Should I Wear Gloves When Snorkeling?

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If you’re planning a trip that’s going to involve some snorkeling, you probably want to make sure you are well prepared before you go. Something that often doesn’t get talked about is hand protection when snorkeling. In this short guide, we will talk about whether you should wear gloves when snorkeling and which gloves you should buy if you do decide to wear them.

To give you the quick answer, you probably won’t need to wear gloves when snorkeling unless you’re prone to getting cold hands and will be snorkeling in very cold water.

What Are the Benefits of Wearing Gloves When Snorkeling?

There are two main reasons for wearing gloves when snorkeling.

1. They Provide Warmth

Most gloves designed for snorkeling and diving are made from Neoprene. This is the same material wetsuits are made from and is great for keeping you warm. Usually, snorkeling is done in warmer water and so gloves aren’t really necessary. However, if you find that you’re hands often start to feel a little to cold whenever you snorkel or swim in the ocean, you might want to invest in a pair of gloves.

2. They Protect Your Hands

The second purpose for wearing gloves when snorkeling is that they protect your hands from many sharp and dangerous things you might encounter. However, I don’t find this to be a good reason for wearing gloves because you should not be close enough to these things to touch them. Any dangerous animal you encounter will want to keep its distance from you so as long as you keep your distance too, they will not pose a threat.

The same applies to coral. Many species of coral can harm you and gloves may provide protection, but you shouldn’t be close enough to the coral to touch it so the gloves aren’t really neccessary. Not only can the coral hurt you, but by touching it, you can harm the coral too.

Of course, accidents can happen and a large wave or sobebody bumping into you may cause you to come into contact with rocks or coral, and if you’re already nervous about snorkeling, wearing gloves could put your mind at ease, but as a rule of thumb, you won’t require gloves. In fact, many places prohibit wearing gloves as it encourages people to touch the coral and sea life as I talk about in the next section.

Some Areas Prohibit Gloves When Snorkeling/Diving

Some areas prohibit the use of gloves when diving and snorkeling. This is because when people wear gloves, they often feel more inclined to touch coral and sea life because they have that extra layer of protection. Touching coral and sea life can cause damage and is one of the reasons for the decline in coral reefs, especially in high tourism areas.

If you do decide you want to wear gloves when snorkeling, make sure it is allowed in the area you are going and of course, don’t touch the coral and sea life.

Which Snorkeling Gloves Should I Buy?

Personally, I have never worn gloves when snorkeling, but the Tilos 1.5mm Tropical Dive Gloves (link to Amazon) seem to be a great choice. They have fantastic reviews on Amazon and are available in multiple colors and sizes. They’re also relatively lightweight which is what you want for snorkeling (unless you’re snorkeling in Antarctica!). Most users found them to have a good fit and hold together well.

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