Snorkeling is currently on the rise and may soon become one of the most popular swimming activities in the world. The growing trend is due to several factors, the most prevalent being the numerous astounding photographs posted by people snorkeling in reefs, of various social media channels.
Social platforms have done a great job to start the trend, however, what sustains it is the fact that this activity enables people to get extremely close to marine life. Those lucky enough to go snorkeling on a reef will be able to literally swim among banks of fish and around beautiful corrals.
The joy of snorkeling
Snorkeling has been around for a while but is currently growing in popularity at an astounding rate. This activity is, for all intents and purposes, swimming. However, it does require different equipment and can provide a vastly different experience.
Those who are interested in snorkeling will, first of all, need to find an appropriate place. Snorkeling is usually done near coral reefs, or in shallow waters where fish are usually present. This allows the swimmer to get up close and personal with marine life. Most beach resorts and islands will have snorkeling areas nearby. You should also be able to find instructors without much difficulty.
The second requirement is equipment. Snorkeling is done using a snorkel, a snorkeling mask, and swimming fins. These can either come in sets or be bought individually and are often also rented out by snorkeling instructors. If you’re a beginner and don’t know what equipment to get, you usually can’t go wrong with something like the Cressi Panoramic Wide View Mask Dry Snorkel Set.
Lastly, you may want to bring a camera with you. Snorkeling in a reef is an incredible experience and it deserves to be immortalized. While this is not a requirement, it is usually a good idea.
As a final piece of advice, always consider buying your own equipment rather than renting it. It’s not only cheaper in the long run, but it is also much safer and sanitary. While the ones who rent out equipment carefully clean it when they get it back, it’s better to constantly be aware of where the equipment is and who uses it.
Great Snorkeling Sites Need Great Equipment
There are a lot of companies that produce and sell snorkeling equipment, and this may make finding some that is suited for you more difficult. When you’re looking to get equipment for a snorkeling session, you will find that there are two options:
- Buy the equipment pieces individually – This course of action will allow you to buy the things that you need over time, however, there are a few disadvantages, such as the lack of consistency in terms of quality;
- Buy a set – It is usually better to get a set. While the entire package will cost more than what you would pay for a single piece of equipment, the total cost will be lower than if you bought each of the pieces that you need;
Beginners should always look to buy a set. There are many companies that sell snorkeling equipment and having to buy each piece individually can be complicated. Getting a set like the Cressi Palau Panoramic Snorkel set will ensure that you get everything that you need at once, so you won’t have to worry about forgetting to buy something.
Furthermore, various companies produce items of different quality, and buying a set basically means that you will get consistent quality throughout all the equipment pieces that you get. This having been said, if you decide to buy a set, you will have to choose one of two very different types of products.
First of all, there are sets that come with a partial swimming mask. These basically consist of two lenses that cover the eyes and a flexible face shield that covers your nose. These are great if you want to go under the water for short periods of time and take the snorkel’s mouthpiece off when you surface. These are durable, however, they are more barebones in terms of features, when compared to full-face masks.
The second type of set comes with a full-face mask. These come with a mask, snorkel, and fins, just like the first type, however, these have a different design. For example, the full-face mask covers the whole face and has a bracket that allows the wearer to attach a snorkel directly to its top part. There is no traditional mouthpiece and the swimmer is able to breathe both through his mouth and nose.
It is important to keep in mind that only full-face masks come with attachment brackets for recording devices and cameras like a GoPro. So, if you’ve got a camera and want to use it when snorkeling, look for a set with a full-face mask that is compatible with your device.
All equipment has pros and cons
You have to understand that it is virtually impossible to find equipment that has no disadvantage. Full-face masks offer great viewing angles, however, they can be less comfortable if you want to swim to the surface often and take it off. Furthermore, it can be difficult to find full-face masks for children, in sets or as individual equipment.
Partial swimming masks also come with advantages and disadvantages. For example, they can be taken off with greater ease, are lighter, and allow you to only take the mouthpiece off when you surface. This having been said, they do not allow the wearer to breathe through his nose and do not have attachment brackets for cameras.
Buying Proper Snorkeling Equipment
Always keep in mind that buying low-quality snorkeling equipment can put you in danger. Sets or individual equipment pieces that are made from fragile, low-quality materials can break while you’re in the water. While this may not be as dangerous in the case of a partial swimming mask if one of your fins breaks it can make it difficult to surface, especially if you’re not very experienced.
Another danger is that of allergies. Around 6% of the global population is allergic to natural rubber and latex. Allergic reactions can go from a simple rash to the inability to breathe. While this is dangerous both on land and at sea, an allergic reaction while you’re far from shore, swimming, can be life-threatening.
This having been said, it is important to always pay attention to the equipment that you’re buying. Snorkeling is not a dangerous activity, however, using improper equipment, or one that doesn’t fit well can certainly raise the stakes.
As a rule of thumb, always make an informed decision when buying a set. If you’re interested in learning more about a high-quality set, look at a Cressi panoramic Wide View Mask Dry Snorkel Set Review, or a review for any set that you’re interested, for that matter. Always make informed decisions when buying swimming equipment.
Taking care of your equipment
Even if you buy quality equipment, you should never simply though it in its bag when you’re done and wait until you need it again. Bacteria can grow on the various surfaces of a snorkel or a mask, and this can cause serious irritation of the skin.
Remember to always thoroughly clean all your snorkeling equipment when you get out of the water and to never store it away while it is wet. Let it dry first, somewhere where the sun can’t reach it, and then put it in its bag.
Another mistake that a large number of people make is leaving their snorkeling equipment on the beach and in the sun to dry. Snorkeling equipment is made of plastic and silicone, and the plastic components are damaged by UV light. The more you leave the equipment in the sun, the more brittle it will become, raising the chance that it will break while you are swimming.
Choose Snorkeling equipment that suits your needs
Never try to simply get the best equipment that is available on the market, without considering what you will use it for or for how long. If you are a beginner, your best choice is to go for a snorkeling set and get everything that you need in one package. But even then, you will have to think about what kind of set suits you best. If you’ll go for one from Cressi, then you will still have to choose between a cressi panoramic wide view mask / cressi panoramic mask. Each of these models is great, but their features are quite different.
Also, when buying a snorkeling set for a child, pay close attention to the ages that it is made for. Some sets that are designed for children come with a specially designed silicone on the outer rim of the mask that enables it to make a perfect seal with smaller faces. And always make sure that every piece of equipment is well fitted on both yourself and on your children. It can be quite difficult to fit a swimming fin or a mask while in the water.
A high-quality All-round Set
Finding a good set that is safe, durable, and caters to the needs of casual snorkelers can sometimes be difficult, especially when considering that the amount of products that are commercially available is extremely confusing. And as with most types of products that come in various models, features differ from one set to another.
One set that has been getting a lot of attention lately, from both amateurs, as well as from experienced snorkelers, is the Panoramic Wide View one From Cressi. The reason behind its popularity is the fact that the set has several quality of life features that is equally useful for those who have never been snorkeling before, and also to individuals who do this activity on a regular basis. This having been said, let’s take a look at what the set has to offer and see if it deserves its popularity.
- Panoramic View – The mask included in the set is designed so that it offers maximum visibility, enabling the wearer to see everything in from of him, in a great 180 degree angle;
- Double Edge Skirt – The mask features a double edge skirt that enables it to make a perfect seal with the wearer’s face;
- Quick-adjust Buckles – The straps of the mask can be adjusted in only a couple of seconds;
- Hypoallergenic – The set uses silicone instead of rubber, in order to protect the wearer of possible allergic reactions or rashes;
- Dry Snorkel – Cressi included a dry snorkel in the set that will essentially close if it detects water. This guarantees that the wearer will never have to deal with water going down the snorkel, impairing breathing;
- Great peripheral view – The viewing angles that the mask’s design offer are great. This makes the set perfect for everyone who wants to see as much as possible at any given moment, which is especially important when swimming through a coral reef;
- Double skirt on the mask – While the set is not designed for children, the double skirt of the mask makes it possible for children of 11 and over to wear it safely. This may not fit any 11 year old, however, it will fit most;
- Fast adjustment of straps – The buckles of the mask make it easy to make adjustments even while swimming;
There isn’t much to say about the cons of this buying and using this set. While the mask does have a double skirt, it will not fit anyone. The mask will create a perfect seal with the faces of children of 11 and older, but younger ones will not be able to wear it safely. This having been said, the set is not intended for child use, so there is no clear disadvantage to any of the equipment contained within.
The Cressi Panoramic Set actually seems to deserve its popularity. The dry snorkel is great when swimming through waves, and the design of the mask ensures that the wearer will not miss anything during his snorkeling session. It is a high-quality set made from hypoallergenic, durable materials that can last for several years if properly maintained, and that caters to the needs of both amateurs and more experiences individuals.
Featured Image Credit: Carolina Garcia