The advantages and disadvantages of a snorkel while scuba diving.
Do you like wearing a snorkel while scuba diving? Photo by Sophie Keningale / Unsplash

Ah, a snorkel or a tuba. This tube-like object is such a simple and efficient piece of equipment. It allows us to continuously breathe when we observe the bright fish and coral underwater. It’s amazing, right? But actually, there are some disadvantages of a snorkel. Sometimes, they can be downright annoying! Especially to a scuba diver.

Read on to find out why a snorkel is ranked as one of the most annoying items in our scuba diving setup!

Disadvantages of a Snorkel

  • How many times have you reached for your inflator hose to adjust your buoyancy and you grabbed your snorkel?
  • The snorkel can get tangled in your inflator hose on your left side. If it’s attached to the right side, it can get tangled in your regulator.
  • A snorkel can get caught in overhead environments, such as caves, caverns, swim-throughs, and wrecks.
  • The snorkel keeper or ring to attach it to your mask can get caught in your hair which is very painful.
  • The attachment for snorkels to a mask are usually cheap and ineffective. People are constantly losing snorkels which means more plastic rubbish in the ocean.
  • When removing your mask underwater (as a skill or just for fun) the snorkel will always get in the way of replacing the mask.
  • Have you ever had a surface marker (SMB) get wrapped around your snorkel? It can happen.
  • Using a snorkel on a choppy surface swim can be useless with the water just splashing in.
  • It flaps against your face.

Advantages of a Snorkel

  • If there’s a turtle, shark, or whale swimming next to the boat during your surface interval, you will definitely want your snorkel close by.
  • With choppy conditions or extended surface swims, a snorkel can be handy for the swims.
  • If your tank is low on air, and you are back on the surface but want to continue checking out the underwater life, then a snorkel is very useful.
  • You can now get collapsible or rolled up snorkels that can fit in your BCD pocket or attach to your leg.

What Does a Snorkel Do?

A snorkel is used as an extension of our breathing. We are still breathing normal air from the surface, but it allows us to keep our face in the water for longer. It can be as simple as a plastic tube, or as fancy as you would like with a purge-valve, wave guard, and bright colors. A snorkel does not replace scuba diving equipment however.

You either love or hate the snorkel

Snorkels are great for snorkeling. But does it have a place in our scuba diving setup? According to most dive agencies, it is a standard requirement when undertaking a scuba diving course and certification. Some regions and countries state that you should have a snorkel with you according to local regulations. They can stop you from diving with their organization or dive center, even if this is not law.

Find out what other items should be in every rescue diver equipment list.

However, the standards do not mention where the snorkel must be attached to. So while you should carry a snorkel with you, it does not necessarily have to be on your mask. Many dive professionals will have a rolled-up snorkel in their pocket or attached to a D-ring on their BCD. This means you are following safety standards and adhering to local regulations but you won’t have the annoyance of a snorkel smacking you in the face!

Do you love or hate wearing a snorkel? Let us know your thoughts below!