Easier, less costly and safer for beginners than scuba diving, snorkelling is a great way to explore entire underwater worlds without straying too far from the seashore.
The great thing about snorkelling is that you can do it pretty much anywhere that takes your fancy, from the warm waters of the Indian Ocean to the chilly North Sea in winter – although we know which we'd prefer.
That being said, you'll find the best snorkelling in places with crystal-clear water, tons of underwater wildlife, and cool coral to swim your way around. Some of our favourite spots are in Hawaii, the Caribbean and off the Central American coast in Mexico and Belize. But the other side of the world is equally good, too – the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is legendary, and places like Palau and Indonesia are world-famous for their waters if you're planning on spending some time in Asia.
So, now you know where you're going, it's time to sort your kit:
- Snorkel – it's always good to buy one with a dry valve at the top and bottom. This will stop any water getting into your snorkel if it goes underwater. Either the TUSA Hyperdry Elite II Snorkel (£29) or the Scubapro Spectra Dry Top Snorkel (£43) is great for keeping your airway clear.
- Mask – one with a soft silicone skirt is a must, as it'll mould to your face, keeping water out. Try the Aqualung Reveal X2 (£41). If you usually wear glasses and plan to snorkel regularly, it's worth investing in a prescription mask for the best possible visibility.
- Fins – a good pair should be made from both hard and soft materials so the shape of the blade can change, scooping you through the water. With dual material blades and adjustable heel straps for added comfort, our recommendation is the Mares X-One (£25).
- Rash vest/wetsuit – if you're snorkelling in particularly cold waters, you'll want a wetsuit – but a rash vest is a must for some torso protection if you're heading out elsewhere.
- Camera – how else will you show your mates (and your mum) all your adventures without investing in a good underwater camera?
- Flotation – If you're only just cutting your teeth as a snorkeller, or don't like swimming in currents, this will give you all the confidence you need.
Before you go, you should always brush up on tide times and local currents, as well as practicing how to breathe through your snorkel, and clear it if it takes on water. When you set off, make sure someone knows where you've gone, or even better take a friend with you, relax and enjoy.
For more information on snorkelling, as well as a place to buy all your essential gear, head to simplyscuba.com/pages/snorkelling-gear – or visit the store in Faversham, Kent for expert advice and fittings.
Voted eight-time Retailer of the Year by Diver Magazine, Simply Scuba is one of the UK's best respected watersports retailers, selling hundreds of products from leading brands and specialists for all kinds of sport and ability, from snorkelling to scuba diving.
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