shore dives off Maui or book a dive boat charter for sites farther afield
- PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, offers Discover Scuba courses that allow uncertified visitors to experience diving without the pricey cost of certification
- Discover Scuba packages include equipment rental (though for certified divers, generally only tanks and weights are included in the price)
- Maui offers safe, shallow-water reef dives, great for beginners
- All tours enable you to see Hawaii’s vast underwater world with professionally trained and certified divemasters
Where to Go
Most Maui scuba tours require you to meet at the dive shop or dock (many boats leave from Maalaea Harbor); if you don’t have a rental car, some tours include roundtrip transportation from your hotel. Popular beginner shore diving sites on Maui include Black Rock, Canoe Beach, and Kapalua Bay, where divers can expect to see coral reef bustling with marine life including green sea turtles, nudibranchs (colorful sea slugs), and abundant reef fish like wrasses, parrotfish, and even the fun-to-pronounce state fish: humuhumunukunukuapuaa. Experienced divers can try a night dive near Mala Pier, head to pristine sites near the island of Lanai, head to Molokini, or even visit the deep wreck of the whaling ship Carthaginian off of Lahaina.
How to Go
Some tour operators choose dive sites on the day of departure, based on currents and weather conditions—unless it is a dedicated tour to Molokini. If you have a specific dive site in mind, be sure to speak with your dive operator in advance. Because of weather conditions farther offshore, Molokini charters depart early in the morning (between 5am and 7am), while you can visit other dive sites later in the day or even at night. Keep in mind that beginner divers can’t go below 40 feet (12 meters) and are restricted to daytime diving, and everyone needs to wait at least 18 hours after a standard two-tank dive before flying.