what kind of snorkeling gear?


Dec 24, 2001
We've never snorkeled, but from reading these boards, you can save $$ by bringing your own. Is there a particular kind of snorkeling gear you need or are they all the same? Is there a standard? I don't want to have sub-par equipment for a first time experience, especially if I have to go to the trouble of packing it. Can anyone tell me a certain brand/store to purchase this or what I need to look for? It will probably be for myself and husband and 2 daughters, 8 and 6.
Thanks a lot!
I can tell you a few things about getting a mask and snorkel. First of all make sure you try the mask on. You should get a good seal which means if you put it on your face WITHOUT the strap around your head and breathe in through your nose it should stay there...if it does not or if you can feel air leaking out it is NOT the mask for you! There is nothing worse than getting out in that salty ocean water and having a leaky mask! Make sure that it has tempered glass as the lens. Also make sure your snorkel has a tube big enough that your thumb could go into it...if it cant it is too small and you will have a hard time breathing through it. Some like to buy the regular snorkel that is just a tube. We prefer the snorkel that has a "purge" system in the bottom so if you do get water in it breathing out will push the water out of the bottom of the snorkel instead of into your mouth. Also on your mask you can buy masks that have a "purge valve" in them. It is below your nose, looks like a little black dot. They are handy (but usually more expensive than regular masks) if you get water in your mask you just blow out your nose and it will push the water out. My suggestion would be to make sure most importantly that your mask fits snug. At dive shops they also usually sell a "strap cover" that goes over the plastic dive strap to make it so when you take your mask off and on that you dont rip out your hair. Very nice if you plan on doing snorkeling alot! I would suggest going to a dive shop and just seeing what is out there to buy. You can always go to a Gallyans, or major sporting goods store too but make sure that the mask fits and the snorkel is big enough and has a nice secure clip on it to keep it on your mask. Next go home, fill up your tub with water and try it out to make sure it works or go to a local swimming pool for a trial! I cant tell you how many "CHEAP" masks we bought before we finally decided to spend a little more so we could actually enjoy the experience!
I hope this helps! If not let me know and I will try to answer more of you questions!
I did some pricing, and I agree that you don't want to buy a cheap set....and don't forget fins, they make the experience easier and more enjoyable. But first, you need to decide just how often you will snorkle. At Castaway Cay, it is about $25pp. If that is the only time you will snorkle, you will be hard pressed to find good gear to buy. If you plan to snorkel also at St. M and St. T and more in the future, then go the buying route.
If you are a member at Costco, they have a snorkel set there for only $25. I'm not an expert but I think it's a pretty good set! It fits all of the requirements that hydster mentioned, and also has a trap at the top that is supposed to close if it goes under water. The mask has tempered glass lenses and a trap in both the mask and the snorkel to force water out.

The brand is "Body Glove." I did a search on this particular brand and it seems like the deal is pretty decent. It doesn't come with fins but the few people we know who packed their snorkeling gear didn't pack fins because they took up too much room! You can rent just fins for $9 each so taking that off the cost, the snorkel gear pays for itself after two uses at castaway cay, plus you don't have to share something as personal as a snorkel with hundreds of other people!



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