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What’s in Your Bag? The Perfect Packing List for a Dolphin Boat Tour in Hawaii

You’ve booked a coveted spot on the Dolphins and You boat tour. Now what? If your goal is to experience a smooth and clutter-free dolphin watching tour on the clear waters of Oahu’s West Side, look no further than this list of the only things you’ll need to bring on your trip.

Reef-Safe Sunscreen

In January of 2021, Hawaii became the first state in the US to ban the sale of coral-harming sunscreen and we’re here for it. Help us keep the home of our friends under the sea alive and thriving by only using sunscreen that does not contain the harmful chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. Many big name and Hawaii-based brands offer sunscreen that not only protects you but also protects the reef.

Lip Balm with Sunscreen

While you’re at it, protect your lips! Often ignored when applying sunscreen, the lips can get uncomfortably dry, cracked and painful when sunburned.

A Dry Bag

Never underestimate the necessity of these brightly colored waterproof bags. Even if you’re not going to dive below the surface with one, keeping a dry bag filled with valuables such as your wallet, passport, phone and hotel key cards up on deck will give you peace of mind when water inevitably finds its way onto the boat.

Dolphins and You gives each tour guest a complimentary eco bag at the office

Protective Sleeve or Case for Your Phone

Some of you will want to splash around with your phone (who doesn’t want to share their sea turtle selfie on social media?) and some of you will get splashed while holding your phone. Either way, investing in a protective case before your ocean-soaked adventure is not a bad idea as you will get great use out of it throughout the rest of your Hawaii holiday. But if you’re looking for something easy, cheap and reliable, we suggest the sealable plastic sleeves that come with a neck strap.


Yes, it gets pretty sunny here in Hawaii. A day out on the very reflective water in Hawaii could jeopardize your ocean mammal viewing ability. Just note that these sunglasses will get wet and salty. We suggest bringing a plastic pair of cute yet budget-friendly shades that you won’t mind if they see a bit of action.

Quick Dry Towel

A quick dry towel is typically thinner than other towels and therefore easier to carry around in your beach or boat bag. They are highly absorbent and less likely to stink up a car or room.


Keep it simple after your swim by wrapping yourself up with a pareo (also known as a wrap or sarong). These thin—and typically patterned—cloths are used to wrap around your body to make a skirt, dress or head scarf.

Shop for pareos

Water Bottle

Water is provided on the boat but carrying an insulated water bottle around the Islands ensures that you will always have filtered cold water within reach. Plus you can place stickers from all of your favorite local excursions, stores and eateries on it!

Shop for insulated water bottles and cups

A Hat

When the boat is anchored, a tightly-secured baseball cap or bucket hat with a strap will push away those uncomfortably strong sun rays of the late morning and early afternoon. That, and it will help shield your eye line when trying to spot a dolphin or whale out at sea.


Shop for hats

Wear a Swimsuit that Keeps You Covered (and Keeps You Safely in Place)


Avoid fashion mishaps or a bad sunburn from snorkeling with Hawaiian sea turtles by wearing a stylish long sleeve one piece or a rash guard. You’ll feel warmer in the water and you’ll be thankful later when you’re not submerged in a bathtub filled with Aloe Vera.

Shop for rash guards

Comfortable Shoes

The first test for appropriate footwear is if you mind them getting wet—because they will. Opt for a flat pair of shoes that has good grip and can be easily removed before getting on the boat.


Buy drinks on the boat, rent a wetsuit or show the love with a tip. It will be handy to have some cash around.

Non-Drowsy Dramamine

If you know you know. If you don’t know, you might want the option close by.