If you are new to snorkeling or if you have done it for many years, you might agree that the mask is an important part of the snorkeling gear and a good snorkeling experience. Of course, a good snorkel, comfortable fins and maybe a wetsuit will all enhance your snorkeling too.
The best gear is not always the expensive gear, knowing what you need to snorkel comfortably may help you to find the best one to purchase. Doing some research about snorkeling gear and different types of equipment, along with what each can do, will help you to choose the best equipment for you.
How Do I Decide What The Best Gear Is For Me?
Listing the gear in order of importance is a good start to finding the best gear. Number one, most will agree, is the level of comfort you have with each piece of gear. It does not have to be expensive, just comfortable. Your research, past experience snorkeling if any, and even trying on the equipment will help you narrow down the best comfort level for you.
In your online research for masks, you will see that many find masks made from 100% silicone and even in the mouthpiece of some snorkels is comfier than the harder plastic or PVC. After the comfortable gear is found, the fit or getting the right size will go along toward a comfortable fit.
When reasonably sure of a certain brand or style of gear, research the benefits and features. Granted if you are not a highly experienced snorkeler, the options may not make any sense but in time you may opt for different features.
In your research, another thing to consider is replacement parts versus buying a whole new item. In other words is it worth it to buy replacements for the wearing out parts and how difficult is it to buy them. Even if good care is taken of the gear, which can be the mask and fin straps repeatedly used parts and wear out.
What Is Snorkeling Etiquette?
It is the ‘do no harm’ effect, also jokingly called the 5 commandments of snorkeling. To do no harm simply means giving thought to how our actions can affect the world around us and to be compassionate with our interaction with all creatures and our planet.
Just like being a responsible camper, you do not want to destroy the wildlife or ruin their habitat. Being a responsible snorkeler is very much the same, having a deep respect for the sea life and their habitat will preserve them for generations.
The List Of The 5 Do No Harm Tips Are:
1. Do Not Touch The Coral
Coral may look like a rock but it is really a fragile living animal. So standing on it or breaking off pieces may seem harmless but it is actually killing it. Even with just a touch of your hand, you will poison and kill it. It may take months to see the effect but it is severely harming it.
The coral supplies so much to the fish that live in and on it and the ecosystem of the reef itself. Always try to avoid standing or even resting on it. Also, it is very sharp and can cut fingers, skin, wetsuits and fins. This could also cause an infection in the cuts you receive from the coral.
2. Do Not Feed The Fish
Wanting to feed the fish you encounter while snorkeling seems like a fun and slightly noble thing to do. But do not be tempted! It has been proven to mess up the delicate ecosystem. However, interacting with the sea life is what draws most to snorkeling. Experts in the field say that a good alternative to feeding them is pretending to feed them. Rub your fingers together and wave your hand slowly, back and forth and you may get a little courageous fish to come up to you. There are some sea life to say away from while snorkeling too.
3. Do Not Bother Or Harass The Sea Life
Again, it is hard not to touch the sea life and personalize your experience. But do not bother them, especially if they are resting on the bottom or on the beach. If you slowly swim toward fish or turtles you may have and even better encounter with them, rather than frightening them.
4. Use Biodegradable Sunscreen
If you have ever gone into a pool right after we put sunscreen on, you might remember the slick film of lotion swirling on the surface. Well, many of us may have never thought that sunscreen we wear in the huge ocean could make a difference, but research is showing it could make a big difference.
It is now understood that sunscreen is killing the reefs and even poisoning some fish. The non-biodegradable sunscreen has a chemical water resistance that can harm much of the sea life.
The alternative, that benefits the sea life and is healthy for us are available and can be found in some natural food stores or online with a few searches. And another perk for using this kind of biodegradable sunscreen is it works better and gives better protection longer.
Some find that snorkeling with a T-shirt or wetsuit on is a good way to make sure you are protected from sunburn or abrasions.
5. Do Not Touch The Animals Or Their Habitat
A good thing to remember is that sea life is not a petting zoo, do not touch or pet anything when snorkeling or diving. There are not only concerns for the sea life when touching objects and animals but harm could come to you too.
There are many cute little animals that may look harmless but may bite you or remove a finger. Also, shells and other beautiful objects on the ocean floor can be extremely sharp and can become infected quickly because of the bacteria that we are not used to in the water.
Images – Viacheslav Dubrovin/vilainecrevette © 123RF