Are you all set for your next vacation? Or just a visit to a nearby beach, if you are one of the lucky ones? You will be off to snorkel and generally have fun in the waves. But what if you are not such a confident swimmer? Or you are not very strong? Or you want to spend as much time in the water as you can.
To maximise your swimming experience, and ensure that you are completely safe, a flotation device can be a useful tool. These come in all shapes and sizes and the option that you choose will depend on exactly what you are hoping to get out of the experience.
A simple floatation device for snorkelling can add to the pleasure of observing the life in the water below because it makes floating at the right depth effortless for you. But do you choose a vest, a lie jacket, a wetsuit or a pool noodle for the best results?
In this post, we will look at your best options and also review the item that is going to work best for keeping you afloat.
What is a Snorkeling Vest Used for?
Don’t feel too bad if this was something you had never heard of before. Not many do – they don’t get a lot of publicity because they are really more of a specialist item. If you go into a dive shop regularly, you might be familiar with them. But there really isn’t that much to know.
Basically, a snorkel vest is just something that helps you float more easily. Some people would describe it as a life jacket for snorkeling but this is not technically correct. A snorkel vest or flotation belt for snorkeling is designed to support your body in the water while you keep your head below the surface.
It helps you stay buoyant in the water so that you can swim for longer. It is also a great tool if you have an unsure swimmer or one that tires easily. The vest does a lot of the heavy lifting and ensures that you stay just below the surface, and are able to breathe through the snorkel easily.
Kick if you want to steer yourself, or just drift in the current for a little while. Either option will work well for you.
Snorkeling Vest vs. Life Jacket
While people often think that these can be used interchangeably, and while they do look similar in a way, they have very different uses. An inflatable life vest for snorkelling is designed to let you keep your head underwater. A life jacket is designed to keep your head out of the water.
A life jacket is usually either already inflated or can be inflated with the pull of a tab. It should be fully inflated for the best results.
The vest, on the other hand, must be inflated before every use. So, get ready to start puffing. The primary difference is that you can adjust the amount of air in it to ensure that you get the right amount of buoyancy for your needs. It will also be more comfortable to swim in.
It is made for this purpose only - you cannot substitute it for a life jacket.
What is a snorkeling buoyancy aid?
This could refer to a snorkeling floatation belt or a vest, a pool noodle, or even a wetsuit. The key here that it helps you stay afloat effortlessly in the water. It can be highly relaxing to use one of these – you get to take in the scene in the water below you, without having to struggle to stay at the right depth.
They are also useful for when you feel that you need to take a break while in the water. Just relax and drift around while you regain your strength. A further benefit is that it can help keep you high enough in the water to prevent you from catching on rocks or a reef.
There are several devices that you can use.
The Snorkel Vest
These are designed specifically for the purpose. They are comfortable to wear and can be securely attached. You may have to play around for a bit to get the exact right depth, but once you do, you are golden.
If you are going to be in the sea, this is your best bet because it can be strapped on. It won’t be knocked off or shift position in choppy water.
These come in a range of different sizes and give you a great deal of protection overall. You get to choose the level of buoyancy that suits you. They are usually easy to inflate when you need them. When you are done for the day, deflate them, and they fold up nice and small.
Should you want to engage in snorkelling more regularly, it is advisable to look for the best snorkel vest. We have made our top pick, and you will be able to check that out in the review at the end. You need to ensure that you get great quality and that the size is right for your frame.
It’s not a well-known thing, but they can help you float a little. To be fair, though, these are more for protection against the sun, cold water or scratching yourself. They will help to buoy you up a little because gas can get caught in the neoprene. However, this is not nearly as effective as the vest.
A Pool Noodle
Okay, so we don’t really see a lot of people in the open sea using pool noodles, but they are flotation devices in their own right. And they are pretty effective ones at that. They are great for use at home to teach your kids how to float.
And, if you are practising in a pool, they make a good substitute for the vest so take advantage of this fact. Now, you may be wondering why, if they are so good, we don’t see them often at the beach.
It is simple. The ocean is a lot choppier than a pool. The noodles are not secured in any way, and this means that they can slip out from under you fairly easily. In a pool, this is not such a big deal, but in the ocean, you want much more reliable assistance.
Scubapro Cruiser Snorkeling Snorkel Vest
This is a full vest that is easy to inflate, provides protection against sunburn and even has a pocket that allows you to store a few items.
When you are out in the sea, it is important to take some safety precautions. A vest can help to ensure that less confident swimmers feel safe and are properly supported. It will also work for confident swimmers who want to maximise the amount of time spent in the water.
After all, if you have paid a lot for the beach vacation, you want the maximum time in the water possible.
The key is to choose a high-quality model that will last well, and that has no chance of shifting. They do not come better than the Scubapro when it comes to overall utility and safety. Sure, it costs a little more than most other models, but it also does so much more.
It’s packed with useful features – like the full backing that stops your back from getting sunburnt, the easy-inflate valve and the little pocket. There is nothing better for keeping you or your family safe in the water.