Best Sailboats For Scuba Diving

Best Sailboats For Scuba Diving | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

December 28, 2023

Diving off your own sailboat is a unique experience, assuming you have experience. While some are better than others, a few are the best sailboats for diving.

If you want a more intimate experience with diving, using your own sailboat will provide a great time. But what sailboats are the best for scuba diving?

While some monohulls are great for diving, the best sailboats are going to be catamarans. These include Lagoon 42, Catana 50, and the Fountaine Pajot Ipanema 58. Other monohulls that can handle diving would be Discovery 55, Bénéteau Oceanis 45, and the Bavaria Cruiser 51.

Sailboats that can handle diving are going to need plenty of space to hold all of the necessary diving gear. This is why some monohulls might be less likely to accommodate sailors that want to dive.

According to diving experts, you want to have a certification and at least 10 or more diving experiences before trying it out on your own boat. You also want to make sure you have the right gear.


Table of contents

Sailboats That Can Accommodate Diving

As mentioned, catamarans are the best choice for divers wanting to sail on their own and find their own opportunity. There are some monohulls you could use, but you must look at how much room you have.

Sailboats that have an open section to put on or take off your gear will be beneficial. In addition, ladders attached to your sailboat will be a bonus as you will likely not have the same amount of energy to pull yourself up with extra weight after an hour of diving.


Lagoon 42


The Lagoon 42 was a step up from the Lagoon 380, meaning more space and luxury. This made it one of the best selling models in the Lagoon lineup.

Even though it might not be the fastest catamaran on the market, it is arguably the toughest. It stands up exceptionally well on choppy waters and tough winds.

Since this one has a little more room, this means you can store just about anything. With two access ladders on the back, it is perfect for your diving adventure.

Catana 50


The Catana 50 is one of the few larger sailboats over 50 feet that can be handled by one person. Whether you want to sail by yourself or go diving, this boat will allow you to do both.

It’s stability and maneuvering allow you to explore just about wherever you want to go. This means you can visit a popular diving spot without worrying if your boat can handle it.

There is plenty of room to move around and store your sailing gear. With large cabins, you could use one of them for exclusive scuba gear storage.

Fountaine Pajot Ipanema 58


Fountaine Pajot recently ended production on the Ipanema 58 back in 2020, with a handful of these made. If you can find one, it might be worth an investment for the long term for your sailing and diving goals.

It has more than enough room on board to handle multiple guests and diving gear. As with just about every catamaran, there are ladders on the stern to ease into the water or board when diving.

Dolphin 42


If you can get your hands on one of these, the Dolphin 42 was a perfect combination of speed and size. They were also unique since they used daggerboards rather than the fixed keels.

There are two ladders on the back of the boat that allow you to easily get in or out of the water while diving. There is also plenty of room on the back to suit up and to wash off when you are done.

You can also find some room in the four cabins and on the deck for storing equipment. Furthermore, it is one of the lighter catamarans so you do not have to worry about the weight of your gear.

Gunboat 62


The Gunboat 62 might be slightly overkill when it comes to size, but only if you have very little diving gear to take with you. It is one of the sleekest and spacious catamarans that can complement comfortable sailing and recreational diving.

As one of the lighter catamarans for its size, it is also one of the fastest. These were built for speed, but you still receive the stability like a catamaran should be while sailing.

With easy access on the stern, multiple cabins, and roughly 60 feet to work with, you should have all the space you need to store your equipment. On top of that, you can bring plenty of guests and their gear too.


Discovery 55


The Discovery 55 debuted in early 2000 and has proven to be a great addition for family sailing. There are enough quality features that set it apart from other monohulls, which also include diving capabilities.

Since it is roughly 55 feet long, there is plenty of room to store your diving gear. There are also a few cabins for additional storage and to accommodate guests.

Bénéteau Oceanis 45


It is hard to pass up on a Beneteau Oceanis 45 when thinking of quality monohulls for diving. At about 45 feet long, it is one of the most popular Beneteau models out there.

Depending on which version you choose, you can have one with two or the three cabins. This could make a difference if you have multiple guests and diving gear to store.

Bavaria Cruiser 51

Even though the size of the Bavaria Cruiser is around 51 feet, you would not imagine it while on board. It does not handle like a bulky sailboat, thus making it a popular option for sailors.

For those that want to experience diving, there are some models that have five cabins. This is more than enough room to store any additional diving gear.

Essential Scuba Diving Gear for Your Sailboat

Many sailors want the added bonus of being able to scuba dive right off their boat. It is important to know what gear to have with you before you take the plunge at your convenience. If you can fit all of these items on your sailboat, you should be able to dive with ease.

A Good Mask

You want to make sure that you have a mask that covers your nose. This will allow you to make adjustments for the change in pressure going down by breathing out. These will typically be tempered glass in the lenses.

Quality Snorkel

A snorkel will help breathe easier while being close to the surface or shortly after a dive. In case you just want to stay in shallow waters or not use a lot of your tank supply, these are a great option.


A regulator is an important connection that you need in order to breathe the same amount of air no matter how deep you are. When purchasing, make sure you have a spare because your diving is very limited without one.

Pressure Gauges

In conjunction with the regulator, a submersible pressure gauge will tell you how much air pressure is left in your tank. This is quite important to know, allowing you plenty of time to make it back to your destination before your tanks are empty. Some are mechanical or digital, which will vary in price.

Heavy Duty Diving Watch

Sailing or diving watches are necessary for tracking depth and decompression times. There are even small submersible computers that allow you to do this.

Watches will vary on their depth range, with some going as deep as 1,000 feet. These range from several hundred dollars to thousands quickly depending on their functions.

Diving Tanks

Either steel or aluminum, tanks have a capacity to hold between 45 cubic feet to 150. These will range in price depending on how much air you want to store for your diving experience.

The smaller ones are not bad for lighter use and are easier to move around. The larger ones can be a pain to carry around often, but offer the most time under the water.

Buoyancy Control Device

A buoyancy control device (BCD) allows you to make adjustments under water to float the way you want. They also help secure your tanks to your back. Depending on the depth you are trying to obtain, these can make an incredible difference.

Additional Weights

In addition to BCD’s, you might have to buy additional weights to support the device. These allow you to compensate for the body’s buoyancy with ease. A simple release of the BCD might operate better with more weight.


Wetsuits are absolutely necessary no matter where you are. Even in desirable weather, your energy is likely to be drained and you need to protect your skin from the sun. In addition, these will also protect you from any abrasions and stings you might encounter

Fins to Swim

Fins can provide a great boost to your swim without having to use as much energy. These are a solid choice if you plan on swimming for a while and if you are diving.

Dangers of Diving

Scuba diving can be quite dangerous and should be taken seriously. While the experience has its beautiful moments, it might not be for you.

When making plans to go sailing, make sure you have everything you need. In addition, you will also need to be certified and have the right amount of classes.

The classes will teach you the basics but also the safety measures associated with diving. You might have to take additional classes or dives for experience because everyone learns at their own pace.

Becoming Certified in Scuba Diving

Scuba diving has three phases that you must go through in order to learn everything you need to know. Depending on the location or school you choose to learn, these will vary in price and training.

Some places teach you how to dive within three or four days. Other locations might take longer based on your availability or ability to learn within that time frame. These courses are all performance-based, so you have to show what you know in order to proceed.

Developing Knowledge

When you begin your scuba diving lessons, you are going to see what the basic principles consist of. These include what to consider on your dives, how to pick the best gear, and basic principles or procedures.

You may even watch training videos to go along with your course material. This will give you a visual as to what to expect.

Tight Space Water Dives

The second phase of your training will require you to dive in tight or confined spaces. These skills will be tested in bodies of water such as pools, a calm beach, or even a pond.

This phase also trains you to be familiar with your gear and other important functions. These include getting water out of your mask, entering and exiting the body of water, controlling your buoyancy, and being safe.

This step might take a little more practice for someone that is not used to sailing or diving. If you feel like you are being rushed, it is important to relax and make sure you understand everything before moving on.

Diving in Open Water

After you are proficient in confined space dives, it is time to test your skills in open water. You and your instructor will take about four dives across two days to see what you have learned under water.

This allows you the chance to experience what scuba diving is all about. You will also get to enjoy your local environment.

It is possible to continue your training somewhere else if you are not local to the area. Depending on where you are currently at in the process, you can ask to see if you can finish your training while on holiday.

How Much Do Scuba Diving Lessons Cost?

In comparison to other water sports or recreational activities, diving lessons are not that expensive. For around the same cost, you can expect to pay a similar amount to kayak for the weekend, three hours worth of private skiing, or a full day of surfing lessons.

Prices are going to vary based on location and a variety of other factors. Since these are independently owned institutions, they can essentially charge whatever they want. These can range between $150 to $600 depending on how in-depth a lesson will provide you.

Qualifications Before You Begin

Before applying for diving lessons, you need to be honest with yourself about your physical health. While these are basic water skills, you need to be able to physically handle the conditions for your safety and others.

This means you will need to be comfortable in the water for long periods of time and be able to swim at least 200 meters or roughly 650 feet without stopping. You will need to be able to do this with your mask, fins, and a snorkel, as you will have these on anyway while diving.

In addition, you need to be able to float or tread water for at least 10 minutes using any method you want. If you can safely complete both of these qualifications, you are ready to begin training.

Best Sailboats For Scuba Diving
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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