So you have decided to go on an amazing snorkelling trip, the first question that often gets asked is "should I pack my wetsuit?" There are a number of advantages of snorkelling with a wetsuit, these include keeping the bodies core temperature regulated, protection from the suns UV rays and painful, pesky stingers and jellyfish. With this in mind, there are still factors to consider when it comes to packing your wetsuit or not next time you go on a snorkelling adventure.
Wetsuit Snorkelling In a Tropical Climate
If you want to get maximum enjoyment out of your snorkelling experience you need to know what temperature is optimal for your body. If you're not familiar with warmer or colder water when swimming you want to keep that in mind when deciding if to pack your wetsuit or not. Where ever you go snorkelling you should feel comfortable and confident in the water, having the right or wrong gear can either enhance or destroy that needed calmness.
Some peoples core body temperature drops a lot more rapidly in cold water than others, and when we think of tropical locations we dont associate cold water with it. Popular snorkel destinations such as the Caribbean, Maui & Hawaii have cold pockets of water, with changing underwater currents that can bring the cold water. If you do get cold easy and you want to stay in the water for as long as possible it's advised to wear a light wetsuit. This isn't as thick as deep divers wetsuits, but perfect for people who love snorkelling and want to enjoy the water for as long as possible. Added bonus with a light wetsuit is the sun protection it provides, often snorkelling on the top of the water leads to sunburn.
Wetsuit Fit is Important!
Always take into account what location you are going to when deciding which wetsuit to pack. A quick google search can give you all the required info to ensure you make the correct choice. For warmer waters, you can opt for the short leave, thinner wetsuit, or if snorkelling in deeper, colder waters we recommend a thicker full wetsuit. Other options include rashie tops and shorts.
One note about the thicker wetsuits, they can be very difficult to get in and out of. Some seasoned divers and snorkelers have often used small amounts of vegetable oil on their legs and hips to help get into their wetsuits.
Ensuring you have a wetsuit that fits correctly is key to your snorkelling experience. A loose wetsuit will allow the water to run onto your skin, this lowers your body temperature and will lead to you getting out of the water much sooner, in extreme cases hypothermia can occur! Old, damaged wetsuits with holes will also lead to the same issues.
Should You Rent or Buy a Wetsuit?
This question is contextual, meaning it depends on how often you are snorkelling and going into the water? If your die-hard snorkelers who loves to travel and do water-based activities then we strongly recommend purchasing your own wetsuit. However, there are other factors to consider before purchasing a wetsuit.
Your budget? While renting a wetsuit seems like a better option short term, if you go out three or four times then you will quickly spend a similar amount to that of a new wetsuit. Other concerns are deposits, if any damage is done to the wetsuit then you will have to pay extra funds to the rented item. This is a common issue as most rented out wetsuits have been used hundreds of times, making tearing & ripping very easy. We also need to highlight that rented, older wetsuits have often not been cleaned properly. You just need to think how many times you have peed in the ocean to get an idea of what's probably happened in a rented wetsuit, yuck!
Buying your own wetsuit has multiple advantages, it saves you money in the long run and you can get the best size for yourself. When you snorkel with a wetsuit you often get the best experience and minimize the number of issues such as sunburn, jellyfish stings and lowered body temperature.
Reefmask stocks a variety of snorkelling equipment, specialising in full face snorkel mask's. If you need a wetsuit check out our new coming range of premium light and thick wetsuits.
John - Manager at Reef Mask
Passionate about the ocean & its beauty, John has been a passionate Snorkeler for over 10 years. Educating people on snorkelling techniques and equipment.