Tips: Dive Boat Etiquette



Boat etiquette is something generally not talked about but has some unspoken rules. Hopefully this article whole help clarify what is expected of us – the divers who share a boat for just a slice of time. It will give some general rules for before, during and after your trip to help make everything run more smoothly for you and your dive buddies.


There is limited space on a boat so leave the really big monster roller bag at home. Pack what you need and try to keep it all in one bag. We suggest a heavy mesh bag that will fit your equipment but have a small profile.
Mesh bags also allow water to drain from your equipment after the dive and is our recommended option. Check the water temperatures before you leave to best pack for the conditions.

On the boat

If you are doing multiple dives that day then try to claim your tanks ahead of time – especially if they are nitrox. Keep your bag under the bench and out of the walkway. Otherwise it’s tripping city. If you have special food needs, bring a snack for in-between dives unless it’s provided. Your dive shop can let you know what is provided. If someone is getting out of
the water then make a path for them to walk back to their area.

During the dive

If you are doing a dive with cool shells the best idea is to leave them there. There have been many times I’ve seen fellow divers bring up alive creatures without realizing. Sand dollars are one that this happens to often. If they are hairy, brown, or   purple then they are still alive. It’s only when they are completely white that they are normally dead (like when we find them on the beach) but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the creature living within that pretty little shell is no longer alive.


As a general rule divers shouldn’t touch anything. Remember the old adage  “Take nothing but pictures”….”Leave nothing but bubbles”.  Your job is to observe and enjoy the experience. Disturbing the wildlife takes away from the experience for others. Be aware of your surroundings and your buddy. Have a nice relaxing dive and enjoy everything around you!

After the dive

It is standard to tip the dive master if they do a good job. Their job includes briefing for the dive, helping divers, fixing problems, setting and pulling up the anchor, keeping the trip fun and in many cases leading the dive. Ten dollars a tank is the standard tipping rate per person. Normally you don’t tip the captain only the dive master.

Hopefully this article answered any questions you have about boat etiquette for your next off shore dive. Be courteous and be aware of your surroundings. Keep your equipment stored and out of the way. Watch for divers getting in and out of the water. Leave nature be and remember to tip your dive master. The trip is more fun and everything runs more smoothly. Enjoy the company, enjoy the sights, and enjoy your trip!


This post was contributed by our team member and Dive Buddy Maya Armstrong. Thanks Maya!

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