21 Top Rules for Dive Boat Etiquette

Dive FlagSo, you are going on a dive boat for the first time and need to know the basics? If you have been on boats before you probably know some of this, but remember, different boats have different rules.
Unless you want your fellow divers to use you as shark bait there are a few things you need to understand!

What to take with you on the Dive boat:

Obviously you are taking your dive gear, but you do need other kit to make your day more comfortable:

    • Water and Snacks  – Did you remember to ask if these were provided when you booked?
    • Boat clothes – Hat, Sunglasses, towel etc. On our island the temperature rarely gets below 80 °F ( 26 ° C) but I often see divers shivering in the wind. Pack a light windbreaker, it really does make a difference.
  • Dry Bag
    A small dry bag is a big asset and costs around $20

    A Dry Bag, most dive boats offer a limited amount of “dry storage”, dry, as any boat owner will tell you is a relative term. Your valuables that must be kept dry go into a proper dry bag, these are available in many sizes, buy one and keep everything safe.

What not to take with you on the dive boat:

Storage space, even on the largest boats is at a premium, particularly “dry storage”

Oversized Bag
This piece of luggage is too large to be stored dry on most dive boats
Mesh Bag
This type of Mesh Bag is ideal and costs less than $30

Your super new rolling dive gear bag that is “airline baggage handler proof” is not going to fit in the dry storage area, it is going to get wet and salty.
Offload your gear into a suitable fold up mesh boat bag and your smaller dry bag.

Chamois Towel
Small Chamois towels dry well, are easy to wash and take up little room.


A huge bath towel is not really necessary, how about taking a smaller Chamois towel to dry yourself with and a roll up windbreaker to keep warm.

Sort your dive gear for the type of diving you will be doing, warm water in calm conditions to recreational depths does not need all the gear you would carry for a cold water dive in the Atlantic. The less gear you take, the more likely you will be carrying it all home rather than leaving it behind on the dive boat.

21 top Rules for Dive Boat etiquette

  1. Be on time, if you prefer extra time for gearing up then be early.

  2. Please listen to the crew, they have a system that works everyday, they are there to help you enjoy your dive.

  3. There will be a space allocated for you to gear up in and allocated spaces for you to store gear that needs to be kept dry and gear that does not, use these spaces accordingly.

  4. Don’t spread your gear everywhere, remember how to pack your dive bag, BCD on top, then regs, Wetsuit at the bottom, that way as your gear comes out of your bag it can be built, not scattered on the deck.

  5. Mark your gear to identify it, an oil paint pen is great for this, a lot of dive gear is black and very similar.

  6. When using the dive boats rental gear, only use the gear that is allocated to you. The gear may all look the same but it is not “shared on the day” it belongs to the diver whom it was allocated to.

  7. Take a coloured tie or material strip you can affix to your rental BCD so that you know it is yours.

  8. Respect other divers gear. If you see a gear setup that is new to you most divers will be happy to explain how it works, just ask them. Don’t, however mess with gear that does not belong to you.

  9. Other passengers need to move around, the crew needs to do their jobs, keep the walkways clear of your diving debris.

  10. Respect the facilities and use them accordingly. A mask bucket is for masks. A camera bucket is for expensive cameras, not for you to rinse your dive boots in.

  11. Respect the dry areas, need your dry bag after a dive? Don’t drip water over everybody else’s dry stuff while you are retrieving it.

    Gear Sorted
    Gear all squared away, ready to go diving!
  12. Areas of the boat may be “off limits” to passengers, on larger boats areas may be designated as “Dry passengers only”. You know this because you listened to the Captains boat briefing!

  13. Every boat has a method for stopping gear rolling about, make sure you understand this and stow your gear accordingly.

  14. Weights and weight belts are either on the floor, in the designated storage box or in your BCD pockets NOT sitting on a seat where they are just waiting to break somebody’s toe.

  15. Be geared up and ready at the appropriate time, nobody likes sitting in full gear waiting while some diver searches for their mask / flashlight / snorkel / fins etc.

  16. Don’t loiter in the exit area, once you have done your giant stride or backward roll, signal your “ok” and move away on the surface so that the next diver can enter the water.

  17. If you are spraying suntan lotion on your body, do it at the downwind end of the boat, nobody else wants it in their eyes (same goes if you decide to chum your lunch).

  18. Loose items and garbage gets blown around when the boat is moving, don’t put garbage anywhere but in the bin. Take care of things like hats, hoods, socks, gloves etc, these will blow away very easily.

  19. If the crew calls a “roll call” pay attention and answer only for yourself, answering for your dive buddy who you think is “in the head” could cause confusion and a miscount.

  20. If you borrow tools from the crew, please give them back or put them in their proper place, this particularly applies to things like Nitrox Analyzers which many guests need to share.

  21. Be careful moving around, wet boats are very easy to slip and fall on. When you are asked to sit down by the crew, please do so, this is especially important when the boat is leaving and returning to the dock, you may be blocking the Captains view.

Above all enjoy your day of boat diving, nothing here should take away that enjoyment but remembering these boat diving etiquette rules will make your day easier, make your fellow passengers happier and contribute to everybody’s “great day on the dive boat.”

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