Snorkeling is one of the most popular ocean sports on the planet, with over 8 million people grabbing a mask and diving in each year in the United States alone.
And with good reason. It’s a fantastic way to get in the water and explore vast coral forests, swim with wild marine life, and simply make memories with those you care about. Snorkeling is also accessible to almost anyone because it is far less expensive and difficult than, say, scuba diving.
What Snorkeling Equipment Should I Purchase?
One of the most appealing aspects of snorkeling is that the only equipment required to enter the water is a mask and a snorkel. Most importantly, you should consider the materials used in their construction, available features, seal quality, and price points. It’s also a good idea to wear fins and a flotation device, as well as a rash guard to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays. But, from there, there are about a million and one options, so let’s take a look at what gear I think is best to get you started snorkeling.
4 Things to Think About When Purchasing Snorkeling Gear
Our curiosity is what makes us human. We have sent professionals on expeditions to the moon and deep into the ocean after years of walking the earth. As humans, we have the option of following our creativity and curiosity to their logical conclusion.
This is why snorkeling, a diving sport, is becoming increasingly popular. Along with recreational diving, it contributes approximately $11 billion to the US GDP annually.
Diving into water is a fascinating experience. You will have the opportunity to interact with some of the world’s most bizarre and intricate species, including corals, fish, and crustaceans. Humans, on the other hand, cannot function underwater as they do on land, so it is critical that you select the appropriate snorkeling equipment for you or your loved ones.
When purchasing snorkeling equipment, keep the following in mind:
1. Obtaining the Best Snorkel Mask
Your snorkel mask is the most important piece of snorkeling equipment, so choose wisely. Don’t go for cheap gear or be too concerned with how the mask looks. If you intend to do both scuba diving and snorkeling, keep in mind that not all masks are suitable for scuba diving; only tempered glass masks can be used.
Most beginners prefer full-face snorkel masks when purchasing snorkeling equipment. This is because they allow you to breathe through your nose rather than forcing you to use your mouth. The snorkel is integrated into the mask, reducing the possibility of jaw pain. They also don’t fog easily, so they won’t obscure your vision. Pun intended.
When looking for the best face mask for yourself, make sure to try them on at the store to ensure you get the right fit. You don’t want to buy a leaking mask because it will be extremely inconvenient.
2. Purchasing the Best Snorkel
The snorkel is an essential piece of snorkeling gear. Even if they are more expensive, dry or semi-dry snorkels are recommended. These snorkels have top valves that prevent water from entering, for example, if a wave comes up above your head.
Consider the mouthpiece when purchasing a snorkel. A mouthpiece that is too large will feel uncomfortable, while one that is too small will cause jaw pain because you will have to bite hard on it to keep it in your mouth.
3. Choosing a Snorkel Mask Strap Cover
When purchasing snorkeling equipment, you should also purchase a snorkel mask strap cover. This will keep your hair from pulling and tangling. Slipping it on the back of your head will immediately make your life easier.
4. Choosing the Best Snorkeling Fins
Snorkeling fins are recommended in many places for safety reasons. They give you more power, which is useful when swimming in a current or for a long period of time.
When it comes to snorkeling equipment, comfort is essential. Fins are the same way. Poor-quality fins or those that aren’t your size can cause painful blisters just minutes into swimming, making your snorkeling experience unpleasant.
There are two types of fins: closed foot and open foot fins, split or paddle fins, and long or short fins. Closed foot fins are very efficient because they are lighter and require less effort to kick. Open foot fins, on the other hand, are adjustable and thus provide a better fit.
Is Buying Used Snorkeling Gear Safe?
The correct answer is both Yes and No. It is really determined by a variety of factors. These factors include what you’re buying, who you’re buying it from, the service history of the equipment, your personal knowledge of the equipment (which probably isn’t much if you’re a new diver) which speaks to your ability to spot a problem, and, most importantly, who you will need to do some testing on it before you put it in the open water. Buying used equipment is an option that every diver should be open to and actively consider.
Your local diving center is a great place to start because they will always have rental gear that they are looking to renew or end-of-season stock that they would like to turn into cash.
You must accept the lack of return options and guarantee (even if the item is less than 12 months old, the manufacturer’s guarantee may not be transferable), but the big, big plus is the cost savings.
Top Tips for Purchasing Used Snorkeling Gear
- Determine why the item is being discarded; it being discovered laying around in the garage is not a good start.
- Is the seller a diver (active or not)? If this is the case, they may be more aware of the significance of the equipment and less likely to mislead.
- Use a credit card or PayPal to make your purchase so you’re protected if you get a dud.
- What are the seller ratings (eBay or Amazon) – Volume and rating are critical.
- Rinse the equipment in warm water – if it smells like chlorine, it hasn’t been properly cared for and will have a slightly shorter shelf life. If it is dive critical, never use it in open water before testing it in a pool.