6 Exciting Alternatives to Scuba Diving You Should Try.

6 Exciting Alternatives to Scuba Diving

Have you ever wanted to experience what life is like below the oceans’ surface, but scuba diving just isn’t for you? 

Well, scuba diving is not the only way to encounter the incredible underwater world – there are now many alternatives. In this article, we will cover 6 alternatives to scuba diving that allows you to see the amazing and diverse marine life that lives in the ocean. 

If scuba diving doesn’t quite “take your fancy”, you have a medical condition that doesn’t allow you to go, or you simply are frightened by the idea, do not worry, you can still experience what life is like underwater!

You are probably thinking, “what alternatives are there?” – So with that, here are our top 6 alternatives to scuba!

  1. Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter (B.O.S.S)
  2. Freediving
  3. Helmet Diving
  4. Semi-Submersible Submarine
  5. Snorkelling
  6. SNUBA

6 Exciting Alternatives to SCUBA

With advances in technology, there are now so many alternatives to scuba diving that your family or friends can participate in, on your next vacation.

1. Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter (B.O.S.S)

Imagine a “Vespa” scooter under the water with a helmet connected at the front – that is basically what a B.O.S.S is! 

With this advanced technology, there is no need to swim with this self-propelled bike as you explore under the ocean surface. 

Once sat on your submersible scooter, a helmet is placed over your head and shoulders allowing you to breathe as you would on land via the air tank attached to the scooter at the front. 

The helmets are super-cool with a 360-degree view of the ocean, so you will never miss a thing underwater. Holiday destinations such as Hawaii, Honduras, and Mauritius are all popular for this alternative underwater experience. 

*If you are claustrophobic or sensitive to pressure changes, it is best you avoid this activity. 

B.O.S.S Equipment:

  • An underwater scooter equipped with an air tank and helmet

2. Freediving

As the name suggests you are “free” of any equipment associated with scuba diving apart from a weight belt, mask, fins, and wetsuit if it is cold or you want to be well-streamlined in the water.

Without all the equipment you will be more agile and are very unlikely to get decompression sickness as you will not be consuming any oxygen under the water. 

As you will need to come up for air, you can talk to your buddy (a buddy is a requirement in freediving) about the cool things you saw, and give/receive advice and support to your buddy.

Freediving is inwardly focused. Your mind is at ease which gives you time to be reflective and analyse your body’s response to being underwater. This is why people say freediving is “a sport to discover and improve yourself both physically and mentally”. 

Freediving Equipment:

  • Freediving Fins/Monofin
  • Mask
  • Snorkel (recommended but not essential)
  • Weight Belt
  • Wetsuit (recommended but not essential)

3. Helmet Diving 

If you are not one for snorkelling and cannot swim this may be the perfect activity for you! 

Helmet diving requires no swimming skills and is perfect for people who dislike snorkelling – I’m sure you would agree, there is nothing worse than constantly getting water in your snorkel. 

This activity gets its name from the equipment you will be using – a helmet!

This bell-shaped helmet is placed over your head and shoulders. It is connected to an air supply on a raft at the surface and has a window on the front so you can see all the awesome marine creatures.

One of my favourite things about helmet diving is it keeps everything inside the helmet dry, even when fully submerged in the water. 

The helmet is a great alternative to scuba diving as you can wear your glasses inside the helmet, and even reach inside if you get an ‘urge’ to itch your face. Helmet diving allows you to go to a depth of 3m – which is much better than being stuck on the surface snorkelling in my opinion. 

SeaTREK” helmet diving is owned by Sub Sea Systems (a global company) and is well known for helmet diving. In 2015 the company made the first modified beach wheelchair for people that cannot functionally use their legs.

Since then the company has gone further into creating a custom underwater wheelchair called the “Adapted SeaTREK” experience. 

*If you are claustrophobic or sensitive to pressure changes, it is best you avoid this activity. 

Helmet Diving Equipment:

  • A helmet equipped with an air tank

4. Semi-Submersible Submarine

If you are someone who doesn’t like to get wet, then a semi-submersible submarine is a great way to see the underwater world whilst staying dry.

Submarines can go to greater depths than recreational scuba divers due to the controlled pressure changes inside. This is by far the easiest alternative to both scuba diving and snorkelling. 

Most semi-submersible submarines can go to a depth of 75m, far greater than recreational scuba diving.

This means you can see a much larger variety of marine life. Always keep an eye out at shallower depths as you may see a scuba diver or freediver passing by – don’t forget to wave if they see you as you enjoy relaxing in your DRY seat!

As you probably know, we cannot verbally communicate underwater when scuba diving, and are limited to hand signals only. When inside a submarine you can talk to anyone inside – I once was in a submarine and someone even proposed to their girlfriend!

Submarines are similar to being on an aircraft. Throughout your experience, you will be sat down in front of a porthole which is very similar to a plane window. 

*Note, you will need to be able to climb down a ladder into the submarine. 

Semi-Submersible Submarine Equipment:

  • No equipment needed – just yourself & the submarine!

5. Snorkelling

If you are someone that does not enjoy going under the surface but likes to still get wet, why not try snorkelling? Snorkelling is great as it is pretty much available on every beach, as long as the conditions are safe.

If you feel comfortable enough to hold your breath and sink below the ocean surface for a short while you can explore and feel what life is like to be a fish. 

Most holiday destinations now offer snorkelling packages, some snorkellers tagging along on dive trips.

This is fantastic, as some family members may not feel comfortable diving, but they may still want to experience the diverse marine life. 

If you do go for a snorkelling trip, equipment is usually included in the price, and sometimes they will offer snacks and refreshments. 

Snorkelling Equipment:

  • Fins
  • Mask
  • Snorkel
  • Life Jacket (highly recommended but not essential if you are a competent swimmer)
Woman snorkelling and diving down

If you liked this article, please follow us on Instagram, Twitter and like our Facebook page


SNUBA, not to be confused with “SCUBA” is a cross between snorkelling and scuba diving except you do not have all the extra equipment such as a BCD and heavy tank on your back and are not restricted to the surface like you are with snorkelling. 

It doesn’t require any scuba certification, and is pretty easy! Like scuba diving, you will need a demonstration before you can go into the ocean. This consists of a 15-minute safety talk, and a 15-minute safety demonstration, then you are good to go!

So, how does it work?

An air tank is placed on a floating raft that is connected to a hose, that is connected to your regulator. The hose will be connected to your harness so it doesn’t float around, allowing you to roam freely. 

With SNUBA you have a depth limit of 6m (much better than snorkelling and helmet diving) and is extremely comfortable due to no extra weight like scuba diving

*With SNUBA, basic swimming skills are needed. 

SNUBA Equipment:

  • Fins
  • Mask
  • Regulator
  • SNUBA Harness
  • Weight Belt

Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!

Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.

Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:


Diver Alert Network (DAN)

If you liked this article, please follow us on Instagram, Twitter and like our Facebook page


So, as you can see you are not only limited to scuba diving or snorkelling to enjoy the underwater world and all the amazing creatures that venture there. Even if you are a scuba diver, you could even try out a new underwater activity on your next vacation. 

I wonder which one you will choose!

For any other diving-related questions you may have, why not check out some of our other articles.

Please share this article using the social media buttons!

Alternatives to Scuba FAQs

Darby Bonner

Darby is a marine biologist and PADI scuba diving instructor from the UK. With over ten years of diving experience, she has visited some of the best dive destinations in the world. Currently, Darby is living in Bali, Indonesia and regularly dives at some of the most beautiful dive sites in the Indian Ocean. Her passion for the ocean led her to study seals, publish a paper, and become a marine mammal medic. In the future, she hopes to complete her master’s in marine science, and of course, continue her love for teaching and diving!

Recent Posts

Seraphinite AcceleratorBannerText_Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.