One of the most popular leisure activities in the world is snorkelling! A sport in which any age or sex can participate and enjoy the wonders of the ocean. Learning how to snorkel is also extremely easy, with all ages being able to snorkel on their first try. Snorkelling is a great and fun way to enjoy the beach, it almost feels like it's been around forever! In today's article, we will explore the history of the snorkel mask, learning about where it came from and its origins.
When was the snorkel created, & by whom?
No one knows exactly when the first snorkel was invented or by whom! This is what we do know, however. This first concept of the snorkel comes most likely from 350 BC from the Greek philosopher Aristotle who noticed an elephant swimming underwater with its trunk breaching out of the water to breathe. This is one of the first written accounts in man's history that explores the concept of snorkelling.
Another early mention of snorkel like devices is the practice of using pipes made from reeds, this was done by soldiers to hide underwater to escape from enemies. Other texts from the 15th century refer to metal helmets with snorkel like parties for fishing underwater!
Origin of the modern snorkel
Today's snorkel originated back in the later 18th century, a metal helmet that was designed for divers in the pear industry. The 19th century leads to the fourth development and we started to really see the modern-day snorkel in use, designed from metal and leather the older designs were much larger and limited the diverse range of motion.
The 20th century saw even further leaps in technology within diving and snorkelling equipment, with lighter, less restricting devices. This made snorkelling a more accessible leisure activity that people couldn't access in the past.
Snorkelling was first adopted by the diving industry and was used as a backup emergency device in case oxygen tank levels went low, or to help preserve oxygen when swimming on top of the surface of the ocean.
What developments have been made with snorkels?
In 2021 we now have seen the final stage of snorkel technology with the full face snorkel mask. This device has now eliminated the mouthpiece that once made it difficult for people to breathe when snorkelling. With the face mask design, individuals can now breathe in a normal pattern, with a bonus 180 viewpoint whilst underwater the full face snorkel mask has taken the underwater experience to a new level.
Full face snorkel mask is specially designed to stop water from coming over the tube in choppy and wavy waters. This is a common problem in these waters when you lead forwards looking down while snorkelling. The snorkel tube has a floating device that rises when water starts to enter the tube and running into the mask.
Other features include the anti-fog technology, this was a common issue with older snorkel masks with people often having to stop and wipe to gain back their view. With the new full-face snorkel, this issue has been totally removed, allowing you to enjoy hours exploring the underwater view.
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.