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Do You Need A Wetsuit For Snorkeling?

Purchasing and owning a snorkeling wetsuit is a great idea if you understand the reasons why owning one will enhance your swimming and underwater experience. Wetsuits work on a few simple principles, keeping water and the sun away from your skin and keeping your core body warmth inside the suit are a few.

They come in many types and thicknesses, the thicker the suit, the warmer it is. For instance, a 2-millimeter thick will be cooler than a 6-millimeter. However, with thickness comes less mobility to your limbs. Giving thought to what location you intend to snorkel in is the first step in investing in your first wetsuit.

Do I Need A Snorkeling Wetsuit?

Think of a wetsuit as protection against the sun, cold water or even jellyfish. It is no surprise to most that a painful sunburn can ruin a vacation. Remember that when in the water, sunscreen sprays, creams or lotions may only last about 80-90 minutes and should be reapplied for full protection.

In a hurry?

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Purchasing a thin wetsuit for protection, even in warmer waters should be considered.

You do not need one to snorkel, although recommendations from experienced snorkelers may have you thinking twice about the many benefits provide by one. When in warmer waters like the Caribbean, or in other warmer tropical water locations, a thinner one would be a better idea. Here is a guide on what wetsuit thickness you might need.

When in cooler waters like Hawaii’s coastlines or areas that can tend to have colder ocean waters it will provide more comfort to wear a full and thicker wetsuit.

Are Other Accessories Recommended?

Deciding on your locations and water temperatures will help you choose needed accessories for your trip. There are many accessories that you can purchase to use with your snorkeling wetsuit. There are hoods that protect the head and ears, some pull under the wetsuit others tie on over the top of the suit, these are great in colder waters.

Gloves are another nice option. These can be a great addition to your gear, even if you are not in cold waters. When in any type of waters, gloves can be used to keep your finger from being cut or scratched on coral or sharp shells. Also, women may like the idea of keeping a manicure in good condition.

Booties may also be a good investment. Booties come in many variations, soft, short, tall or with a type of hard sole attached. You may wonder why booties or water sock are important if you are floating in water all day. But, having a covering for your feet is a vital consideration if you need to walk on rocks, coral (We have to encourage you here to be a responsible diver and to ‘do no harm’ to the delicate coral. This, of course, will include not walking on or chipping off parts for souvenirs) scorching hot sand, asphalt or other uncomfortable surfaces to get to the water.

What Do Wetsuit Sizing Numbers Mean?

It can be very confusing to look at size options like ‘3/2’. These are actually very helpful numbers once you understand what they mean. The first number will give you the thickness of the material in the torso. The second number will give you the thickness of the material in the limbs. So the 3/2 will mean, 3 millimeters thick on the torso and 2 millimeters on the limbs.

The number on the torso is important because it is around the part of the body that holds warmth in your core. If you will be in cold waters the higher the first number should be. The second number will be for your arms and legs, even though the water may be cold, consider the flexibility you want to have in your limbs.

These types of combination thicknesses are a nice option to consider when purchasing a swetsuit.

How To Put On Your Wetsuit

When first putting on your wetsuit, pay attention to your nails and any jewelry you have on. Remove your jewelry, and ladies, if you have long nails or fake nails you will want to pay attention to putting on and taking off your wetsuit. They fit very tightly and bending or breaking off a nail could be very painful.

A great tip for getting your wetsuit over your legs is to pull grocery bags over your feet and ankles first, then step in. This allows you to smoothly pull on the legs portion of the suit without struggling. Then carefully and patiently begin pulling it up over the waist, then torso. Work your arms into the sleeves and shrug into the shoulders.

At this point, a friend may come in handy to help with zipping up the back. If not, most zippers will have a long tail on the end so you can reach around your back and carefully zip it up to your neck.

How Do I Take Care Of My Snorkeling Wetsuit?

Taking good care of your wetsuit is important. Always rinse your suit in cold clear water after snorkeling or swimming. Whether snorkeling in salt water or practicing in your pool, rinsing off the tiny salt or chlorine crystals will prolong the life of your suit.

Also advised is not to turn your wetsuit inside out to dry or store it. Wetsuits are designed to be worn the way they were made, with the outside, out. Doing the opposite will cause the seams to stress and may rip the seams.

They can be made of different materials like neoprene, non-neoprene, Lycra or combinations of these materials. It is always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to care for it properly. The best way to store them is to hang them up and keep in a controlled temperature area, such as your closet and not your garage or car.

According to pro snorkelers, a wetsuit is a good investment, maximizing your comfort and pleasure. Keeping it in good shape will give you years of fun and great times.