When you’re all set for your upcoming liveaboard dive trip, you might find yourself wondering, ‘Have I packed right’? The unique nature of liveaboard trips means you can’t just pop into a shop underwater when you realize you’ve forgotten something crucial.
And over-packing? That’s a slippery slope leading to a cramped cabin space.
I get it. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to dive into the depths of the seas across the globe, and there’s a kind of magic in liveaboards that just can’t be described—you have to feel it. So worry not, intrepid explorer!
Having been in your fins more times than I can count, I’ve crafted the ultimate checklist to make your underwater journey better.
So, before you take that giant stride off the boat, dive into this guide, and let’s make sure you know what to pack for a liveaboard dive trip!
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.
Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies.
You need reliable, light, and complete dive gear to enjoy your trip to the fullest. As you know, there are many things in a dive gear set so here’s a checklist for you:
A quality, well-fitted mask provides clarity and comfort as you explore the depths. You should look for one with a snug seal to avoid leaks. Plus, a snorkel should be simple and reliable, so you can quickly put it on. Good diving fins offer a blend of power and efficiency without causing fatigue. So it’s good to consider open-heel fins with booties for better fit and protection.
Your regulator is your lifeline, delivering that precious air while you’re submerged. Invest in a dependable, serviceable set that can handle the specific conditions of your dive locations. Pair it with a dive computer to monitor depth, dive time, and decompression status, ensuring a safe and controlled dive.
Next on your liveaboard packing list is a buoyancy control device that supports your weight system and tank. Similarly, an integrated weight system is ideal as it negates the need for a weight belt, providing ease and comfort while you float or sink.
Water temperature is key when you’re confused between a wet suit or dry suit. For warmer waters, a 3mm to 5mm wetsuit suffices, while colder environments demand a dry suit or a thicker wetsuit, possibly semi-dry. Make sure it’s snug but not tight as comfort is crucial when you’re surrounded by nothing but water.
Dive Boots and Gloves (if necessary)
For those chilly dives or rough terrains, dive boots and gloves are invaluable. Boots provide protection and additional warmth, while gloves guard against cold and potential hazards without sacrificing dexterity.
Whether exploring hidden underwater caves, a dependable dive light is indispensable. And in the spirit of preparedness, always pack a backup. Dive lights also help you communicate with your buddy for easier navigation.
Safety first, so equip yourself with surface signaling devices. In this aspect, a whistle, safety sausage, and dive flag are non-negotiables. These tools are vital for visibility and communication at the surface, especially in the event of an emergency.
Safety might not be the most glamorous aspect of diving, but trust me, you’re going to need it. Your thrilling liveaboard experience should be memorable for the stunning marine life, not mishaps. So, here’s a quick checklist for that:
A compact, easily accessible dive knife or cutting tool is non-negotiable. You never know when you’ll need to free yourself or a fellow diver from entangling fishing lines or kelp. Opt for corrosion-resistant models, like those made from titanium.
Safety reels are your best friends during deco stops or navigating through underwater caves. These nifty devices help you or your group stay oriented and connected, serving as a literal lifeline in low visibility or strong currents.
Visible at the surface, a dive marker buoy signals your location to your boat or any other surface support. It’s invaluable for drift dives or any situation where you might surface away from your expected location.
Dive Insurance Documentation
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen. So know that accidents happen, and having dive insurance documentation at hand smoothens any potential bumps on the road. Store these vital papers digitally and physically, so they’re readily available if the unforeseen occurs.
A PLB is a compact device that sends out a distress signal to your location to rescue services in case of an emergency. An SMB, on the other hand, is inflated at the surface, making you visible from afar.
Clothing and Accessories
Another aspect of what to bring on a liveaboard dive trip is your clothes. And accessories. No, I don’t mean jewelry, but some add-ons other than your gear. So, here’s a checklist that you can customize as needed:
Pack swimwear that’s not just chic but also functional for snorkeling sessions or lounging during surface intervals. Opt for durable and snug-fitting pieces that withstand the salt, sun, and endless diving action.
Embrace the sun responsibly and don’t let it fry you. A rash guard or dive skin is a must-have for safeguarding your skin against the blazing sun and potential stings or scratches underwater. Bonus: they often come in vibrant designs to have you dive in style.
A quick-dry towel is your best bet for a liveaboard trip. Since it’ll be super absorbent and fast-drying, you can run it through multiple uses.
Hat or Cap for Sun Protection
No matter the amount of melanin you have, [protect your face and eyes with a brimmed hat or cap. It’s not just about looking cool; it’s about shading yourself from the intense sun rays.
The reflection of sunlight off the water’s surface can be intense. So try to always shield your eyes with sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection.
Bonus: Polarized lenses are a splendid choice for reducing glare.
On deck, comfort is king. A pair of non-slip flip-flops or water shoes provide ease and safety as you move around the boat.
Drink enough water, diver! Bring a reusable water bottle to refill with the liquid of life as you go. Choose an insulated version to keep your beverages at the perfect temperature under the sizzling sun.
Besides my list of what to pack for a liveaboard dive trip, think of what else you’d need. Maybe a medicine or a document? Here’s a reminder list in case you can’t think of what you’re forgetting:
First on deck is paperwork. Ensure your passport, dive certifications, insurance details, and any necessary visas are securely packed and easily accessible.
Space is a premium aboard, so think mini and multi-functional. Opt for travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and a biodegradable soap that’s ocean-friendly. And let’s not forget sunscreen – because that sunburn is never fun. So lather up your sunscreen, pal.
If daily medications are part of your routine, pack enough to last the trip plus some extra, just in case. It’s wise to bring a copy of your prescription as well.
The rolling waves can be stomach-churning for some. If you’re susceptible to seasickness, pack some preventative medication or remedies. The ocean should sway your heart, not your stomach.
Oh, the sights you’ll see! A waterproof camera or a regular camera with underwater housing will immortalize the magic unfolding beneath the waves and on deck. Snap, record, and relive the moments of wonder and tranquility the ocean grants you.
You’ll be on a liveaboard dive for days at a stretch, so you’ll need almost everything you usually use. Besides your diving and safety essentials, here’s what to pack for a liveaboard dive trip:
Your days will be awash with adventure, but during those spontaneous shore excursions, casual, comfortable clothing is your best mate. Think lightweight, breezy garments!
Pack sleepwear that’s not just cozy but also breathable. You should be able to sleep comfortably, no matter the cabin temperature.
With the countless unforgettable moments you’ll want to capture, your devices will be working overtime. A reliable power bank ensures your camera, phone, or tablet stays charged.
Different ports, different plugs. A universal travel adapter is a smart thing to have for international travelers.
Though the sea is endlessly fascinating, having a good book, e-reader, or other leisure-time entertainment is cool.
Here’s a comprehensive list of what to pack for a liveaboard dive trip:
- Dive Gear:
- Mask, snorkel, and fins
- Regulator set
- Dive computer
- Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
- Weight system
- Wet suit or dry suit (depending on water temperature)
- Dive boots and gloves (if necessary)
- Dive light
- Backup dive light
- Surface signaling devices (whistle, safety sausage, and dive flag)
- Safety Equipment:
- Dive knife or cutting tool
- Safety reel or spool
- Dive marker buoy
- Dive insurance documentation
- Personal Emergency Location Beacon (PLB) or Surface Marker Buoy (SMB)
- Clothing and Accessories:
- Swimwear for surface intervals and snorkeling
- Rash guard or dive skin for sun protection
- Dive towel or quick-dry towel
- Hat or cap for sun protection
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Flip-flops or water shoes for the boat deck
- Reusable water bottle
- Personal Items:
- Passport and necessary travel documents
- Travel-sized toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, etc.)
- Sunscreen (water-resistant and reef-safe)
- Prescription medications (if required)
- Seasickness medication (if prone to motion sickness)
- Waterproof camera or underwater housing
- Extra memory cards and batteries for the camera
- Non-Diving Essentials:
- Casual clothing for onboard relaxation and shore excursions
- Lightweight and breathable sleepwear
- Power bank for charging electronic devices
- Travel adapter (if needed)
- Book or entertainment for leisure time
- Snacks or energy bars for in-between dives
Remember to check with the specific liveaboard operator or destination for any additional recommendations or restrictions. It’s always a good idea to double-check your liveaboard packing list and pack extras of essential items to ensure a smooth and enjoyable diving experience. Safe travels and happy diving!
Travel Guide Planning
⛴️ Where can I book Liveaboard Diving trips?
You can book your liveaboard diving trips in here. They have a lot of dates available and a lot of countries you can choose from.
🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m traveling?
I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.
🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours?
👩⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?
I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here
✈️ Any flight recommendations?
📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?
I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.
With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.
🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?
🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?