Snorkeling is an easy underwater activity that requires minimal equipment. The basic components are a mask, snorkel, and fins. It’s important to choose a mask that fits properly. Fins should be light and flexible. Snorkelers should be aware of weather warnings and safety precautions and consider snorkeling with a buddy.
Snorkeling is an underwater activity that requires fairly minimal equipment and training. Unlike other types of diving, snorkelling can be done by someone without qualifications, and is a popular activity in the tropics, where there are numerous interesting things to see underwater. Choosing snorkel gear is relatively easy, and many people choose to rent snorkel gear after their arrival, to avoid having to carry it in their luggage.
The basic components of snorkel equipment are a snorkel, mask and fins. In cold climates, snorkelers usually wear wetsuits and some people wear light protection to avoid sunburn and coral injury. A rash guard is a lightweight garment designed to fit under a wetsuit to prevent chafing, but can also be worn on its own as protective clothing. Otherwise, a bathing suit is just fine.
The most important piece of snorkel equipment is the mask. If the mask doesn’t fit properly, it will make for a very unpleasant experience. Fortunately, it’s easy to check that a mask fits. Start by pulling the strap off, then placing the mask over your face so it covers your eyes and nose. If it doesn’t fit comfortably, choose another mask until you find one that fits. Then, inhale through your nose to create a vacuum and move your hand away. The mask should stay on your face and if not, it won’t fit well. You may need to try several masks before you find one that works. People with vision impairments might consider a prescription snorkel mask, which will be more expensive, but well worth it.
The snorkel typically attaches to the side of the mask. You may want to check the fit of the snorkel or consider purchasing a snorkel that drains excess water through a sump. Keep in mind that learning how to use a snorkel takes time and you may want to practice in shallow water before getting into deeper water. Like other snorkel equipment, a vendor can help you with the basics of using a snorkel.
The final aspect of snorkel gear is fins. The fins are supposed to be light and flexible and come in two basic designs. One fin design slides over the foot like a shoe, while the other has a strap. Fins that strap on are useful, because they can be worn over booties, which will protect your feet from sharp corals and marine animals like urchins.
When snorkelling, be sure to heed weather warnings and lifeguard precautions. You should also be aware of where the shore or boat is at all times and should try to snorkel with a buddy whenever possible, for added safety. If lending your own personal snorkel gear, make sure it fits properly on the person you are lending it to. You might even consider bringing along an underwater camera, to record some of the amazing sights you’ll see beneath the ocean’s surface.