View Full Version : 1st Timer to be May 2011

06-27-2010, 07:51
Hello everyone. My name is Yvonne, and I have what I will call a slight fear of water, so am trying to prepare myself so I can go snorkeling on my vacation next year. I have been doing some research so I know I need a mask, snorkel and fins. I would like to know from those that are experienced, what type of gear should I get. I know they have snorkels that will prevent me from sucking down water or at least less of the ocean will be swallowed. Also what types of masks wont fog up and so forth. Is it recommended to swim in a wet suit or is a bikini fine? Thanks to everyone that provides guidance!

06-27-2010, 08:18
Welcome to the forum!

Mask, Snorkel, Fins:

Mask - the most important part is that it fits very well. Since you already expressed some stress about the situation - go to a dive shop in your town. Find one that has lots of mask choices (if they only have 3 masks to choose from, turn around - find another shop). Get some help from someone behind the counter, and start trying on masks. Generally, you should be able to put it on your face without the strap, and it will stick there. However, the person at the shop, should be able to help you with more detail.

Snorkel - there are so many varieties, and they can cost anywhere from $10, to as much at $60-$70. There are dry breathing snorkels that minimize the chance of sucking in a bit of water, and there are traditional snorkels that do not. Personal taste comes into play here. Some folks don't like the gizmo at the end of the snorkel that plugs if it goes under water - some love em. Personally - I'm indifferent. Scubatoys sells a nice quality snorkel for $20, and you can interchange the dry breathing end, so if you like it, you can keep it, if you don't you can take it off.

Link for that snorkel:
Dry Snorkel reviews and discounts, ScubaToys (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=Mojave)

I've used it, and find it to be just as good as the $60 scubapro snorkel I was shnookered into buying when I was certified originally.

Fins - you'll find that fins come in 2 basic varieties - open heel (open ended with an adjustable strap), and full foot, which you put your complete foot in. If warm water snorkelling (which is likely what you are doing), and not planning to ever scuba dive - I think a full foot would likely be better for you. The open heel variety are adjustable, however, you generally wear them while wearing neoprene 'booties', which keep your feet warm during diving. If you used the open heel variety you would have to buy booties as well. Those booties can be more comfortable than the closed foot pockets, but the biggest purpose is keeping your feet warm. This is far less useful to someone who is snorkeling in warm water.

Beyond that, you will find all kinds of fins, split fins which have a slit in the middle, blade fins which do not. Expensive >$200 fins, Cheap fins which cost less than cost $40 or less. Personal taste comes into play, however, I don't think that having a huge pair of $200 fins is all that important to a snorkeler. Alot of the characteristics of these more expensive fins are important to scuba divers who will use a variety of kicks in different situations to move or propel themselves around.

something as easy as this could do fine:

Tusa Full Foot Split Zoom Fins reviews and discounts, Tusa (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=Fullfootsplit)

If you know you have a unusually wide or narrow foot, it may be worth buying these at a local shop, so that you can try them on first. If however, you can wear ordinary off the rack shoes, you can likely buy these online. Sometimes local shops cost much more than buying online - however, many will tell you that it depends on the shop on question.

Wetsuit - this is personal preference. Scubadivers almost always some type of suit for thermal protection, as you are completely immersed in water for extended periods. However, as a snorkeler, even if the water is warm, some will wear a wetsuit for the following reasons:

Protection from the Sun, Protection from anything in the water that may sting, Protection from abrasion, if you accidentally rub on anything.

That being said, unless the water is known to be cold...likely the most you would need is a dive 'skin' a very, very thin suit. I don't know where you are going, but I usually see more snorkelers in bathing suits and tshirts, than in wetsuits. I usually wear mine - but I don't mind looking like a dork :)

You expressed some fear of water. I suggest you start your snorkeling experience in a controlled familiar environment, maybe a swimming pool. Once you are comfortable in that environment, perhaps a lake.

Work your way up to your trip. When you finally get to where you are going, it will be nice if you are more comfortable and able to appreciate the zoo of sea life below you. It always makes me sad to hear someone got all the way to the destination, put their face underwater, and was so struck with fear that they were never able to look around and appreciate what was below them.

Anyway, opinions will vary, I can only offer my own.

Best of luck to you, and welcome to the forum.


06-27-2010, 15:13
Welcome, Yvonne! :smiley31:
Can't add much more as Rayaa has great advice.
Be sure to check around the forum. If you have a question, the members here are awesome and will give great answers. :smiley20::smiley20:

06-27-2010, 23:29
Rayaa hit the nail on the head with the gear recommendations, if you are diving a warm "blue" water location, then a wet suit is a preference, however, they can cost a fair amount of coin to own. Rayaa suggestion of getting wet in a well known location to you is paramount... there is a TON of wild life out there... and if you get spooked by the water itself, then you have wasted time and money on something that you are not going to enjoy. If you decide that you are comfortable enough with a snorkel in your mouth and a mask on your face in a pool, then head to a local lake, that you can snorkel in, there will probably be "wild life" in that lake, that you can get "comfortable" looking at.. now if you live in LA, or FLA.... PLEASE ensure that there are no gators in the lake before getting in.. last thing I want on my shoulders is telling a new diver to jump in a gator infested lake and then something happens... i would feel bad.. and for ME to say that... is saying something lol... now that being said, after diving in a lake and seeing fishy thingys below you, you "should" be ready to hit the ocean... one more word of advice.. when snorkeling please ensure to wear a flotation device, even if you are a good swimmer, you never know when you can get a cramp, or if you get tired in the middle of the lake... that would SUCK.


06-28-2010, 01:18
As others said, Welcome! Can't really add much to what Rayaa said. You might consider looking up some of your local dive shops and let them know where you are, what you want to do and see if they can help you get there.

John Yaskowich
06-28-2010, 08:01
Welcome. I would like to add that when being fitted for a mask do your checks with a snorkel / mouthpiece in your mouth. It changes the configuration a bit, sometimes enough to cause leaks.

06-28-2010, 19:58
All of you have been awesome...I am starting swimming lessons and going to work up to snorkeling in my sisters pool...Thank you thank you all...I now have a good idea of what gear I will need and am on the right track. I am determined to get all the way to Jamaica and snorkel :)

06-28-2010, 20:09
Perhaps post a picture of yourself. It would help us help you. (You know, BMI and all.)

06-29-2010, 19:31
Lets see not a clue how to add a picture....