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Liveaboard Essentials |What to pack for a liveaboard dive boat

Liveaboard Essentials, liveaboard packing list, packing tips for a liveaboard

What to pack for a liveaboard dive boat

If you’re doing  a liveaboard in Thailand (or anywhere for that matter), you’ll probably wonder what to pack for a liveaboard dive boat vacation?  What essentials should you bring?

What is a liveaboard dive boat vacation? (Summary)

Firstly, a liveaboard is an experience where you’re living aboard a boat that will take you diving or snorkeling. It’s the chance to meet other diving and snorkeling geeks, do a dive certification and just get really cool dives in because your boat will take you to special locations where you see wonderful marine life and terrain. Some spots require longer journeys that day trips can’t cover.  Read more here.

What does the liveaboard cover?

Liveaboards will cover meals, water, snacks, basic necessities of a hotel stay, like a towel, shower toiletries and bed linens.  You will only need enough cash for snacks and alchoholic beverages, which is not covered.

 The liveaboard will not have a store or pharmacy, so bring anything you might need in feminine products or medications. If you’re seasick, take motion sickness tablets, although your boat or captain may have some to provide.

Packing List of Liveaboard Essentials |What to pack for a liveaboard dive boat

What to pack for a liveaboard dive boat?

This packing list is for a 3 day/ 3 night liveaboard stay, although it will not vary much for a slightly longer term. This list of dive essentials will be helpful for your next scuba diving vacation.


Staying on a liveaboard, I didn’t want to bring the entire contents of my luggage. Even if it was a carry-on luggage sized. You can leave your luggage either, with your hotel or the dive company. I left my luggage with the dive company.

A day pack sized backpack

Seeing as you’ll spend most of your time in your bathing suit, you can pack minimally. All your items essentially can fit a day pack backpack.


Two swimsuits

At the bare minimum, you want to take two swimsuits (see my summer essentials list).  Unless you don’t mind wearing a wet suit everyday.  Clothes take almost one full day to dry, if you are in a humid environment. I forgot my bikini bottoms so I bought swim shorts at one of the Thai beachwear vendors, near the beach. The great thing about Thailand is that it has a lot of beachwear vendors selling everything from swimsuits, dry bags, snorkel gear and more.  You might even start your shopping in advance in Bangkok on Khao San Road.


A bra is optional. I almost always use my bathing suit tops as bras.  However, sometimes, it’s nice to have something fresh and dry to board and leave the boat.

Three pairs of underwear

Unless you want your underwear to wave in the wind with everyone else’s swim gear and towels, I suggest bringing the amount of underwear for the term of your stay. I brought at least one ExOfficio Give-n-Go bikini briefs underwear. They wick away sweat and are super quick drying. There’s a small waffle-like fabric. Some folks like that and some don’t.

   A skirt or light sundress

Essentially, you’ll be living in your swimsuit for most of the day, and jumping in and out of clothes in between dives. Having clothing articles which you can easily slip-on and slip off is helpful.

Two t-shirt or tank tops

In a way, it’s optional but I packed two tops so that I’d have something boarding and exiting the boat, something to walk around in at night and occasionally, something to sleep in.

A long-sleeved shirt

If you’re the type to get cold in the evenings,  bring a long-sleeved shirt or light jacket.

Flip flops

You’ll be asked to remove all footwear before boarding the boat, so footwear isn’t required for anything other than  getting to the boat.  I always take my Havianas flip flops on every trip, for just such a time.

Packing cube organization

While it’s not essential, I love my Eagle Creek packing cubes. I only took one with me, but it helped me organize some of my clothes, rather than tossing them into one jumbled heap. It also helped condense my pack as most of the items above could be organized and rolled in one cube!

travel accessories, electronics for travel, travel gadgetsHaviana flip flops travel accessories, electronics for travel, travel gadgetsEagle Creek Packing Cubes 

Ex Officio GivenGo Bikini

Ex Officio GivenGo Bikini


Hair detangler conditioner

While your liveaboard might accommodate you with offering complimentary shampoos and soaps, you might want to bring your own hair conditioner. The sea salt can leave your hair feeling pretty matted, stripped and tangled. A gentle detangler like Pantene Pro-V Repair Light Detangler works to restore moisture to hair and untangle those sea knots! My favorite moisture conditioner is Wen Sweet Almond ReMoist Hair Conditioner. You have to leave it in your hair for a few minutes, but I love the smell and always put some in a trial sized bottle to take with me for special moments when I want to pamper my hair.

(Eco friendly) Sunscreen 

Unless it’s an environmentally friendly sunscreen, I’d only put on sunscreen when you’re on the boat.  One of my new favorite eco-friendly sunscreens at home in Hawaii is Hang Ten sunscreen. However, being in Thailand it’s easy to run through sunscreen and they’re always available at 7 Eleven and Super 8 Stores.

Facial moisturizer

Between sea salt and sun, your skin can get dry pretty easily. I always take my facial moisturizer to keep my skin from feeling stripped.

Sarong and/or towel

You can use sarongs as a bath towel, scarf or skirt and it dries quickly.


Sun Hat or Baseball Cap

I always take a cap of some type with me when I go out into the sun. Anything that keeps me from being prone to sun cancer, I use.

Ear plugs

If you’re a light sleeper, bring ear plugs. The boat’s engine can make a lot of noise, especially in the morning.


Sunglasses are a given. I  love my Hawaiian Lenses. They’re a combo deal– part sunglass and part reading glasses.

Dive  items

Dive log book & Scuba diving card

Dive log book & Scuba diving card are essentials for any dive trip. You’ll want your log book to log your dives and get them signed and stamped by the dive company you go with.

Motion sickness pills

If you’re prone to motion sickness on boats, remember to bring your own supply of motion sickness pills. Often your boat or captain may carry motion sickness pills so if you forget, you’ll have a backup option. You can easily buy them at 7 Eleven for 20 baht.

Dry bag

Dry bags are waterproof bags and they keep items dry, especially if you’re taking them near water. I usually like to put my camera in here to protect it. A 10L waterproof dry bag was perfect for me; it’s like a simplified day pack. I could hold a towel, my Canon 70D DSLR and Canon G7X Mark II vlogging camera  and a little more. There are both, smaller and larger sizes.  The 5L dry bag is the size of a clutch and perfect for one camera and a towel; meanwhile the 20 L is more the size of a backpacker’s day pack and rather large.

Dive Mask & Dive Computer

Avid divers might prefer to bring their own dive mask and dive computer.   By bringing your own dive mask, you don’t have to rely on the dive company and possibly equipment which was handled by several tourists.

Rash guard shirt

A rash guard offers another protective coat between you and the changing temperature of the ocean.

Dive booties

Some dive companies offer this with their equipment; some don’t. The booties help protect you against the abrasion of your plastic fin footwear. In my case, I went diving beforehand and my fins weren’t sized to my foot well, so it rubbed against it when I’d kick. By the end of my day, I rubbed my skin into a blister.

Hawaiian lenses reading glasses
Hawaiian lenses reading glasses

waterproof bags, dry bags
10 L Waterproof dry bags

Roxy rashguard

Roxy JR rashguard

 What are some of your Liveaboard Essentials?  What to pack for a liveaboard dive boat?

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Liveaboard Essentials, liveaboard packing list, packing tips for a liveaboard

what to pack for a liveaboard dive boat


  1. Faye says:

    I guess everything is here. hmm. I always love to wear my Haviana flip flops too even if I’m not swimming. Thanks for all of these.

  2. Can’t wait to get a shot at diving one of these times!

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