There is an endless list of things you can do in Dubai, but did you think scuba diving could be something this city could present?
With options for indoor diving with sharks, and open water diving between shipwrecks, scuba diving in Dubai is going to be a guaranteed memorable experience for first-timers as well as underwater professionals.
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Scuba diving in Dubai
Located on the Persian Gulf, Dubai’s coast features warm waters and an ecosystem of tropical fishes and beautiful coral reefs. Perfect for exploring the underwater world, some of Dubai’s diving sites also include shipwrecks, offering an interesting peek into the history of the city.
These reefs and wrecks are now home to some of the local marine life, made up of cuttlefish, squid, octopus, manta rays, stingrays, moray eels and a rainbow of colourful reef fish. If you are very lucky, you will also be able to spot dolphins and Hawksbill turtles.
Water temperature is always warm here, varying from 22 degrees Celsius in the winter to 33 degrees Celsius during the summer months. With minimal rainfall predicted for only a few days in a year, open water scuba diving can almost always be guaranteed to be a wonderful experience.
As much as scuba diving in nature’s open azure waters is a thrill that cannot be compared to anything else, Dubai is well known for offering indoor scuba diving experiences which are out of this world.
It’s here where you have the opportunity to swim with sharks in the world’s largest indoor aquarium and discover the depths of your potential in the world’s record-breaking deepest pool.
Whether you are trying scuba diving for the first time or are a certified scuba diver, here are the many different options available for exploring the colourful marine life of the city.
Best Indoor diving in Dubai
The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
A trip to Dubai is incomplete without visiting Dubai Mall, the largest mall in Dubai and home to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, the largest aquarium. It also happens to be one of the coolest spots for scuba diving amongst sharks, stingrays and many other aquatic creatures.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done scuba diving before or not, your first time at the Dubai Aquarium will be under the assistance of qualified supervisors, assisting you throughout the experience.
Swim up close and personal with Tiger Sharks, Reef Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Tawny Nurse Sharks, Giant Groupers and Stingrays as you embark on a Shark Dive.
Certified divers and Non-certified divers after completing a short Discover Scuba program with Al Boom Diving, can enjoy the thrill of this aquatic experience under the supervision of a Dive Master and a Dive Instructor. Prices for Shark Dives start from AED 790.
If you are looking for a scuba diving experience, but without the diving equipment and experience, try Cage Snorkelling. Simply put on a snorkelling gear, and feel the same thrills of getting close to sharks and rays in a safe cage setting. Participants need to be at least 8 years and older for this activity, starting from AED 370.
The Speciality Dives offers PADI certified visitors access to a three-dive initiative where you get the opportunity to dive with the sharks while learning more about Shark conservation, Shark feeding and underwater photography. This once-in-a-lifetime diving experience starts at AED 2,100.
If you want to try scuba diving but are not sure if you’re ready for a full certification course yet, Dubai Aquarium offers the Discover Scuba Diving course. Starting at AED 1,210, it’s the program for you to find out if you want to take the plunge and get certified.
All prices include the scuba diving gear. For more up to date information on prices, timings and how to make advance bookings, please check their website.
Location: The Dubai Mall, Financial Centre Road
Timing: 10:00 am – 08:00 pm daily
Atlantis, The Palm
The iconic water resort, Atlantis The Palm is a one-stop entertainment destination with extraordinary experiences for marine lovers. If scuba diving has been on your bucket list for a while, this is the perfect destination to tick it off, with packages available for beginners as well as professionals.
Atlantis Aquarium offers experiences for underwater walking, snorkelling and diving, and you don’t need to be a certified diver for these experiences. A wet suit, towel, water bottles and complimentary same-day access to The Lost Chambers Aquarium is also included.
The Atlantis Dive Discovery is a perfect way to experience the thrill of scuba diving for beginners as you explore the lost city of Atlantis. Available for non-certified divers aged 10 and over, divers can learn about the basics of scuba diving while swimming amongst the 6,500 fascinating sea creatures. This 30-minute experience starts at AED 1,450 per person.
For certified divers, you can explore the depths of the Ambassador Lagoon and surround yourself with different shark species, giant rays and hundreds of colourful fish species. The Dive Explorer for AED 1,200 per person offers 30 minutes of diving experience. For a chance to hand-feed sharks and rays, opt for the Predator Dive offering a 40 minute underwater experience for AED 2,655.
If you want to learn scuba diving and get PADI certified, the PADI Open Water program at Atlantis conducts sessions, with dives included at the Ambassador Lagoon and Aquaventure beach.
Location: Crescent Road, Palm Jumeirah
Timing: 09:00 am – 06:00 pm daily
Deep Dive Dubai
This latest attraction is a world-record-breaking 60-meter deep pool, offering thrill-seekers to dive and discover an underwater world filled with adventure and wonder. With 14 million litres of fresh water kept at a constant 30 degrees, perfect diving conditions are guaranteed all year round, as you explore an abandoned sunken city with themed sections.
Deep Dive Dubai welcomes certified as well as non-certified divers. Beginners can explore up to 12 meters with scuba diving equipment. The Basic package includes all diving equipment and a guided experience with an instructor priced at AED 1,800. Premium Discovery is for AED 2,400 and Platinum Discovery is for AED 3,000.
Certified divers can explore Deep Dive Dubai allowed by your certification with open water divers to 20m and advanced to 30m, for AED 1,200, and trimix-trained technical divers up to 60m, for AED 1,500.
Other experiences include Freediving up to 60 metres and snorkelling. You can also learn to become a safe and proficient scuba diver by completing the short-format PADI Open Water Courses or performance-oriented GUE programs which will help you take your first steps towards becoming a certified diver.
Location: Nad Al Sheba 1
Timing: Tuesday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, Wednesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Best Outdoor diving in Dubai
Jumeirah Beach for Beginners
If you are a beginner and new to diving, there are various small sites around Jumeirah Beach offering you the opportunity to explore the waters and experience the vibrant aquatic life typical to the Arabian Gulf.
Bermuda Diving Centre offers a Beginner scuba diving experience, complete with full diving equipment, 30-minute training, followed by scuba diving with an instructor and underwater fish feeding, for AED 299.
Location: Villa 604, Al Wasl Rd, Jumeirah, Jumeirah 3
Timing: 09:00 am – 09:00 pm daily
Nemo Diving Centre is another great option, offering 2 hour Discover lessons off Palm Jumeirah. You will be provided with all the equipment and taught the basics (no certification required) before being taken underwater, with a maximum of four students per instructor for maximum hands-on attention, starting from only AED 350.
Location: Azure Residences, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE
Timing: 09:00 am, 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm daily
Scubadive.ae also offer beginner lessons from the shores of Jumeirah. Learn the correct use of equipment, how to communicate and dive safely. You’ll undertake a 30-minute lesson in shallow water before an underwater session for 45 minutes.
Location: Jumeira 3, Behind Sunset Mall, front of Feels
Timing: 08:00 am – 08:00 pm daily – dives at 9:00am, 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm
Now on to the more exciting open water spots for our more experienced divers!
Being one of the most popular shipwrecks to dive in Dubai, Zainab is a 1969-built vessel that sank in April 2001, just off the coast of Dubai. Currently lying at 30m on a flat sandy bottom, this shipwreck is a suitable diving spot for advanced divers.
The wreck is quite big and best explored over two dives. The marine life you can spot here includes oysters, small fishes and schools of yellowtail barracuda. This shipwreck is a 40-minute boat journey from shore, and a perfect spot to learn some interesting history.
A commercial ship carrying transport cargo that sank off the coast of Dubai in 2006 due to rough seas, now offers two dive sites for advanced divers. Lying at a depth of 18 to 25 metres, it is a spectacular wreckage site to explore. It is also an artificial habitat for aquatic species, such as the yellowtail barracuda, spotted eagle, torpedo rays, and a wide variety of nudibranch and flatworms.
A dive site list would be incomplete without the mention of this site. MV Dara was a Dubai based passenger ship that sunk in 1961. Victim to an unfortunate fire accident on board, this ship sank 3 miles off Dubai, and now lies 5 to 17 metres deep. This site now serves as a monument to tell an interesting story.
Sheikh Mohamad’s Barge
Interestingly, this was a McDermott derrick barge that was purposely sunk off the coast of Dubai in 1984 to encourage the growth of corals and other marine life, and help create an artificial reef.
The SMB lies 18 to 23 metres deep, and is upside down on a flat sandy bottom. There is a lot to see at this site, which includes cranes and vehicles, but also an abundance of aquatic life typically seen in the Arabian Gulf, making this easily one of the best diving sites of Dubai.
The other open diving sites in Dubai include:
- MV Ludwig
- Anchor Barge
- Car Barge
- Neptune 6
- Victoria Star
See a selection of our preferred tour providers here, including those who can work with you for your PADI certification:
Day Trip to Fujairah: Sharm Rock and Dibba Rock
Sharm Rock, also known as Three Rocks, located near a small fishing village in Fujairah offers a perfect diving site, even for entry-level divers.
At manageable depths of 5 to 13 metres, this natural aquarium is a diving opportunity for spotting plenty of marine life which includes various fish species and schools of bannerfish, parrotfish and puffers. If you are likely you may also spot cuttlefish, turtles and friendly jawfish.
Dibba Rock is a marine-protected site close to the shores of Fujairah. Surrounded by corals on all sides, it is well known for its green turtles, devil rays, blacktip reef sharks, and a variety of reef fish such as parrotfish, porcupine fish, lionfish, and pufferfish.
This dive site goes down to 14m, but with sloping rocks, you can easily stay in shallow depths too, making it perfect for new divers.
There are several companies that can help arrange your diving instruction and transfers from Dubai (booked using a reliable ticketing service such as Viator)
Other diving sites around Fujairah include:
- Martini Rock
- Hole in the Wall
- Inchcape 1
- Inchcape 2
More Frequently Asked Questions About Scuba Diving in Dubai
If you enjoy scuba diving or learning to scuba dive has been something on your bucket list for a while, Dubai is the perfect place for beginners and professionals. There are many options for indoor diving amongst marine life, as well as outdoor diving exploring the natural coasts of Dubai. At some of these locations, you don’t even need to be a certified diver to enjoy scuba diving.
Dubai offers a superb choice of both indoor and outdoor diving opportunities. For learning in the open water, there are several dive schools facing the Persian Gulf, more experienced divers can visit off shore wrecks and popular dive spots.
There are various indoor and outdoor diving centres in Dubai, such as Al Boom Diving Aqua Centre, Nemo Diving Centre, Bermuda Diving Centre and Deep Dive Dubai.
Outdoor scuba diving in Dubai can start from as little as USD 110.
Shark diving experiences are available at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, and Atlantis, The Palm.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack, and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws, and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass from iVenture or a Dubai Go City Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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