What Is The Difference Between Shore Diving & Boat Diving?

September 08, 2023 4 min read

Aquanauts Plymouth's Outcast diving boat

If you’ve ever been diving, you probably need little persuading when it comes to the benefits of exploring the world beneath the waves. What you might be lacking, however, is a real understanding of the different ways you can explore this world.

There are two main ways to enter the water - by boat or via the shore - and both offer distinct glimpses into the underwater landscape. Each method has its own advantages and considerations, and understanding which you prefer is key to getting the most out of your future dives. If you’re not sure which camp you fall into, let’s dive deep into the differences between shore diving and boat diving.

What Is Shore Diving?

As the name implies, shore diving is when you enter the water from the shoreline. Because no boat is required, shore diving is generally thought of as the most accessible method of diving. It really is as simple as walking into the water with the right safety equipment and enjoying the delights of the dive. 

While some divers aren’t huge fans of wading through the sea to get going, shore diving offers the following benefits:

Easy Access To The Water

As we’ve mentioned, one of the main reasons why divers opt to depart from the shore is accessibility. With shore diving, there’s no need to organise a boat or travel far, just find a shoreline close to home and get exploring. This makes shore diving particularly popular amongst sustainable divers who like to stay local where possible. Just remember your warm changing robe for when the beach or car park becomes your makeshift changing room!


The window for shore diving is generally much wider than its boating counterpart. Whereas boat trips can sometimes be affected by weather conditions, you can enter the water from the shore easily checking tides and swell reports ensuring  it is safe for you to do so. With added flexibility, divers can be much more spontaneous with their schedule and enjoy the water all year round. Our Team are always on hand to advise you with shore dives.

Explore Shallow Sites

Shore diving sites also tend to be shallow, providing ample opportunities to dive at shallow depths for longer than you might normally be able to. This also means that shore divers get to enjoy the luxury of exploring areas that might be inaccessible to boats. Of course, this works both ways, but when entering the water from the shore you can explore shallow reefs and tide pools that may lead to different and special encounters. Safety tip to remember when shore diving you should always deploy a surface marker buoy so that boats and other water users are aware of divers below.

What Is Boat Diving?

Boat diving, on the other hand, involves travelling by boat to reach dive sites away from the shore. This type of diving can require a bit more planning and scheduling than shore diving but allows you to explore further afield without the hassle of lugging all of your gear down to the shoreline. It also allows you to visit some truly beautiful and often remote locations. For this reason you will often be rewarded by some rarer marine life and unusual dive sites. Infact, boat diving is generally smooth sailing, and many divers find themselves on ‘team boat’ to unlock the following benefits.

Build Confidence

There’s no escaping the fact that scuba diving involves spending a lot of time in open water. For many people, this is a pretty daunting experience, but boat diving is generally favoured among those needing a little bit of a boost to brave the big blue. Rather than having to work through different depth levels from the shore, divers jump straight into the ocean, taking away the anticipation and allowing you to build confidence in the water more quickly.

Dive With Others

Whereas shore dives are typically smaller and more intimate experiences, boat diving is all about the group experience. You’ll be joined on the boat by a number of fellow enthusiasts, with plenty of time to share stories, tips and experiences. Make the most of this opportunity to expand your network of like-minded people and you never know where your next dive might take you.

Visit Remote Sites

We can’t talk about boat diving without highlighting the amazing remote sites that a boat allows you to visit. By successfully organising a boat dive, you can open up access to offshore or deeper dive sites and catch a glimpse of new marine life and sea creatures. If maritime history is your thing, boat diving also makes it possible to dive at shipwrecks and open up a fascinating hidden world.

Choosing Your Dive

So you understand the difference between shore diving and boat diving, but which is best? We hate to break it to you, but there isn’t really a definitive answer to this question. Choosing which to go for largely comes down to personal preference and both types of diving offer breathtaking glimpses into a world that few people get to experience first-hand. The very best thing you can do is experience both and slowly carve out your own identity as a diver.

Here at Aquanauts, we’re huge fans of the social experience offered by boat diving and offer a range of epicboat diving experiences for anyone that finds themselves swaying towards this camp. However, we also understand boat diving can come with limitations, particularly after the wet summer we’ve just experienced! We’ve added a group touch to shore diving with ourguided shore dives so that you can join in with the fun no matter what you (and the weather) fancy doing. 

If you’re still not sure whether to take the plunge via shore or boat, you can always get in touch with our expert team who can talk you through the basics and provide more information about our different guided dives.

Noeleen Smith
Noeleen Smith

Also in News

wetsuits and dive gear hanging on stand
Aquanauts’ Best Scuba Diving Wetsuits 2024

May 15, 2024 4 min read

Discover the best scuba diving wetsuits with Aquanauts. Our handy guide covers all of the best wetsuits for scuba diving, including semi-dry suits.
diver diving the james eagan layne wreck
Local Dive Site Guide: James Eagan Layne

May 10, 2024 4 min read

Planning a visit to James Eagan Layne? Discover everything you need to know about this fascinating wreck dive with the Aquanauts guide.
wetsuits hanging on dive charter
What Is A Semi-Dry Wetsuit & Why Should You Get One?

April 29, 2024 4 min read

Semi-dry wetsuits have transformed the way we think about thermal protection as divers, but what are they and are they worth it? Find out more.