Book Online & Save
Red Sea
Emperor Divers Home » Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

For questions about specific dive centres please check the relevant dive centre page or email reservations who will be happy to help you.

• Does Emperor provide hotel transfers?

Yes, hotel transfers are provided as a courtesy and are free of charge. Please click the following links for hotel lists and transfer times at each of Emperor's locations:
Also note the IMPORTANT information about where to wait for your pick-up, eg in Sharm you wait at the hotel gate and not in reception. Timings for the return transfers to your hotel vary depending on how busy it is. For those who finish diving first, we try to reduce the waiting time but, if a quick return is needed, please check alternatives, such as a taxi, with your reception staff.

• Climate

Red Sea climate chart
The diving season is year-round with visibility averaging 30m. Water temperatures range from 20°C in the winter months to 29°C in summer. From May to September, the air temperature ranges between 38°C and 45°C, and from October through to April between 23°C and 29°C. From December to February, the nights can be quite cold, but in the summer the nights are warm. July and August are the hottest months. In winter, there can often be a breeze.
Divers can use LYCRA, DARLEX or POLARTEC suits during late spring, summer and early autumn. During winter, a 5mm two-piece suit is best and for the evenings, a light sweater or jacket is recommended.

• What are the actual water temperatures in the Red Sea?

Actual water temperatures at Emperor Divers' 4 locations (last updated: 18-12-2014)
  • El Gouna: 24°C
  • Marsa Alam: 23°C
  • Hamata: 24°C
  • Sharm El Sheikh: 24°C

• Vaccinations

No compulsory vaccinations are required but hepatitis A, polio, typhoid, and tetanus are recommended.

• Visas

If you have not already arranged your Egyptian visa in your home country then you will need to purchase this in the airport on arrival. Please note that visas must be paid for in cash (Egyptian Pounds, Euro, GBP or USD) and cost USD 15 for most EU citizens with change given in Egyptian Pounds.

When visiting Sinai, there are two visa options, a 'Sinai only' visa and a 'full Egypt' visa. To dive Ras Mohamed, Dunraven and Thistlegorm and to travel to Cairo or outside of Sinai, please ensure you get the 'full Egypt' visa.

• Is my holiday payment protected?

Your money protected
We know it's important and so for your FINANCIAL SECURITY, when you pay by credit card, all monies are held by Barclaycard Visa until your holiday takes place. You have peace of mind and so do we!

• Does Emperor charge credit card fees?

No, Emperor Divers does not charge any credit card fees when you make a booking.
We save you 2.5% (or more) whenever you pay by credit card as we choose not to charge any fees when you pay for your holiday.The price you see is the price you pay.

• Taking diving equipment?

Scuba equipment must be within the weight allowance allowed by the airline. Some airlines allow you to purchase extra weight for equipment, please check when booking your flight.
BCDs and bottles must be empty, properly closed and carried in the hold. Note: Some content and depth gauges and computers can be affected by low pressure. As with cameras, these should be carried as part of your hand luggage.

• Time

Egypt is 2 hours ahead of GMT.

• Currency

Egyptian pound (E£) or EGP. Local abbreviation LE.

• What wetsuit should I bring?

Shortie in the summer and most people are OK in 5mm long for the winter. Instructors are mainly in dry suits.

• What currency should I bring?

We accept payment in cash; Euro, Sterling, Egyptian Pound (LE), USD, all major credit/debit cards inc Amex, Maestro, Visa, MasterCard. Credit cards are charged in LE. Do make sure you inform your credit card provider that you are coming to Egypt because we have had credit card companies block transactions and then phone calls need to be made to unblock the cards.

• What time do you depart from Dive Centre to boat?

Between 8.20am and 8.45am depending on checking in new guests and organizing permissions.

• What time do transfers return to the hotel after diving?

These vary within the dive centres but are usually between 5pm and 6pm. This depends upon the diving activities of the day. It also depends on how many people need to check out. Please check with your dive centre.

• How many guides on each boat?

Currently CDWS have not specified a maximum number of guests to guides on each boat but we operate on a twelve to one with fewer guests as necessary depending on level of diver's experience.

• How many divers are there per boat?

Depends on the license but max is 17-30 divers.

• What size equipment do you have available?

Mask, snorkel, regulators are standard. Boots xxs - xxxl, BCD xs - xl, shortie wetsuits xs - xxl, Full wetsuits xs - xxxl, fins (open heeled used with boots and full foot) xs - xl. We have a small stock of BCDs and shortie wetsuits for children.

• What's the difference between PADI and SSI?

Having always offered PADI for diver training, we have now introduced dive courses with SSI with all instructors fully qualified to teach either discipline. There is very little difference between SSI and PADI as they both follow the diving standards set by the governing body - Recreational Scuba Training Council. The certifications are interchangeable and it gives you a wider choice of which agency suits you best. SSI offers extremely good value for money whilst being an internationally renowned training agency. For more in-depth information, email reservations@emperordivers.com.

• What languages do your Instructors/Guides speak?

Check each dive centre as these vary.

• What language materials do you have available for courses?

English, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, German, Scandinavian, Arabic, Polish and others. As long as we know about the course in advance we can arrange the materials.

• What days do different courses start?

Some courses start on certain days but can be arranged on a daily basis. Please enquire.

• Do the special trips run every day?

We wait until we have a minimum of usually six people. We have boards in the dive centre where people can sign up to each trip and specify the dates they can make the trips.

• How do I arrange/book myself onto a special trip?

Ask your guide, ask at the counter or place your name on the relevant special trips boards.

• I'm not sure if I want to take a course or not, can I try it first?

Yes, we do free try dives in the pool. If you want to experience a little bit of what an Open Water Course is like we do a Discover Scuba Diving experience, which gives a little taster as to what to expect. And don't forget our 'Learn to Dive or your money back' offer.

• What dive sites are suitable for novice divers?

All local sites are suitable, depending on weather conditions.

• How old do I have to be to become a certified diver?

10 years old to become a certified diver, but don't worry if you're not - our PADI Bubblemaker program will set you on your way from ages 8 upwards.

• Do I have to be a great swimmer to become a diver?

No but you must be able to swim 200m using any stroke and be able to tread water for 10 minutes.

• Do you rent cameras and how much?

Each centre is able to rent camera equipment. Most include the cost of a CD of your photos. Please ask about costs.

• What are your transfer times to the jetty?

Sharm: Approx 5 mins from Dive Centre.
El Gouna: Approx 5 mins from Dive Centre.

• What is the best time of year to dive?

All Emperor dive centres are year round resorts. 2nd week of November to the end of March can be cooler with strong winds but people like it because the boats and the sea are quiet. April to June, look out for manta and the occasional whale shark; summer is lots of shoaling fish, barracuda, trevallies, snapper, batfish. Water temps are lovely but downside is the air temp - very hot. September/October and 1st two weeks of November - air temps are beautiful and water is still warm. Marine sightings will vary depending on which dive resort you are staying at.

• What marine life should I expect to see?

There are approx 1238 species of marine life - fish, flora, fauna which inhabit the Red Sea. The most popular are clown fish, moray, turtle, napoleon and parrot fish. Each Dive Centre page gives you a sample of some of the marine life you can see from their particular area.

• Can non divers go on the boat to snorkel?

Yes. The rule with swimming and snorkelling on boats is, if the person is not a diver they must wait until a diving staff member is back on the boat from a dive before entering the water. If the diving partner chooses not to make one of his/her dives they are allowed to be the supervising person. This is because, according to the CDWS, the diving member is viewed to have had their swimming ability assessed.
In Marsa Alam, Sharm and El Gouna you can book dedicated snorkelling trips through Oceans Red Sea.

• Can children come on the boats?

On the diving boats it is 4yrs. Under 4yrs it is at the dive centre's discretion. Children must be supervised on the boat. For example if both parents are divers one must be present at all times, unless they bring a nanny or have a friend to supervise whilst they are diving. They cannot expect the crew of the boat or the diving staff to supervise.

• Can I swim with dolphins?

It very much depends on which resort you are staying in. There's a good chance when staying in El Gouna and Marsa Alam, less so in Sharm. El Gouna runs a dolphin snorkelling trip, suitable for non-divers too and Marsa Alam has a marine reserve set up around resident spinner dolphins.

• Do I need insurance?

Yes and it is important to check the depth. Some are for 18m only and others are for your certification level. If you want to dive deeper, eg you are on a tech course, it is important to check properly. We can provide this in resort for a small charge.

• What if I have a medical condition?

You will find a copy of the standard Medical Form on the PADI website. If you are doing a course, and can answer 'yes' to any of these questions, then you should see a doctor before arriving and bring with you a signed Medical Declaration that you are fit to dive from them.

• I need vision correction, is that a problem?

No. Many divers wear contact lenses and you can also get masks with corrective lenses.

• If I have been diving, how long should I wait before flying?

PADI recommend 12 hours before flying after 1 dive, 18 hours if you have done multiple dives over multiple days. Here at Emperor Divers, we require you to have 24 hours clear before flying.

• I've lost my certification card; can I still dive with you?

Please make every effort to get a replacement before you travel as it's often difficult to confirm your status from Egypt. If you are a PADI diver then don't worry, in an emergency we can check the PADI computer database online.

• I've lost my logbook; can I still dive with you?

Yes, providing you prove you're a diver. We may require you to do a check dive or scuba review first depending on your level, how many dives you think you have and when your last dive was.

• Do you use DIN or International tanks?

Yes we have both available.

• Where can I keep my dive kit overnight?

Either securely on the boat or in a secure equipment room.

• I haven't dived for a while; do I need to take part in a course?

Depends what level you are, how many dives you've got and when you last dived. If you are novice with not very many dives and not dived for a year we would strongly recommend a scuba review which is a one day refresher (bit of pool, bit of theory and a dive from the beach) if you are somewhat more experienced, maybe you are PADI advanced or rescue with 50-60 dives, you haven't dived for maybe 18 months we may suggest a check dive, which is part of the daily diving activity but you just refresh 4 basic skills. Takes about ten minutes, that's all.

• How many dives per day will I be able to do?

The normal diving day is 2 dives and the boats are usually tanked up for an optional 3rd dive paid locally. You can also do night dives in most resorts.

• What do I need to bring with me to the dive centre?

Local currency for lunch and drinks, towel, bathing costumes, sun cream, log book, certification card, passport, diving equipment if owned.

• What is the maximum depth I can dive to?

Our guides will guide to 30m on recreational dives or to the limit of your diving qualification. If you have a deep spec to say 40m, you have a buddy of equal level and can show your insurance allows you to dive to this depth, then CDWS allows diving to 40m. Technical diving has different rules.

• What is the maximum dive time?

Generally 60 mins and this is so we can account for all divers.

• Are there any specific rules I need to adhere to?

Emperor is very environmentally aware and asks that you refrain from taking knives or gloves diving. Do not touch, ride, feed, catch or harass anything you find underwater. Do not come back on the boat with less than 30bar in your tank, ascend or descend very close to the reef or ascend or descend down the mooring line. No solo diving, no decompression diving (unless on tech), use good buoyancy control when using cameras. And that means we all have a great dive!

Latest News from Emperor's Blog

Visit our blog for more news, or subscribe to our news feed.