Snorkels are considered a core piece of scuba gear. Mask, fins, and snorkel: the three items every beginner starts with. We take this for granted, and dive away with those plastic tubes strapped to our head. After a while, though, we start to question the utility of a snorkel. When diving the smooth Caribbean waters, for example, is a snorkel really necessary?
At this juncture, there are a few paths the blossoming diver can take:
- Keep the snorkel. Your first option is to heed your training and continue to dive while wearing a snorkel at all times. Sure, it can be uncomfortable in a current, but you rest easy knowing it's always there.
- Exchange the snorkel for a pocket snorkel. Your next option is to remove the snorkel from your mask. Aaah, how liberating! There are times when you may need a snorkel, so for those situations you carry a foldable pocket snorkel in your BCD pocket. In an emergency, it's only a zipper away.
- Ditch the snorkel. Look out, divers, this future tech diver means business! The last option is to ditch the snorkel completely. I don't imagine anyone throws their snorkel away, but rather keeps it in their gear bag and wears it on a case-by-case basis. Choppy waters with low viz? Bring the snorkel. Bonaire shore dive? No thanks.
If you find a snorkel uncomfortable, I think carrying a pocket snorkel is your best option. I don't own one (yet), so I wear a snorkel based on the dive conditions. However, be aware that some dive operators may not let you in the water if you don't have a snorkel. For this reason, you should always carry a snorkel with your gear.
What do you think? Are snorkels for sissies, or would only a fool go in the water without one?
Photo by chrisada