Although training agencies usually insist on them often scuba divers quickly reject snorkels as part of their kit. Admittedly in a current they can cause your mask to wobble (technical term) and leak. However on the surface in choppy seas they offer real advantages. Firstly they don’t need any tank pressure so either before or after the dive they stop you getting mouthfuls of sea water whilst on the surface. I accept more experienced divers prefer to get in and descend often meeting a few metres down on the shot line so this benefit disappears. I have been sat in the sea waiting for collection before, often left to last as generally I am one of the most experienced.
I can honestly say that despite my dive experience I still prefer to be able to watch the boat and breathe – thus the appreciation of a simple snorkel. So the great snorkel debate raves on, I have decided to take a snorkel but now I am faced with a huge choice of snorkels! Really how has the snorkel become so complicated? Confession time.. I dive with complicated snorkel, wave chamber, flex section, self draining valve, I love it, used the same model TUSA Hyperdry snorkel since it was first introduced. I know some people reading this will raise an eyebrow, “bit poncy” but really spending a lot of time in the water I like my comfort. I recall an old saying “any idiot can be uncomfortable”. Not wearing a snorkel or at least carrying one I don’t believe is very wise. Do you carry a dive knife? I hope so, if you don’t start doing so.
Why? Because you may get entangled, quite unlikely but possible. So why not carry a snorkel? You may not get picked up immediately, again unlikely but possible. Another diver may surface with a problem before you, the dive masters will obviously assist him or her first. You are on the surface, BCD fully inflated bouncing around in the waves, you are safe but without a snorkel either taking mouthfuls of sea water or not watching the boat (daft if you are drifting). It seems to me a snorkel is as much as a safety item as your dive knife and deserves the same amount of consideration when deciding on your dive kit configuration.