Thanks to snorkeling vests non swimmers can enjoy the underwater world along with everyone else while on holiday.
It’s definitely a worthy investment if you can’t swim. In some cases, it’s even worth wearing a vest if you can.
Unless you’ve looked into them before it’s unlikely you’ll know much about them, so we’re going to discuss a few important things.
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Snorkeling Vests vs Life Jackets
Snorkeling vests and life jackets are not the same thing. Sometimes people buy life jackets to use when snorkeling and run into all sorts of problems, so it’s crucial to clear up this misconception straight away. The only thing they have in common is their ability to prevent you from drowning.
The Best Snorkeling Vests Benefits
So what actually makes snorkel vests so valuable, and why are they different from life jackets? Let’s discuss a few of the major differences before we dive into even more details later on:
- Lying down in the water
- Zero foam
- Different levels of buoyancy
- Bright colors
- Travel friendly
1 – Lying down in the water – Snorkeling vests are specially designed to help you lie face down in the water while keeping you afloat. So if you use the best full face snorkel mask it will actually be submerged. Why would you go snorkeling if you can’t stick your head under the water?
Although life jackets will save your life in the middle of the ocean they’re designed to keep you upright. In a perfect world, they won’t let your head go anywhere near the water. It makes sense when you realise it will stop you from drowning if you’re unconscious.
2 – Zero foam – Life jackets are extremely uncomfortable to wear because they’re made from thick foam. Nobody is going to complain when their life is in danger, but snorkeling is meant to be fun and relaxing. You don’t want to wear something that feels horrible.
Thankfully, the majority of snorkeling vests are inflatable and feel a lot more comfortable. It’s nicer snorkeling without one, but if you’re a non swimmer it’s better than nothing. Aside from comfort, you’ll also feel a lot more confident swimming around in deep water.
Please Note: A snorkel vest isn’t the only tool to improve your confidence in the water if you can’t swim. If you have the best snorkeling fins on your feet you’ll feel a hundred times safer. Non swimmers should use a snorkel vest and flippers combination.
3 – Different levels of buoyancy – One of the main benefits of inflatable snorkeling vests is the fact you’ll be able to play around with how much air you blow into them. If you want to sink a little deeper into the water you don’t need to fill your vest up to the brim with air.
Even if you have some air in your snorkel jacket you won’t sink under the water, but you’ll feel a little closer to the action. Unless you have zero experience swimming I doubt you’ll want the vest at maximum capacity. You can play around with it to see what’s right for you.
4 – Bright colors – Snorkeling vests usually come in bright neon colors, so anyone will be able to spot you from a distance. A horse collar vest is more difficult to see because it doesn’t cover your back, but they’ll still be seen from far away in case you stray too far from the boat.
5 – Travel friendly – It’s easy to deflate your snorkel vest after you’ve finished using it, which means it doesn’t take up too much space in your suitcase. The jacket design is a touch bulkier than a horse collar design, but either one is small enough to take on holiday with you.
Downsides Of Snorkel Vests
Everything we’ve talked about so far makes it seem like snorkel vests are perfect, which sadly isn’t true. There are one or two downsides depending on the particular style you choose. Let’s discuss the main drawbacks of each one to help narrow down your choice:
- Horse collar vest
- Snorkeling jacket
Horse collar vest – Once you’ve inflated the horse collar vest it takes about two seconds to slip it over your neck. Unfortunately the design doesn’t offer your back any UV protection because it’s exposed. You’ll need to apply plenty of sunscreen if you’re snorkeling in hot countries.
Snorkeling jacket – Snorkel jackets will give you a lot more coverage from the sun, which means they’ll be a little bulkier. They aren’t as comfortable as horse collar vests although it’s close. Plus we’ve already mentioned the fact jackets will take up more space in your luggage.
Keep In Mind: Snorkeling vests are non US Coast Guard approved, which is a downside if you thought differently. Even if you’re wearing them to snorkel you still need proper life jackets on your boat in case of an emergency.
Why Everyone Should Own A Snorkeling Vest
Non swimmers should obviously wear a snorkeling vest to stay safe, but everyone up to strong swimmers could benefit from one too. It’s well worth having one with you just in case. Here are a few of the top reasons why you’ll want to take one on your adventures:
- Spending lots of time in the water
- Snorkeling with niggling injuries
- Relaxing and enjoyable
Spending lots of time in the water – When you’re on holiday you might want to spend lots of time in the water. This is especially true if you can snorkel from the beach as opposed to a boat. How long do you think you’ll be able to tread water without tiring yourself out?
If you don’t want to take a break every so often ensure you’re wearing a snorkel jacket with your flippers. You’ll be able to spend hours in the water before you need to come out. It’s nice to pack one away if you’re going on full day trips too, or you might find yourself stuck on a boat.
Snorkeling with niggling injuries – You have to be very careful if you’re snorkeling while carrying an injury. The last thing you need is to end up in a situation where you’re unable to swim. Sometimes it won’t matter how well you can swim if you are in extreme pain.
If you’re wearing a snorkel vest you can chill out until you feel better. You’ll be able to remain above the water while waving for help too. Plus due to the fact you can take it easier you might prevent any injuries from flaring up in the first place.
Relaxing and enjoyable – It’s difficult to relax and enjoy yourself while battling strong currents. You don’t have to worry about it when you’re wearing a snorkeling vest. When the waves are bigger than you’d like it’s easy to sit back and chill out too.
Snorkeling is meant to be relaxing and enjoyable.
There are also a bunch of little things to take into consideration. If you’re not wearing the best diving mask it might start to fill up with water. It’s easier to rectify the situation while floating. If someone can see you from a distance they can come to tell you it’s time to go home.
The list goes on and on…
The Best Snorkel Vest For Non Swimmers
Snorkeling is one of the most exciting things you can do when you’re near the ocean. It’s something non swimmers should still get to experience. Some of the sea life and flora you’ll be able to see will take your breath away, especially in special locations around the world.
Make sure you’re wearing the best snorkeling vest you can find and you’ll have a great time. If you click on the Amazon links you’ll be able to read lots of reviews from past customers to make your final decision easier.