What to Bring on a Dive Boat

You’re about to go diving for the day — but what to bring on a dive boat? Here’s a list of absolute essentials when it comes to proper packing for a day on the water.

To get the most out of a day on the dive boat, you’ve got to be fully prepared, with everything from working gear to charged-up camera batteries. Knowing what to bring with you will make your trip more relaxing and enjoyable. Prepare a packing checklist so that you don’t forget any essentials, and read on for our tips on what to bring on a dive boat.

Don’t forget your gear — all your gear.

First, don’t forget your gear. While it may seem obvious, assuming you’ve got your mask or computer and then realizing you don’t when you’re 45 minutes from shore is no fun. Before you get on the boat, double- and triple-check your equipment for any missing or broken pieces to avoid this mini-diving disaster. It’s also smart to pack spares, just in case, as well as a dry swimsuit and clothes if you need to change for any reason.

Second, don’t forget your camera, and make sure everything is charged and in working order. Dive centers and resorts often have rental cameras if you don’t have one (or forgot it) and would like to take pictures.

Consider your health and hydration.

It’s always a good idea to bring along a small first aid kit, just in case. Although most boats have one that remains on board, it can’t hurt to bring one of your own. On another health-related note, be sure to treat your body right throughout the day. Diving, especially in extreme weather such as hot sun, cold wind and rain, or harsh current, can take a toll. Heat exhaustion or hypothermia are real concerns and risks you definitely want to mitigate. Bring high-energy snacks that contain carbohydrates and sugar for energy that you’ll need between dives. Feed your body appropriately to avoid fatigue. Energy bars, chocolate, and carbohydrate-filled snacks such as sandwiches are perfect for keeping your body nourished all day.

After you’ve got your snacks sorted out for the day, it’s time to consider hydration. Although most boats (if not all) have water, tea and coffee readily available, it’s a good idea to bring your own water bottle. And, as a plus, you can either refill it from the boat’s water or avoid using a disposable plastic water bottle. Even better, bring liquids containing electrolytes so as to properly hydrate and balance your body.

In addition to hydration and nutrition, consider your personal needs. If you take any medication, or have prescription glasses or sunglasses, pack those as well. If you get seasick, remember to bring your remedy of choice. Create a short checklist if necessary to remember all the little items.

Any other essentials?

Always bring a dry, clean beach towel. Although boats sometimes have them on hand, it’s more likely that they won’t. It’s nice to dry off between dives to preserve heat and warm up, especially if you get cold easily. And if the weather is windy or rainy during your trip, you’ll thank yourself for bringing that towel. Other necessities include sunscreen, a hat that covers your face, and perhaps a lightweight windbreaker to cover your shoulders from the sun.

Finally, consider packing a few more essentials if you’re traveling with others. Think about what your non-diving friends or kids may need for the day, such as extra towels, hats, sunscreens, snacks and drinks. Kids may also appreciate portable gaming devices, books, board games or coloring books. That way, you can enjoy your dives and the non-divers can relax on the boat or beach. Even better, the non-divers may want to snorkel while you dive, so pack extra masks and fins.

Proper preparation and double-checks go a long way toward ensuring a good day on the dive boat. Knowing what to bring on a dive boat ensures maximum comfort, safety and enjoyment on the trip. And as the saying goes, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. All of the above-listed items are essentials in many divers’ opinions, but you’ll need to decide for yourself what you can’t dive without.