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Snorkel Masks vs. Swim Goggles

Snorkeling masks and swimming goggles have important differences, features, and purposes. So why is it that so many snorkelers use the equipment terminology snorkle goggles or even snorkeling goggles with nose cover?

Swimming mask goggles are traditionally associated with swimmers, whereas eye goggles are worn while snow skiing or sometimes in the workplace as safety eye wear.

Snorkelers and scuba divers wear a snorkel mask for eye protection, to see things underwater, and for additional comfort while they are in - or below - the water.

We could delve into the science and Physics of Boyle's law to explain the physiological differences between snorkel masks and swimming goggles but we will keep it simple. By concentrating on the design features, size of the lens, waterproof sealing materials around the face, and mask buckle and strap assemblies, we can clearly differentiate between snorkeling eye-wear products and water resistant eye equipment.

Swim Mask vs Goggles

Swim Goggles different from Snorkel MasksSo here is the clarification - scuba and snorkeling goggles do not exist - although we accept that swimming goggles are often used in water but they do not traditionally have a material that covers the nose.

A true quote from the dictionary describes goggles as 'large spectacles equipped with special lenses having protective rims to prevent injury to the eyes from water, strong wind, flying objects, and blinding light or flying objects'.

The simplest explanation is the extra feature of a diving mask to include the wearer's nose inside the face pocket, whereas goggles seal against the inner or outer eye sockets but leave the nose open to the water. Therefore, if you are wearing a swimming mask with a nose cover, it is actually a snorkeling mask and not a set of goggles - is that clearer to see now?

The importance of this feature is the ability that scuba divers, skin divers or free diving snorkeler's have to equalize this tiny air space using air introduced from your nose. You might also consider that underwater photography would be almost impossible without the facility that dive masks provide for seeing objects clearly and identifying creatures underwater.

So - in black and white - goggles are for swimming and dive masks are for scuba or snorkeling.

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