Gotta-Have Gear Since most tropical diving takes place in relatively simple dive environments, the tropical diver requires the least gear: mask, fins, snorkel, BC, regulator with alternate and SPG, cutting tool and dive computer or tables/timing device. That's it, other than weight for people who tend to float.
Plus Gear To get a bit more out of tropical diving, add a Lycra exposure suit and/or shortie wetsuit for some warmth and protection from abrasion and incidental stings. Reef gloves protect water-softened hands from rusty ladders and encrusted mooring lines, but keep your mitts off live coral!
Gotta-Have Non Diving Accessory Sunscreen. Sunburn ruins more dive vacations than almost anything else. If you're loath to lotion up because you look touristy with pasty white legs, remember that legs burnt bright red look stupid and touristy.
Gotta-Have Movie Beneath the 12-Mile Reef . This 1953 flick features Robert Wagner as a Greek sponge diver in the Florida Keys, complete with underwater footage of Wagner (or his stunt double) exploring the reefs in a hardhat.
Gotta-Have Book The Living Sea, by Jacques Cousteau and James Dugan. Cousteau and Dugan trace the early years of exploration and the famed Calypso, visiting some places that only now, 40-plus years later, have become common diving destinations