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 (FFSM) (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. Recent research by Divers Alert Network concluded that many FFSMs do not work as advertised and others may increase risk to the snorkeler. 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 snorkels are egregiously overpriced, and some of the most inexpensive 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.