FAQ Liveaboard – Reef Encounter

Cairns dive liveaboard


  • What accommodation is available onboard?

Cairnsdive.net liveaboard – Reef Encounter has 21 spacious double or twin stateroom cabins, at the same cost. All rooms have en-suite toilet and shower facilities. If you wish for some privacy, you can choose to book a ‘Sole Occupancy’ cabin, meaning that you will not share a room with another guest.

  • Are meals included?

All meals are included in your trip: breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert. Fruit, tea and coffee are also included and available throughout the day. Snacks such as chocolate, chips, cookies, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages* are available for purchase from the bar. All dietary requirements will be met – please advise upon booking. *No alcohol may be consumed prior to water activities.

  • How many passengers does Reef Encounter hold?

Reef Encounter can comfortably accommodate 42 passengers.

  • Can I make group bookings?

Yes! For parties of six or more people travelling to Cairns dive liveaboard please contact our friendly office team. See Contact Us.


  • Can scuba divers and non-divers travel together on the same trip?

Yes! Reef Encounter has something for everyone; with scuba diving, snorkelling, glass bottom boat tours and lots of onboard activities.

  • What if I have special requirements?

If you have any special requirements it is important to inform the Reef Encounter team prior to your trip. You can do this by contacting our friendly office, see Contact Us. Reef Encounter is able to cater to most peoples needs. We are a family friendly and disability friendly trip. Please inform us if you require cots for babies, have any dietary requirements or have a disability that we should be aware of.


  • Can I travel alone?

Yes! Reef Encounter caters for and encourages individuals to travel onboard. Many other passengers are also travelling alone. If you are a diver, we will arrange for a dive buddy for you for each dive or you may choose to take a guided dive with a crew member.  You can choose to share a room with another person on the same gender or take the room by yourself please see our ‘Sole Occupancy’ rates

  • What is Reef Tax and Fuel Levy and are they included in the trip cost?

A compulsory fee of $15.00 per person per day is included in all prices given on this website, so there are no hidden costs. It is a sum that must be paid by all passengers travelling on tourist boats visiting the Great Barrier Reef, although many boats do not include the price upfront in their trip rates. This charge is a combination of Reef Tax which is the Australian Government charge to visit the National Marine Park, a Port Charge, a fuel levy and a tax administration fee.

  • Are there sharks on The Great Barrier Reef?

Yes sharks inhabit in every ocean, but no need to worry! The ones that we see most are harmless white and black tip reef sharks that are beautiful and graceful creatures to behold and pose no threat to divers or snorkelers. They are shy and timid creatures, and the best chance you have of seeing a shark is to participate in a night dive.

  • Do I need to bring my own equipment?

All snorkelling and scuba diving equipment is included in the trip cost. Optional extras are wetsuits and dive torches if you require them, which are available for hire onboard. Prescription lens masks are also available for hire. If you own your own equipment, you are welcome to bring your own gear onboard Reef Encounter.

  • Can anyone try scuba diving?

Minimum age for participating in a Resort Dive is 12 years. You will be required to complete a medical questionnaire before participating in any scuba activities. Some medical conditions or medications may prevent you from scuba diving. For example: heart disease, asthma, epilepsy or diabetes. If you are unsure of a particular medical condition or medication, please check with the dive organisation before booking your dive.

  • What dive sites are visited and how deep are they?

Reef Encounter has the option of visiting many different dive and snorkel sites across five of the best outer barrier reefs: Norman Reef, Saxon Reef, Hastings Reef, Breaking Patches and Michaelmas Reef. Dive depths vary at each location, but on average are between 6 and 20 meters. Deep dives up to 30 meters (100 feet) are available for those who hold the appropriate certification. Open water divers may dive to a maximum depth of 18 meters (60 feet) and un-certified divers may dive to a maximum of 12 meters (40 feet).

  • What is the water temperature and visibility at the dive sites?

Water temperatures on The Great Barrier Reef range from around 18°C (64°F) in the winter and 30°C (86°F) in the summer. The reef is a vast ecosystem and visibility at any given location changes with tides, weather, currents, winds and the seasons. Visibility ranges from around 12 meters (40 feet) to 40 meters (130 feet).

  • When can I fly after diving?

You should not travel to a high altitude (fly or drive above 8000 feet) within 12 hours of completing a single dive or 18 hours after multiple dives. It is recommended that you leave a minimum of 18 – 24 hours after your last dive before flying. You can fly then dive the same day, however not dive then fly. You will complete your last dive at around 12 noon on the last day of your Reef Encounter trip, so flying any time after 12 noon the following day is recommended.

  • Why should I choose Reef Encounter to learn to dive?

Reef Encounter is a leading SSI Training Vessel. Our experienced Instructors guarantee you receive the very best dive education. Reef Encounter prides itself on its high training and safety standards. Group numbers for an Open Water Course are kept small to ensure quality control with a maximum of 4 students to 1 Instructor at all times – we strongly recommend always considering class size when enrolling on any scuba diving course. All training is done from Reef Encounter, cutting out the need to travel to classroom and pool facilities. We believe that completing all scuba training in the ocean, in calm confined water, produces more confident and experienced divers upon completion of your course.

For More Information, see Reef Encounters Open Water Course and Top Deck Club Private Open Water Course.

  • What’s the difference between an SSI Dive Course and PADI Dive Course?

At a recreational level, there is not a great deal of difference between the training offered by SSI and the training offered by PADI. Both schools are widely recognised, reputable scuba training institutions. A course you complete with SSI is recognised worldwide and can be used wherever you wish to scuba dive across the globe. It is acceptable to do different levels of training with different agencies at the recreational level. For example if you have an entry level Open Water Dive certification with PADI, you can do your Advanced Scuba Diving Course with SSI for instance, in much the same way you may do a degree at one university and a masters at another. They are equally recognised and accepted interchangeably.

  • If I don’t have my diver’s certification card, can I still dive?

Yes, as long as evidence of certification can be provided, such as a divers logbook or verification from your training agency. You can contact your training agency prior to your trip onboard Reef Encounter for your certification details. If you are SSI or PADI affiliated, we can provide assistance with this. If you are not already a certified diver, you may participate in fun Resort Diving with one of our experienced Scuba Instructors or enrol upon a Reef Encounter Open Water Course to acquire your certification.

What is the cancellation policy?

Cairnsdiving.net requires 48 hours advance to make any changes or cancel a booking. The cancellation fees are as follows:

20% cancellation fee 30 days or more prior to departure.
50% cancellation fee if within 30 days prior to departure.
100% cancellation fee within 14 days prior to departure.
Schedules are subject to change.

  • Will I need travel insurance and dive insurance?

Travel insurance and dive insurance are highly recommended. Please be aware that trip cancellations, scuba diving and in-water activities are not covered by all travel insurance companies. Please read the wording of your policy carefully. In a medical emergency, any evacuation, vessel relocation or medical expenses are the financial responsibility of that passenger.

We strongly recommend the purchase of travel and dive insurance.

Site Map / Contact Us / Liveaboard diving