We're planning a 9 to 10 hour dive. We can't go that long without eating.

What kind of 'food' could replace at least 2 meals of the day so we can 'survive' a long dive like that?

We'll figure out if something can be eaten while scuba diving. But maybe someone has already done something like that or has another 'extreme' sport where normal food isn't applicable anymore.

I'm thinking astronaut food but where do you get that?

I'm looking for something that looks like tube of toothpaste or similar.

  • I might check an outdoors or sporting goods store to see what they have for food. Any astronaut food I've seen in stores or online seem to be more of a novelty thing (granted I didn't search too deeply) so I don't know how available actual astronaut food is to the public. You could try dehydrating your own food as an option.
    – Matt Chan
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 15:07
  • Yeah and the online astronaut food a saw are not really suitable for underwater. ( It needs to be fluid so we don't have to chew on it, and we can push it out of a 'container' in our mouths without touching the water )
    – scubaFLY
    Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 7:16
  • 1
    Something like Energy gels or Performance gels perhaps?
    – Markus Wall
    Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 8:32
  • 1
    Am I missing something or is this question a joke? According to PADI scuba charts, a dive to 35 feet has a maximum allowable bottom time of 205 minutes, which is a bit over 3 hours. In reality you would not want to get so close to the limit and you would probably not go to just 35 feet. Unless there is something I don't know about, a 10 hour dive would kill you from nitrogren narcosis/poisoning. worlddivingreview.com/scuba-diving-and-nitrogen-narcosis
    – yarian
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 4:04
  • 2
    I know about eating gels, eating bananas, even mars bars, but since not many divers do this I was wondering if there was a better solution. Note that even today PADI instructors teach students to ascent at a max speed of 18meters/min while this originates from military standards where this was the speed where military divers could ascent with all their gear and not based on decompression limits. decompression limits ( non deco dives ) are actually and have been 10m/min for more than 10 years. So I really don't trust PADI standards especially in 'non PADI' ( recreational ) dives
    – FLY
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 16:07

3 Answers 3


When I climbed Mount Everest in 2010 I went from 9 pm, when we started for the summit, until 5 pm the next day, without eating. I had only 1 liter of gatorade to drink in that time too. Obviously I didn't die, and it required a lot of energy, let me assure you. So you can 'survive' your dive, and I guess challenge your thought about 'we can't go that long without eating'. If you can drink during your dive then you can take in calories through sports drinks or gels. I imagine training for a long dive like that by progressively doing longer and longer dives without food but only with sports drinks might make it easier too. Hope that helps!

Update: just to add, I did not eat much before the ascent, as at altitude it gets hard to eat. Your body will not like it but it will survive. Getting past the mental barrier might be a bigger challenge.

  • 2
    I know I will 'survive' but for safety we want to keep a focused mind. But as you climbed the Mount Everest, you probably needed a focused mind as well. Training dives are gonna be made and we will test this. Thanks for your answer. edit: drinking during dives is possible so we will stick to sport drinks and gels.
    – scubaFLY
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 7:37
  • 1
    I suggest making your own gels, if you weren't already thinking that. It's nice to be able to tailor the taste, consistency, and nutrition to your needs.
    – Greg.Ley
    Commented Apr 26, 2012 at 19:08

That is extremely long dive that come with many potential problems. Hydration Nitrogen Build-up Hypothermia Nutrition Exhaustion

Hydration can be solved with soft bottles to drink from, camel backs might work well. Nutrition you could look at liquid meals; corn starch syrup, soup, meal replacement shakes which can then also be drunk while diving. Some people take soft food in small soft containers so you do not have issues with air space becoming compressed. also be wary of high sugar content foods and caffeine as these can assist in dehydration and also causing sugar spikes and crashes.

Most importantly first practice long dives with eating and drinking in a pool before doing it in the ocean and at depth.

Talk with technical divers who spend a lot of time at great depths and long hours decompressing as they will tell you what they experience.


If you're looking for liquid/squeezable food you have quite a lot of options.

  1. Baby food in pre-made pouches. Surprisingly tasty, balanced meals and there's usually a range of texture options. Not cheap long term, but for a single dive each diver could easily carry enough to keep them well fuelled even if working hard.

  2. Buy a DIY pouch prep machine. [a Infantino Squeeze Station](Infantino Fresh Squeezed Squeeze Station https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009IWNPXK/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_UJqjxbPENBCM2) Designed for people who want to package their own baby food. You can make your own meals to taste, blend and package into squeeze pouches. You can buy disposable or reusable pouches.

  3. A meal replacement powdered food such as a Huel or a Soylent.

As a diver myself I'm curious about how you're planning to ingest liquid/gel/soft food underwater. Do you have full face masks with a drinking function or are you just going to take a regulator out, swig from the pouch/bottle and then put the regulator back in?

If the latter then you should practice the procedure in shallow water and make sure you monitor the additional gas use from repeated purging as you drink a full bottle so you can factor it into your gas consumption calculations.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.