Scuba Diving in United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates are situated on the Arabian Peninsula and washed by the Persian Gulf, which is connected to the Indian Ocean. There is the Rub al Khali Desert nearby, which often brings sand storms here. The Persian Gulf is interesting for those who prefer various activities — it is famous among divers for its stunningly clear turquoise water, although there are few diving sites here. This region is famous for its rich underwater world. If you dive in local waters, you will see fascinating beauty and magnificence of coral reefs, come across moray eels, turtles, rays, octopuses, and such rare species as scorpionfish and lionfish. It is important to remember that in the UAE it is prohibited to bring live coral to the surface and leave the country with what you find underwater.

Reasons to Visit

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Dozens of wrecks suitable for wreck diving. Continuous construction work in Dubai has destroyed the coral reefs, so the government has decided to submerge ships in order to create a new water ecosystem. Fifteen of them lie at a depth of 30 meters: the barge Neptune is almost fully covered with coral, the hold of bulk carrier Yasim is filled with cars, and whiptail stingrays live near the ship Ludwig.
Car Cemetery is a unique artificial reef located near Khorfakkan. The cars submerged in 1988 have become home to different fish. Divers enjoy the views of the coral garden blooming on the slowly decaying iron. There are also seahorses, reef sharks, moray eels, rays, barracudas and rare smooth lumpfish.
Diving in the UAE is an opportunity to estimate the diversity of local underwater plants and animals. In the coastal waters with a visibility up to 25 meters you will enjoy watching bright sea anemones, colorful coral and different species of starfish. Depending on the dive spot you choose, you may find whale sharks and zebra sharks, octopuses and bottlenose dolphins here. Parrotfish, lionfish, trumpetfish, batfish and other coral reef dwellers live near the shore.
You will like cave diving near the Musandam Peninsula, where you can dive up to 50 meters deep at Lima Rock. The most popular dive sites are The Cave and Octopus Rock Coral Reef. During a dive here you will find magnificent rays, whale sharks, dolphins, turtles and barracudas.
Dive spots in the UAE provide night diving — while swimming in the dark waters of the Indian Ocean you will get a unique, though a bit creepy experience, and come across those sea dwellers, which cannot be found in daytime. However, instructors are not always eager to guide such dives, besides you can only dive in a group of 3 or more.
Memo Notes
Currency AED - UAE dirham
Languages Arabic
Timezone UTC +4
Phone code 971
Emergency Help 999
Electricity

Type D - 230 V, 50 Hz

Type G - 230 V, 50 Hz

Dive Shops in United Arab Emirates

There are three international dive clubs in Dubai where you can rent or buy equipment. They also provide diving from barges and from the shore, night and wreck diving. There are also dive shops with insructors speaking different languages on the Persian Gulf coast.

Сlimate & Seasonality
Spring

It may be cool in the UAE in spring — up to +25 °С, sometimes there are sand storms. However, the sea is still hospitable to divers. At the end of spring, the temperature rises and you can feel hot summer coming.

Summer

The summer heat in the UAE is incredible — the air warms up to +50 °С in the shade. The sea is full of plankton and visibility is much worse, so diving is pointless.

Autumn

In autumn the so-called "red tides" in the UAE occur: the water near the shore becomes murky due to rapid reproduction of coral and red seaweed. Diving is dangerous during this period. The temperature remains at +35 °С.

Winter

Winter is a perfect diving season in the UAE. The air and water temperatures become equal and do not exceed +30 °С. The coral in shallow waters are brightly colored and visibility reaches 25 meters.

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The Best Dive Sites

Explore the waters of Shark Island and Dibba Island, and rock Anemone Gardens. Visit the wrecks near Fujairah, including the submerged ship Inchcape 2 2 and car cemetery. Dive to Sheikh Mohammed's barge, which lies 20 meters along the coast of Dubai.

Health & Safety

Healthcare standards in the UAE are high, however, medical services may be unavailable in distant places. If you take any medicine, make sure it is legal in the UAE. We recommend to take out insurance, check the vaccination map and if necessary, get vaccinated against measles, parotitis, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and rabies. It is relatively safe in the UAE, however, you should follow standard safety measures and be careful in public places. Taking photos of people without their permission and publishing them on social media is forbidden here. Women mustn't wear revealing clothes.

Dangerous Marine Life

Sea snakes in the UAE waters are dangerous and should be avoided — they are the most venomous reptiles and their bite is lethal. Local waters are also full of predatory sharks. They are not dangerous for divers in shallow waters — the big fish avoid swimming too close to sharp coral.

Eat & Drinks

One of the most famous local dishes is falafel. It is balls made from ground chickpeas, which are served as street food, but this dish is also an essential part of family dinners in this country. Divers may try another local dish called manakish. It is melted cheese with olives and greens wrapped in pita. Our beloved shawarma was also invented in the Emirates, but the original recipe included only roast chicken, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, garlic, olive oil, pepper and paprika.
Common drinks are fresh juice, coffee and bottled water. Tap water may be dangerous.