Is The Red Sea Safe for Divers?

A couple of weeks ago at the London Dive Show Egypt once again won dive destination of the year according to Diver Magazine readers. No mean feat considering the alternatives, Maldives, The Cayman Islands, and Truk, to name a few. In recent years Egypt has suffered civil disturbances, terrorist attacks and some highly publicised accidents. None of these events are known to attract tourists so in turn The Red Sea resorts have suffered a decline in divers. The FCO website (at the time of writing) advises that the dive resorts are safe. Egyptians take tourism seriously; it's a major economic driver for the country. Having visited many times I can vouch they take tourist security very seriously. Why then are the Egyptians resorts seeing fewer divers? It is well known Egypt is the destination of choice by most British divers. It's only 5 hours away, flights are cheap, and the sea temperature is great and the diving phenomenal. The resorts are generally run by English speaking dive professionals. What is there not to like? I was chatting with Andy Goddard a hugely experienced and knowledgeable dive professional, Managing Director of Andark Diving  in Hampshire and a committee member of SITA . He expressed huge concern for the UK dive industry due to the lack of confidence our divers have in The Red Sea. It stands to reason, if the most popular dive destination is experiencing a slump so will UK dive kit, travel and training. Maybe divers are swapping to alternate locations (over the next few weeks we will be running a serious of blogs on alternatives) but the divers I spoke with didn't mention changing their holiday location from Egypt. Maybe they are simply delaying their trips and 2013 will see a resurgent supply of travelling divers. We need to support both Egypt and our fellow dive professionals in the Red Sea resorts but what more can we do? Are you a diver and now feel nervous about visiting the Red Sea? Please let us know your thoughts and concerns.   Image above from Nataraj Metz over at Flickr.

11 comments

  • Well I think that this past year, the lack of British divers was only to do with the economic situation, but if they keep up with security, I think Divers will start turning back to the Red Sea. There is another option is divers go to Eilat south of Israel, and get Liveboards from there or day trip.

    Peter Rosenberg
  • I went to the Dahab in 2011 despite the uprising earlier that year and it was easy to see the impact that had on tourism (I almost had the resort to myself). I loved every minute of it, the hotel, the dive club, the people and of course the diving. At no time did I ever feel apprehensive or fear for my safety, completely the opposite in fact. If I could I would go every year.
    I agree with Gary, and unfortunately now I would struggle to afford a holiday in the country let alone a dive trip. Sadly, for the time being, this remains an unaffordable luxury for me personally, otherwise I would return without hesitation.

    shayne
  • I have been to Egypt 13 times in the last 4 years and i recently did my IDC/IE and have plans on leaving the UK at the end of the month to live and work in Sharm. I have been been there during the revolution and I didn’t feel unsafe at all, yes there were more police and soldiers in the check points but it was just another day in Egypt. I understand that everyone is feeling the pinch and are cutting back and hobbies are the first things to be hit, but for the standard of sites it shouldn’t be missed.

    Gareth
  • I think it should also be pointed out that UK, European and even world economic conditions aren’t that rosy and it may be that the less committed diver is doing something else for holiday, or may have to choose between a dive holiday and a family holiday, whereas in the past maybe both managed to get squeezed in!

    Gary Davis
  • I have just returned from a two week diving holiday with my children, aged 14 and 15 and nephew 21 and their grandmother. The security in the hotels are tight after the bombing there in 2005, and the troubles are in Cairo 700 km away. I felt as safe there as anywhere. Avoiding diving there is like saying I’m not going to visit Scotland because someone let of a bomb in the underground in London. Ridiculous. It was bliss, the diving excellent both for the wonderful corals, still unspoiled and the beautiful fish and wrecks as well as the fantastic care we had from the team at mr diver Marriott in Sharm ( thank you Tarek and Ahmed. Please please go, it’s perfectly safe and a great place to dive. We will be back!

    Dianne lewis

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