What's there to think about, a scuba snorkel is a scuba snorkel?
In the first items of Scuba Gear you buy, will likely be a scuba snorkel.
It may seem a fairly basic item and not something that requires too much consideration, after all, it’s a piece of pipe with a mouthpiece on one end……
Wrong. There is quite a lot to be considered and it is better to buy one that is comfortable and works well for the purposes you need it for scuba diving.
There are many different designs and levels of sophistication when it comes to snorkels.
Probably the first thing to consider is how much are you going to use the snorkel?
By and large it is an item of scuba diving equipment most scuba divers leave in their gear bag most of the time – it can be a bit of a nuisance as it hooks on your scuba diving equipment, can get in the way underwater and can snag on structures like wrecks or tunnel walls.
It is however useful for when you are on the surface either waiting for other divers to enter the water, or on the other end of the dive when you are waiting to be picked up by the dive boat. In choppy water, it helps avoid breathing in water when you are on the surface.
Purge valves to reduce the effort needed to remove water which has entered the scuba snorkel when submerged - this consists of a 'barrel' below the mouthpiece which allows any water that does get into the snorkel to collect and drain through a one-way valve without getting in the way of your breathing or needing you to work at clearing the snorkel - quite clever!
The snorkel also has a flexible barrel which eases the fit and angle in relation to your mouth as well.
The mouthpiece is usually made of a soft silicone and comes in different sizes to improve comfort. They are available with a swivel attachment to help with the angle in relation to your mouth which avoids pulling and therefore you having to clench your teeth to keep it in your mouth.
There are now dry snorkels which are ‘guaranteed’ to stay empty of water even when submerged.
They also look quite snazzy too!
Now you know how to choose a scuba snorkel - back to Scuba diving equipment