Can You Bring SCUBA Gear On a Plane? TSA Rules

wearing scuba gear

You can carry scuba equipments that can fit inside your bag, such as a wetsuit and fins as carry-on and checked baggage. However, a scuba tank may not fit in your carry-on and must be completely empty if you want to bring it on the plane.

In this blog post, I’ll answer all your questions and share some tips and tricks for flying with scuba gear. 

Whether you’re planning a dive trip to the Caribbean, the Galapagos, or the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll find this post helpful.

Let’s dive in!

Can Scuba Gear Go Through TSA?

According to in 2021, the number of people who participated in scuba diving in the United States is approximately 2.48 million.

This indicates that the TSA clerks are pretty familiar with scuba dugong gear.

According to the TSA website, you may bring regulators, buoyancy compensators, masks, snorkels, and fins as carry-on or checked baggage. 

However, knives and spear guns are prohibited from carry-on luggage and must be packed in checked baggage.

Compressed gas cylinders (such as scuba tanks) are only allowed if the tank is empty and the regulator valve is completely disconnected from the cylinder (i.e., the cylinder has an open end).

The cylinder must also have an opening to allow the airport security guys to inspect inside the tank.

This means that you cannot bring sealed and full or partially filled scuba tank.

Filled scuba tanks are not safe on high altitudes just like small bike Co2 Cartridges, they can build pressure and might cause a sudden explosion.

If you need to fly with a scuba tank, you have two options: either empty it completely before your flight or ship it to your destination via a parcel service.

Traveling With Scuba Gear On International Flights

When flying internationally, you should first check the regulations of the country you’re visiting.

Scuba diving is a common thing on most countries, however; some countries may require you to declare your scuba gear at the customs or pay a tax or duty on it.

Airlines also have stricter rules and additional charges for sporting equipment.

For example United Airlines charges a whooping service fee of $200 for an empty scuba tank to all destinations, and $150 each way for travel within the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Screenshot from United Airlines website

To avoid any hassle or any complications, you need to do some research before your trip and browse the sport equipment section on the airline website as there may be restrictions on how many items you can bring.

You can also check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) or the World Customs Organization (WCO) for clearest insights on international travel.

Expert Tips and Tricks For Flying With Your Scuba Gear

Effective packing is a key towards a seamless journey with your scuba gear. 

Here is how to pack your scuba equipment effectively for travel:

⚫ Choose your scuba gear carefully:

If you travel frequently, you may want to invest in some lightweight and compact scuba gear that is designed for travel.

For example, you can look for travel-friendly BCDs that are easy to fold and pack, regulators that are durable and ergonomic, wetsuits that are thin and flexible, and fins that are short and adjustable. 

⚫ Pack your scuba gear securely:

To protect your scuba gear from damage or theft, you should pack it securely in a sturdy bag or case.

You can use a dedicated dive bag that has padded compartments and straps to hold your gear in place, or a regular suitcase that has enough space and protection for your gear. 

⚫ Take only essentials with you:

Some scuba gear items are more valuable or important than others, so you may want to carry them with you as carry-on luggage instead of checking them in.

For example, you may want to keep your dive computer, regulator, mask, and dive logbook with you at all times, while you can check in your

4. Rent scuba gear : to skip the hassle of lugging your scuba gear, or the whooping airline charges, you might want to consider renting the gear at your destination.

Final Thoughts

If you are planning your diving trip, then packing your scuba gear requires some careful preparation.

Generally, you can bring most of your diving gear on a plane checked baggage without any issues.

But keep in mind that your scuba tank needs to be fully empty.

Unfortunately; finding a shop that offers scuba tank filling services is not impossible, so this will ease any concerns you have.

FAQs About Traveling With Scuba Gear

1. Can diving regulators go in hand luggage?

Yes, Scuba regulators are good to bring in both carry-on and checked-in baggage. If you also happen to have one of those underwater torches along, remove its battery. It’s prohibited to put those in baggage with batteries in place, due to IATA DGR/Hazmat regulations

2. Can you wear BCD diving gear on a plane?

Generally scuba buoyancy compensator devices are allowed through the security checkpoint. (but you will need to remove it and place it in a separate bin for additional screening), and you can wear it on board the airplane, however it is better to contact your airline and get approval from them to avoid any inconvenience at the airport.

3. Can I bring snorkel gear in carry-on?

Yes you can carry-on your snorkeling gear as carry-on luggage, just ensure that your carry-on is within your airline size limits and you don’t pack any long sharp objects along with your snorkeling gear as carry-on.

4. Can you take a diving mask on a plane?

Yes, you can bring diving masks on a plane carry-on and checked baggage without any restrictions.

5. Can you take Swim Fin on a plane?

As long as they fit in your carry-on baggage, yes, remember that most airlines will count a dive bag as one checked bag.

6. Can you take Dive computer / dive watch or depth gauge on a plane?

Yes, dive computers or dive watches are allowed on planes, and it is better if you pack them in your carry-on bag, ensure that you also remove the battery from the computer prior to your flight.

7. Can you take Dive light on a plane?

Yes, dive lights and flashlights are allowed on planes carry-on and checked bags.

8. Can you take Diving knife on a plane?

Dive knives are only allowed in checked bags, just ensure it is well secured and sheeted to avoid any injuries or harm for luggage inspectors and handlers.

9. Are there any alternatives for a scuba tank?

Yes, BOSS or Breathing Observation Submersible Scooters are great alternatives for scuba tanks and snorkeling, however; they are not good alternatives when it comes to traveling, as they are bulky and will require more space and charges when transporting them.

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Hope this helps 

Happy diving