US Divers Beginners/Value Snorkeling Set

This snorkeling set is great value and perfect for the beginner or occasional snorkeler.  

It consists of a Cozumel Mask, Seabreeze Dry Snorkel and Proflex II fins. 

 

The features are:

 

Cozumel Mask: 2 Window mask with clear skirt.  The “One size fits all” design is made to fit most adult’s faces and kids aged 10+.

 

Seabreeze Dry Snorkel: PVC mouthpiece.  Ergonomic designed barrel for comfortable placement.  One way purge valve.  Splash resistant splash guard.

 

Proflex II fins: Long blade Full-foot fins.  Available in a range of sizes. 

 

  • Small: Men's 5 to 6.5 / Women's 6.5 to 8
  • Medium: Men's 6.5 to 8 / Women's 8 to 9.5
  • Medium/Large: Men's 8 to 9.5 / Women's 9.5 to 11
  • Large: Men's 9.5 to 11 / Women's 11 to 12.5
  • X-Large: Men's 11.5 to 13 / Women's 13 to 14.5

 

 


Snorkeling Vests

Snorkeling VestSnorkeling vests are great for people who are not strong swimmers and for children.  Snorkel vests are worn on the chest area to provide added buoyancy for the snorkeler.  They are not designed to be life preservers, but to provide just enough buoyancy to help the snorkeler stay at the water’s surface.   

A great advantage of wearing a snorkel vest is that less energy is required to move around in the water while wearing the vest. 

A disadvantage is that you cannot dive under the water while wearing a snorkeling vest, but that would not be a problem for most people.  Most people snorkeling would stay at the water's surface anyway and maybe start diving underwater once they are more experienced.

Many snorkeling tours require all people on the tour to wear a snorkeling vest.

Snorkeling vests are either filled with foam or are inflatable.  The inflatable vests are most common these days and normally have tube to blow air into, to inflate the vest.

Snorkel vests are often a bright color to provide better visibility of the snorkeler’s location.  Visibility can be very important especially if snorkeling near boats.

 


Snorkeling Masks

Snorkeling masks are one of the essential items required to go snorkeling.  The snorkeling mask would normally be the most expensive item of all the items included in a snorkeling set.  Therefore when purchasing a snorkeling set you should first look at the mask design and quality to see if this meets your needs and requirements.  You may then base your decision on which snorkeling set to purchase based mainly on the mask.  Note that snorkeling masks, like all snorkeling equipment, can also be purchased separately.  For example, many masks sold for scuba diving are also suitable for snorkeling.

 

Snorkeling Masks Components 

A snorkeling mask consists of the frame (or body), the skirt, the lenses (or lens) and the strap.

 Frame: The mask frame is normally made out of durable plastic.  It will be molded in a way to hold the lenses and will have buckles on the sides to hold the straps.  The frame and mask as a whole should be lightweight.  Any metal in the construction should be non-corrosive such as stainless steel, however most modern masks do not have any metal in their construction.  Basic masks normally have fixed buckles and more expensive masks often have swivel buckles that allow the mask to sit more naturally on your face when the straps are around your head.

 

Skirt: The mask skirt will normally be made out of a type of plastic (often PVC), rubber or silicon.  Plastic or rubber is very often used in cheaper masks and silicon is used in the more expensive masks.  Silicon skirts are better than plastic skirts because they:

  • are more elastic and therefore mould better to the face, thus providing an optimal fit,
  • feel more natural against the skin, and
  • are not as perishable as plastics.  Silicon skirts should last at least 10 years.

If you are a beginner or a very occasional snorkeler then a cheaper plastic skirt based snorkeling masks should still be fine for you.  Plastics used today are much better than they were, say 10 years ago.  If you intend on snorkeling more than a couple of times a year over the next few years then I would recommend getting a silicon based snorkeling mask.

Mask skirts are normally clear or black.  It is really personal preference on what to get.  Clear skirts can allow more visibility but can also allow more glare.  For that reason black mask skirts are preferred by underwater photographers.    

 

 Strap: The mask strap is normally made of the same material as the mask skirt.  When fitted the strap sits just above ears and goes around the back your head holding the mask on.  The strap’s length can be adjusted at the point at which they go through the buckles on the snorkeling mask frame.  Having the straps really tight does not always ensure the snuggest fit.  Sometimes the best fit can be made by loosening the straps a little.

 

Lens or Lenses: Snorkeling masks can have between one to four lenses.  One and two lens models are the most common.  Four lens models have side windows that allow more peripheral visibility.  This, however, increases the internal volume and total mask size.  Should it leak, it will require more effort to dispel the water.

Lenses are normally made of tempered glass and will often have “Tempered” printed on the lens.  Plastic lenses are not as common as they used to be.  They are not as strong as tempered glass and are very easily scratched.  Plastic lenses should be avoided except in perhaps the most basic toddlers’ snorkeling set.  

 

  Purge Valves: Some snorkeling masks contain purge valves.  Purge valves allow you to expel any water that has entered the mask by gently blowing out of your nose.  Personally I find it easy enough to just pop my head up out of the water and manually remove any water from my mask.  

   


Snorkels

The snorkel is the other essential item along with the snorkeling mask that is required to go snorkeling.  A snorkel allows you to breathe air while your face is submerged when swimming at the water’s surface.  The snorkel’s main component is a hollow plastic or rubber tube 12 to 18 inches long.  Most snorkel tubes are bent into a shape that will sit close to your head to reduce drag and are also designed so that top of the snorkel will sit nicely out of the water. 

All snorkels have an attachment at the bottom of the snorkel called a mouthpiece.  The mouthpiece fits into the mouth with a flange that sits behind the lips providing a water proof seal.  It is held in place by the wearer gently biting down on a part of the mouthpiece that sits between the teeth.  The mouthpiece should feel comfortable in the mouth otherwise you may get sore lips or a sore mouth while using it.  To help accommodate a more comfortable fit many snorkels now have a flexible or adjustable section just above the mouthpiece that allows it to sit in a more natural position in the wearer’s mouth.  Silicon based mouthpieces found in better quality snorkeling sets are generally more comfortable than plastic or rubber mouthpieces.

 

The snorkel will also have some sort of an attachment that will connect it to the snorkeling masks strap.  To prepare the snorkel just before snorkeling you would normally connect the snorkel to the mask strap, put on the mask, put the snorkel mouthpiece in your mouth and adjust so that it sits comfortably and then adjust the snorkel position on the snorkeling mask strap so that it sits in a position where the top of the snorkel will sit out of the water when your face is submerged.  I judge the correct position by raising my hand above my head and feeling where the top of the snorkel is relative to my head.  Snorkeling beginners may want to ask another person to have a look at the positioning to see if they think it is correct.  As soon as you are in the water you should carefully check the position is correct by slowly putting your face under the water and feeling where the top of the snorkel is relative to the water with one hand.  You can then make minor adjustments as necessary.

 

Modern Snorkel Components

 The classic snorkel, that many people would remember, is a plain, slightly bent snorkel tube with a mouthpiece at the bottom.  This simple design has now undergone some major design changes and the modern snorkel may have one or more of the following components:

Snorkel Sump.  A snorkel sump sits at the bottom of the snorkel.  If a small amount of water gets into the snorkel it should run down into the sump and not into the snorkeler’s mouth.  This allows the snorkel to contain some residual water.

Purge Valves.  A purge valve would normally sit at the bottom of a snorkels sump.  Purge valves will only let water out of the snorkel and not in.  So if the snorkel gets water into it the snorkeler just needs to give a short hard blow and the water should exit the snorkel through the purge valve.  This clears water much easier than the classic snorkel where the water had to be forced against gravity all the way up to and out of the top of the snorkel.

Dry Snorkels.  Dry snorkels have an attachment at the top of the snorkel that stops water getting in.  If the snorkeler dives underwater then the dry snorkel attachment will “close off” and keep the water out.  When the snorkeler breaks the water’s surface the dry snorkel will “open up” and let air into the snorkel again.  There may, however be a short delay from when the snorkeler breaks the water’s surface and when air is let into the snorkel again.

Semi-Dry Snorkels and Splash Guards.  Semi-dry snorkels or splash guards are attachments that sit at the top of the snorkel and are designed to reduce the amount of water that gets into a snorkel from splashing or waves.  If the snorkeler dives underwater the snorkel will still fill up with water.  However these may not be as restrictive to air when at the water’s surface as a dry snorkel, so the snorkeler may be able to breathe easier.

 

 

A dry, semi dry or snorkel with a splash guard may make clearing water out through the top of the snorkel much harder.  So when selecting a snorkel or a snorkeling set with a snorkel you should check to see that the snorkel either has a purge valve or is designed so that water can be expelled easily through any attachments at the top of the snorkel.  It is much easier to clear water from a snorkel with air from your mouth than having to take it out of your mouth with your hands and tip any water out.

Also, any attachments at the top of a snorkel may also restrict the amount of air that can be drawn in with each breath.  If you are a larger person who requires a lot of air in each breath, you should keep this in mind when selecting a snorkel. 

 


How to Stop Snorkeling Masks From Fogging Up

There are a number of ways to stop snorkeling masks from fogging up. This may include dishwashing liquid, toothpaste, commercial defogger products, spit and even just your fingers. To find out more read the Ezine article that I have written which can be found by clicking here

As Featured On EzineArticles


Adult Body Glove Silicone Pro Snorkeling Set.

Dry Snorkel, Silicone Mask, Adjustable Fins & Bag.

 

Mask: Illuminary 2 Lens. Comfortable Silicon Skirt for a good fit.  Fits Medium to Large Faces.  Impact resistant glass for safety.  The Unique frame is specifically designed to allow additional light through the sides to highten vision.  Oversize lenses dramatically increase field of view compared to traditional masks.  Swivel and adjustable silicone mask strap.  Ergonomic quick-adjusting buckles

Snorkel: Body Glove Siren DRY Snorkel.  Dry Snorkel When submerge.  Silicone purge for effortless clearing.  Silicone mouth piece for additional comfort.  

Fins: Body Glove Quest Fins Vents for ease of use.  Open-heel design.  Comfortable fit with either socks or barefoot.   Patented Buckle System make strapping your foot in fast, secure, and easy. 

High Quality Bag: Bodyglove Mesh Gear Bag.  Mesh Style Bag For Mask, Snorkel, & Fins.  Constructed with a heavy duty mesh.  Fabric draw string closure on top to secure your gear.  Zippered Key Pocket. 

PLEASE NOTE: This package is sold in the raw goods form and does not come packed in a box or plastic shell.


Snorkeling Fins

Snorkeling fins (UK spelling: Snorkelling Flippers) can be purchased separately but are often included in a snorkeling set.  Snorkeling fins allow you to move through the water easier and faster when snorkeling.  Fins are worn on the snorkeler’s feet and basically work by the wearer kicking their feet in the water. This kicking against the water displaces water whilst providing forward propulsion which moves the snorkeler forwards, just like how kicking when swimming helps you to swim faster.  As snorkeling fins have a much larger surface area than feet the fins provide more “push” against the water therefore providing more forward propulsion which allows you to move forward much further and faster with each kick.  When snorkeling while wearing fins, you should hardly need to use your arms at all and would normally keep your arms at you sides and use the fins for all of your forward propulsion.

A lot of scientific study has gone into different fin designs.  For example more efficiency can be made by different shapes, sizes, materials used, edging to reduce drag, single or split designs, how the fin bends in the water etc.  Different fin designs are better suited for different purposes such as snorkeling, diving, freediving, body boarding and swimming as each purpose has different requirements.

If you purchase a snorkeling set that includes snorkeling fins as part of the package then you can be sure that the fins are designed for snorkeling.  However most fins designed for other purposes would provide much better propulsion when snorkeling than bare feet so if you already have some fins for another purpose you may wish to save some money when purchasing a snorkeling set by buying a snorkeling set with just a snorkeling mask and snorkel and use your existing fins.

 

Snorkeling Fin Options

 There have been many advancements with snorkeling fin designs in recent years and some radical different ideas have been released.  However, in this article we will concentrate on the two most common snorkeling fin designs available, namely Full-Foot Fins and Open-Heel Fins. 

Full-Foot Fins are worn like a shoe.  There is a flexible molded pocket the shape of a foot on the fin that the wearer puts their bare foot into.  This covers the full foot including the heel.  As with shoes, it is important for your full-foot fins to fit comfortably, otherwise you may get chaffing or blisters.  If they are too big for your feet they may even fall off while snorkeling.

Full-foot fins offer protection to the wearer’s feet from coral and stones etc when they are worn, but are not suitable for walking far onshore. 

An advantage of full-foot fins over open-heel fins is that they often weigh less so they may be more suitable for travel.

Many manufacturers make their full-foot fins in standard men’s shoe sizes and recommend that women order one size smaller to get the best fit.

Open-Heel fins have a pocket that the wearer slips the front of their foot into, but the heel is left exposed.  An adjustable strap is then adjusted to fit around the heel to hold the fin in place on the wearer’s foot.  Some open-heel fins, especially those made for snorkeling, are designed to fit directly on bare feet, but most open-heel fins made for diving are designed for the wearer to wear neoprene booties on their feet and then slip on the fins.  They can be worn without booties but a smaller size may be required.

Some advantages of wearing booties are:

  • The booties have a rubber sole that allow the wearer to walk on rocky areas or coral with their feet protected (handy to get to difficult snorkeling spots),
  • The wearer’s feet are keep warm in cooler water, and
  • The fins may feel more comfortable on the feet due to the padding on the booties.
     

An advantage of Open-heel fins over Full-foot fins is that one size can fit a larger range of foot sizes. 

 

Split fins Vs Paddle fins  

A very common and popular modern fin design is split fins.  These differ from the standard paddle fins (also known as blade fins) in that they have a split (or gap) in the middle of the main fin section. Snorkeling Split fins  Both types of fins have their advantages and disadvantages (and fans and critic’s), but the general points of interest are:

  • Split fins are easier on the legs and ankles, so may be better for snorkelers who get tired legs or have an injury or problem with their legs or ankles.
  • Split fins are often great for speed.
  • Paddle fins can give better maneuverability and positioning, especially at slow speeds, for things like photography and moving through tight areas like shipwrecks.
  • A lot of divers find paddle fins more capable of better thrust when carrying a heavy load or when in a strong current.

For the average amateur snorkeler I do not think that it matters too much what design you have, however if you have leg or ankle problems then it would be a good idea to try split fins if possible.