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What To Wear When Snorkeling


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Arlyn Nation



Snorkeling is an exciting and adventurous activity that allows you to explore the underwater world and witness the beauty of marine life up close. Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or a beginner, having the right gear and clothing is essential to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.


In this article, we will guide you through the process of choosing the appropriate attire for snorkeling. From finding the perfect snorkeling mask to selecting the right fins, we’ll cover all the essential gear you need to make the most of your underwater adventure.


Not only does dressing appropriately for snorkeling enhance your comfort, but it also ensures your safety in the water. Wearing the right gear protects your skin from coral scratches, jellyfish stings, and sunburn. It also helps to maintain your body temperature, especially in colder waters.


So, let’s dive into the world of snorkeling attire and discover the best tips and tricks to dress properly for your next snorkeling expedition!


Finding the Right Snorkeling Gear

When it comes to snorkeling, having the right gear is crucial for a comfortable and successful experience. Let’s explore the essential snorkeling gear and learn how to choose the best options for you.


1. Snorkeling Mask: The snorkeling mask is perhaps the most important piece of equipment. It allows you to see clearly underwater while keeping your nose and eyes protected. Look for a mask with a comfortable silicone skirt that creates a watertight seal around your face. Ensure that it fits snugly without causing any discomfort or pressure points.


2. Snorkel: The snorkel is a tube that allows you to breathe while keeping your face submerged in the water. Choose a snorkel with a comfortable mouthpiece that fits securely in your mouth. Look for features such as a purge valve, which helps to clear water if it enters the snorkel, and a splash guard to prevent water from entering when waves splash over.


3. Snorkeling Fins: Fins provide propulsion and help you move through the water more efficiently. They also protect your feet from sharp objects and enhance your maneuverability. Select fins that fit securely and comfortably and are designed specifically for snorkeling. Adjustable straps are a great feature as they allow for a custom fit.


4. Snorkeling Wetsuit or Rash Guard: Depending on the water temperature and personal preference, you may want to wear a snorkeling wetsuit or a rash guard. A wetsuit provides thermal insulation and protects against abrasions, while a rash guard offers protection from the sun and marine life. Choose the appropriate thickness and style based on the conditions you will be snorkeling in.


5. Accessories: Consider additional accessories that can enhance your snorkeling experience. These may include a snorkeling vest for added buoyancy, an underwater camera to capture memorable moments, or anti-fog solution for your mask to ensure clear vision.


By investing in high-quality snorkeling gear that fits properly, you can ensure comfort, safety, and optimal performance in the water. Allow yourself the freedom to explore the underwater world with confidence and ease!


Choosing the Right Snorkeling Mask

The snorkeling mask is one of the most essential pieces of gear for any snorkeler. It allows you to see clearly underwater and protects your eyes and nose. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing the right snorkeling mask:


1. Fit: The fit of the mask is crucial for comfort and effectiveness. Look for a mask with a soft silicone skirt that provides a snug and watertight seal around your face. It should fit securely without causing any discomfort or pressure points. Try different masks and sizes to find the one that fits you best.


2. Size and Shape: Masks come in different sizes and shapes to accommodate various face shapes and sizes. Some masks are suitable for narrow faces, while others are designed for wider faces. Choose a mask that matches your facial structure to ensure a proper fit and a clear field of vision.


3. Lens Material: Consider the lens material of the mask. Most masks come with tempered glass lenses, which are more durable and resistant to scratches compared to plastic lenses. Tempered glass also provides better clarity and less distortion underwater.


4. Field of Vision: Opt for a mask with a wide field of vision to enjoy maximum visibility underwater. Look for masks with large, curved lenses that provide a panoramic view. This will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the underwater world.


5. Anti-Fogging: Fogging can obstruct your vision and make snorkeling frustrating. Choose a mask with an anti-fog coating on the lenses or consider using an anti-fog solution. This will help keep your mask clear and prevent fogging during your snorkeling adventures.


6. Strap System: The strap system should be easy to adjust and secure. Look for masks with adjustable straps that can be easily tightened or loosened to achieve a comfortable fit. Some masks also have split straps that distribute pressure evenly for added comfort.


7. Additional Features: Some masks come with extra features such as a purge valve, which allows you to easily clear any water that enters the mask, or a dry-top snorkel attachment that prevents water from entering the snorkel tube. Consider these features based on your personal preferences and snorkeling needs.


Remember to test the fit of the mask before heading into the water. Gently place the mask on your face without using the strap, inhale through your nose, and see if the mask creates a vacuum-like seal. If it stays in place without any air leakage, it’s a good fit for you.


Choosing the right snorkeling mask is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable snorkeling experience. A well-fitting mask will provide clear vision, prevent leaks, and allow you to fully submerge yourself in the underwater wonders.


Selecting the Right Snorkel

The snorkel is an essential component of your snorkeling gear, allowing you to breathe while keeping your face submerged in the water. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting the right snorkel for your snorkeling adventures:


1. Comfort: Look for a snorkel with a comfortable mouthpiece that fits securely in your mouth. It should be made from soft and hypoallergenic materials to prevent any irritation or discomfort during extended use. Pay attention to the size and shape of the mouthpiece to ensure a proper fit for your mouth.


2. Purge Valve: Consider a snorkel with a purge valve feature. This valve helps you easily clear any water that enters the snorkel, allowing for a more enjoyable and hassle-free snorkeling experience. With a simple exhale, the purge valve expels water, ensuring that you can continue breathing freely.


3. Splash Guard: A splash guard is a useful feature that prevents water from entering the snorkel when waves splash over. It helps keep the snorkel tube dry and reduces the risk of inhaling water. Look for a snorkel with a durable and efficient splash guard to enhance your comfort and safety.


4. Dry-Top Snorkel: If you plan to do surface dives or encounter choppy water conditions, a dry-top snorkel can be beneficial. This type of snorkel has a mechanism that automatically closes the top of the snorkel when it is submerged, preventing water from entering the tube. It provides extra reassurance and ensures that your breathing is not interrupted by water entering the snorkel.


5. Flexibility: Consider the flexibility of the snorkel tube. A flexible snorkel allows for easy positioning and provides better comfort during use. It should have enough flexibility to mold to the contour of your body, making it more comfortable and reducing strain on your jaw and neck muscles.


6. Compatibility: Ensure that the snorkel is compatible with your snorkeling mask. Some masks and snorkels are designed to be used together, improving the fit and reducing leaking. Check for compatibility or consider purchasing a snorkel set that includes both the mask and snorkel to ensure they work well together.


7. Size and Length: Consider the size and length of the snorkel. A shorter snorkel is easier to clear and is generally more compact for travel. However, a longer snorkel provides better air intake and reduces the chances of water entering if there are waves or splashes. Choose a length that suits your snorkeling style and preferences.


Remember to test the snorkel before heading out to ensure a proper fit and functionality. Inhale through the mouthpiece to check for any air leaks, and simulate snorkeling movements to see if it stays in place securely.


By considering these factors, you can select the right snorkel that fits comfortably, provides ease of breathing, and enhances your snorkeling experience. Enjoy exploring the underwater world with confidence and freedom!


Picking the Right Snorkeling Fins

Snorkeling fins, also known as flippers, are an essential piece of equipment that helps you move through the water efficiently and comfortably. They provide propulsion, increase your maneuverability, and protect your feet. Here are some key factors to consider when picking the right snorkeling fins:


1. Fit: The fit of the snorkeling fins is crucial for comfort and performance. They should fit snugly but not be too tight or too loose. Look for fins with adjustable straps that allow you to customize the fit according to your foot size. Ensure that they do not cause any discomfort or chafing, especially during long snorkeling sessions.


2. Size: Snorkeling fins come in different sizes, so it’s important to choose a size that matches your foot size. Following the size guidelines provided by the manufacturer is a good starting point. Try on different sizes and walk around to ensure a proper fit. The fins should extend past your toes, but not too far to cause discomfort or impede movement.


3. Blade Design: Consider the blade design of the fins. They can vary in stiffness and shape. Flexible blades provide a more comfortable kick and are suitable for beginners or casual snorkelers. On the other hand, stiff blades offer more power and efficiency, making them ideal for experienced snorkelers or those with strong leg muscles. Choose a blade design that matches your snorkeling style and experience level.


4. Open-Heel vs. Full-Foot: There are two main types of snorkeling fins: open-heel and full-foot. Open-heel fins have an adjustable strap system and are worn with booties or neoprene socks. They offer a more customizable fit and are suitable for colder water or if you prefer more flexibility in foot protection. Full-foot fins are worn directly on bare feet or with thin socks and are more compact and lightweight, making them a popular choice for tropical snorkeling.


5. Material: Consider the material of the snorkeling fins. They are typically made from rubber or various types of synthetic materials. Rubber fins are durable, provide good propulsion, and are more affordable. Synthetic fins, such as those made from composite materials, are lighter and may offer more flexibility. Choose a material that suits your needs and budget.


6. Travel-Friendly: If you plan to travel with your snorkeling fins, consider their size and weight. Look for fins that are compact and lightweight, making them easy to pack in your suitcase or travel bag. Some fins even have a detachable blade feature, allowing them to be disassembled for even more convenient travel.


7. Try Before You Buy: It’s crucial to try on the snorkeling fins before purchasing them. Visit a local dive shop or rental center where you can try different fins and walk around in them. This way, you can get a feel for their fit, comfort, and performance before making a decision.


Choosing the right snorkeling fins can significantly enhance your snorkeling experience by providing efficient propulsion and maneuverability in the water. By considering these factors, you can find the perfect fins that fit well and match your snorkeling style and preferences. Enjoy gliding through the underwater world with ease and comfort!


Deciding on a Snorkeling Wetsuit or Rash Guard

When it comes to dressing appropriately for snorkeling, the choice between a snorkeling wetsuit and a rash guard depends on several factors, such as water temperature, personal preference, and the level of protection you need. Let’s explore the benefits and considerations for both options:


Snorkeling Wetsuit:


A snorkeling wetsuit is a full-body suit made of neoprene, a synthetic rubber material. It provides thermal insulation, protects against cuts and scrapes, and adds buoyancy in the water. Here are some key points to consider:


1. Thermal Protection: Snorkeling wetsuits come in different thicknesses, typically ranging from 1mm to 5mm. Thicker suits offer more insulation and are suitable for colder water temperatures. If you plan to snorkel in colder waters or during cooler seasons, a wetsuit will help keep your body warm, allowing you to stay in the water for longer periods without getting uncomfortably cold.


2. Protection from Marine Life: In addition to thermal insulation, a snorkeling wetsuit provides a layer of physical protection against scratches, stings, and abrasions from coral, rocks, or marine life. This is especially important when snorkeling in areas with sharp or potentially harmful marine creatures.


3. Buoyancy: The neoprene material of a wetsuit adds buoyancy, making it easier to float on the water’s surface. This can be particularly helpful for less confident swimmers or for those who want to conserve energy while snorkeling. However, keep in mind that too much buoyancy may affect your ability to dive and explore deeper depths.


Rash Guard:


A rash guard is a lightweight, quick-drying top that offers protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays and minor abrasions. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:


1. UV Protection: Rash guards are designed to provide protection against the sun’s UV rays. They typically have a UPF rating, indicating the level of protection they offer. For snorkeling in tropical or sunny locations, a rash guard is a great choice to minimize sunburn and reduce the need for constant sunscreen application.


2. Comfort and Flexibility: Rash guards are made from stretchy and breathable materials that offer a comfortable and snug fit. They allow for easy movement in the water, making them a popular choice for those who prefer a more lightweight and flexible option.


3. Minimal Protection: While a rash guard offers some protection against minor cuts and scrapes, it does not provide the same level of physical protection as a wetsuit. If you plan to snorkel in areas with sharp rocks or encounter potentially abrasive marine life, consider the level of protection you need before opting for a rash guard.


Ultimately, the choice between a snorkeling wetsuit and a rash guard depends on the water temperature, the level of protection desired, and personal preference. If you’ll be snorkeling in colder waters or want added protection, a wetsuit is the way to go. If you’ll be snorkeling in warm water and want sun protection with greater flexibility, a rash guard is a suitable option. Consider the conditions you’ll be snorkeling in and choose accordingly to ensure both comfort and safety during your underwater adventures.


Accessories for Snorkeling

In addition to the essential snorkeling gear, there are several accessories that can enhance your overall snorkeling experience. These accessories can provide additional comfort, convenience, and opportunities for capturing unforgettable moments underwater. Here are some popular accessories to consider:


1. Snorkeling Vest: A snorkeling vest is an inflatable device that provides extra buoyancy and enhances safety in the water. It can be especially useful for less confident swimmers, allowing them to float effortlessly and conserve energy while snorkeling. Snorkeling vests are adjustable and lightweight, making them easy to pack and use during your water adventures.


2. Underwater Camera: Capture the magical moments of your snorkeling excursions with an underwater camera. From compact point-and-shoot cameras to more advanced DSLR models, there are various options available to suit different budgets and photography skills. Ensure that the camera you choose is specifically designed for underwater use and has adequate waterproofing to protect it from moisture.


3. GoPro or Action Camera Mounts: Mounting a GoPro or action camera on your snorkeling mask or wrist can provide a unique perspective and allow you to record your snorkeling adventures hands-free. Make sure to choose a secure and adjustable mount compatible with your specific camera model.


4. Waterproof Phone Case: If you prefer using your smartphone to capture photos and videos, a waterproof phone case is a great accessory to have. It provides protection against water damage and allows you to safely use your phone in the water. Look for cases that are rated for the depth you plan to snorkel in and have easy-to-use touch-sensitive screens.


5. Mesh Gear Bag: A mesh gear bag is a convenient accessory for storing and transporting your snorkeling gear. It is lightweight, quick-drying, and allows air circulation to prevent any unpleasant odors. Look for a mesh bag with adjustable straps and multiple compartments to keep your gear organized and easy to access.


6. Anti-Fog Solution: Prevent your mask from fogging up and obstructing your vision with an anti-fog solution. Applying a small amount of anti-fog solution to the inside of your mask before each snorkeling session helps to create a clear and fog-free view. Choose a solution specifically designed for snorkeling or diving masks for optimal effectiveness.


7. Snorkeling Socks or Booties: If you opt for open-heel fins, consider wearing snorkeling socks or booties for added comfort and protection. These neoprene socks provide cushioning, prevent chafing, and keep your feet warm in colder waters. They also help to create a better seal between your feet and the fins, enhancing performance and reducing the risk of blisters.


These accessories can enhance your snorkeling experience, allowing you to capture memories, protect your gear, and stay comfortable in the water. Choose the accessories that align with your preferences and needs to make the most of your underwater adventures.


Tips for Dressing Appropriately When Snorkeling

Proper attire is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable snorkeling experience. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you dress appropriately when getting ready for your snorkeling adventure:


1. Choose the Right Swimwear: Opt for a swimsuit that allows freedom of movement and is comfortable to wear for extended periods. Avoid loose-fitting swimwear as it may create drag in the water and impede your movements. For women, a one-piece or bikini is suitable, while men can choose swim trunks or board shorts.


2. Apply Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying a waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF rating. Pay attention to areas that are easily overlooked, such as the back of your neck, tops of your feet, and ears. Reapply sunscreen regularly, especially if you’re in the water for an extended period.


3. Use Snorkeling Gear Correctly: Ensure that you wear your snorkeling mask, snorkel, and fins correctly. The mask should fit snugly and create a watertight seal, the snorkel mouthpiece should be comfortable and secure, and the fins should be worn with the adjustable straps snugly but not too tight. Properly fitting gear ensures comfort and optimal performance.


4. Consider Water Temperature: Take into account the water temperature when deciding on your attire. In colder waters, wearing a wetsuit can provide thermal insulation, whereas in warmer waters, a lightweight rash guard may suffice. Dressing appropriately for the water temperature helps regulate your body temperature and prevents discomfort.


5. Protect Against Sunburn: In addition to sunscreen, wear a rash guard with a high UPF rating or a wetsuit that covers your arms and legs to protect against sunburn. Even if you’re snorkeling in tropical waters, exposure to the sun can still result in sunburn, so it’s essential to take adequate measures to protect your skin.


6. Secure Your Hair: If you have long hair, consider tying it up or wearing a swim cap to prevent it from obstructing your vision or getting tangled in your snorkeling gear. Keeping your hair secured also helps reduce drag in the water and keeps you more streamlined.


7. Check for Comfort and Fit: Before heading into the water, ensure that your attire and gear are comfortable and properly fitted. Take the time to adjust straps, test the fit of your mask and snorkel, and make any necessary adjustments. Uncomfortable or ill-fitting gear can distract from your snorkeling experience.


8. Bring a Towel and Spare Clothes: After snorkeling, having a towel and a change of dry clothes is essential for staying warm and comfortable. Dry off thoroughly and change into dry clothes to avoid catching a chill.


By following these tips and dressing appropriately for your snorkeling adventure, you can ensure comfort, protection, and a fantastic experience exploring the underwater world. Enjoy your snorkeling adventure to the fullest!



Dressing appropriately for snorkeling is essential to ensure comfort, safety, and an enjoyable experience exploring the underwater world. From choosing the right snorkeling gear to considering the water temperature and protecting yourself from the sun, each aspect plays a crucial role in enhancing your snorkeling adventure.


By selecting a well-fitting snorkeling mask, you can ensure clear vision and a watertight seal. The right snorkel allows for easy breathing and helps keep water out, while snorkeling fins provide propulsion and maneuverability in the water. Depending on the water temperature, a snorkeling wetsuit or a rash guard offers thermal protection and adds an extra layer of comfort and safety.


Additionally, accessories such as a snorkeling vest, underwater camera, or waterproof phone case can elevate your snorkeling experience, capturing memories and providing convenience and protection for your gear. Following tips for proper dressing, such as wearing sunscreen, securing hair, and checking for comfort and fit, further contribute to a comfortable and safe snorkeling experience.


Remember, dressing appropriately for snorkeling not only enhances your comfort but also ensures your safety and allows you to fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the underwater world. As you embark on your snorkeling adventures, keep these tips and recommendations in mind, and enjoy exploring the amazing sights that await you beneath the surface of the water.