Updated: Aug 2, 2021
Whether you're a liveaboard regular or brand new to this type of diving, packing for a boat trip requires a bit more thought than for other dive vacations. And while what to pack may seem obvious, there are a few small bits and pieces that may just make your life on-board that bit easier. So here are some top tips on what to pack for a liveaboard from our Bluewater Travel staff:
1. The liveaboard mantra of eat, sleep, dive, repeat is surprisingly accurate. You won't have much time for anything other than diving and relaxing. As such, one or two comfortable sets of clothes are sufficient, including a warm top for evenings. Most boats don't allow outdoor shoes either, so all you need is whatever pair you plan to arrive and leave in.
2. If you have ever suffered from seasickness, you will know how debilitating it can be. Different boats and wave movements can have a dramatic effect on how you feel, so even if you are lucky enough to have escaped feeling seasick on previous trips, throwing a pack of seasickness tablets in your bag is a sensible move.
3. Whether you are taking a quick nap between dives or on an overnight transit, boats tend to be quite noisy. If you are a light sleeper, earplugs and an eye mask will help keep you rested
4. Large pegs are perfect for clipping your damp towel or wetsuit to a railing to help it dry quicker. Cabins on liveaboards tend to be small and can become a bit damp and smelly, so hanging your towel outside is a no-brainer. Bring a couple of large clips or pegs to secure your towel or anything else you need to get dry in a hurry.
5. Pack your kit in a soft bag rather than a hard-sided suitcase, and wrap anything fragile in towels or your wetsuit during transit. A hard suitcase takes up a lot of room to store, while a soft bag is much easier to fold up or roll away once on board.
Read more about choosing a liveaboard from the Underwater Photography Guide.
6. Even if your liveaboard is advertised as all-inclusive, a bit of extra cash will come in handy. Many boats sell t-shirts or other small mementos, and you will also be asked to tip the crew and captain at the end of your trip.
7. To make the most of space, private bathrooms often take the form of a wet room. Use a wash bag with a hanging hook so that your toiletries are kept off the floor and are safe from spills if the boat encounters rough seas.
8. We all know that proper hydration is essential during diving, and even more so when you are diving repeatedly over several days. Packing a reusable water bottle is the best way to keep track of your water intake while at the same time avoiding plastic waste or mixing up water bottles with other divers.
9. Numerous long dives over many days can start to affect your core temperature, so pack accordingly. The best option is to bring layers; an extra thermal vest or sharkskin that you can add under your wetsuit, or a shorty to pull on over the top if you start to feel the cold. A hood also makes a big difference to your thermal comfort.
10. You will no doubt have several electrical items that require batteries, chargers, maybe an adapter, or even memory cards. Double-check that you have packed everything you need, including spares if you have them so that you can charge one set of batteries while using the other. Labeling your chargers will avoid mix-ups in a communal charging area.
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Do you have any other tips for what to pack on a liveaboard? Leave a comment below.