Dubai is the perfect place to experience water-based adventures
Diving, sailing, jet-skiing...when it comes to marine thrills Dubai has it all. With more than 50km of pristine coastline, watersports are popular in Dubai. Making the most of the clear skies and temperate days, you can opt for a leisurely dusk sail, high-speed tour on a jet-ski or something a little more daring like Flyboarding or Seabreaching. Here’s a guide to the best aquatic activities.
Sharks and shipwrecks
Dubai’s warm waters offer scuba divers year-round diving and a host of five-star experiences under the sea. Both first-timers and experienced divers are catered for at Atlantis Dive Centre, which has a qualified team of PADI Instructors and certification courses. Located at Atlantis, The Palm, the Atlantis Dive Centre offers a variety of marine experiences in the Ambassador Lagoon – the largest open-aquarium in the region.
Explore the lost city of Atlantis and its 65,000 marine animals from a range of snorkelling and diving options for kids, families and expert divers. Want to experience something a bit more daring? Dive into the depths of the ancient ruins amongst rare sea creatures, or embark on a predator dive to hand-feed up to 14 different species of sharks and rays.
New marine thrills
For the thrill-seekers out there, this latest watersport just might catch your attention. The Seabreacher is a new-age water adventure that lets you hit the waters like a shark – literally. Although this is technically a mini-submarine in the shape of a shark, the vehicle is almost like an aircraft with a powerful 260hp engine, reaching speeds of up to 100kmph. It even mimics the tail movements of a real shark and can jump up to six metres out of the water, hence the name.
This is perfect for the more adventurous who want a unique adrenaline-filled moment. Try it at Rixos The Palm Dubai, Kempinski Hotel Palm Jumeirah or The Beach at JBR – with prices starting from AED500 per person for a 15-minute ride.
Flyboarding and hoverboarding with Searide Dubai is definitely the closest thing to flying freely above water. On one of these flyboards, you can enjoy elevated views without having to jump from crazy heights or hanging off old-school parachutes and boats. This one-person water-propelled flyboard can shoot up to nine metres in the air and keep you afloat – if you can keep your balance.
A 20m hose is connected to a personal watercraft, pumping water at extreme force and redirecting the water output to two jets on the bottom of the board.
It’s an exhilarating experience to say the least. Don’t worry, because there are instructors to guide you through everything. Remember to bring a trusty videographer with you to capture all the action! Prices start from AED300 per person for 20 minutes. It's the perfect addition to any adventure holiday in Dubai.
Conquering the sea
There's a thrill for every adventurer in Dubai. Hold on tight as you go tubing along the waters of the Gulf with Sky and Sea Adventures – expect plenty of bumps and squeals of laughter along the way. If you'd prefer a slower pace, book a stand-up paddleboard ride with the experts at Kite n Surf. The company organises sessions at the city's best beaches, including Kite Beach that impresses with views of the iconic Burj Al Arab in the distance.
Wakesports are also very popular in Dubai, especially in the cooler winter months. Beginners and professionals can book some wakeboarding, wakesurfing or waterskiing time with SeaWake for an unforgettable day out in the sunshine.
Kitesurfing and parasailing
If there were any doubts about Dubai's love for kitesurfing, all you'd have to do is visit its namesake, Kite Beach. It's on this patch of sand that both amateurs and pros attempt their hand at this extreme sport, thanks to plenty of lessons and hiring facilities like Dukite. The sport requires you to grip onto a handle attached to a parachute – which you then manoeuvre to increase speed and change direction. Not only is it a wild ride, it's also a great full-body workout.
Swap the board for just a parachute, and you’ve got parasailing. This uninitiated sport doesn’t require experience with manoeuvring through the wind, because you are pulled behind a boat on a parasail that will lift you up to almost 150m in the air. It’s an amazing way to experience the windy sport whilst enjoying the elevated view of Dubai.
Have fun on the water and at the same time take in some of Dubai’s famous landmarks with a jet-ski session. Nemo Watersports Jetski offers tours that take in the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel and other sights from the water. Each tour is accompanied by a qualified instructor and you can go as fast as you like, for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. The 30-minute tour takes in the Burj Al Arab while an hour-long session takes you onwards to Jumeirah Beach Residence. The deluxe two-hour version includes this, while also circumnavigating the famous Palm Jumeirah and stopping off at Atlantis, The Palm.
Want to combine sightseeing with a thrilling adventure? Explore Dubai from the water with Hero OdySEA – Dubai’s only self-drive boat tour. You won't need a boat licence either, so the whole family can join in the fun. The HERO boats are easy to operate and manoeuvre, and can reach speeds over 50km/h. Zoom across the water and take in iconic sights such as Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina, with the opportunity to snap unobstructed photos from a unique angle.
If you'd prefer to be a spectator, book a tour with The Yellow Boats that combines the sights of the city and jet-set speed. The company caters for all group sizes and durations, from a short evening trip around the Marina to a full-length tour of all the key landmarks.