Preparing for one of WWF’s highly sought-after snorkeling tours? Take a look at our packing list to make sure you’ve got everything you need before taking to the waters.
Taking the time to find a mask that fits your face well is critical. If you suction the mask to your face, without using the strap, it should stay put by itself. Any air leakage means it’s not a good fit.
2. Mask defogger
Goggle defogger can help prevent your mask from fogging up. Be sure to choose one that’s non-toxic, biodegradable and alcohol free, for your protection and for the safety of the reefs and their inhabitants. A simpler option is to spit into the mask and rub the saliva around before washing it out.
A critical factor in choosing the right snorkel is the mouthpiece—you want to make sure it feels comfortable. A “purge valve” is a nice feature on many snorkels that lets water out but not in. And you want to choose a snorkel that comes close to your head, which will prevent drag.
4. Swim cap or bandana
Not only will a swim cap or bandana keep hair out of your snorkel, but it will also prevent your scalp from burning on a sunny day. The surgical caps that doctors wear are an ideal type of bandana because the ties prevent them from slipping off. Pick one up from a medical supply company for cheap.
5. Float Vest
For the less confident swimmer, renting or purchasing a float vest is a great way to keep you buoyant and relieve any nervousness.
Besides keeping you warm in cooler water, wetsuits also help prevent sunburns, offer protection from stingy particles in the ocean and provide buoyancy. Shorty wetsuits—ones with short sleeves and leggings that stop right before the knee—are perfect for water that’s just a little cooler than you could swim in comfortably, plus they’re easier to pull on and take up less room in your suitcase.
7. Rash guard
When the water is too warm for a wetsuit, a rash guard will provide the same protection from the sun and ocean stinging bits.
8. Biodegradable sunscreen
Choose a reef-friendly sunscreen, which biodegrades in water. That way you won’t be damaging the reefs you’re there to see.
For snorkeling, shorter fins are often desired—you can change direction easier and they’re not as heavy, making it easier to kick. If you’d like to try free diving, go for longer fins that will help you swim deeper faster.
10. Neoprene socks
Even fins that fit well can cause blisters on your feet, especially on the backs of your ankles. Neoprene socks provide comfort and can also help keep your feet warm.