Your snorkel mask is probably the most important piece of snorkeling equipment because eyesight and face shape vary so much from person to person. Fins are easy to fit if you know your shoe size, and all you have to do for a correct snorkel fit is bite the mouthpiece to see if it’s comfortable.
What Snorkel Mask Should You Buy
Rental snorkel equipment (masks, fins, and snorkel) is readily available at popular snorkeling spots, but if you snorkel often I highly recommend you buy your gear.
Two of the most important factors to consider when buying a snorkel mask are fit and visual clarity. If you wear contacts or glasses, the best visual clarity may be found in a prescription snorkel mask. Many people will tell you that you can wear your contacts while snorkeling, but as a former contact lens wearer (pre-LASIK), I’ll tell you I lost many a contact while snorkeling. It would have been cheaper for me to buy a prescription mask from the get go.
For more specific information, Hawaii Snorkeling Guide has an excellent article on what to look for when buying a snorkel mask.
Clearing Your Snorkel Mask
Snorkel Safety Tips
- Swim with a buddy.
- Enter the water from a sandy beach. Familiarize yourself with your equipment upon entering the water (while you can still stand). Practice clearing your mask and snorkel.
- Stay near shore.
- Be wary of murky or cloudy water.
- Avoid exhaustion.
- Stay away from large surf.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Check your surroundings.
- Be aware of the weather conditions.
- Check ocean currents.
- Keep your hands to yourself.
- Don’t feed the animals.
- Never stand on the reef. It’s very fragile.
- Use common sense.
Best Places to Snorkel
The best places to snorkel are those with a healthy reef life. They include the:
Ambergris Caye in Belize
Ilha Grande in Brazil
Palawan Island in the Philippines
Komodo Island in Indonesia
Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Galapagos Islands in Ecuador
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin