Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
pacruise804

Where to purchase snorkel equipment

Recommended Posts

My husband and I are new to snorkeling - one time in 2016, once this month (as part of Snuba) - but really enjoy it and would like to try snorkeling from the beach on our next cruise.

 

In my limited research it looks like you should try masks on before purchase, but I'm not sure where to go for that. Our local swim shop only offers pool snorkels (not ocean), so not sure where to go. Do most people get them in port, or order from Amazon and then return if it doesn't fit?

 

Also, are fins necessary? I didn't know how easy it would be to put on/take off at the beach - we've only snorkeled from boat excursions.

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

where are you?

 

a dive shop is where you'll find the best equipment and knowledgeable staff

 

if you don't live near the beach don't assume there's no dive shop near by ... try Google, you might be surprised.

 

I'm one who says you MUST try it on as fit is VERY important if you plan to invest in decent equipment.

 

I'm not sure what the difference is 'tween a pool snork' and an ocean one .....

 

me and dd in the big tank at EPCOT

enhance

formerly known as 'The Living Seas'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply Capt!

 

I'm in Central PA so about 3 hours from ocean. I did a google search for scuba shops, but when I looked further it didn't seem like they sold items - just instructed. I'll expand my search and try again.

 

The swim shop mostly supplies one of the local colleges and high school swim teams. They had swim goggles, but not snorkeling masks. The snorkel itself looked different (not sure how to describe), and was for staying submerged while swimming laps but they said it was not suitable for ocean use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most sporting goods shops - Dicks, Big5, etc. have snorkel sets out right now.

If you buy online, be sure to use a company that takes returns no questions asked.

Scubatoys.com is a good one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Most sporting goods shops - Dicks, Big5, etc. have snorkel sets out right now.

If you buy online, be sure to use a company that takes returns no questions asked.

Scubatoys.com is a good one.

 

I thought Dicks was more like Walmart that they were pre-packaged and I wouldn't be able to try on (plus the clerks at ours don't tend to be knowledgeable). I'm not familiar with Big5.

 

It looks like there might be two scuba schools about an hour from me - I didn't recognize any of their brands on the website, but I have to go that way next week anyway and can check them out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

most places that offer SCUBA lessons will be associated with a store that sells equipment ....

 

really good SCUBA stores have an on site pool where they teach and may allow 'test driving' equipment.

 

if you have links to the places in your mind I'd be happy to take a look

 

you can also take a look at places like Divers Direct to see the varieties and price ranges of equipment.

 

http://www.diversdirect.com/scuba-diving/snorkel-gear

 

(good shops will price match the on line places)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the reply Capt!

 

I'm in Central PA so about 3 hours from ocean. I did a google search for scuba shops, but when I looked further it didn't seem like they sold items - just instructed. I'll expand my search and try again.

 

The swim shop mostly supplies one of the local colleges and high school swim teams. They had swim goggles, but not snorkeling masks. The snorkel itself looked different (not sure how to describe), and was for staying submerged while swimming laps but they said it was not suitable for ocean use.

 

If you're ever in the area, you can try Lang's Ski and Scuba in Newtown, PA. Small, family owned shop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
most places that offer SCUBA lessons will be associated with a store that sells equipment ....

 

really good SCUBA stores have an on site pool where they teach and may allow 'test driving' equipment.

 

if you have links to the places in your mind I'd be happy to take a look

 

you can also take a look at places like Divers Direct to see the varieties and price ranges of equipment.

 

http://www.diversdirect.com/scuba-diving/snorkel-gear

 

(good shops will price match the on line places)

 

Thanks so much! The two places within an hour are:

http://www.awaterodysseyscuba.com/

and

http://www.divestsc.com/

 

If you're ever in the area, you can try Lang's Ski and Scuba in Newtown, PA. Small, family owned shop.

Thank you, but we don't get out Trenton/Philly way much. Hopefully that will help someone else though:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

both say they are a shop but only the second gives examples of equipment so I'd probably start there ... they are showing high end stuff ... question is do they have this or 'they can order it'

 

give a call and ask, what can you loose?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought Dicks was more like Walmart that they were pre-packaged and I wouldn't be able to try on (plus the clerks at ours don't tend to be knowledgeable). I'm not familiar with Big5.

 

 

 

It looks like there might be two scuba schools about an hour from me - I didn't recognize any of their brands on the website, but I have to go that way next week anyway and can check them out.

 

 

 

Whenever you go on a cruise that is heavy on snorkel/dive locations, head to dive shops and start trying on masks. Eventually, you'll find the right one and you can purchase it there or later online.

IMO, more important than fins is a float vest and cheap ones can be purchased on lines (buy a few to have backups).

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

part 2 of your question has been ignored .....

Also, are fins necessary?

 

'necessary' ........ ? Fins are not 'necessary' IMO ... rather they expand your ability to move around by several times .... the average swimmer is not terribly 'efficient' in the water (and I swam competitively at one time) . We can move around but as compared to a true aquatic animal, we're a rock! (think dolphin versus us)

fins are a SIGNIFICANT step towards closing this gap. A TINY step ... but a step. Actually I can only imagine you ask this if you've never snorkeled with fins vs without ..... if you want to get from here to there in the water, fins increase your ability by 10 times or more .... if you want to get in the water with a mask and sit in one spot maybe you don't need fins. But what about swimming back to the boat? Wouldn't a 10x increase in efficiency be nice?

and then here again, fit matters!!!!! and there are different styles of fins .... not to mention COLORS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whenever you go on a cruise that is heavy on snorkel/dive locations, head to dive shops and start trying on masks. Eventually, you'll find the right one and you can purchase it there or later online.

IMO, more important than fins is a float vest and cheap ones can be purchased on lines (buy a few to have backups).

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Thanks for your response:) . At least for now we are primarily looking at snorkeling from the beach (but also having our own to take on future excursions will be nice). I figured - maybe naively - that vests don't vary in quality/fit as much as the mask and snorkel.

 

part 2 of your question has been ignored .....

 

Also, are fins necessary?

 

'necessary' ........ ? Fins are not 'necessary' IMO ... rather they expand your ability to move around by several times .... the average swimmer is not terribly 'efficient' in the water (and I swam competitively at one time) . We can move around but as compared to a true aquatic animal, we're a rock! (think dolphin versus us)

 

fins are a SIGNIFICANT step towards closing this gap. A TINY step ... but a step. Actually I can only imagine you ask this if you've never snorkeled with fins vs without ..... if you want to get from here to there in the water, fins increase your ability by 10 times or more .... if you want to get in the water with a mask and sit in one spot maybe you don't need fins. But what about swimming back to the boat? Wouldn't a 10x increase in efficiency be nice?

 

and then here again, fit matters!!!!! and there are different styles of fins .... not to mention COLORS

 

Thanks again Capt:) Looks like I will need to get some fins also;)

 

For the casual snorkel, are short fins ok? Our next itinerary is HMC, Grand Turk, and Freeport - we won't be in the water at Freeport but do hope to snorkel from the beach at HMC and Grand Turk. I'd like to maximize enjoyment/ability but minimize packing, not too much to ask right?

 

Another question: I've seen it suggested to bring Cheerios to attract sea life for better snorkeling, but this doesn't seem right to me: bad for the ecology, possibly bad for the animals. Am I right that it is better to just observe what is around me vs. trying to draw attention? I realize some tour guides probably feed to attract, but I want to make sure I'm being responsible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for your response:) . At least for now we are primarily looking at snorkeling from the beach (but also having our own to take on future excursions will be nice). I figured - maybe naively - that vests don't vary in quality/fit as much as the mask and snorkel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks again Capt:) Looks like I will need to get some fins also;)

 

 

 

For the casual snorkel, are short fins ok? Our next itinerary is HMC, Grand Turk, and Freeport - we won't be in the water at Freeport but do hope to snorkel from the beach at HMC and Grand Turk. I'd like to maximize enjoyment/ability but minimize packing, not too much to ask right?

 

 

 

Another question: I've seen it suggested to bring Cheerios to attract sea life for better snorkeling, but this doesn't seem right to me: bad for the ecology, possibly bad for the animals. Am I right that it is better to just observe what is around me vs. trying to draw attention? I realize some tour guides probably feed to attract, but I want to make sure I'm being responsible.

 

 

 

PLEASE DON'T FEED CHEERIOS (OR FROZEN PEAS OR ???) TO FISH.

How lazy can some folks get that they need the fish to come to them rather than the other way around?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

correct ... feeding fish is considered a no no (let's not even BEGIN to discuss stingray city!)

 

back when I began diving it was the norm however ... canned cheeze was popular. At Sunset House folks would take the individual boxes of cereal from breakfast for this purpose. One dive was saw a young lady who'd forgotten she had such a package of cereal in her BC and at the end of the dive she began to squeeze the air out her BC b4 ascending as one should.

 

The forgotten cereal bag popped open and as the cereal dispersed she disappeared in a cloud of fish in a feeding frenzy. Fortunately she did not panic ... altho her eyes got to frisbee size!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
correct ... feeding fish is considered a no no (let's not even BEGIN to discuss stingray city!)

 

back when I began diving it was the norm however ... canned cheeze was popular. At Sunset House folks would take the individual boxes of cereal from breakfast for this purpose. One dive was saw a young lady who'd forgotten she had such a package of cereal in her BC and at the end of the dive she began to squeeze the air out her BC b4 ascending as one should.

 

The forgotten cereal bag popped open and as the cereal dispersed she disappeared in a cloud of fish in a feeding frenzy. Fortunately she did not panic ... altho her eyes got to frisbee size!!

 

Not sure what a BC is, but :eek:

 

Thanks for the reassurance - I will NOT bring any food with and just enjoy whatever marine life chooses to grace me with their presence:halo:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BC ... buoyancy compensator .... the air jacket a SCUBA diver wears to help maintain 'neutral buoyancy' ..... evolved from the early safety vests for diving similar to snorkel vests

 

typically one adds some air to the jacket during the dive to compensate for 'compression' and it is wise to get rid of this air b4 coming up since as one rises the air will EXPAND and can cause, in a worst case, an uncontrolled assent like releasing a helium balloon .....

 

**************

when I was a kid I went to the zoo in Chicago once a year. I remember they sold bags of peanuts for feeding the animals and bags of MARSHMALLOWS specifically for feeding the bears. Polar bears were especially fond and would sit and beg for them ... catching in their mouth. Then zoos started getting a little more 'animal preservation' conscious and it was big news when the zoo announced no more peanuts or marshmallows. Seems the bears had no teeth anymore and were all diabetic and many other animals wouldn't touch the foods they should eat but only peanuts! Try tossing a marshmallow to an animal in a zoo today and it will probably get you kicked out!

Edited by Capt_BJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I noticed that your possible dive shops were a bit north of here, but if you get to the Harrisburg area, you could try Harrisburg's West Shore Scuba. They are located very close to the intersection of I-81 and Rt 15. https://westshorescuba.com/

 

Also, if you want to save some money on the snorkel and still get a fairly good one this amazon item https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OO2BFOK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 has done well for my husband. I was outfitted with good gear from a local dive shop for the purpose of a tropical ecology college course (that took place in the Bahamas) and this snorkel appears to be a duplicate of that one at less than half the price.

 

I second the need for fins. You can probably get away with the short fins (especially if you only plan to use them on cruises, and size for packing is an issue), but I do prefer the longer ones. Even within the restricted swimming/snorkeling areas at most ports, an indifferent swimmer can find themselves suddenly overly tired and a seemingly large distance from the beach.

 

I expect, since you said you aren't getting in the water at Freeport, that you have other plans. I have heard it said that Freeport is not a favorite cruise port, and therefore, you may not find yourself wanting to return on a future cruise. However, I prefer it, since I found the best snorkeling (short of the tropical ecology trip to San Salvador, Bahamas) at Paradise Cove (Dead Man's Reef). http://deadmansreef.com/freeport-bahamas-things-to-do/ If you go back (or change your mind about your Freeport plans), I highly recommend it. It isn't something that shows up on the cruise line sponsored excursions, and you end up having a relaxing and not overcrowded day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BC ... buoyancy compensator .... the air jacket a SCUBA diver wears to help maintain 'neutral buoyancy' ..... evolved from the early safety vests for diving similar to snorkel vests

 

typically one adds some air to the jacket during the dive to compensate for 'compression' and it is wise to get rid of this air b4 coming up since as one rises the air will EXPAND and can cause, in a worst case, an uncontrolled assent like releasing a helium balloon .....

 

**************

when I was a kid I went to the zoo in Chicago once a year. I remember they sold bags of peanuts for feeding the animals and bags of MARSHMALLOWS specifically for feeding the bears. Polar bears were especially fond and would sit and beg for them ... catching in their mouth. Then zoos started getting a little more 'animal preservation' conscious and it was big news when the zoo announced no more peanuts or marshmallows. Seems the bears had no teeth anymore and were all diabetic and many other animals wouldn't touch the foods they should eat but only peanuts! Try tossing a marshmallow to an animal in a zoo today and it will probably get you kicked out!

 

Thanks for the explanation about BC. Those poor bears:mad::(

 

I noticed that your possible dive shops were a bit north of here, but if you get to the Harrisburg area, you could try Harrisburg's West Shore Scuba. They are located very close to the intersection of I-81 and Rt 15. https://westshorescuba.com/

 

Also, if you want to save some money on the snorkel and still get a fairly good one this amazon item https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OO2BFOK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 has done well for my husband. I was outfitted with good gear from a local dive shop for the purpose of a tropical ecology college course (that took place in the Bahamas) and this snorkel appears to be a duplicate of that one at less than half the price.

 

I second the need for fins. You can probably get away with the short fins (especially if you only plan to use them on cruises, and size for packing is an issue), but I do prefer the longer ones. Even within the restricted swimming/snorkeling areas at most ports, an indifferent swimmer can find themselves suddenly overly tired and a seemingly large distance from the beach.

 

I expect, since you said you aren't getting in the water at Freeport, that you have other plans. I have heard it said that Freeport is not a favorite cruise port, and therefore, you may not find yourself wanting to return on a future cruise. However, I prefer it, since I found the best snorkeling (short of the tropical ecology trip to San Salvador, Bahamas) at Paradise Cove (Dead Man's Reef). http://deadmansreef.com/freeport-bahamas-things-to-do/ If you go back (or change your mind about your Freeport plans), I highly recommend it. It isn't something that shows up on the cruise line sponsored excursions, and you end up having a relaxing and not overcrowded day.

 

Thanks for the Harrisburg referral - I'll keep that in mind if closer to home doesn't work. We loved Freeport on our last cruise - did the Kayak trip through Carnival - and have heard good things about Dead Man's Reef. This trip is a little more budget minded though plus we won't have much time in port. The nice thing is there are many cruises with stops at Freeport:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the explanation about BC. Those poor bears:mad::(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the Harrisburg referral - I'll keep that in mind if closer to home doesn't work. We loved Freeport on our last cruise - did the Kayak trip through Carnival - and have heard good things about Dead Man's Reef. This trip is a little more budget minded though plus we won't have much time in port. The nice thing is there are many cruises with stops at Freeport:D

 

 

 

One other caveat about fins. They are not unlike shoes when it comes to foot width, particularly wide feet (e.g., EEE). Find a physical shop where you can, at least, try them on.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi pacruise,

 

My wife and I were in the same position in terms of wanting to get snorkel gear a while back. We both ended up getting each getting one of the sets from USDivers at a local sporting goods store. (I got this and my wife got this set). We both actually prefer her fins, they are smaller and pack easier!

 

We were happy with the quality, and extra parts are easy to find, especially for the fins.

 

As for never feeding the fish, the other posters are on the mark. It can make them aggressive and I know I certainly wouldn't want to have my hand nipped by a parrot fish (they have jaws that can bite through coral!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for your input. I've been able to check out both places and they both carry equipment that you can try on. I had a better impression from Sunken Treasure, so now just waiting for their hours and my husband's schedule to mesh to go purchase:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if it was mentioned but there are different ways of wearing fins, with or without boots.

 

I would advise getting boots and booted fins. This way if you need to walk across a rocky shore to the water you wear your boots and then put the fins on over them in the water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not sure if it was mentioned but there are different ways of wearing fins, with or without boots.

 

I would advise getting boots and booted fins. This way if you need to walk across a rocky shore to the water you wear your boots and then put the fins on over them in the water.

 

Thanks:) We have water shoes and were going to take with for trying on fins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We finally got our equipment :D

 

The fins are shorter so easier for packing, but had to be ordered since the ones in shop are higher end for diving and more than what we needed. The store owner recommended socks with the fins, but they are closed fins so no water shoes.

 

We went with the lowest model snorkel, figuring it would be at least as good as what we had on our excursion.

 

Masks were a bit higher end - especially since I went with the bi-focal option - but I think we will be happy with them.

 

Thanks again for everyone's advice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2019
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...