Meet the Fleet

Published June 16, 2019 in DIVING & SNORKELING

A tour of Wakatobi’s iconic dive boats

Wakatobi’s House Reef is one of the most acclaimed shore dives in the world. But to discover the full scope and diversity of our marine preserve, you’ll want to take a boat ride. And not just any boat. Like every other element of the Wakatobi experience, our custom-built boats combine first-class service with an extra helping of both style and comfort.

Wakatobi VIII is a traditional design hand-built by a team of local artisanal craftsmen. At 22.7-meters/74.6 feet long and 5.2 meters/17.2 ft wide, there’s’ a whole lot of room onboard. Photo by Chris Gloor

New arrivals

In early 2019, the Wakatobi VII and Wakatobi VIII were launched, bringing the fleet to eight. The VIII is a meter or two longer than some of its sister ships but otherwise presents a similar layout. In contrast, the Wakatobi VII was created to accommodate private charters and is configured to give individuals or small groups a truly personal diving experience.

Wakatobi VII was built to accommodate private charters and is configured to give individuals or small groups a truly personal diving experience. Photo by Glen Cowans

Rather than the full-length bench seating found on the resort’s other boats, the spacious covered deck of this new boat includes a dining area, forward sun lounges, kitchen station and a changing room with full bathroom and shower. A special feature is an upper deck, which can be used for sightseeing, sunning or enjoying dinner under the stars. More about private boats >here.

The local angle

Some might wonder why a premier dive and snorkel resort such as Wakatobi operates classic wooden Indonesian boats rather than gleaming fiberglass speedboats. It begins with our mission to generate economic benefit to the local community, as we commission local builders rather than import factory-built dive boats. This not only keeps revenues in the community, it also provides some environmental benefits, as building locally reduces the carbon footprint that would result from importing boats from distant locations.

Wakatobi’s boats consume far less fuel and create fewer emissions than high-speed, turbo-diesel launches, while still cruising at speeds in the 17km/11mph range. Photo by Didi Lotze

Beyond the “feel good” aspects, there are more good reasons for our design choices. Because our boats are built by local craftsmen, repairs can be made quickly and easily—no waiting for a proprietary part to be flown in from a factory thousands of miles away. The long and relatively lean shape of our dive boats allows them to be powered by smaller more fuel-efficient engines that generate fewer emissions than high-speed, turbo-diesel launches.

Designed for comfort

Our boats ease along at comfortable speeds in the 17km/11mph range. There’s no pounding or lurching, and engine noise is reduced to a low burble so it’s to have normal conversations on deck. At these speeds, most sites in our marine preserve are between ten to 30 minutes away, and even our most distant sites are reached in less than an hour.

Wakatobi’s boats are exceptionally stable both underway and when stopped allowing for a much more enjoyable time aboard. Photo by Walt Stearns

Our boats are also extremely stable both underway and when stopped. Passengers can relax on the way to the site and move about without having to clutch handrails to maintain balance. And though we rarely encounter rough water, the boats’ sharp bows and narrow profiles allow them to knife through chop and waves with an easy motion.

Wakatobi’s boats are covered from bow to stern and don’t require passengers to slather sunscreen or don cover-ups just to keep from burning.

Sun protection is a vital but too-often-overlooked aspect of diving and snorkeling activities in the tropics. That’s why Wakatobi’s boats are covered from bow to stern and don’t require passengers to slather sunscreen or don cover-ups just to keep from burning. For those who want to catch some rays, there is a roomy open section on the bow. Another design feature that guests on our boats really appreciate is the location of the bathrooms. Which are located in the more stable stern area, right at deck level. Additionally, all boats have a shower and an ample supply of fresh water for rinses.

Egress to and from the water is by wide side entry doors and sturdy ladders that extend down both sides of the boat. Photo by Walt Stearns

Egress to and from the water is by wide side entry doors and sturdy ladders that extend down from both sides of the boat. Photo by Walt Stearns

Crowd control

The long deck profile of our boats creates ample bench seating and plenty of elbowroom. In theory, each boat could comfortably accommodate a large number of divers and snorkelers, but bulk capacity is not Wakatobi’s style. For example, Wakatobi VIII is the resort’s largest boat (22.7-meters/74.6 feet long and 5.2 meters/17.2 ft wide). That’s a whole lot of room for a maximum 16 divers/snorkelers. Wakatobi VI takes a total of 16, while the slightly smaller Wakatobi IV runs with a complement of 12 guests.

Each of our dive/snorkel boats has plenty of space for comfortably gearing up and moving around freely. Photo by Walt Stearns

Items like masks, fins and booties are stowed in personalized storage bins beneath the gunwale benches where they are always within easy reach. Each guest’s personal bin is transferred to and from boats by the dive staff throughout their stay to ensure things don’t get lost, and are always within easy reach.

Each boat also has a large table to accommodate DSLR camera systems as well as a host of additional photo equipment. Photo by Walt Stearns

A large dedicated camera table and rinse station are located near the rear of the boats, while egress to and from the water is by wide side entry doors on both sides of the boat. These openings are set midway between the camera table and the forward bench seats, allowing photographers room to assemble their gear without being in the way of other divers and snorkelers entering or exiting the water. An additional benefit of the side entry points is the separation from the boat’s engine exhaust, which is far away in the stern.

Wakatobi’s captains, crews and dive guides are ready to welcome you aboard and to ensure that travel to and from each site is as relaxing and enjoyable as your time in the water.

Complete a quick trip inquiry at wakatobi.com.  Email our team at office@wakatobi.com

Take a ride

See just how enjoyable a dive boat really can be. Enjoy this video.

More great Wakatobi videos here.

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