Snorkel Equipment Checklist
One of the greatest things about snorkeling (besides the views of course) is that getting started hardly requires anything.
Here’s what you must have:
1. Snorkel mask - a mask with adjustable straps is ideal
2. Snorkel tube – usually about 30 cm in length and no longer than 40 cm in length
You may also want to use:
3. Snorkel fins – fins are a great way to travel quickly and effortlessly through the water
4. Deck shoes – this is a great option for snorkeling in shallow water, close to shore
Some snorkelers find it helpful to wear:
5. Snorkel vests – assists snorkelers with buoyancy
6. Wet suits (short or long sleeved) – great in cooler waters, also reduces sun exposure
Snorkel equipment can be purchased at sporting good stores, scuba shops or department stores (though availability may depend on the time of year). If you can, try on the mask and fins before purchasing. A good fit for a mask is one that fits snugly, but is not too tight or too loose. A snug mask will make a great seal to your face and keep the water out. The fins you choose should fit comfortably; often you can find fins with adjustable straps to accommodate different foot sizes. The snorkel you purchase should be about 30-40cm in length; snorkels longer than this allow you to go deeper, but the increase in water pressure makes it more difficult for your lungs to function properly. Some of the newer snorkels you may find have built in valves as added protection against small amounts of water that may enter the tube while snorkeling. These three pieces of equipment are often sold together as a set. Prices vary depending on the quality and brand, though you can get a fairly decent adult set for between $60 to $100.
A snorkel vest is a great option for first time snorkelers, children and those who are not comfortable in deeper water. They are less restrictive than a life jacket and can be easily inflated and deflated. They also provide some relief for those snorkeling for a longer period of time as they require less effort by users in maintaining buoyancy. It is important to note however that a snorkel vest is not a life preserver.
If you are purchasing new snorkel equipment you may want to try it out in a swimming pool first before heading out on a snorkel excursion with a tour operator. This will allow you to play with the straps and adjust your equipment’s settings in a location where you can comfortably touch the bottom, rather than making adjustments while treading water.