From the first time you slip into the ocean, throw on a mask and get a glimpse of all the life buzzing underwater you are bound to be hooked. In an area that is largely unexplored, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the desire to explore. Taking this experience further by going deeper than the surface will allow you to see even more. Your first time diving can be an invigorating experience. You will need a lot of scuba gear to get started. However, there is some gear that you wouldn’t think of getting for diving, specifically a snorkel.
When snorkeling through the water, having the best snorkel is an obvious choice. What you may not be aware of as it is very popular to use a snorkel even when diving deep into the ocean. More than a popular choice, in many places this is even considered a mandatory piece of equipment to have along on your dive. This may seem weird, after all, you already have a regulator. A snorkel will help you to conserve valuable air and energy when swimming on the surface. This proves a very valuable precaution especially when you surface far away from your exit point. Having a snorkel will allow you to extend your experience underwater.
What Type Of Snorkel Should You Buy?
We have come a long way from the days where a simple plastic J snorkel was your only option. Today’s models feature dry tops and purge valves and you can even buy in many enticing snorkel packages. When using your snorkel for diving rather than extended snorkeling trips, we recommend you opt for a simple snorkel. It is worth noting that the more bells and whistles, the more chances of something going wrong. Having a purge valve on your snorkel is a good feature you will want to look for. This will allow you to clear the water with ease and also make it easier to clean your snorkel. You will also want to opt for a flexible snorkel. This will allow you to store it with ease when not in use.
Red Flag Words
There are some common words that we recommend you steer clear from. “High volume” is a key phrase you will want to avoid when buying your snorkel. This is a thick tube that lets through a large amount of air and, in turn, water. This can be incredibly hard to clear if water enters your breathing tube.
Another word to avoid is “streamlined”. This word is used to define snorkels that are very narrow and low profile. While that sounds nice, these types of snorkels are often incredibly hard to breathe through.
How Your Snorkel Should Fit
Believe it or not, there is a proper fit for your snorkel. You want it to stick out of the water enough to not risk being submerged while not sticking out too much as to result in too much dead air. When attaching your snorkel to your mask, we have found that the top should sit ideally 5 cm above the top of your head.
The mouthpiece of your snorkel should be small and comfortable. This will ensure that you do not suffer from the dreaded jaw fatigue. Many divers will bite off the mouthpiece after long term use. For this reason, having a snorkel with a replaceable mouthpiece will ensure you get long term use out of your snorkel.
Finding a snorkel that offers a lot of flexibility is important to ensuring that your snorkel withstands the test of time. A soft silicone material will withstand a greater beating than a hard plastic snorkel. If your snorkel is flexible enough to bend on impact it will prevent your mask from being pushed off of your face during your dive.
If opting for a flexible snorkel, you will be able to easily fit it in the pocket of your BCD rather than attaching it to your mask for the duration of your dive. When choosing your snorkel, it helps to test its flexibility by folding your snorkel in half and seeing if it springs back to its original shape.
When choosing your scuba gear, many people get excited about the style of their gear. While you may want to make the style and color your gear your top priority, we recommended doing your homework too. With many different options of snorkels on the market today it is easier than ever to choose a snorkel that fits your style.
- Clear Waters, Insider
How did you choose your snorkel? Talk to us about how you like it in the comment section below.