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Snorkel Gear for Kids
Snorkel Gear for Kids

Children Snorkeling


Photo by PADI

Whether you're traveling with teens, tweens or tots, snorkeling is a fun thing to do on vacation with kids. Yet a leaky mask or nasty sunburn could do more than put a blemish on the trip. The following tips will help you select proper fitting snorkel gear and ensure your packing list includes more than just the mask, snorkel and fins.

Snorkeling Equipment
Make sure your child's snorkel gear fits properly before you set out.
  • The mask is your child's window to the underwater circus. A properly fitting mask will seal, in other words it will not fall off even when your child leans forward. Have your child hold the mask to their face, without putting on the strap. After they've removed any stray hair from under the skirt, have them breath in. If the mask seals, it shouldn't leak.
  • The snorkel enables your child to breath when he or she is face down and enjoying the show. A properly fitting snorkel will slip easily into and out of your child's mouth. Snorkels with a purge valve that remove unwanted water may be of benefit for the kids.
  • Fins help your child scoot about and come in two varieties, full foot and adjustable strap. The full foot model is lighter and protects your child's heal whereas an adjustable strap fin likely means more than one year of wear. If you intend to snorkel in and out of coral reefs, neoprene booties can help protect exposed feet. Aside from a comfortable fit keep the following in mind when selecting fins: the more rigid the fin the more effort required.
Relax and take it slow
Even curious kids may be skeptical of snorkeling.
  • Introduce younger children to snorkel gear, once piece at time, and let them try out the snorkel, mask, and fins in a familiar place such as the bath tub.
  • Start out in shallow water or a swimming pool. Jumping off a boat with snorkel gear is entirely different than snorkeling close to shore.
  • If water in the snorkel is an impediment to having fun, experiment with SASY (Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth) and trade in your child's snorkel equipment for scuba gear.
Make it safe
Don't focus only on the mask, snorkel and fins.
  • A snorkel vest or life jacket will help uncomfortable kids as well as parents of overconfident kids relax.
  • Rub your children in water resistant sunscreen - their back, knees and neck are completely exposed to the sun - and for extended fun in the sun dress them in a t-shirt.
  • Children get cold faster than adults. A full or half wetsuit may lengthen your snorkeling trip.
Make it fun
Pack a few extras and soon you'll be having fun.
  • Pick up a laminated card of local fish. Identifying marine life will enhance your child's fun.
  • Don't forget the waterproof camera, photography will help open up the new world they are about to explore. This need not be an expensive venture; some single use or disposable cameras are appropriate for underwater use.
  • Pack each child's snorkeling gear in a mesh bag and let all of your children carry their own stuff. Aside from instilling a sense of responsibility in the kids it will free up your hands.

So the next time you are heading to the beach be sure to grab your mask, snorkel and fins and introduce your kids to the underwater world.

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