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At first glance, swimming goggles and snorkeling masks appear to do pretty much the same thing; keep the water out of your eyes when you’re underwater. However, there are some key differences which make snorkeling masks specifically suited for snorkeling.
So, can I snorkel with swimming goggles? Yes, you can snorkel with swimming goggles, but it isn’t a good idea. Snorkel tubes don’t attach to swimming goggles very well and you won’t be able to dive under water.
In this post, we’ll run you through the three problems you’re going to have to overcome if you decide to snorkel with swimming goggles. We’ll then take a look at the three most common reasons for snorkeling with goggles and offer some alternative solutions.
3 Problems When You Snorkel With Goggles
If you decide to snorkel with swimming goggles, there are three problems you will need to consider.
1. Breathing Through Your Nose
The first problem is that since swimming goggles don’t cover your nose, you will have to consciously remember to not breath through your nose. With a snorkel mask, your nose is covered so you can’t breathe through it even if you tried.
You could just concentrate on only breathing through your mouth, but this is surprisingly harder than it looks after a while!
A better option is to wear a nose clip like this one from Amazon. Wearing swimming goggles and a nose clip isn’t as comfortable as a snorkeling mask, but it get’s the job done.
2. Attaching the Snorkel to Goggles
The second problem is with attaching the snorkel to the goggles. The straps on swimming goggles are thinner than on snorkeling goggles. This means the snorkel is likely to flop around and may pull the strap away from your face, dislodging the goggles and allowing water to get in.
Some swimming goggles with thicker straps will work okay, but you may need a snorkel clip to attach the snorkel to the goggles.
You could also try replacing the strap on your goggles with a strap from a snorkeling mask like this Cressi strap, available on Amazon. The fit won’t be perfect, but looking on the Q & A’s on the Amazon page, you should be able to get it to work.
Another solution is to buy a swimmer's snorkel like this one on Amazon. These are snorkels with their own strap, designed to work with swimming goggles. The downside of these snorkels is that the snorkel goes down the middle of your face rather than the side of your head. This does limit your vision a little bit which isn’t ideal for snorkeling.
So, there deffinitely are solutions to attaching a snorkel to swimming goggles if you really want to wear them, but overall, none of them are quite as good as a proper snorkeling mask.
3. You Can’t Equalise Pressure
The third problem is that you can’t equalise air pressure in swimming goggles when you dive underwater.
When you dive underwater, the pressure difference means your goggles will suck against your face the further you go down. This can eventually cause serious damage to your eyes. If you snorkel with swimming goggles, you shouldn’t dive down any more than a few feet.
The difference with a snorkel mask is that since the mask covers your nose, as the pressure starts to change, you can gently exhale through your nose, filling the mask with air which equalises the pressure.
As long as you’re happy snorkeling only on the surface, this isn’t a problem. But if you do want to dive down, unfortunately there isn’t a solution and you simply can’t do it with swimming goggles.
Why Do You Want to Wear Swimming Goggles?
I’ve come across three common reasons why someone would want to use swimming goggles instead of a snorkeling mask.
1. You Want to Save Money
The first reason is that you simply want to save money. If you already have a pair of swimming goggles, you’ll only need to buy the snorkel itself and you’re good to go.
Whilst this might be true, if you want to have even a half-decent experience, you’re probably going to need to buy some extra gear like the strap or swimming snorkel that I talked about above. So you might not end up saving any money afterall.
Another option is to consider renting a snorkel mask. If you’re going to a destination that’s known for snorkeling, there will almost certainly be somewhere you can rent.
But if you do decide you want to snorkel with swimming goggles, make sure to read through the problems in the previous section so you’re prepared.
2. You Have a Mustache
When you wear a snorkeling mask with a mustach, it’s ineveitable that the mask won’t have a watertight seal around the nose and water will start to seep in.
Wearing swimming goggles is certainly an option if you have a mustache and will solve the problem. But you will have to take into account the problems I outlined above.
You do have a couple of other options too:
- Full-face mask – Since the seal of a full-face mask is around your face and not under your nose, they work well if you have a mustache.
- Silicone grease – Silicone grease (link to Amazon) applied to your mustache can help to create a seal when you wear a snorkeling mask with a mustache.
We also have a more in-depth guide to snorkeling with beards and mustaches.
3. You Already Have Prescription Goggles
If you already have prescription swimming goggles, it’s understandable that you don’t want to invest in a prescription snorkeling mask as they can be quite expensive.
Wearing your prescrition goggles could be your best option, but you do have a few other options to consider such as contact lenses or a DIY prescription mask.
You can read more about making a DIY prescription mask and your other options in our guide to snorkeling for glasses wearers.
Wrapping it Up
So, to answer the question, yes you can snorkel with swimming goggles but it isn’t a good idea. You will probably want to wear a nose clip, you need to find a way to securely attach the snorkel to the goggles, and you won’t be able to dive down. There are other options available to the most common reasons someone would want to wear goggles for snorkeling, but occasionally, wearing swimming goggles for snorkeling is a good idea.