PACKING FOR A LIVEABOARD
CLOTHING. Don't stress over what to wear on board. Swimsuits, shorts and T-shirts will be all you need. It is also a good idea to bring a light jacket or sweatshirt and sweatpants — nights at sea can be a little cool from the breeze off the water and interior air-conditioning can be cool after a long day of diving.
EXTRA EXPOSURE PROTECTION. When you are diving four and five dives a day, you will lose body heat and get colder. You might consider a thicker suit than usual (3mm for Caribbean). If you tend to get cold underwater, add a beanie, shorty, and/or vest to add layers for extra warmth on the last dives of the day.
SAVE-A-DIVE KIT. Spares you might need are also a good idea — extra computer batteries, regulator mouthpiece, fin straps, o-rings ... if you dive enough, eventually something will break.
SAFETY SIGNALING EQUIPMENT. Whistle, air powered alert horn, signal mirror, safety sausage and battery-powered signal lights ... some type of signaling device is always a good thing to have in case you ever need it!
BATTERIES AND CHARGERS FOR ALL ELECTRONICS — cameras, dive computers, flashlights and toys. A travel-size power strip is useful also. More and more divers are shooting underwater digital photography and that requires charging lots of batteries. Some of the newer refitted liveaboards have allowed for extra charging stations, but it won't hurt to slip one in your checked luggage.
TOILETRIES. Bring shampoo, sunblock (environmentally friendly would be good), soap and something for headaches, seasickness, diarrhea and congestion meds, and of course an ample supply of any prescription medications. Remember the TSA rules on liquids and gels carried on — everything should fit in a quart Ziploc bag and each individual container cannot be over 3 ounces. Have this readily accessible to pull out before going through the checkpoints!
CARRYON TIPS. It is always a good idea to carry your regulator, mask, dive computer, swimsuit, T-shirt and shorts on the plane with you! Unfortunately luggage does not always arrive with you! On liveaboards, it is also a good idea to arrive the day before boarding in case your luggage is delayed.
TIPPING. Crews working on liveaboards often do double and sometimes triple duty. They are constanly working filling your tanks, making your beds, cooking, etc. Be sure and allow at least 10 percent of your total charter trip price for tips. They deserve it! (Example: If your trip runs $1700, allow $170 for tipping.)
GENERAL TRAVEL TIP. Make a copy of your passport and carry it someplace separate. You can also keep a copy in an email account that is easily accessible (firstname.lastname@example.org).