Can You Snorkel With Swim Goggles?
We all love the idea of plunging into the ocean and explore the exciting world under the water surface. But since we don’t really have gills and fins, we have to make use of additional equipment like a snorkeling mask in order to survive and move around underwater.
It doesn’t matter if you’re going deep sea diving, or snorkeling or just swimming – certain precautionary measures are essential to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Can you Snorkel with Swim Googles? Yes, technically you can. But most likely it won’t be a pleasant experience. You have to breathe through your mouth and having your nose in the water makes it very difficult to not end up with water in your breathing tract.
Whether it’s swimming or snorkeling, we have to wear goggles or a snorkel mask to move around comfortably underwater. In essence, they both serve a similar function: by creating an air pocket in front of your eyes, they allow for a clearer view. They eliminate the distortion in your vision, which occurs when your eyes are in direct contact with the water.
These snorkeling masks and swimming goggles may be made up of different materials, such as acrylic or plastic or glass. Regardless of the material, the main aim is to make your view underwater less blurry. While it’s okay to use either one of these when you’re snorkeling, using a dive mask is ideal.
How Snorkel Masks Are Different From Swim Goggles
Visually, dive masks are much larger than swim goggles. They cover your face from your forehead till the end of your nose. Several newer models cover your whole face to make it more comfortable to breathe. The edges of the mask have a seal to prevent water from seeping in.
Swim goggles are much smaller and only cover your eyes and a small area around them. These swimming goggles are usually round or oval in shape. The main use of swim goggles is to protect the eyes and provide a clearer view. The nose remains uncovered.
And just in case you were wondering, there are no specially designed goggles for snorkeling or scuba diving. While you can use a dive or snorkeling mask to swim, you cannot use swim goggles to snorkel.
The Watertight Seal
When you’re out for a regular swim, your swim goggles are enough to prevent water from getting into your eyes. If you add a snorkel to that, the swimming goggles won’t be able to maintain their grip.
Dive masks, on the other hand, are designed to stay in place no matter the weight attached. Since they are designed for scuba divers, they must keep the water out, especially for deep sea diving.
Full-face snorkel masks have the snorkel as an integrated part of the mask. They allow you to comfortably breathe while your head is in the water. Such a snorkeling mask is not at all shaped to be used for swimming laps though.
If water gets inside the snorkel mask, it will fog up the lens and make it difficult for you to move around and see where you are. Water inside a full-face snorkel mask can make it impossible to breathe.
Attaching a Snorkel Tube
When you’re swimming, you don’t really need to hold your breath or breathe through your mouth since you’re in almost constant contact with the surface. However, when you’re snorkeling, you need to practice breathing through your mouth or make use of a nose plug.
If you use a snorkel mask, you can attach a snorkel breathing tube and not worry about this problem at all. You simply breathe through the snorkel while your head is in the water.
Dealing with Water Pressure
Water is around 800 times denser than air. So basically, this means that the air pressure under the water surface is significantly greater than that on land.
This pressure increases as you go deeper. This intense pressure can squeeze the air pockets in your dive mask or swim goggles. It causes them to tighten, leading to discomfort and eventually bruising.
The tightening caused by water pressure is known as the “squeeze”. Dive masks are sturdier and are not as strongly impacted by this as swim goggles.
This is based on the fact that when you breathe through your mask, the air accumulated inside can somewhat combat the water pressure from the outside and avoid squeezing.
It is important to note that the squeeze only has a significant impact when you’re at a significant depth under the water surface. It is not likely to be too much of a problem when you’re snorkeling since you will remain at the surface.
That’s why most often snorkel masks use polycarbonate for the lens instead of tempered glass. There’s simply no need to design them to withstand high pressures that you experience during scuba diving.
Why Using Swim Goggles for Snorkeling Is a Bad Idea
Breathing underwater is not an easy task. Even when you breathe through your mouth, it’s difficult, in fact, almost impossible to prevent water from getting up your nose.
This is where your mask helps. If you solely make use of swim goggles for snorkeling, you will require additional equipment, such as a nose plug to avoid this problem.
If you have a snorkel attached, you can keep your head under the water surface for a longer time period without having to constantly come up for fresh air. The snorkel also keeps you breathing from your mouth while you’re under the surface.
When you’re snorkeling, you need to attach a snorkel to your mask or goggles. The straps on your goggles are not strong enough to maintain their grip once a snorkel is also attached. Snorkel masks, on the other hand, are specifically designed for this job.
Swim goggles are useless if you’re scuba diving. If you’re out snorkeling and you do decide to do some free dives, you cannot go beyond a depth of 10 feet with your regular swim goggles. The water pressure is too intense and will cause your goggles to squeeze and tighten and potentially damage your eyes.
The Bottom Line
Before we end, we’d just like to point out that both swim goggles and snorkel masks cannot be worn if you’re wearing eye glasses. In such cases, you may either need to get specially designed prescription equipment or make use of contact lenses.
Overall, while you can make use of swim goggles while snorkeling, you will need to be more cautious during your water activities. For a safe and enjoyable snorkeling experience, it’s best to use a snorkel mask.