How to Dress When Going Snorkeling

Get ready for an exciting underwater expedition, snorkelers! Whether you’re exploring a coral reef or checking out some exotic fish, snorkeling can be an exciting and refreshing activity. But before you take the plunge, you need to be dressed appropriately to have loads of fun without compromising on any aspect. So grab your fins, mask, and snorkel, and let’s get started!

Why is it Important to Dress Suitably for Snorkeling?

Snorkeling is undeniably a fun activity if done with proper preparation and the necessary equipment. For beginners, it can be overwhelming especially when it comes to deciding on what to wear when going snorkeling. If we talk about the minimum requirement, a snorkel, and mask would be the two items you’ll need to snorkel. However, there are other items too that are important such as a snorkel vest, fin socks, and snorkeling booties. 

Snorkeling involves being exposed to the elements, including sun, wind, and water, so you need to dress appropriately to protect your skin and avoid hypothermia. By wearing the right clothing and equipment, you can reduce your impact on the delicate underwater ecosystem and ensure that you are not harming any marine life. Other than that, the water your body is exposed to and the countless elements it contains can have adverse effects on the skin. Therefore, it is important to wear something safe and comfortable so that you can have the best of your snorkeling experience. 

Choosing a Swimsuit

Every occasion requires a certain dress code and snorkeling is no exception so, generally, the basic requirement is to wear a swimsuit that would make swimming underwater easy for you. Additionally, a swimsuit is attached to your body which makes moving underwater easy and rids you of any possible hindrances. Here are some of the important factors to consider while choosing a swimsuit for snorkeling:

Materials to Look For 

While snorkeling, it is important to keep in mind that whatever you choose to wear should hold everything in place. Also, water sports activities like snorkeling require you to choose a material that would not give your body a bad tan and keep you comfortable throughout the experience. Therefore, something that is breathable and has enough elasticity would go as the perfect material for a snorkeling swimsuit.

We recommend materials like polyester, elastane, and nylon as our top picks due to their comfort, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Several big sportswear brands in the world including Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour produce premium quality snorkeling swimsuits.

Different types of sportswear equipment

Considerations for Different Body Types

Snorkeling swimsuits, just like people, come in different shapes and sizes. According to different body types, many companies have come up with designs that suit and cater to people who may not be comfortable in a traditional swimsuit, let’s say a bikini. For that reason, we have a couple of suggestions that might help in picking the right product.

Firstly, a one-piece swimsuit is a great option as it keeps everything in place but some might find it easy to wear and take off, especially women or men who are heavier. In that case, sports shorts and tank tops are a great option rather than a form-fitting swimsuit. Similarly, some women due to their cultural values and religious beliefs may not be comfortable wearing a bikini. A great option under such circumstances would be yoga tights with full length wash guards.

Recommendations for Women and Men

For women gearing up for their snorkeling experience, our recommendations include tankini tops, board shorts, and bikini sets. One-piece swimsuits would also be a great option, and one of the common ones as well.

As for men, boardshorts, trunks, and wash guards if they wish to protect themselves from sun damage during hotter temperatures. Both men and women tend to choose their swimsuits depending on where they are snorkeling, what time of the year it is, and how much sun exposure they are expecting during their experience with the activity.

A young woman snorkeling

Sun Protection

It is no secret that sunlight, with all its benefits, also comes with certain damaging properties in the form of ultraviolet (UV) rays. The UV rays from the sun can cause skin damage and give rise to many hazards that need to be avoided if you wish to make your exposure to the sun safe. Since snorkeling is an open-air experience where you are under direct exposure to sunlight, it is imperative to choose your clothing and take necessary steps to minimize the damage caused by UVA rays, by wearing sun protection.

Importance of Sun Protection

Skin protection from the sun is important, particularly for snorkelers, because if you aren’t careful about it, there can be several skin issues like sunburn, melanoma, and even different types of skin cancer. Besides, sunburn can be painful and uncomfortable, which can ruin your snorkeling experience. When you’re in the water, the sun’s rays can be amplified and reflected, increasing your exposure and risk of damage. Therefore, wearing sun protection is as significant as it is to choose an appropriate swimsuit for snorkeling. 

Types of Sunscreen to Look For

When looking for sunscreen, it is critical to consider certain deciding factors. For instance, a good sunscreen must be water resistant as snorkeling is a water sport and only a water-resistant sunscreen would be able to do the job well. Other than that, the application and reapplication should be easy and most importantly, it should be able to keep us from getting a suntan or sunburn of any kind. 

We recommend that you wear sunscreen with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. This will ensure that you don’t get any suntan and ensure the highest level of protection as well.

Keep in mind that active ingredients like oxybenzone need to be avoided while you are looking for sunscreen as they are known to kill reefs and fish. As we mentioned earlier, the safety of marine life is also important. Therefore, look for sunscreens that are labeled as “reef-safe” or “ocean-friendly,” as they are less likely to contain harmful chemicals that can damage marine life.

Once you have a swimsuit on and you have applied your sun protection, you are almost ready to dive into that water.

An illustration of a bottle of sunscreen

Clothing Options for Sun Protection

Apart from sunscreens, some clothes also offer sun protection, in some cases even more than sunscreen. A highly recommended option in this regard would be UPF clothing, which blocks UV rays from entering your body and offers protection as good as sunscreen would. Moreover, just covering your body with rash guards and leggings would be a great way to protect yourself from the damaging sun rays while you enjoy your snorkeling experience.

Consider wearing a hat with a brim to shade your face and neck from the sun. You can also wear sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare. In order to protect your head and neck, you can also use a swim cap and bandana as part of the overall snorkeling swimwear. 

Footwear and Accessories

Now that we have swimsuits and sun protection covered, let us talk about footwear and other accessories that can enhance the experience of snorkeling, making it more comfortable and convenient.

Special shoes for snorkeling

Types of Footwear for Snorkeling

For starters, water shoes for snorkeling will minimize your chances of wounds and stings from underwater. They also protect your feet from sunburn, especially if you are snorkeling during a warmer time of the year. Wearing water shoes also makes it easy for you to walk on surfaces or bricks. They help improve your grip while you’re underwater and are lightweight as well as quick-drying. Be sure to look for water shoes with a protective toe cap to prevent stubbed toes.

Neoprene boots are also one of the finest options for snorkeling, as they provide good traction on slippery surfaces and protect your feet from sharp rocks or coral. They also provide a bit of insulation to keep your feet warm in colder water. This material is recommended because it offers maximum resistance against rough usage as well as twice the durability of normal rubber.

When it comes to choosing the type of footwear for snorkeling, we suggest you opt for something that has a rubber sole so that it can help you grip the surfaces underneath your feet. Additionally, the fabric needs to be durable and comfortable as it will only enhance the experience tenfold. 

Other Accessories to Consider

The most important gear that allows you to get into the water and stay there is a snorkel, a pair of goggles, gloves, and an oxygen tank. Needless to say that every single item that counts as part of the gear is necessary and has its uses. 

Fogging can be a common problem when snorkeling, as the warm air from your breath can cause the mask to fog up. A snorkel mask defogger disallows this by creating a thin film on the inside of the mask that prevents condensation.

Snorkeling is a great opportunity to see all kinds of marine life and capture some amazing photos or videos. A waterproof camera such as a GoPro can allow you to take photos and videos without any hassle.

In addition to that, there have been incidents of drowning while snorkeling although rarely reported, but wearing a life jacket on top of your swimsuit would ensure extra protection and save you from any unpleasant experience. Similarly, if you plan on snorkeling in low light conditions, such as an early morning or late afternoon, an underwater flashlight can help see more clearly and spot hidden creatures.

The complete snorkeling kit

Additional Considerations

To make sure that you get the best out of your snorkeling experience, some additional considerations would be to watch out for water temperature and choose your wetsuits accordingly as well as to prepare yourself according to the environment in which you plan to snorkel.

Water Temperature and Wetsuits

Throughout the world, water temperature for snorkeling differs due to the climatic region as well as the season in which one decides to undergo this adventure. For a warmer temperature, you may easily snorkel your way out in a bikini or a one-piece swimsuit. However, in case you are snorkeling somewhere in Norway or Iceland, it would be wiser to layer yourself up and wear thermal underclothing according to the temperature. Also, do not forget your gloves and dry suit if you don’t want to freeze in the Arctic! 

Snorkeling in Different Environments

A great tip before you set on your next snorkeling adventure would be to consider doing your research regarding the environment you should be expecting on your snorkeling trip. This includes the weather, the general climate of the area, the kind of marine life to expect under the surface of the water, and so on.

Keeping all this in consideration would help you choose what kind of snorkeling gear you need to pack and what to expect in a certain environment so that nothing comes as a surprise. It is an effective strategy to know these things beforehand to avoid any mismanagement during the experience itself.

A woman holding her bag on the beach

Preparing for Your Snorkeling Trip

After preparing our gear and clothing, we are onto packing and taking extra measures in case of unexpected weather changes. 

Tips for Packing

A backpack containing all the essential gear would be the basic requirement you need to fulfill. To keep it minimal and convenient, do not put anything extra or expensive just in case. Packing for a snorkeling trip means your backpack must have a snorkel, a swimsuit, a pair of gloves and water shoes or finds, your goggles and mask, and a swim cap.

Preparing for Changing Weather Conditions

Even though we can predict the weather, sometimes it changes without warning and in such a case, your experience can turn into a nightmare rather than a memorable lifetime adventure. To avoid any such situation, make sure you check the weather forecast beforehand and add clothing materials cautiously in case the weather decides to change. That way, if it gets unexpectedly cold, an extra pair of socks and thermal innerwear would come in handy and you will thank yourself for planning.

Recap: Dressing Properly for Snorkeling

Snorkeling can be an experience of a lifetime, especially when you are doing it for the first time and are not a professional snorkeler. To make it thoroughly enjoyable, the basic requirement would be to dress properly and choose your swimwear according to the climate, weather, body type, and comfort level. Once your clothing is sorted, the rest would be easy to focus on and maximize the possibility of fun you can have while snorkeling. 

It already requires a lot of energy to move around when you are underwater. Therefore, your snorkeling attire should be the least of your concerns when you decide to experience this thrilling activity. While choosing your snorkeling clothing, make sure that you choose something comfortable to wear and move around as well as safe in the water.

A person snorkeling in the ocean

Final Thoughts

The emphasis on dressing properly for snorkeling couldn’t be more and for all the right reasons. Take the example of Olympic swimmers who take every precaution in clothing even though they are pros at what they do. Similarly, snorkeling as an underwater sports activity can only be a fun experience if you are wearing appropriate clothing and are fully equipped with the right gear needed for an enjoyable experience. 

We hope that the information provided in the article would be beneficial for you when you are on the lookout for the right swimsuit, sun protection, footwear, and other accessories and makes your snorkeling experience worthwhile.