If it’s your first time snorkeling, it isn’t uncommon to get a little overwhelmed! Breathing underwater is extraordinary experience, and it can be difficult to adjust your body to snorkeling. There is gear that can help make your first snorkeling trip painless. Below are five items we would recommend to any beginner.
1. Ultra Dry 2 Snorkel
Dry snorkels are a huge asset for anyone just starting to snorkel.With a semi-dry snorkel (traditional snorkel), the top of the tube is completely open. If you dive under the water or a big wave washes over you when using a semi-dry snorkel, the tube will fill up with water. Our Ultra Dry 2 snorkel has a float mechanism at the very top of the tube that activates when you submerge it underwater. While this mechanism is activated, no water can get into the tube.
Eliminating that rush of salt water to your mouth really takes some of the edge off of your first snorkeling experience. We highly recommend the Ultra Dry 2 snorkel for anyone who is learning how to snorkel.
2. Snorkeling Vest
A snorkeling vest is a device which helps control buoyancy. It is designed to sit on your chest, so you lay on top of it in the water. You can fill this vest up with as much or as little air as needed, and it will help you stay on the surface of the water. Don’t confuse a snorkeling vest with a life jacket, they are not the same. A life jacket is designed to roll you on your back and get your face out of the water, where a snorkeling vest keeps your face in the water so you can view the ocean life below.
Snorkeling vests reduce fatigue, and help you stay snorkeling, longer! Staying on the surface of the water is something many struggle with, and using this buoyancy control device will help you focus more on the reef and less on swimming.
3. Rash Guard
Sun block is always a huge annoyance on beach vacations. Leaving the ocean to return to the sandy beach and apply sunblock is time consuming. Rash guards are the perfect solution. These shirts provide excellent and constant sun protection, complying with UVA 50 ratings. You may never leave the water!
4. Anti-Fog Gel
While snorkeling, sometimes the mask lenses fog due to the temperature difference between the inside and outside surfaces. Fogging can really hinder the snorkeling experience. Treading water to remove the fogging is difficult, and not being able to see the ocean floor is just irritating! We highly recommend cleaning the lenses with a mild abrasive, such as Sea Buff, when you receive your mask. Then, use a good Anti-Fog Gel, like Sea Gold, just before you jump in the water. These two products together should prevent fogging, and ensure a great visual experience.
5. A Mask with a Good Fit
This may be the most important piece of gear for any snorkeler. To really enjoy snorkeling, you need a mask that is comfortable and seals well. There are so many different mask styles, how do you know which will work best? Many retail stores, such as ourselves, don’t accept returns or exchanges for masks that have been used in the water. So how can you know the mask will fit before using it? The answer is dry testing. Here are some instructions to make sure your mask has a good fit.
The first step is to place the mask on your face while tilting your head back. The mask will then be supported by your face, without your hands holding it. Feel the silicone skirt to make sure there aren't any gaps between the edge of the skirt and your skin. If there are none, this is a good indication that the mask fits.
Now, face forward and make sure nothing is between the silicone skirt and your skin (i.e. a stray wisp of hair). Gently press the mask to your face while holding the sides of your mask frame. You should be able to pull the mask away from your face and feel some suction as the seal around the skirt adheres to your face. This means the mask is a good fit, and no water should be able to leak through!
These items are sure to provide an excellent first-time snorkeling experience. Not only will the gear listed above make your first venture more comfortable, but it will allow you to focus on what really matters: the experience.
Have questions? Comment below, we're happy to help!