Many people ask about Galapagos Scuba Gear Recommendations. We always recommend you bring your own dive gear as it fits you well and you are familiar with it.
We recommend a 7mm wetsuit, gloves and open heel fins with booties. Some may need a hood or beanie, some may not. It is best to have it in case you need it. The western itinerary sites and Cousins Rock is rather cold water, as low as 15 C / 60 F. Darwin is the warmest site in the Galapagos due to the tropical Panama current, however, dives at Darwin often involve as long as 25 minutes of stationary time. You may feel cooler than when you are in motion.
Gloves are needed for protection, not warmth. You descend through current, grab hold of rocks on the platform and watch the show as it passes by except when chasing whale sharks. The rocks you grab have sharp barnacles that will cut your hands if you’re not wearing gloves. We recommend 1.5-2mm gloves with reinforced palms. Most boats do not have gloves available, so bring your own!
Snorkels are not recommended due to the possibility of strong current tugging the snorkel and causing mask leaks. If you wish to dive with a snorkel, it is better to bring a collapsible one to put in your BCD pocket for use at the surface. Torches are optional, however, all itineraries include a swim through at Wolf that is certainly more beautiful with a torch. If you plan to do a night dive, you’ll need a torch.
Noisemakers are not acceptable when used for sightings. That is the dive guide’s exclusive right to avoid the ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ syndrome. However, there is one noisemaker we recommend as a piece of safety gear. This cylindrical, aluminum noisemaker attaches with a wrist lanyard and fits easily inside your wetsuit sleeve which eliminates noise conflict with the dive guide. Should you need assistance underwater, pull it out and shake. Divers are very accustomed to seeking out the source of a noisemaker. It usually means a good sighting or other message from the dive guide. Which is why it’s a handy piece of safety equipment for underwater communication.
EQUIPMENT PROVIDED ONBOARD FREE OF CHARGE: Most liveaboards do provide the following gear onboard gratis, however, you will have to pay in full if you damage or lose the equipment.
- Nautilus Lifelines are provided. It would be best if you checked the manual before your trip so you arriving knowing how to use it. If you are bringing your own, the MMSI number is 735057585.
- SMB: Surface marker buoys are mandatory under National Park regulations. All liveaboards must provide them. If you are given an inflatable type, perhaps practice using it on your check dive.
- Dive Alert: The standard dive alert is provided. Most do not provide the type of Dive Alert for alt air sources. It is best to check your BC/alt air source prior to arrival and bring your own dive alert if a standard won’t fit.
- Tanks are provided. All tanks are AL80s with INT valves adaptable for DIN. Not all have DIN adapters, so best to bring your own. A few are available to rent. AL100s are available to rent.
- Weights and weight belts are provided. Each piece of lead weighs approx. 1.8 kilos / 4 lbs. No soft weights are available. If you need pockets for trim, please bring your own.
- Nitrox analyzers are onboard for shared use. (Nitrox mix is 32%)
Spare Parts: While dive guides may have some tools onboard, please bring your own replacement parts: spare batteries, extra masks/straps, special O rings, weight pockets, etc.
All Liveaboards offer rental gear. I can’t say quality is always what you would want, but you can make do. Most full kit rentals run around $250-$275 for the week. Computers are not usually included, are available to rent for $75-$100 for the week and are mandatory on some boats. If you don’t plan to dive with a computer, be prepared to show the dive guide that you know dive tables and have a dive plan.
If you need XXL in either gender, rentals are not readily available. The same is true of booties and fins for men with shoe sizes above size 12 US / 44 Euro.
Most liveaboards do not rent hoods, though some do have vests with hoods for rent. Cameras are not available to rent. Bring your own.
Liveaboards do have rental gear available ala carte, not merely full kits. So if you only need to rent 1 or 2 pieces, please inquire as prices vary from liveaboard to liveaboard.