I just came back from a whirlwind adventure through the Banda Sea and around Raja Ampat in Indonesia on an incredible diving liveaboard trip.
It was my first liveaboard diving experience, and it was unforgettable. Whether you are a diving newbie or a devoted mermaid, I’d highly recommend checking out LiveAboard.com and having your own dream liveaboard experience.
Before you set sail, here’s what to pack for a diving liveaboard trip!
Many liveaboard diving options will rent you all of the gear you need. Depending on how often you dive and how much space your suitcase affords you, some gear is worth investing in and bringing, while other stuff is easier to rent. If you’re just getting started, this scuba diving guide is handy.
Keep reading to check out my liveaboard gear recommendations!
Renting gear can add up quickly, and if you plan to rent diving gear a few times over the course of year or two, it is probably easier to purchase a few of your own essentials. Of course, it’s not always possible to pack everything, especially if your liveaboard is part of a bigger trip, but I would recommend bringing at least a few of the basics!
Mask: Not all masks are created equally! A cheap, leaky mask can ruin your experience, so invest in a premium option. You’ll also want to keep in mind that every face is slightly different, so even a top-rated mask might not be the perfect fit for you. Test your mask before you go and make sure you’re comfortable.
Wetsuit: This comes down to personal preference. I bring my own because I prefer a short suit. If you like a standard wetsuit, you can save suitcase space by leaving yours at home. You can shop my short
Tickle Stick: Again these are small and lightweight, and they’re essential for keeping your distance from reefs while you’re observing life under the sea.
Neoprene Fin Socks: These easy-to-pack essentials make rental fins comfortable and prevents from blisters over multiple days of diving.
Dive Computer: A diver’s best friend! Dive computers provide essential real-time information, and it’s the first thing you should invest in.
Reef Hook: These are tiny and easy to pack. They keep you and the reef safe while allowing you to maintain your location in a strong current.
Torch: These tend to be so overpriced at dive-rental centers and diving liveaboards, but they’re easy to pack and are essential on night dives. Don’t forget a charger for your torch’s batteries!
Again, most liveaboards will offer rentals onboard for everything you might need, however if you’d like to invest in one of the below (and dive quite frequently), I’d definitely recommend it! I have slowly invested in items that make diving more comfortable and it’s been so worth it.
BCD: A buoyancy control device will take up a lot of room in your luggage, and it’s not really a custom item. So, I find a BCD much easier to rent.
Regulator: If you’re an avid diver, you’ll want to have your own scuba-diving regulator. A custom mouthpiece is more comfortable, and it’s nice to be in charge of its hygienic maintenance.
Fins: If you want freediving fins or specialty fins, bring your own. Otherwise, normal swim fins are fine for rental. I find open-heel fins more comfortable, and they’re not always available, so it can be worth asking about.
For underwater photography and videography, I use two cameras to capture content. You can definitely up your gear game in this department once you become a more confident diver. My setup is great for those that don’t want to carry a ton of extra heavy camera gear, but want high-quality images and video.
Extra Camera Gear:
- GoPro Anti-Fog Inserts: These cheap little inserts are especially handy in cold and humid weather.
- O-Ring Lube: Your underwater housing needs to be re-lubed to ensure a watertight seal
- Microfiber Cloth
- Lens Cleaning Pens
- Spare Batteries
- Protective Covers: You’ll want to make sure you cover your underwater housing lens with a neoprene cover to keep it from scratching between dives.
Again, this is a pretty amateur camera rig in the diving world, but I’m slowly working on upgrading. If you’re interested in upping your underwater photo game, do some research on the best setups out there.
Even if you don’t have room for a bigger camera set up, bringing a GoPro to capture your adventures underwater is a must!
Swimwear: I usually opt for a one-piece swimsuit under my wetsuit, but bikinis without ties or hardware are good picks, too. Be sure to bring at least four swimsuits– you’ll want to put on a dry suit after each dive. Swim gear doesn’t take much luggage space, and it’ll keep you comfortable. For my female divers, wearing wet gear for too long can cause UTIs, which is the last thing you want when you’re out at sea!
Diving Gear: I loved having my own shortie wetsuit and neoprene booties. Even if you opt to rent a wetsuit, it’s essential to have neoprene socks or booties to prevent blisters when you’re wearing fins multiple times a day.
Lounge Outfits: You’ll want comfy outfits to wear between dives. It’s a casual vibe onboard, so pack your favorite summer essentials (depending on your destination) like shorts, sweats, tanks and sundresses.
Warm Clothes: While it won’t be cold if you’re diving somewhere tropical, it’s nice to have a cozy hoodie, sweater and pajamas. I only packed tropical wear but after diving all day, I was craving warm and cuddly clothes, especially with AC on in the cabins.
Ear Drops: When you’re underwater so often, your ears can get irritated, so be sure to bring swimmer’s ear drops. And, if you’re prone to ear infections, upgrade to medicated ear drops.
Decongestant: You should avoid taking a decongestant before you dive. However, it’s handy to have a decongestant to take in the evening so you can clear out sinuses for the next day.
Ibuprofen/Advil: When you’re at sea, you can’t just pop into the corner store. So, bring a pain reliever for sore muscles or headaches.
Antibacterial Cream: Pack Neosporin or Bactramycin for any cuts, broken skin or coral rash.
Hydrocortisone: Another first-aid essential, this stuff is a must-have for mosquito bites or other skin issues that can arise under the sea.
Seasickness Meds: Even if you have never been seasick, it’s worth having something like Dramamine just in case. Every boat is different, and you never know how your body might react.
Antibiotics: UTIs are always a concern when you’re spending so much time in wet gear. If you’re prone to them, ask your doctor to send you with some antibiotics because they won’t have any onboard.
Some countries, including Indonesia, sell antibiotics over the counter. If you know the name of what you’re looking for, you can just walk up to the local pharmacy and buy it (assuming it’s in stock!).
Super Glue + Electrical Tape: You never know what might happen, so having the tools to patch any situation up is always wise.
Laptop Computer: Bring a tablet or computer with an external hard drive so that you can download your images, back them up and clear off your SD cards without running out of space.
Chargers: Always keep these at the top of your packing lists!
Dry Bags: You’ll want to have dry bags to pack up your gear when you’re out on island excursions, and you’ll also need them to pack damp clothes for the trip back home. I’m obsessed with the chic ALOHA dry bags for dive days.
Water Shoes: For island excursions, you’ll also want to have water shoes for exploring the rocky shores.
Sunglasses: This is an obvious one! For every trip, it’s good to have a favorite pair and a spare.
Reef-Safe Sunscreen: Even though you’ll often be underwater, you’ll still want to protect your skin between dives and excursions.
Reef-Safe Shampoo and Conditioner: As always, it’s important to make sure that everything you are putting on your body is reef safe.
Mosquito Spray: Keep the mozzies away with this must-have, which is essential for excursions to the islands!