Do you need a Snorkel Vest?
Although a lot of people can swim, swimming in the ocean can be a completely different beast when you're not used to it.
It doesn't matter how good a swimmer you are, wearing a snorkeling vest can not only give you that extra peace of mind, but it will also make you feel more comfortable and relaxed in the water. Even experienced swimmers and snorkelers wear snorkel vests as it extends the time they can spend in the water without getting tired.
How do Snorkel Vests work?
With just a little practice, snorkel vests will help control your buoyancy in the water.
They have an inflator tube and a quick dump valve for added flotation control. You increase and control your level of buoyancy by blowing air into the tube to inflate the vest. If you want to dive below the surface, you can release the air in the vest by pressing on the tube.
Snorkel vests are not life jackets or life preservers. Use these only if you already know how to swim and understand how to use them. A snorkel vest will help you stay afloat, especially if you become fatigued or distressed. If you need more buoyancy, blow air into the tube and continue adding air until you feel comfortable.
In some swimming locations, snorkel vests are required by law for safety reasons. Many snorkeling tour boat operators insist on their guests wearing one. Bringing one that you're already familiar and comfortable with has its advantages. The vests mentioned here are more comfortable and far less bulky than many of the ones available for rent on tours (and sometimes, less smelly too).
#1 - Wildhorn Outfitters Jetty Snorkel Vest
Best on Price, Comfort and Style
Wildhorn Outfitters Jetty is an adjustable vest made from durable premium materials suited to snorkeling, swimming and other low impact water sports.
When wearing a quality snorkel vest such as the Jetty, means that you don’t have to fight to stay in the position you want, whether you are actively snorkeling or resting in the water.
The secure lock valve is positioned so you can adjust your buoyancy at any time. The valve is easy to open and close, and only takes seconds to inflate or deflate.
If you want less buoyancy, unlock the valve and press down to let air out. This is perfect if you want to dive to get a closer look at the marine life.
Once you're back on the surface, you can inflate the vest in seconds to your desired buoyancy level.
How comfortable are these and do they 'ride up'?
This snorkel vest is designed to keep you upright and stable when in the water. It's comfortable and one of the most compact snorkel vests on the market.
It has been designed specifically to fit snugly around the waist so it doesn't ride up. It has a single sided entry point which makes it easy and quick to get on and off.
Wildhorn Outfitters Jetty - How to pick the correct size
The Jetty Inflatable Vest is available in 4 sizes. They have a large hook & loop secure pad as well as easy-access adjustable side and shoulder straps for a fully customized fit.
With the Jetty you can be safe and look great at the same time. The Jetty has been designed to tighten snugly around your waist to avoid the vest riding up, rather than using an annoying crotch strap.
If you experience a problem that is a result of defect in materials or workmanship, Wildhorn Outfitters warrants your Jetty for the lifetime of the product and will repair or replace your vest at no charge. Warranty does not apply to damage resulting from impact, misuse, abuse, accident, negligence, or normal weather wear and tear.
#2 - ScubaPro Snorkel Vest
The safety vest is made from 1/8" Neoprene. This adds some warmth while not compromising on comfort when snorkeling in warmer water.
This vest has a quality zipper on the left-hand side with a velcro strap piece to keep the zipper closed and locked in position. There's a pocket for storing personal items. Keys etc. can be slipped inside a zip-lock bag and placed inside the vest pocket for added security.
The ScubaPro vest offers a good fit and is much more stylish than most other options available on the market. Using this vest will improve your enjoyment of snorkeling allowing for longer swimming periods before resting.
This vest comes in either Hi-Viz orange or Hi-Viz yellow with a dark colored back piece. Having this back piece will provide some protection from over-exposure to the sun. If for any reason you need to rest or float on the surface, people generally turn over and float on their back, making the fluorescent front side of this vest very easy to see.
What others are saying:
Snorkeling and swimming in 50 ft. deep water after being beaten down by a couple of waves can be tough. I feel SO much more confident in going out on the water with this snorkel vest.
How comfortable are these and do they 'ride up'?
Generally, these do not ride up at all while snorkeling.
Some people have mentioned that it feels like it rides up slightly when inflated and floating. This seems to depend on the fit though. If it does ride up a little, it's not enough to bother most people - this is just something to be aware of.
When comparing to other snorkel vests that have the strap that runs from the back of the vest to the front of the vest between the legs, many people complain these are just as uncomfortable. The reality is, we're talking about snorkel vests. The ScubaPro Snorkel vest is one of the most comfortable, but it's still a snorkel vest - and there's always going to be a small number of people who just don't like the feel.
Scubapro - How to pick the correct size
These are adult sized vests.
Measure your waist and check this measurement against the sizes below. If your measurements fall between these sizes, then make sure you order the next size up.
Initially, the vest may feel tight or that there's not a lot of room but once you are in the water and have it inflated, it is true to size. If you're a larger chested lady, you may want to go up an extra size.
#3 -Cressi Snorkel Vest
The Cressi Snorkel Vest is ideal for new snorkelers. This vest has an adjustable waist band and crotch strap for a secure fit. The waist and crotch straps are squeeze-style" side-release buckles.
The snorkeling vest is built-to-last. It's made from durable 220-Denier material with an EVA coating. The vest is inflated by blowing into the tube.
This vest comes in either black or yellow, and is available in 2 sizes - Standard and Large. Standard will fit anyone weighing between 100 - 200 pounds (40 kilo to 90 kilo), and the Large will fit those over 200 pounds (90+ kilo).
General Snorkel Vest Care and Maintenance
All equipment or clothing used in salt water needs to be rinsed in fresh water and allowed to dry between each use. Do not leave it out in the sun for long periods. As with all Neoprene products, you can place the vest in the sun to dry for short periods, but it should be stored for longer periods in a ventilated, shaded area.
If you forget to rinse it off after swimming, salt water will cause the product to smell. If this happens, there are specialized products available to get rid of the odor.
If you are new to snorkeling or not a confident swimmer, then either the ScubaPro Snorkelling Vest or the Wildhorn Outfitters Jetty Snorkel vest are both quality products.
These are very easy to put on, comfortable to wear and easy to inflate or deflate as needed.
These are the top-rated vests currently available and both will assist with your buoyancy while snorkeling. These snorkel vests will also protect your back from excessive sun exposure during long hours of snorkeling.
"I bought a snorkel vest to relax and not have to worry when I'm a mile offshore and have been swimming for an hour or more checking out cool coral reefs, schools of fish and / or Leopard Sharks. Let me just say, it does EVERYTHING I want it to."
Wondering how to take your Snorkeling to the next level?
Full face masks hit the snorkeling market a few years ago and they continue to improve each year. Full face masks take a lot of the negatives out of snorkeling.
There's no more jaw fatigue and no gagging on a snorkel mouthpiece. If you want to enjoy snorkeling then the next step is to invest in a full face mask. I can't recommend these highly enough. It's a game changer!
What to find out more? Have a look at the best quality and most popular full face snorkel masks here.
What about the latest innovation in a more traditional type of snorkel?
Have a look at the PowerBreather Snorkel here.