Snorkeling Gear

Find a great snorkeling set

If you're just being introduced to the world of snorkeling, you may be confused by all the different types of equipment you need to take part in your new hobby. When it comes to snorkeling gear, there are both essential and optional pieces of equipment.

Must-have items include a snorkeling mask, a snorkel vest and, of course, the snorkel itself. Once they've mastered the basics, many snorkelers choose to add accessories like floatation aids and underwater cameras to the mix. Strictly speaking, sports swimwear such as wetsuits aren't absolutely necessary, but many participants insist on wearing them because of the protection and insulation they provide. Snorkeling fins are also considered optional, but are highly recommended.

Essential Elements of a Snorkel Set

Many vendors sell snorkel sets that include everything you'll need to get started. Begin by learning more about the features of the various pieces of essential equipment found in a typical set:

  • Snorkels. The snorkel allows you to breathe air while you're underwater. At their simplest, snorkels are flexible plastic or rubber tubes that are available in varying widths. Wider snorkels allow you to take in more air, and longer snorkels allow you to go deeper beneath the surface of the water. There's a variation known as a dry snorkel available as well, which minimizes or eliminates water that's accidentally introduced into the tube while diving.
  • Snorkeling fins. Also known as flippers, snorkeling fins make it easier for you to propel yourself forward while you're underwater and they enhance your maneuverability. Snorkeling fins also help you swim at faster speeds.
  • Snorkeling masks. Essentially high-end versions of swim goggles, snorkeling masks allow you to maintain full vision while you're underwater. They should fit firmly around your eyes and allow no water in, and they can be treated with anti-fog spray or outfitted with special anti-fog lenses.
  • Snorkel vests. These small, inflatable vests are used to increase your buoyancy while you're underwater. It is important to note that they do not function like life jackets and won't help a non-swimmer go snorkeling. However, they are popular with people who aren't necessarily strong swimmers but want to enjoy recreational snorkeling in safe waters.

Rash guards and full wetsuits are also worn by many snorkelers, particularly those who enjoy warm waters and snorkeling in water that hosts a diverse range of wildlife. These items are, however, purely optional and are not included in most snorkeling sets.

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