Why You Need a Snorkel
A diver happy that she has a snorkel to use at the surface.
It may not come as a surprise, but snorkels are not the most popular piece of scuba diving gear. In fact, many divers have chosen to forgo them completely. Often times divers cite their decision on the entanglement hazard snorkels present in overhead environments, but many just dislike their dorky, unwieldy nature. But before you decide to ditch this valuable piece of equipment, consider the following points:
Free Air: Using a snorkel before and after shore dives allows you to breathe without draining your tank during long surface swims. This leaves more breathing gas for your actual dive, while allowing you to keep an eye on conditions, marine life and navigational aids below the waterline while swimming.
Waiting Game: If you’re waiting for a boat pickup, a snorkel is a very comfortable way to do it. It allows you to easily keep an eye on critters and other divers without the exhaust bubbles of a regulator. And in choppy conditions, it's a better alternative to swallowing seawater with each breath after you’ve emptied your tank.
Emergencies: If you’re low on air upon surfacing, your snorkel will provide you with an easily-accessible, inexhaustible supply of fresh air. This can be especially important when faced with rough conditions or a long, unexpected surface swim. Snorkels can make it easier to breathe properly while assisting- ing others in the water, especially when towing a fellow diver.