In case you don't already have enough of these, here are a few that make sense for SCUBA divers...
This advisory is not directly related to SCUBA diving, but because many dive equipment retailers also sell full-face snorkel masks (as distinct from full-face SCUBA masks that incorporate a regulator second stage), divers may encounter these products. This recent innovation is popular with novice and vacation snorkelers as well as children, but full-face snorkel masks have safety concerns and are suspected of being a factor in some serious accidents and fatalities. The dangers may be related to specific designs and/or manufacturing quality but one fact is clear: all full-face snorkel masks need formal training for proper use; a fact sometimes overlooked or obscured in their marketing and sales.
'The Skinny' on Snorkels and SCUBA Diving
The Skinny is a military phrase meaning the naked truth or inside information about something. Here is the skinny on SCUBA diving with a snorkel ...
- For most dives, a snorkel is a useless bit of equipment and should be left behind in the gear bag.
- In some diving circumstances wearing a snorkel can be a genuine safety hazard, especially in strong current or risk of entanglement.
- It is almost never optimal for the snorkel to remain attached to the mask during the dive.
- At the surface, rather than switch to snorkel, in most cases the diver is better off continuing to breathe from their regulator.
- Because of archaic training agency standards, many dive instructors wear a snorkel (but usually only when teaching.)
- Many fancy snorkels are egregiously overpriced, and some of the most common have poor ergonomics.
- All that being said, there are some rare exceptions when a snorkel will be useful to a SCUBA diver at the surface.
A humorous aphorism sometimes heard among experienced divers is the snorkel is mostly for making it easy to identify beginners.