Our friendly team is happy to help with any questions you might have about our snorkelling and diving day trips, overnight liveaboard trips and dive courses. Check these frequently asked questions first though, in case we’ve already got the answer!
All our day and overnight trips visit the Outer Great Barrier Reef. The outer reefs are the sections furthest from the coast.
These reefs have fewer crowds and benefit from flowing nutrients distributed by the vast Coral Sea. Here, good climate conditions and clear water bring out the best in the coral colours and the incredibly diverse marine life.
With more than 18 sites from Cairns, Divers Den has the most choice of outer reef locations of all the local operators. On our day trips we visit two sites per day, based on weather and visibility conditions, to ensure you have the best possible dive or snorkel experience.
We try to not predict the weather any more than a couple of days ahead, but you can find out more on our weather page about the general conditions for Cairns, Tropical North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef across the year, including temperatures and estimated rainfall.
In Cairns and the rest of the tropical north, the weather is warm year-round, so you can enjoy a trip to the Great Barrier Reef in any season! Our weather page will give you more information.
As long as you’re comfortable in the water, you should be able to snorkel or even do an intro dive. Before you enter the water you will fill out a form that includes information on your level of competence in the water and any medical conditions. Depending on your response, we may require that you use a flotation device while snorkelling.
Our friendly instructors will talk you through using all the equipment. If you’re unsure, feel free to contact us to discuss.
Some medical conditions can prevent you from scuba diving. Please read our Can I Dive page carefully and contact us if you have any questions.
You will also be asked to fill out an assessment form before snorkelling. If you are assessed as an at-risk snorkeller you may be required to wear a flotation device while snorkelling.
Yes! For most of our day trips and overnight trips, you’ll be travelling on the same vessel as all our other passengers – so if you or your travel partners are certified divers and others in your group are not, you’ll share your journey out on the reef together and complete your dives/snorkel experiences at the same sites.
Divers Den is proud to be a COVID Safe business and the health of our passengers and staff is very important to us.
Please read the Queensland vaccination requirements on our COVID safety page carefully.
To keep our passengers safe we are also following all current guidelines as set out by DAN (the Divers Alert Network) and PADI.
In addition, everyone that rents a set of gear will receive “their” mouthpiece at the end of the day, and a new one will be put on the regulator for the next guest.
Our locals discount applies to Cairns locals only (persons whose primary place of residence is between Innisfail, Cape Tribulation and the Tablelands).
A driver’s license is adequate proof – management must approve any other form of identification.
These discounts are not available for visiting friends and families of locals. Language students and people on working holiday visas are not considered locals. Discount not available on public holidays.
Yes, we offer a 25% discount for staff and volunteers of selected defence forces and emergency services organisations. Find out about defence and emergency discounts.
Child snorkel age is 4-14. Please see below for learn to dive age restrictions. There is no minimum age restriction for travelling on vessels when accompanied by a parent or guardian, but children must remain supervised at all times if they are not undertaking a course.
Yes, we can accommodate people who don’t wish to snorkel or dive. Each of our vessels has outdoor viewing decks and air-conditioned spaces indoors.
Your lunch on board our day trips will be a fresh tropical buffet lunch with hot and cold options. If you have special dietary requirements, please advise us at time of booking.
Meals on board OceanQuest are chef-prepared. As long as we are advised at time of booking we can cater to most dietary requests. Please contact us for further queries.
You can visit our online photo store here to purchase photographs from your Great Barrier Reef snorkel or dive trip.
All our vessels are catamarans, which offer greater stability and a smoother ride than monohull vessels.
If you are prone to motion sickness, we recommend buying natural ginger tablets, available at all local chemists. We also have some available for sale on board.
We strongly recommend travel insurance to cover you if your snorkel or dive trip is cancelled due to illness, poor weather, travel delays, lost luggage and legal costs. Travel insurance may not cover diving accidents and/or treatment/evacuation. For that we recommend separate insurance – see our Can I Dive page for more information.
Box jellyfish, also known as ‘stingers’, are pale blue, transparent jellyfish. They can measure up to 20 cm along each side of their cube-shaped bodies, and their tentacles can reach up to 3 metres long. Their sting can be very painful, and even fatal in some cases.
Box jellyfish live in the warmer coastal areas sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef, and are most numerous between November and May. We provide protective lycra suits during these months to protect all snorkellers and divers.
We offer complimentary accommodation transfers on our dive courses and overnight trips.
We don’t offer accommodation packages, but we offer overnight dive and snorkel experiences with accommodation on our liveaboard vessel OceanQuest.
All equipment is included in the trip cost. For a certified diver, this includes a regulator with a console computer, buoyancy control device (BCD), snorkel, mask, fins, wetsuit, emergency signalling devices, tank and weights/weight belt.
The maximum depth for recreational diving is 18m if you hold the standard PADI Open Water Diver Certification (or equivalent), and 30m if you hold the PADI Advanced Open Water certification (or equivalent).
Some of the best dives on the Great Barrier Reef can be done in less than 15m of water, where stronger light can result in an even better view of the abundant marine life.
You can choose to book a guided dive on our day or overnight trips for $15 per person per dive. If your certification or a medical condition prevents you from diving unsupervised, you will be required to dive with a guide.
All divers are asked to complete a medical questionnaire on board. You don’t require a medical if you answer no to everything. If you answer yes to any questions, a further medical may be required. You will also be asked to fill out a general disclaimer which differs from company to company. See our Can I Dive page for more information.
You’ll need to bring your certification card. If you have lost your card, please contact the issuing agency.
Certified divers should bring their logbooks to log their dives on board the vessel, and so our dive supervisors can assess their experience.
In most cases it is, but please contact us so we can be sure. Let us know your certifying agency, certification level and approximate number of dives.
No, solo diving is not allowed. You’ll need a dive buddy or a guide with you at all times.
Whenever possible, the Dive Supervisor will buddy you with someone of equal experience.
We do not currently allow freediving with the use of weight belts on any of our boats, due to the risks involved.
Duck diving while snorkelling is allowed but we do not encourage hyperventilation or other breath hold techniques.
If you are a PADI certified freediver and wish to free dive with us, you will need written approval from our Dive Operations Manager. Please contact us for more information.
Regulations state that for a single, no decompression dive, you should not fly or go to altitude for at least 12 hours. For multiple dives you should not fly or go to altitude for at least 18 hours.
We recommend waiting at least 24 hours after diving before going to altitude or flying. These are guidelines only – there is no guarantee that following these recommendations will prevent decompression sickness. Currently there are no guidelines regarding diving after flying.
Altitude is defined as 300m/1000ft above sea level. Certain other tourist attractions around Cairns and Tropical North Queensland involve travelling to altitude. These include the Atherton Tablelands and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, so we recommend a gap between booking these experiences and any dive course or trip.
Our overnight experience diving usually finishes by midday and our day trips by 2pm, which makes it easier to plan some down time between diving and flying/going to altitude.
In Australia the standard fitting on a scuba diving tank is the INT fitting – the same used in the US, where it’s known as a yoke valve. A DIN fitting is generally used in Europe, in particular in Germany.
Our tanks on board all our vessels can take both Yoke and DIN regulators.
We supply 7L, 9L and 12L tanks.
We offer the full range of PADI dive courses, from beginner to professional. You can see the different course levels and how you can progress through them here.
Yes. On our Open Water Diver course, you will be required to do a swim test of 200m without stopping in the pool. There is no time limit and you may swim in any style. You will also be required to tread water for 10 minutes without touching the side or bottom of the pool.
The minimum learn to dive course is four days (or three days using eLearning), which includes five pool sessions, five theory sessions and four training dives. The training dives must be over a minimum of two days. We also offer longer options with more time to practise your skills.
Find out more about learning to dive.
PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors) sets the maximum number of participants for courses. However, courses do not necessarily run at full capacity year round.
The maximum numbers are:
To participate in Open Water Training the minimum age in Queensland is 10 years. However, if the diver is under 12, we must be informed before the course starts, as a private instructor will be needed for the sea days.
There is no minimum age restriction for travelling on vessels when accompanied by a parent or guardian, but children must remain supervised at any time they are not undertaking a course. To travel unaccompanied, the minimum age is 18 years.
Read our Can I Dive page for more info.
You can wear contact lenses when learning to dive, but please make sure you let your instructor know before the pool/ocean sessions. We also have a range of prescription masks available.
If you participate in a dive course, we will teach you how to equalise or clear your ears at regular intervals. Your instructor will be able to identify any potential concerns during the early stages of pool training.
A referral means that part of the course has been completed before arriving in Cairns. We accept referrals from PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors) stores and instructors worldwide. Referral paperwork needs to be signed off by the initiating instructor and have been done within the last 12 months.
View our open water referral course options.
If you do not finish all the components of the Open Water Course, we may be able to partially certify you or issue a referral. Your instructor will discuss the options with you.
We will refund you if you fail your medical on Day 1, as you will not be able to continue the course. You will still be able to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef as a snorkeller. Find out more here about snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef.
You can cancel the course on day 1 or 2 with a reduced fee that covers training time and materials.