Many divers question the need for a snorkel when, as a diver, you already have a regulator. The truth is that in many places, snorkels are mandatory equipment for recreational diving. The snorkel will let you save air and energy while on the surface. It is also an excellent piece of safety equipment when you surface a long way from your exit point.
Luckily, there are plenty of snorkels you can choose from, ranging from the simple old school J types to more complex models with dry tops, purge valves and even FM radios. It’s best to go for something simple. Models with moving parts are more likely to go wrong. You can try a purge valve snorkel for ease of clearing water. But make sure that the purge valve is covered with some sort of protective case.
Some snorkels may be marketed as either “high volume” or “streamlined”. Avoid such types at either end of the spectrum. High volume snorkels, once full of water, are often simply too difficult to clear, while streamlined snorkels can be too difficult to breathe through. To gauge the ideal length for a snorkel, when attached to the mask and in position, the top should sit approximately 5 cm above the top of your head to minimise the amount of dead air space.
There are those who will often bite off the mouthpiece parts. So select a snorkel where you can change the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece should be soft and comfortable when worn and as with mask skirts be made of 100% silicone which is both hygienic and comfortable and will not perish over time.
Select a Flexible Snorkel
A snorkel should be flexible so that if you accidentally knock into something in the water, it will bend and flex taking the impact rather than pushing your mask off your face. Besides, flexible snorkels are more robust when dropped or a tank falls on them rather than the hard plastic versions that are going to crack and break.
You will also be able to place the flexible snorkel more easily in a BCD pocket if you don’t like having it attached to your mask.
To test flexibility, bend the snorkel in half. It is the right one for you if the snorkel springs back to its original shape quickly. Plus, you will be able to pack a flexible snorkel easily too for travelling. That is one more advantage.