Air Travel With Your SCUBA Equipment

By Ab Kurk

Camera EquipmentLast February I traveled from Vancouver to Cuba via Montreal with my wife Carrie and a friend to do some scuba diving. Usually I travel with all my gear including a video housing and video lights with big battery packs.

In my carry-on luggage I only have items I can’t rent if lost. I carry-on things like my dive computer, video camera and housing. The rest of my gear gets checked. If the airline loses my checked luggage I can still rent gear at my destination.


The reality is that weird looking stuff gets extra attention. A big video housing with cables and knobs falls under the header weird looking stuff. Having airport security swabb my camera bag and housing for explosives is something to expect. After they figured out it is not dangerous they relax and let their curiosity take over and ask questions about what this equipment is for.


In Montreal they even asked if I work for National Geographics. Tthey called everybody over to take a look at what I was carrying. They had so many questions and some were just to satisfy their own curiosity. I had a good time talking about my passions and they got a lesson in what these things are.


In Cuba they even wanted to take a close look at my battery packs and other gear to make sure they were not part of an explosive device. I had to show that the lights worked and then they were happy too. In Cuba they are concerned that I was importing equipment and tools for locals as they are trying to prevent illegal trade.


The moral of the story is, people are curious and cautious when you bring equipment with you that they don’t understand. When traveler with this type equipment you need to be understanding and patient. Always make sure you are early and have all paper work ready when going through airport security. Listen to what they ask you to do and follow instructions. Give them time and always be courteous. Remember they are keeping you safe.


When traveling with this type of equipment make sure you can demonstrate how things work and make sure you are able to turn on the devices and explain what it is for. Just go with the flow and take it in strides. Enjoy it as part of your travel adventure and think of all the great stories you can tell afterwards.