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If you’re planning a snorkeling trip in the near future, you might be wondering about the different options for floatation devices.
In this guide, we’ll first take a look at whether or not you need a floatation device, then we’ll take a look at the different options and which is best for you. Finallly, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of renting vs. buying a floatation device.
Do I Need a Floatation Device for Snorkeling?
You might be wondering if you even need a floatation device when you snorkel. The answer depends on you and the situation.
The following should give you a good idea of whether you should wear a floatation device.
- If you are a non swimmer then you should deffintely wear a floatation device, and specifically a life jacket. In the next secion I will talk more about why you should wear a life jacket and not just a snorkeling vest.
- Confident swimmers who want to feel more comfortable could benefit from a floatation device like a snorkel vest or floatation belt. Wearing a wetsuit will add some buoyancy too. If you fall into this category, wearing a life jacket isn’t a great idea because they make it difficult to snorkel.
- Confident swimmers who like to dive underwater shouldn’t wear a floatation device. Obviously if you want to dive underwater for a closer look, a floatation device will prevent you from doing that. Only snorkel without a floatation device if you’re a very confident swimmer and won’t be snorkeling in rough water or strong currents.
Wear a Life Jacket If You’re a Non-Swimmer!
If you are a non-swimmer, make sure you wear a life jacket when you snorkel. You might have considered wearing a snorkel vest but this isn’t a good idea for non-swimmers.
Snorkel vests are designed with snorkeling in mind, so they make it easy for you to put your head in the water. This is great if everythings going well, but if you find yourself in trouble in the water, you don’t want your head in the water.
Life jackets are designed to keep your head out of the water which is what you need if you find yourself in a bad situation.
This does mean that it makes it more awkward to snorkel because you have to force your head underwater, but this is a small price to pay for your safety.
Read more: Can You Wear a Life Jacket When Snorkeling?
Snorkeling Vests & Floatation Belts
Snorkeling vests and floatation belts are great if you’re a confident swimmer, but just want a more comfortable experience when you’re snorkeling on the surface.
These devices are great because they allow your to float around in the water without having to tread water.
Whether or not you should choose a snorkel vest or floatation belt comes down to personal preference. You can read more about these devices in our guide.
Wetsuits Make You Float (to Some Extent)
A floatation device which you might not have considered before is a wetsuit. Not only do wetsuits keep you warm and protected from the sun, but they also add buoyancy.
The downside of wearing a wetsuit is that they are a bit of a pain to put on and take off and they’re quite bulky to pack too.
However, if you already have a wetsuit or you will be snorkeling where it’s a bit cold, they can be a great option and mean you probably won’t need any other floatation device (unless you’re a non swimmer).
Read more: A Guide to Wetsuits for Snorkeling
Can I Use a Pool Noodle Whilst Snorkeling?
Whilst you certainly can use a pool noodle whilst snorkeling, you will probably be better off with a snorkel vest or floatation belt.
The problem with snorkeling with a pool noodle is that you have to hold on to it all the time or you will end up losing it. A snorkel vest will act in a similar way but you don’t have to worry about losing it.
You can always give a noodle a try though!
Are Floatation Devices Provided on Excursions?
Whether or not a floatation device will be provided on an excursion will depend on who’s running the tour.
Any reputable tour operator will provide a life vest and may also carry snorkel vests. They probably won’t carry any floatation belts though.
Renting vs. Buying Floatation Devices
When deciding whether to rent or buy a floatation device for your next snorkeling adventure, you should consider a few different factors.
- Cost – It’s almost always cheaper to rent than buy for one occasion. But if you plan on using a floatation device for say 5 or more trips, buying will become more cost effective.
- Transportation – You also need to consider transporting the floatation device if you decide to buy. Snorkeling vests are great in this aspect because they are inflatable and don’t take up much space when they are deflated.
- Comfort – The problem with renting is that you don’t get much choice or time to get used to the device. If you buy, you can find something that feels comforatble and try it out a few times in a swimming pool so you will feel more comfortable when you take it into the open water.
Wrapping it Up
Hopefully this guide has helped you understand the different floatation devices available for snorkeling. We have other guides on our website which we have linked to throughout some make sure to check them out. And remember, if you’re a non-swimmer, you need a life jacket.