Working on snorkel and dive boats I have learned many important tips that will help you select the best snorkel mask. The best place to learn to snorkel and test equipment is in a pool. Testing the snorkel gear ensures it fits and works properly without leaking, breaking, or fogging up. Once you are at the destination getting new equipment is often difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.
The best snorkel and fins will also be discussed in this article. After the mask reviews, I will discuss important snorkeling equipment. Other important items include wetsuits, snorkel vests, and defog solution. The boat should have a dive flag, noisemaker, tag-line buoy, and vinegar for jellyfish stings.
I snorkel and scuba dive and in most cases find snorkeling to be more fun than scuba diving. Snorkeling can allow swimmers to see more fish and get closer to fish. The most important thing to do when snorkeling is to relax. People are positively buoyant in water and snorkelers do not need to do any work to float in the water. In saltwater, people are even more positively buoyant than in freshwater. To get close to fish it is important to not use your hands. Not a single fish in the ocean has hands and people simply scare away fish with the motion of their arms and hands. When snorkeling, place your hands behind your back and gently kick with your fins.
Types of Masks
The two types of snorkel masks on the market today are the traditional mask as a snorkel and the full face snorkel mask. For 95 percent of people including first-time snorkelers, I would recommend the traditional mask and snorkel.
Disadvantages of full face snorkel mask include being more difficult to fit properly, more difficult to remove in an emergency, and could have dangerous re-used air circulation problems. Also, snorkels can only comfortably dive to about 5 feet deep because the pressure in the mask can not be equalized. The advantages of full-face snorkel masks are that you can breathe with your nose, can talk more clearly with the mask on, and have a good field of view. Full face masks are also less susceptible to fogging.
Full face snorkel masks are best for people that are good and snorkeling, are being supervised, and just want to relax comfortably at the surface. The traditional snorkel mask is best for beginners, experienced snorkelers, freediving, and spearfishing.
There are many good masks and snorkels on the market today. I will review conventional masks that I recommend and full face masks that are popular.
- Here are the 27 Best Snorkel Masks
- 1. Cressi Panoramic Wide View Snorkel Mask
- 2. Cressi Onda Wide View Snorkel Mask
- 3. Cressi Freediving Snorkel Mask
- 4. WildHorn Full Face Snorkel Mask
- 5. Deep Sea O2 Full Face Snorkel Mask
- 6. SeaBeast Full Face Snorkel Mask
- 7. Cressi Ondina Kids Mask and Snorkel
- 8. Cressi Small Kids Snorkel Mask
- 9. Cressi Moon Mask For Kids
- 10. Head Kids Mask and Snorkel
- 11. ProMate Prescription Mask Combo
- 12. Promate Prescription Snorkel Mask
- 13. Cressi Calibro Low Volume Snorkel Mask
- 14. Riffe Frameless Freediving Mask
- 15. Oceanic Frameless Snorkeling Mask
- 16. Phantom Aquatics Snorkeling Mask Set
- 17. Wacool Mask and Snorkel
- 18. Scubapro Solo Snorkeling Dive Mask
- 19. Atomic Venom Frameless Mask
- 20. Tusa Paragon Dive Mask
- 21. Scubapro Synergy Scuba Mask
- 22. Tusa Ceos Snorkel Mask
- 23. Aqua A Dive Snorkel Mask
- 24. US Divers Icon Mask and Snorkel
- 25. G2 Full Face Snorkel Mask
- 26. RKD Full Face Snorkel Mask
- 27. Full Face Kids Snorkel Mask
Here are the 27 Best Snorkel Masks
1. Cressi Panoramic Wide View Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $50
The Cressi Pano 3 Supernova mask comes with a dry dry snorkel. Color options include black, clear-pink, clear-yellow, clear-clear, and clear-cobalt. This mask is 7 inches by 4.25 inches. This mask fits most adults great as well as kids that are around 12 years and older.
It has a single front lens and clear sides allowing for a panoramic view. The mask is made with hypoallergenic soft silicone. Tempered glass is used to make the lenses. Features of the snorkel include a silicone mouthpiece, purges valve, and dry top valve.
The mask strap is also made of silicon and has push-button buckles. This is a great mask for both snorkeling and scuba diving. If the mask is too big the Cressi Ondina kids mask would be a good option. This is a well-built mask that when properly taken care of will last for years.
The video below discusses several important factors to take into account when selecting a snorkel mask.
2. Cressi Onda Wide View Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $30-$45
The Cressi Onda mask has a single tempered glass lens. The mask has a white frame with silicon color options of blue, lilac, pink, red, titanium, and yellow. A dry Cressi snorkel is included with the mask. The skirt is made of soft hypoallergenic silicone that is comfortable and has an excellent seal on many face types.
This is the exact mask that many dive operations rent to guests on snorkel and dive trips. It only comes in one size but fits most adults both women and men as well as older kids. The Onda mask also comes with a blue, pink, or yellow frame with a clear silicone skirt.
I have used this mask many times while snorkeling and scuba diving and have not had any issues. Working on dive boats I have rented this mask to hundreds of people and had very few issues. When people brought their own snorkel gear that did not work properly this basic snorkel mask would typically work and saved their trip. The main snorkel gear that would not work well for people was full face snorkel masks.
3. Cressi Freediving Snorkel Mask
The Cressi Frameless freediving mask comes with a dry snorkel. Color options include black, blue, camo green, clear, lilac, lime, pink, red, white, and yellow. A silicone double feathered edge skirt connects directly to the single tempered glass lens. This is a good mask to use while spearfishing.
What makes this a great freediving mask is that it has low air volume. When you are diving deep large air volume masks tend to get pressed hard into your face. Also, the extra air acts as a float and makes it slightly harder to dive down. It may not seem like a bid deal but if you start freediving deeper than 20 feet you will defiantly notice a difference.
When you scuba dive low volume masks are not needed because the mask can be equalized with air from the scuba tank. You should always equalize your mask by breathing out your nose when scuba diving. This mask does work well for a scuba diving mask but is designed for freediving and snorkeling.
The Supernova Dry Snorkel has an anti-splash end and valve that does not allow water to enter while diving.
4. WildHorn Full Face Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $65
Wildhorn full face snorkel mask comes in small, medium, and large sizes. Color options for the mask are citrus, orca, stealth, and sunset. This mask has a silicone insert for a watertight seal.
Full face snorkel masks are becoming more and more widely used. Personally, I do not recommend them as they only work well and safely if they fit properly. When working on dive boats about half the people say they are awesome and half the people don’t like them and ask for a rental mask.
If you are going to get one this is one of the better models out there. However, there is no guarantee that it will fit properly.
Video reviews are included for several of the full face snorkel masks on this page. I would recommend watching the videos before getting a full face mask. The video below provides general safety information about full face snorkel masks.
5. Deep Sea O2 Full Face Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $60
The Deep-Sea full face snorkel mask comes in one universal size. Color options for the mask are salt white, deep black, and tang yellow.
This full-face mask is unique in that it has a silicone nose piece that allows the nose to be pinched to equalize the pressure. At first, this seems like a great idea but does not work well in reality. The large air volume of the mask does not allow the pressure within the mask to equalize. For this reason, only shallow dives about 5 feet in depth can be done comfortably.
If you were scuba diving the air within the full face masks can be equalized. However, a scuba regulator needs to be integrated into the mask to work while scuba diving.
The video below provides a review of this full face snorkel mask.
6. SeaBeast Full Face Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $60
SeaBeast full face snorkel masks come in size small-medium and large-extra large. Color options for the mask include black-blue and black-red. The lense has a hydrophilic anti-fog coating.
Above the snorkel is a mount for a go-pro camera. The snorkel folds up which makes the mask more portable. Having a flat face lens on this mask allows for a less distorted view compared to masks with a curved lens.
The video below provides a review of this full face snorkel mask.
7. Cressi Ondina Kids Mask and Snorkel
Estimated Price: $30-$40
The Cressi Ondina comes with a snorkel. Color options include clear aquamarine, clear blue, clear pink, and clear yellow. The Cressi Ondna is the adult version of this mask,
This is top-quality kids mask. It works well for kids from ages 8-15 years old. For younger kids, the Cressi Piumettta, Cressi Moon mask, or Head kids mask would be good options.
This is the exact rental mask we use on snorkel and dive boats. It works well for most kids and for adults with narrow faces. Often times the mask the family brought for kids does not work well and we would give them one of these and the kids had fewer issues.
Related Article: The 17 best snorkel packages page
8. Cressi Small Kids Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $24
The Cressi Piumetta does not come with a snorkel. Color options include aquamarine, clear-blue, clear-pink, and clear-yellow. Silicon is used for the strap and seals around the face. The lens is made with an unbreakable polycarbonate.
The dimensions of this mask have been optimized for the physiological features of smaller individuals. This mask was designed for kids between the ages of 3-7 years old. The straps have rapid action buckles that can be easily adjusted for different size heads.
9. Cressi Moon Mask For Kids
Estimated Price: $25
The Cressi Moon mask is frameless and does not come with a snorkel. A snorkel can be used with the mask. Color options include azure-lime, clear-blue, clear-lilac, lime, pink-lilac, and blue-orange.
Features of the mask include a silicon strap, easy to adjust buckles, and a flexible nose pocket. The lenses are anti-scratch, anti-fog, shatterproof, and provide UV protection.
These are similar to swim goggles but have the nose enclosed. Anti-fog drops or Johnson’s baby shampoo should be put on the inside lens to prevent the mask from fogging.
10. Head Kids Mask and Snorkel
Estimated Price: $45
This Head mask comes with fins and a snorkel. Fins size options are small 9-13 and large 1-4. The colors of the mask include purple, aqua, blue, lime, pink, white, and yellow. A carry bag is also included. Tempered glass is the material of a single lens.
The mask is designed specifically to fit smaller faces. This should fit kids around the ages of 3-7 years old. The mask is one of the smallest on the market and is great for small kids.
This is a very popular set that I have seen used many times while working on snorkel boats. I have not seen any issues and would recommend this setup for young kids.
11. ProMate Prescription Mask Combo
Estimated Price: $80
This ProMate Pro Slender prescription mask comes with a dry snorkel. Color options for the mask include black, gold, green, pink, titanium, clear, yellow, and purple. The mask is made with high-quality silicone. The snorkel has a silicone corrugated lower section and silicone mouthpiece. Tempered glass is used for the dual lenses.
Near-sight prescription lenses are available from -1.0 to -10.0 in increments of 0.5. Far-sight prescription lenses are available from +1.0 to +4.5 in increments of 0.5. The prescription lens is made with tempered glass and should initially be cleaned with toothpaste to prevent the mask from being more susceptible to fogging. This should be done with all snorkel masks made with tempered glass.
12. Promate Prescription Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $30-$60
The Promate Scope Perscription Mask has one size that is rated for medium size faces. It works well for most people unless you have a very wide or narrow head. This mask does not come with a snorkel but is a good value for a prescription mask. Color options include black, silver, pink, green, yellow, blue, clear, purple, and red.
Near-sight prescription lenses are from -1.0 to -10.0 in increments of 0.5. Far-sight prescription lenses are from +1.0 to +4.5 in increments of 0.5. Bifocal corrective lenses are also available from +1.0, +1.5, +2.0, +2.5, +3.0, +3.5, +4.0. This can be helpful when reading scuba gauges. The upper part of the bifocal lens is used for distance vision, while the lower part is used for near vision. A segmented line separates the two-section of the bifocal lens. The farsighted and nearsighted lenses are single vision having the same optical focal point for the entire lens.
13. Cressi Calibro Low Volume Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $75-$95
The Cressi Corsica is a professional low volume snorkel mask. A freediving snorkel is also included. Color options include black, blue navy, and white. The mask is frameless and is made with high-quality silicon. Lenses are made with tempered glass.
The stand out feature of this mask is the fog stop noise piece. Essentially the air within the noise piece is sealed separately from the air in the lens compartments. This drastically reduces the fogging of the lenses.
14. Riffe Frameless Freediving Mask
Estimated Price: $65-$85
The Riffe mask is a frameless low volume snorkel mask designed for freediving. A snorkel is not included. Color options are black with a clear lens and black with an amber lens. A single tempered glass lens is used with a comfortable silicone skirt.
Riffe is a company known for making quality spearfishing equipment. This mask has a little more air volume than some of the frameless designs on the market. When diving deep, equalization will be needed a bit more often. For basic freediving, snorkeling and scuba diving this is a high-quality mask at a reasonable price.
Related Article: 17 Besty spearfishing Spearguns and Pole Spears
15. Oceanic Frameless Snorkeling Mask
Estimated Price: $43-$90
Oceanic shadow is a frameless low air volume snorkel mask. Sizes include mini, medium, and regular. Color options of the mask include blue, pink, red, yellow, black, and clear.
A single tempered glass lens is directly connected to a 100 percent liquid silicone skirt. The Neoprene straps apply less pressure to a single point and do not pull hair out. Buckles on the strap allow the mask to be easily put on and taken off. A hard case is also included with this mask.
16. Phantom Aquatics Snorkeling Mask Set
Estimated Price: $30
The Phantom Aquatics mask comes with a snorkel. Color options include black, red, blue, pink, titanium, turquoise, and yellow. The double-edged skirt is made with high-grade silicone for a comfortable air-tight seal. Dual tempered glass lenses are used.
This mask is a basic dual-lens snorkel mask. The snorkel is not a dry snorkel but does have a splash guard. I have not used this particular mask but it does have good reviews.
17. Wacool Mask and Snorkel
Estimated Price: $30-$59
The Wacool snorkel mask has one universal size and comes with a dry snorkel. Color options include black, blue, pink, clear, and yellow. The lens is made with tempered glass that is anti-fog treated. A strap and high-grade silicone skirt with a ribbed design help to ensure a water-tight seal.
The dry snorkel has a purge valve and a splash guard. Water is prevented from entering the snorkel when diving. The mouthpiece of the snorkel is also made with silicone. An inverted teardrop and one-piece glass lens design maximize the field of vision while wearing the mask.
18. Scubapro Solo Snorkeling Dive Mask
Estimated Price: $115
The Scubapro Solo is a low profile single-lens snorkel mask. A snorkel is not included. Color options for the mask include black, clear-blue, and clear-yellow. A double-sealed silicone skirt is used to create a comfortable watertight seal. This is a great mask for scuba diving and snorkeling. The wide split non-slip mask strap is connected with quick-adjust buckles. A protective clear plastic mask box is also included. This is a great mask for scuba diving and snorkeling.
19. Atomic Venom Frameless Mask
Estimated Price: $170
The Atomic Venom Frameless mask has an ultra-wide single lens. A snorkel is not included. Color options for the mask are all black or black-red. Gummi bear UltraSoft silicon is used to create a soft and watertight face seal. A second more rigid silicone skirt material helps ensure the mask stays firmly on the face.
The Schott Superwite UltraClear single lens allows up to 96 percent of light through the lens. The large single lens maximizes upward, downward and side-to-side vision. This is a high-end mask that is good for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Related Article: 17 Best Scuba Diving Regulators
20. Tusa Paragon Dive Mask
Estimated Price: $200
The Tusla Paragon mask has dual UV lenses. A snorkel is not included. Color options include, black, green energy, fishtail blue, flash yellow, metallic dark red, rose pink, and white. Freedom Technology within the mask features a dimpled skirt surface with varied silicone thicknesses and stability ridges. The buckles for the straps are attached to the mask skirt, not the frame to allow more compliance.
A three-layer combined frame structure consists of polyurethane, a metal frame, and polycarbonate bolted together to create a strong mask. The quick-adjust buckle system has angle strap adjusters on both sides of the mask. This enables up-down and left-right pressure on the face to be adjusted.
The UV 420 lens blocks harmful high energy visible light that is present on sunny and overcast days. An anti-reflective lens treatment increases light through the lens to 95 percent which enhances color and contrast underwater.
Related Article: 17 Best Polarized Fishing Sunglasses
21. Scubapro Synergy Scuba Mask
Estimated Price: $148
The Scubapro Synergy is a twin-lens mask. A snorkel is not included. Color options for the mask include mirrored black-silver, black-silver mirror, red, silver, yellow, and blue. The silicone skirt is ridged allows it to be thin but stiff enough to hold its shape. The skirt touching the face is thinner allowing for a soft watertight seal that contours well to different face shapes.
This mask is said to be one of the most comfortable masks on the market. Scubapro’s new-generation Trufit technology is a double-skirt design that molds to the contours of the face. The mask buckle allows the straps to be easily taken off.
22. Tusa Ceos Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $75
The Tusa Ceos M-212 mask is a low air volume dual window teardrop design. A snorkel is not included with this mask. The clear silicone color options for the mask are black, pink, cobalt-blue, dragonfruit purple, energy orange, fishtail blue, flash yellow, moon gold, and clear. Black silicone color options also include bronze, hot pink, metallic dark red, ocean green, and indigo.
A dimpled surface silicone skirt is used. The proprietary low-friction double feathered edge skirt ensures a watertight seal. The silicon is thin near the checks and top lip allowing it to seal more effectively. This mask accepts MC-7500 corrective lenses. The mask can be disassembled and cleaned.
23. Aqua A Dive Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $17
Aqua A mask has a single lens with side glass for panoramic views. This mask only comes in black but does offer an option for an anti-fog electroplated PC lens.
A snorkel is not included but there is an Aqua A dry snorkel to match this dive mask. This snorkel has both a dry valve and a purge valve. The mouthpiece is made with soft form-fitting silicone. The lower portion of the snorkel is corrugated which makes it flexible. This is a great snorkel for snorkeling but is a bit large for scuba diving.
This is a low-cost option for a great mask. Sometimes people will talk about how they bought their favorite dive mask for under $20. This is one of those hidden gems on the market. It is made with soft silicone rubber and has a good field of view.
24. US Divers Icon Mask and Snorkel
Estimated Price: $21-$35
The US Divers Icon Mask comes with a snorkel. Color options include black or blue. This is an adult mask and comes in one size that fits most people.
This is a classic mask that is low-cost and functional. It is not the best mask on the market but has been used by many people to enjoy snorkeling. I used US divers masks goring up and never had any issues. The snorkel is not a dry snorkel but does have a purge valve at the bottom.
25. G2 Full Face Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $43-$49
The Greatever full face snorkel mask comes in size small and large. Over 20 color options are available including, black, blue, pink, purple, and yellow. A camera mount is integrated into the mask frame. This is one of the most popular full-face masks on the market.
The high-quality silicone is used around the entire snorkel mask to achieve a leak-proof seal. Silicone is also used to seal the nose and mouth area from the lens area. This helps the mask not fog and helps prevent air recirculation issues. A proper fit of the mask is needed to ensure the mask seals properly.
The model has a new dry top system for the snorkel. This is done with a ball float that stops water from entering the top when the mask is fully immersed in the water. The ball gets pulled down by gravity which allows air into the snorkel. This mask allows for a 180-degree view while snorkeling.
26. RKD Full Face Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $38
The RKD full face snorkel mask comes in one universal size. Color options for the mask include black, blue, gray-green, and sky blue.
High-grade liquid silicone that is comfortable is used for skirts. The patented breathing system can reduce the build-up of CO2 and allow for fresh airflow. I always mention after statements like this that the mask does need to fit properly for these air chambers to work and seal properly.
The lens is impact-proof and scratch proof. Round lenses can cause distortion and the lens in this mask if pretty flat. A go-pro mount is integrated into the frame.
A silicon nose cover allows for the nose to be pinched to equalize the ears. This is similar to the Deep-Sea mask previously reviewed. The large air volume of the mask does not allow the pressure within the mask to be equalized. For this reason, it is only comfortable to dive about 5 feet deep. Traditional masks and snorkels are much better for freediving.
27. Full Face Kids Snorkel Mask
Estimated Price: $30
USnork full-face kids snorkel mask comes in size x-small, small-medium, and large extra large. Color options include blue-kids, pink-kids, white-blue, black-blue, black-green, carbon-black, and white-blue.
I would recommend not buying a full face mask for kids. If the mask does not fit right and the recirculating air is a major safety concern. That being said these masks can be fun for kids to use. When used the child should have 1-1 adult supervision.
I have seen mixed results for kids using full face masks. The biggest problem is the mask not fitting correctly causing it to leak. Other kids do not have problems with the mask. I would definitely test the fit and function in a pool before using it in the ocean.
When first breathing through a snorkel and getting a mouth full of water makes people not trust that the snorkel works. This is typically caused by wrong snorkel positioning. The snorkel is to be worn on the left side of the head. The snorkel is designed to work when looking out, not straight down at your feet. If looking straight down water can enter the snorkel.
Dry snorkels have a one-way valve that helps prevent water from entering the snorkel. This is not really needed but can be nice for people that do not know how to clear a snorkel. To clear a snorkel you need to have the snorkel end above water and blow out forcefully. The water within the snorkel tube will blow out the top. Some snorkels have a purge valve at the bottom to make this easier. In most cases, a basic snorkel works great.
Cressi Adult Dry Snorkel
Cressi adult dry snorkel is a great choice for beginners. The float mechanism helps prevent water from entering the snorkel when going under the water. This is a great snorkel for snorkeling but is a bit large for scuba diving. A purge valve at the bottom helps to remove any small amount of water that is trapped in the bottom of the snorkel. Blowing out forcefully is needed for the purge valve to work.
Cressi Corsica Freediving Snorkel
Cressi Corsica freediving snorkel. This lightweight compact snorkel is great for snorkelers and scuba divers. This is my preferred snorkel. I like a basic small snorkel. I personally do not worry about having a dry snorkel. Clearing a snorkel is easy with a little practice. Also with dry snorkels sometimes the one-way valve closes depending on head position. A basic snorkel is super reliable and easy to use with practice. Also, the low profile is great for scuba diving because it stays out of the way and is great to have for surface swimming. On most scuba dives snorkels are not used but are still nice to have.
In the picture, I am snorkeling in the Florida Keys with a basic freediving snorkel. The mask is a single lens mask with a black silicone skirt.
Best Snorkeling Fins
When using fins the basic strategy is to keep your legs straight and scissor kick up and down. Kicking in a circular motion like riding a bike is not an effective way to kick. The fins should remain in the water and not slap the surface which simply scares fish away. The three common fin options are an adjustable strap with an open heel, full foot fins and open heel fins with neoprene dive boots. For more specific applications there are freediving fins and split fins.
For basic snorkeling, I would recommend adjustable strap open heel fins. They work for a variety of foot sizes which can be nice in case someone else needs to borrow them. Also, the tightness of open heel fins can be adjusted. If you are snorkeling all the time getting a properly sized full foot fin is the most comfortable. For scuba diving, a fin with boots provides the most secure connection which can be helpful when diving in strong currents. Split fins are good for a medium amount of propulsion without as much resistance when kicking.
Cressi Adjustable Strap Open Heel Snorkel Fins
Cressi adjustable strap fins with open heels are a great fin for basic snorkeling. These are what are typically used as rental fins on dive boats. They are durable and fit most people comfortably without trying on full foot fins to find the exact right size. I have used these exact fins for both diving and snorkeling and they work great.
Cressi CLIO Full Foot Snorkeling Fins
Cressi CLIO full foot fins are comfortable quality fins. A full foot fin is a way to go if you can find ones that fit just right. If they are too big or too small they can be uncomfortable to wear. If you are diving in cold water it is important to get fins that have booties for added warmth. Booties can be more comfortable but fins with booties are typically very large and are not great for snorkeling.
Mask and Snorkel Gear
Mask Defog Solution
Johnson’s baby shampoo works great as a mask defog solution. Keeping the mask fog-free is essential to seeing lots of fish. Even on days with great visibility if your mask is foggy the water will seem murky. This is an easy problem to fix with proper defog steps. When the water is colder than 70 degrees it is good to use sea drops, sea gold, or quick spit antifog drops.
First, if you have a brand new mask it is important to scrub the inside of the mask with toothpaste. This removes a think silicon layer that is on the lens due to the manufacturing process. If this layer is not removed the mask will fog even when defog is applied. Toothpaste that is paste must be used not toothpaste that is a gel.
Second, the defog solution must be applied to the inside of the mask every time the mask is used. Johnson’s baby shampoo works great as a defog solution. A light layer of soap should be applied by adding a small drop of soap and rubbing it around the lens of the mask. The soap can also be applied with a spray bottle with diluted soap. If there is a heavy layer of soap the mask can be rinsed quickly in fresh or saltwater. If all the soap is rinsed off the mask will fog. Over rinsing the mask is a common problem. Leaving a layer of soap on the mask lens is the way to go!
Snorkel vests or pool noodles serve two purposes when snorkeling. First is that it makes the snorkeler more visible so the passing boat traffic can see snorkelers in the water. It also helps dive boat staff keep count of the number of divers in the water. Second, air can be added to the vest to serve as a flotation device.
When the vest is filled with air it tends to float up around the neck and can be uncomfortable. If you really want extra flotation a pool noodle is a good flotation device for snorkeling. For people that dive down when snorkeling the noddle left at the surface might float away so a snorkel vest is the better option.
Related Article: 17 Best Inflatable Life Jackets
In the picture, my dad and brother are snorkeling. Notice they are wearing yellow snorkel vests.
Wetsuits for Snorkeling
If you are going to be snorkeling in water that is colder than 78 degrees I would definitely rent or buy a wetsuit. A shorty wetsuit is typically all that is needed and is much easier to get on and off. Wetsuits also provide sun protection and protection from jellyfish. If a wetsuit is not needed but you still want sun protection while diving a rash guard shirt is the way to go. If diving in a shorty wetsuit, do not forget to apply sunscreen to the back of your legs when snorkeling for an extended duration.
Dive Flag For Snorkeling
This dive flag is 20 X 24 inches and comes with a removable stiffening pole. When a dive flag presence is raised on a boat other boats should not be within 300 feet unless traveling at an idle speed. Many boaters are not familiar with dive flags so away be on the lookout for boat traffic when snorkeling.
Air Horn for Snorkeling
The marine air horn comes in 3.5-ounce or 8-ounce sizes. This meets the United States Coast Guard standards for a noise-making device. If boats do not recognize that you have snorkelers in the water an air horn is a good way to get the other boat’s attention. Sometimes these do not work so it is a bad noise-making device in safety situations.
Whistle for Snorkeling
Having a second way to make noise is also a good idea. I have had an air horn not work when trying to alert another boat that divers were down. A Whistle is a full-proof way to make a loud noise that will get someone’s attention. Do not overuse a whistle though because it can be really annoying.
Tag Line Buoy for Dive Boat
It is important to run a tag line from the back of the boat. This consists of a long rope attached to a floating buoy. The rope should be about 100 feet long. If there is strong current snorkelers should swim in front of the boat and never get behind the tag line buoy. When coming back to the boat the snorkelers can hold onto the tag line rather than the ladder when taking off fins. This is much safer as the ladder can rock and smash into the divers.
Dramamine for Snorkeling
When you have a large group of snorkelers and divers one thing for certain is that someone is going to get seasick. This can be a miserable experience. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do. Get a good night’s sleep the night before and eat healthy the night before and the morning of the trip is a good practice before a boating trip.
When taking Dramamine it is important to take it more than one hour before getting on the boat. Taking Dramamine the night before is best. Once you are seasick staying in the water is typically better than being on the boat. However, if you are to sick it is not safe to be in the water. Sipping a small amount of ginger ale can help. Also nibbling on a ginger snap can help. What helps the most though is throwing up. Just make sure you are throwing up over the side of the boat. Do not go in the bathroom as this will make you way sicker.
Jellyfish Sting Neutralizer for Snorkeling
For jellyfish stings, the most common treatment is to apply vinegar. Do not touch or rinse the sting with fresh water. Also, do not apply hot or cold water. Remove tentacles that may be present with tweezers and then rinse the area with vinegar.
PLB or Submersible Radio for Snorkeling
If snorkeling or diving in areas with strong current it is possible to be swept away from the boat. If you are snorkeling in a private boat and no one remains onboard the anchor or mooring line could come loose separating the divers from the boat. In these situations, a radio or PLB is the only sure way you have to contact help. These devices are small and can be worn on a belt or attached to a snorkel vest while in the water. See the PLB page for more information about the best rescue signaling devices including submersible dive containers.
Related Article: 21 Best Personal Locator Beacons PLBs
Here is a video where I was scuba diving with sea turtles. These turtles are often seen when snorkeling as well.
Frequently asked Questions
How dangerous is Snorkeling?
Most people are a bit nervous when going a few miles offshore in the ocean and are then told to jump in! People are typically worried about sharks! Then jellyfish and then waves and drowning. In reality, these fears are of very little danger to snorkelers. The actual common ways people can get hurt are falling or slipping on the boat, hitting the boat or swim ladder when entering the water or holding onto the swim ladder as the boat rocks in large waves.
Other dangers include strong currents sweeping divers away from the boat and people getting too far from the boat. Boat traffic can be a concern if drivers are not paying attention and snorkeler are too far away from the dive boat. If diving with a professional dive shop all these factors are typically taken into account and snorkeling is a very safe activity. However, safety should not be taken for granted or overlooked.
Why does my mask leak?
The most obvious reason a mask leak is because of hair around the seal. A second reason masks leak is because of a broken seal. The third and most common reason for small amounts for water to be entering the mask is wearing the back head strap to low, near the neck. Head straps should be on the back of the dead but near the top of the head. Also, note that masks do not need to be super tight. Masks that are too tight are not comfortable to wear for extended periods and can cause mask leaks.
Why does my mask fog?
All snorkeling masks can fog. When masks a manufactured they a thin film on both sides of the lenses. To remove this buy toothpaste and rub the paste on the inside of the mask lens. Do this several times and then rinse the mask. If the film is not removed with toothpaste the mask will fog much more easily. You can not use gel toothpaste it has to be paste.
Before entering the water it is a good idea to apply a defog solution to the mask lens. The best way to do this is to rub in a drop of Johnson’s baby shampoo to the inside lens of the mask. If it is thick just give the mask a quick rinse with fresh water. If you are already snorkeling and the mask fogs the easiest way to defog it is to add a small amount of water into the bottom of the mask a swish it around the lenses. By pressing the top of the mask and blowing out your nose the water in the mask will clear. If you do not know how to do this just take the mask off and dunk it in the water. You will have to do this every few minutes though. Applying more defog solution is the better option.
Are full-face masks better?
Full face masks have become very popular but most experienced snorkelers prefer conventional snorkel masks. The advantages of the full face mask include breathing from mouth and nose, a wide view, and defog solution is not always needed.
The disadvantages are the large seals make the proper size mask more difficult to find. An improperly sized mask can cause water leaks and dangerous air circulation issues. Another disadvantage is that when diving under the water the large air volume within the mask can not be equalized. This makes it so comfortable diving can only be done to about 5 feet. With conventional masks, experienced freedivers can dive to over 100 feet in depth. Full face masks are also more difficult to remove in an emergency. It is not a good idea for beginners to use a full face snorkel mask.
Are the full face snorkel masks dangerous?
Yes, full face snorkel masks can be dangerous. If proper safety precautions are taken they can also be used safely. The large air volume of the mask makes it so uncirculated air can build up with carbon dioxide and suffocate the snorkeler. Most full face mask designs have one-way vales so the air should not recirculate. However, if the inner seal is not fitter properly and leaks less fresh air will be brought into the mask creating a safety issue. Also, some full-face masks are not designed with proper one-way air valves. Read reviews carefully when buying full face masks and ensure the mask properly fits before using it.
How difficult is snorkeling?
Snorkeling should be an easy relaxing experience. It is required that you know how to swim in order to snorkel. The key to making snorkeling easy is to realize that most people float in the water. Humans float just enough for the snorkel to get air without having to swim or tread water. It is easier to float in saltwater than it is in freshwater. To make snorkeling easier a life jacket, snorkel vest, wetsuit or pool noodle can all be used for additional flotation. Snorkel fins also make swimming much easier.
The proper way to snorkel is to not use your hands. Place your hands behind your back and kick gently with your fins in the water. When snorkeling in the ocean the main thing to be careful of is a strong current. Always snorkel in front of the boat relative to the current. This way if the current increases in strength it will bring you back to the boat.
Related Article: 30 Best Life Jackets
What is a dry snorkel?
A dry snorkel has a ball or a one-way valve that does not allow water to enter the snorkel when diving underwater. This is a nice feature because it limits the amount of saltwater entering the mouth. A small about of water may get in but can be blown out of the bottom purge valve that most dry snorkels have. A dry snorkel is not a must-have item but does make snorkeling easier for many people. The disadvantages are that dry snorkels are typically larger and sometimes stop airflow based on the snorkel position.
Hopefully, this information allows you to select the best snorkel mask. If you have any questions leave them in the comment section below.
Captain Cody has worked on charter fishing boats in the Florida Keys, Virgin Islands, and Alaska. Growing up in Pennsylvania Cody has also done extensive freshwater fishing including bass fishing tournaments. Cody strives to provide detailed information about the best fishing gear and tactics to help both novice and experienced anglers have a more productive and enjoyable time on the water. Cody also has a background in aerospace engineering and neuroscience but really only takes pride in being good at one thing and that is fishing!