Affiliate Disclosure: This blog post has affiliate links to Aggressor fleet liveaboard diving tours at LiveAboard.com. If you book a tour, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Opinions are my own and based on 12+ years shark diving and blogging about the ocean’s most epic creatures. Cause sharks rock. 🦈🦈🦈
The Aggressor fleet is one of the bigger names in the liveaboard dive boat community. You’ve likely seen their boats while looking for liveaboard diving in the Caribbean, along with other dive hot spots, like the Maldives, Galapagos, and other places where folks like to hole up in a boat and get their dive on.
But what exactly is the Aggressor fleet and are they better than other liveaboards?
The Aggressor name is a brand in the dive community. Boats that belong to the Aggressor fleet tend to be newer, bigger and have some of the better equipment and amenities in the liveaboard dive boat business.
If you have an aversion to large-ish companies and prefer more independent dive boats, you might want to pass. But on the other hand, if you like the reassurance of a big name and the standardization of safety, luxury and quality that comes with it, the Aggressor fleet might be an option for your next liveaboard diving experience, should you be in the market for something that pops.
History of the Aggressor Fleet
Aggressor fleet’s roots go back to 1984 and one boat in particular: Cayman Aggressor. This was the first boat in the Aggressor fleet, which came about when oil crew boat owner Paul Haines met and teamed up with Scuba instructor Wayne Hasson, who was working as a dive instructor in the Cayman Islands.
At Hasson’s suggestion, the two men converted an oil boat to a diving yacht and launched Cayman Aggressor, from which the current Cayman Aggressor V is descended.
The company expanded. In 1988, the men converted another oil boat to a dive yacht and launched Belize Aggressor. At the same time, the men started franchising dive boats with the ‘Aggressor’ moniker and further expanded to Hawaii, Costa Rica, and a variety of diving hot spots around the globe.
In 2007, Augusta-based businessman Wayne Brown bought Aggressor from the Haines family and sold a minority share to Hasson, who had remained with the company from inception until early this year.
Sadly, Wayne Hasson passed away just last week, on January 17, 2020. While I never met the guy, it’s safe to conclude his was a life well-lived.
Aggressor Fleet’s Current Operations
Presently, Aggressor has 19 boats in 16 countries. Along with the Emperor fleet, they’re one of the largest and best-known liveaboard dive operations. Some of their more popular boats include:
Galapagos – Galapagos Aggressor III is a 32 meter luxury liveaboard at the Galapagos – for which you’d be advised to book way ahead.
Cayman Islands – Cayman Aggressor V, launched in 2018, is the latest in the Aggressor fleet to serve the Cayman Islands, where it all started.
Red Sea – Red Sea Aggressor II is a liveaboard dive boat in Egypt. Incidentally, if you’re looking for the cheapest liveaboard tour among the Aggressor fleet, it will likely be this boat or Thailand Aggressor – both of which are dive spots known for being more ‘budget-friendly’.
Pros and Cons of Diving With Aggressor
Everything in life has pros and cons. That applies to the boats in the Aggressor fleet – a name you likely know in the liveaboard dive space, and one you should research before booking your trip.
The Pros of diving with the Aggressor Fleet include:
Luxury Boats – Boats in the Aggressor fleet are large, modern, and have all the trappings of diving in luxury.
Modern Boats – Their boats are usually less than 10 years old. That’s definitely a good thing on the high seas!
Experience – With 35 years experience doing liveaboard diving tours, Aggressor knows their stuff.
Customer Service – They have a live Customer Service team in a central location (Augusta, Georgia). Don’t under-rate that – it’s important to have this if you’re not happy.
Consistency – Those high luxury standards apply to all boats with the Aggressor name. If something’s not right, it gets fixed.
Reputation – Aggressor fleet has a good reputation in the diving community and their reviews are typically high.
Convenience – With 19 boats in the Aggressor fleet at all the places on your liveaboard dive bucket list, they’re everywhere you want them to be.
Food – Look for Aggressor liveaboard reviews and you’ll see the words ‘Great Food’ tend to pop up.
Those are the Pros. What are the disadvantages of living with Aggressor?
Not a ‘Small Business’ – Aggressor is a large company. If you’d prefer to dive with a small operation, this might not be for you.
Boats Have Broken Down – They are newer boats, but generators go and parts need to be replaced on all diving vessels at some point. The Aggressor fleet is no exception, and while most Aggressor reviews are very positive, mechanical issues do arise on occasion.
Keep in mind the Aggressor fleet is a franchise. Most the boats have different owners, and as with any franchise, work independently for the brand they represent. So while the Aggressor fleet is a corporation, in a way you are supporting a local business when you head out on their boats.
Should I Dive With the Aggressor Fleet?
I personally would have no problem doing a liveaboard dive tour with the Aggressor fleet. In fact I’d love to do it – their boats are new, they’re large, luxurious, and their dive crews know their stuff.
It’s not a coincidence that Aggressor boats do some of the best liveaboard diving for beginners – and tend to get high marks from experienced divers too. With Aggressor, you know what you’re getting: a consistent experience on a liveaboard dive boat. That comes with luxury, amenities, great food, friendly staff, expert dive crew and a customer service team as back up if things aren’t to your liking.
If there is a downside to doing a liveaboard on an Aggressor boat, it’s the obvious. Aggressor is a large company and not a small local boat that some divers might prefer.
Still, Aggressor didn’t get where it is without value and consistency with liveaboard dive experiences. This is a big name in the dive community and they make plenty of folks happy.
FAQS About Aggressor Fleet
You may have further questions about Aggressor dive boats. Question, meet answer- here are some of the most common questions that divers ask about the Aggressor fleet.
Are the Aggressor Boats Safe?
I’m not aware of any safety issues with Aggressor dive boats. Their boats are usually newer, and with the ‘Aggressor’ name on each hull, they’ll have to meet company standards.
I’m not saying any dive boat is safe. It’s up to you to research each dive boat for safety before you head out.
With that being said, Aggressor boats serve a demanding customer that doesn’t take well to safety problems. Do your homework, but I think you’ll be fine.
What is the Cheapest Way to Dive With the Aggressor Fleet?
Second, look for last minute deals on live aboard diving tours. We list deals weekly here on this website from that link, and you can also find them in the side bar of this post, or if you’re on a mobile, at the bottom.
What is Aggressor’s Cancellation Policy?
As an single diver, you’ll pay 40% of the charter within 14 days of making the reservation, and make final payment 90 days before you depart.
If you cancel, it’s like this:
121 Days Before Departure – You lose 20% of the charter rate
120 – 91 Days Before Departure – You lose 40%
90 Days or Less – You lose 100% and there is no refund.
What Are the Aggressor Fleet Prices?
That depends on the boat and location. In general though, expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 – $5,000+. Many factors are at play with the cost, including trip length, country, and the type of room you prefer. You’ll be living on the boat, after all. As you might suspect, the more you pay, the more luxury you get.
Is Food Included?
Yup – and Aggressor food gets very high reviews.
Do I Need Insurance?
That’s a good idea. You’ll want to look at insurance for accidental, medical, trip cancellation and possibly for your baggage.
Which Aggressor Boat is the Best?
The Aggressor fleet in general is a very good operation.
Do You Recommend Aggressor Boats?
I would have no problem living on and diving with an Aggressor boat. You’d have a harder time getting me to go home.