You need all kinds of equipment for diving or snorkeling. However, one gear that is often overlooked is the snorkel vest, though it is very important. You need the vest for your own safety, and you should only get the best snorkeling vest you can find always.
There are many things to consider when you are buying one.
Many people make the mistake of believing that a snorkeling vest is actually a life jacket. The vest is not meant to be used as a jacket. The main purpose of the vest is to help you offset the negative buoyancy so that you can stay on the surface when you have to.
These vests come in two basic types, which are –
You will find most snorkelers using this type of vest. There is one single bladder here, shaped as an oblong donut. Head goes through the hole. There are 1 or 2 adjustable nylon straps to hold the vest to your body. In single strap vests, you will find a waist strap that prevents the bladder from floating away. There is an additional crotch strap that goes between your legs and down your back in 2-strap horsecollar vests, which prevents the vest from going up when you are in the water. There is either a buckle system or clips that attach the straps.
The bladders are mostly in oval shape, but sometimes, you get them in other shapes as well, like the ones where the shape tapers and gets narrower at the top. This makes the vest less bulky. In some vests, there are wing-like extensions at the lower part to make it more stable when in use.
This is the second type of snorkeling vest you will find. What makes this different than the horse collar vest is the way the jacket is designed. You wear this vest as if you are wearing a shirt by putting your hands through the arm holes. Its bladder is usually located at the front part, because at the back there is just the material. A zipper or adjustable straps secured it to your body. And like the horse collar design, there may or may not be a crotch strap, depending on the company that has made the vest.
Remember, it is important to buy only from the best brands.