Ultimate Liveaboard Packing List: What to Bring on a Liveaboard Dive Trip

ultimate liveaboard packing list

The links below may be affiliate links. If you shop through them, I’ll earn a commission at no additional cost to you. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.

Are you going on your first scuba liveaboard trip and have no idea what to bring? In this post I will share with you my liveaboard packing list.

You’ve probably booked your first liveaboard and you’re just about ready to go to your dream dive destination. Everything is pretty much perfect until you realize you still have to do some packing!

In my experience, packing for a liveaboard trip might be a bit different than packing for a regular dive holiday. On a liveaboard trip, you’ll most likely spend days at a time at sea and in very confined spaces so this is something you should consider.

If you find the idea of packing for a liveaboard trip daunting, don’t worry, I’ve got you!

I’ve done a liveaboard in the Great Barrier Reef and a liveaboard in Tubbataha Reefs, so I know a thing or two on what you should bring and what you should just leave at home.

Continue reading for some tips and suggestions on what you should pack for a scuba diving liveaboard holiday. I will go through different travel essentials and recommendations so you don’t feel overwhelmed or you don’t overpack!

Dive and travel documents

Passport – If you are traveling internationally, check your passport’s validity. As a general rule, your passport must be valid for another six months before you depart for international travel. I know divers who completely forgot to check their passport’s expiration date and they had to cancel the trip.

Visas- Double-check what the rules of entry are for the country you are visiting. Depending on your nationality, some may require you to apply for a visa before arrival. In some countries, vaccination cards or covid-19 testing might still be a requirement before entry. Arrange for these prior to departure.

Cash and Credit Cards– Find out what is the best way to pay in the destination you are heading.

Cash is still king and still the best way to pay for basic needs while traveling. Avoid carrying too much though but also remember that you will be heading to remote areas and sometimes underdeveloped countries. ATMs and money changers might be scarce or far in between.

Many places do not have credit card facilities and you may be asked to pay in cash for most things. Visa and MasterCard are mostly accepted. But in some countries or businesses, they may add a 3-5 % surcharge to cover banking fees.

Inform your bank that you are traveling abroad and will be using your card there on specific dates. This is to avoid your card from getting blocked.

You might also want to bring cash on your liveaboard for any additional expenses like your liquor consumption or to buy souvenirs.

If you’re happy with the service and experience, you can also tip the crew in cash. Ask the liveaboard what their recommendation or policy is on tipping.

Dive and travel insurance– Make sure to get one so you’re covered while traveling and diving. Some travel insurance policies will not cover diving accidents and some diving insurance policies will not cover travel emergencies.

Remember that for liveaboard destinations hospitals and emergency facilities may be scarce or hard to find. Getting dive and travel insurance can give you that extra peace of mind in case of an emergency. I personally use Divers Alert Network (DAN).

You can also check SafetyWing. It is an international travel medical insurance that can cover you while you are outside your home. COVID-19 coverage is also included! Enter your details below to get a quotation.

What to wear on a liveaboard

Swimwear– Since you will be diving multiple for several days. I recommend packing at least two swimsuits. I hate wearing wet swimwear at the beginning of each day so I usually pack 3 to 4 sets of bikinis. This allows the suits to dry.

Between dives

Microfiber Poncho– I highly recommend wearing this to keep you warm after a dive. Ponchos are usually made with towel-like material so it will help dry off the salty water. It will also give you some protection from the wind chill.

Beach cover up or “sarong”– For ladies, a light cover-up can be useful to be worn between dives. The breathable and quick-drying material is perfect for tropical destinations. I like to bring a sarong as I find this versatile. It can be worn as a wrap around the torso, as a headcover from the sun or it can be used to lay down on while you’re working on a tan.

After diving

Regular clothes– If you are diving multiple times a day, you’ll most likely change into regular clothes only at the end of the day when all the dives are done.

I usually bring one change of clothes per day. But feel free to repeat outfits. I’ve seen divers wear the exact shirt for three days straight and no one really cares. As long as you have good hygiene and have terrible body odor, people won’t mind.

If you’re going on a 2-week liveaboard, it doesn’t make sense to take 14 different outfits so don’t worry about repeating outfits. Some liveaboard will also have laundry service.

Wearing shorts, shirts or tank tops is perfectly acceptable. Find out what the surface temperature is and dress appropriately.

I like to wear light beach dresses as I find them more comfortable. They do not take up much space compared to shirts and shorts.

Hoodie or light jacket– It gets a bit more chilly at night so you can wear a hoodie or jacket to stay warm. Cabins can also get too cold so this might come in handy.

Sleepwear- I bring one to two sets of sleepwear depending on the duration of the liveaboard.

Underwear- This is self-explanatory!


Flipflops/ slippers/ thongs- This is possibly the only footwear you’ll ever need while on a liveaboard.

Shoes/ Sandals– Once in a while I do pack a sturdier pair of sandals, rubber shoes, or sneakers depending on the itinerary.

Socks- If you bring closed shoes then bring extra socks as well. An extra pair is also handy for keeping your feet warm at night. When you are doing multiple dives, wearing socks can help protect your feet from getting blisters.


Sunglasses- Bring eyewear with polarized lenses and UV protection. You will be staring out at sea most of the time and the glare from the sun can hurt your eyes.

Hat / Head scarf / neck buff- Useful to protect yourself from harmful rays of the sun. These breathable sun masks are great for your outdoor adventures.

Jewelry– Leave your expensive jewelry at home. I know some couples even leave their wedding rings and wear a silicon ring band instead.

Towels– Confirm with your liveaboard if they provide towels. If they don’t provide them, bring quick dry towels for saltwater and another for freshwater use. You can also take this cool microfiber dive map towel so you and your new liveaboard dive buddies can plan for your next dives.

What toiletries and personal care products to bring on a liveaboard

Please consider getting toiletries made of sustainable materials to reduce plastic and the diminishing of our resources.

Read: 11 Tips for Sustainable Travel in the Philippines

Shampoo and Conditioner– most liveaboards provide this but if you’re particular I suggest taking your favorite hair product in smaller travel-sized bottles to save on space. I’m sure you will not need 1 Liter of shampoo for your 3-week trip.

I love taking my shampoo and conditioner bars. If you need some recommendations, here is a list of the best zero waste shampoos and conditioners.

Body soap– You will be living in close quarters with a lot of people so good hygiene is important.

Deodorant– You will be sweating a lot with all the physical activity so wear deodorant to avoid bad body odor.

Dental Care Kit– Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, and even your floss and mouthwash if you want. Nobody wants bad breath and you gotta keep those smiles sparkling as you take selfies of your vacation!

Facial Skin Care Products– Whether it’s a two-step or ten-step regimen taking care of your skin should not go on vacation too. You’ll be exposed to the harmful rays of the sun so take your cleansers and moisturizers.

Lotion– exposure to sun and salt may leave your skin feeling dry so you need this to keep your skin moisturized. I personally like using coconut oil as it helps with my tan and it smells good!

Reef-safe sunscreen– To avoid damaging your skin and the reef, bring your own reef-safe sunscreen.

Hairbrush or comb + hair ties– Messy hair, don’t care? Remember that salt water can leave your hair damaged and in a tangled mess. Here are some tips on how to care for your hair when spending a day diving or on the beach.

Leave in Conditioner– Many divers recommend wearing leave-in conditioner to avoid hair damage. If you are looking for a product that cares for your hair and the ocean, you can check out Stream2Sea reef-safe leave-in conditioner.

Lip Balm– Did you know that you can get lip sun burn too? Bring lip balm with SPF protection to avoid sun damage on your lips

After-sun lotion- If you are prone to sunburn, bring some aloe to soothe your skin after extreme sun exposure.

Birth Control or Contraception– be a responsible adult and bring your own supply. Especially if you’re traveling solo, it’s very easy to hook up with someone on board. I have seen it happen after a couple of drinks!

Medicines and First Aid- Pack a small medicine/ emergency kit in your bag that has your preferred/ familiar brands of medicine.

Include in your first aid kit some waterproof bandaids and anti-bacterial creams in case you get cuts and scratches. Never expose open wounds to ocean water as it will get infected and make it worst. I once had to drink antibiotics and stay out of the water for a few days just to let an open wound heal.

Some people might have more sensitive stomachs than others so bring antimotility medicine for diarrhea or food poisoning. Allergy medicine and pain relievers are also good to bring.

Pack some motion sickness pills and other remedies that may help with seasickness.

Prescription medicine should be labeled properly. Bring extra just in case you have travel delays or you need to stay longer in the country.

While the liveaboard may have its own first aid kit, it might have a limited supply. They might also not have what you need and access to a pharmacy might be difficult when you are diving in remote areas.

Eyemasks and earplugs and sleeping pills– If you have trouble sleeping in new places, you will thank yourself for bringing these three things. These may also come in handy when you find yourself being roommates with a person who snores.

Sanitary napkins, tampons, or menstrual cup– I know we all hate it when our trip coincides with that time of the month but it shouldn’t stop us from having fun! You can still scuba dive while on your period.

Pack your own supply of tampons or pads even if it’s not that time of the month yet. You never know when your period decides to come early.

You might also consider switching to a menstrual cup as they’re more eco-friendly! I also find that they’re comfier to use than a pad or tampon especially while traveling.

For more feminine product recommendations, check out my post on eco-friendly menstrual products for a zero waste period.

For more eco-friendly travels, check out this article on what essentials to include in your Zero Waste Travel Kit.

Scuba diving gear to bring for a liveaboard dive trip

Most liveaboards will have gear rental on board but so but if you will be bringing your own scuba diving kit here are some of the things you might want to bring with you for your liveaboard trip.

Exposure Suit – Ask your liveaboard what exposure suit they recommend you wear for the destination you will be visiting. I usually wear a 3mm suit for tropical weather diving.

Dive skins/ dive leggings / rash guards– when waters are a bit warmer I sometimes skip the wetsuit but still wear leggings and a rash guard to avoid any dangerous marine animals that may sting me. Many liveaboard locations are in remote areas and the last thing you’d want is to have a medical emergency from an animal sting.

This can also be good for sun protection if you don’t like wearing sunscreen.

Dive leggings and rash guards can serve as an extra layer of insulation. The silky fabric can help you get in and out of your wetsuit.

Check these posts:
Best Scuba Diving Rash Guards for Women of Different Styles, Shapes, and Sizes
Best Scuba Leggings: 10 Brands To Help You Look Good While Diving
9 Best Whale Shark Leggings For Your Active Lifestyle

Dive Computer – you will be doing multiple dives and having your own dive computer will help make sure you are diving within your limits. make sure batteries will last you for the entire dive.

BCD (Buoyancy Control Device)

Regulator Set

Fins (with boots)

Dive Mask

Snorkel – Some destinations may require you to have snorkel attached to your mask during dives, so bring it. Some surface entry and exit might be difficult too so this can be useful in some situation.

Compass– I’ve done a self-guided dive on a liveaboard before and you’ll definitely need to know how to use one.

Weight Belt or Integrated Weight Pockets – liveaboards will provide you with the weights so just bring your weight belt or pockets.

Emergency Signal Devices– Anything can happen at sea. For instance, you can lose your dive buddy or need to do an emergency ascent. You can be swept away by a current and drift away from your dive boat. If you’re in remote locations, having your own safety signal devices might be the only thing that saves you during an emergency.

I usually carry a Delayed Surface Marker Buoys (DSMB) and a whistle. While others also carry a mirror that can bounce sunlight and be used as a signaling device. Some divers also bring a Nautilus Lifeline Marine GPS as an extra precaution.

Reef hook– Some destinations where currents are strong will allow you to use a reef hook. This dive accessory will allow you to hook yourself on a rock and tether yourself to avoid getting swept away. Some places may not allow this as it can damage a reef if used incorrectly.

Gloves– If you are diving in temperate waters, they might allow wearing gloves but in many areas, especially if it is a marine protected area, wearing gloves is prohibited. This is to discourage divers from touching the reef or holding marine life. Check with the liveaboard what the local policy is when it comes to wearing gloves.

Dive socks– these comfortable socks can be worn with your dive boots or full-foot fins to eliminate chafing and blisters especially if you are doing multiple dives a day. Check out these colorful dive socks that will make your dives more fun and enjoyable.

Dive hood– this can help keep you warm especially if you’re doing multiple dives.

Dive Light If you have one take it and experience a night dive while on a liveaboard. If you do not have one, you should be able to rent one. If you need to purchase one before your trip, here are the 10 best dive lights for recreational divers.

Save-a-dive Kit– If you are not familiar with this, it is basically your bag of spare gear or parts. Some people suggest bringing extra fin straps, extra masks, extra o-rings, bungie cords, tie wraps and anything that may fix or “save a dive” when something goes wrong with your dive gear. I personally don’t carry one since I don’t mind renting.

Mask defog You can bring your own but you can also just ask from the dive shop. They usually use liquid soap to defog masks. You can check out this Reef-safe defogger from Stream2Sea for an eco-friendly anti-fog solution.

Dive Knife or Line Cutter– Occasionally you might see fishing nets and lines underwater. These will come in handy when you need to rescue an animal from a ghost net. I carry an Aqualung Stainless Steel Blunt Tip Dive Knife.

Log book – Don’t forget to record your liveaboards experience in your logbook. In case you need to buy a logbook before your trip, here’s a list of the best dive log books.

Dry Bag– I recommend getting one as you will be going on a lot of boat rides and possibly some island hopping. This will keep your valuables dry and protected while in transit.

Here is the scuba equipment and dive gear I bring on my dive trip

My Scuba Diving Gear
Regulator: Scubapro MK25 Evo, C300 and C200 2nd Stage
BCD: Aqualung Axiom
Mask: TUSA M-212 Freedom Ceos
Snorkel: TUSA SP-170 Platina Hyperdry II
Booties: Poseidon Pink Dive Boots
Wetsuit: Seavenger
Scuba Leggings: Ocean Spirit by Aurora Wetsuits (For a 10% discount, use Coupon Code: DIVERBLISS)
Vest Hoodie: Scubapro Hybrid Hooded Vest
Dive Watch: Suunto D4i Novo
Dive Knife: Aqualung Blunt Tip Knife

My Underwater Camera Gear
Underwater Camera: Canon G7X Mark II
Underwater Camera Housing: Fantasea FG7XII
Video Lights: Big Blue AL1200XP

Dive Insurance
Divers Alert Network (DAN)

Underwater camera and electronic devices

Mobile phone– While you might want to go on a digital detox, having your mobile phone will still come in handy for taking photos and staying connected with the resort of the world, even in the most remote areas. Make sure that your plan covers roaming or get a local SIM card if you need to.

Invest in a protective and waterproof case too.

Underwater camera- With the beautiful reefs and marine life you’ll encounter, you’re going to wish you had a camera underwater!

If you’re just starting out and not sure what camera to bring, here are my top recommendations for the best scuba diving camera for beginners. Make sure the camera you get can go down at a depth that matches the level of diving you are doing.

I personally bring my Canon G7X Mark II for my travels and diving. I highly recommend this underwater camera since it’s compact and affordable. I’ve written a Canon G7X Mark II review for you to check out if you’re looking to buy a camera before your trip.

I also use a GoPro Hero9 and GoPro underwater housing.

Don’t forget to include your underwater camera accessories:

  • camera lenses
  • camera tray
  • arms and clamps
  • strobes
  • video lights

Charger and Extra Batteries– You’d be surprised by the number of people who have actually forgotten these and left them charging at home! Consider getting extra batteries cause you never know how much time you have to recharge them.

Memory Cards- Don’t put all your photos on one card. I take several memory cards as I have experienced losing some and even having the card corrupted… Bye-bye photos of your best vacation ever!

Laptop or smart pad- If you’re bringing your camera, a laptop or smart pad can be used to back up your files and review images you had taken. You can also fill it with your favorite music, ebooks, and games to keep you entertained.

Headphones– If you like some alone time, these will come very useful, especially in a diver-filled boat! Find a noise canceling headphones to block out any disturbance. This is perfect for anyone who doesn’t feel like socializing 24/7.

Drone– These are great to capture aerial shots of your dream destination. It will give you and others a rare glimpse of where you went diving. Some places might require you to get a permit for this ahead of time, so check with your liveaboard if this is allowed and if there are fees involved.

Power bank– While your liveaboard will have outlets, power banks can come in handy while you’re in transit. You can be traveling several hours just from one place to another and it’s always a good idea to have a portable charger with you.

Power Strip- If you have a lot of gadgets that need re-charging, bring a power strip for convenience.

Travel Adaptor/ Converter– Ask the liveaboard what outlets they have on board. You might need to bring a travel adapter or a converter for your gadgets.

Bags and travel must-haves

Dive Luggage– Bag choice really depends on what kind of travel you are doing and the difficulty of accessing the destination. Remember that you might need to ride tiny boats, buses, trikes, and jeeps to get to the port where your liveaboard is docked, and having wheeled luggage might actually be more difficult to transport.

Also, consider that there might not be enough space on your liveaboard vessel and in this case a dive duffle bag works best. When I went on a liveaboard in the Great Barrier Reef, they asked us to leave our big suitcases in their dive shop and only bring what we need for 3 days of diving.

Packing cubes – these will help you keep your things organized

Entertainment– If you don’t intend to bring gadgets with you, bring a book to read or something to keep you entertained during downtime.

Refillable Water Bottle– You need to stay hydrated while you’re diving and having a refillable water bottle can help you keep track of the amount of water you are consuming. I bring mine wherever I go. These insulated flasks from Waterlust even have a cute ocean-inspired design that divers will love.

Snacks– While you will be well fed on your liveaboard, it’s still good to bring your own favorite snack or candy to munch on. This is great especially if you tend to get homesick and just want something that is not just yummy but also comforting. Snacks from your home country can also be great to be shared with everyone divers and crew included.

Positive mindset– Leave your stress and worries behind and don’t bring your negative vibes on board. You are most likely to have a good time if you bring an open mind and heart along with you. Have fun, create memories and make new friends.

Pin this for later!

what to pack for your liveaboard dive trip
liveaboard packing list: what to bring on your dive trip

Are there items that I forgot to include but should be on this liveaboard packing list? Leave a comment below!

The links above may be affiliate links. If you shop through them, I’ll earn a commission at no additional cost to you. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.

Scroll to Top