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Snorkel Vest vs Life Jacket

What is a snorkel vest? Even though there are striking differences between a snorkel flotation vest and a life jacket, the purpose of vest or jacket is to keep you afloat in water.

Despite this fact, we are astounded how often we see snorkelers not wearing a personal flotation device or PFD. Please excuse us for being a tad 'safety paranoid' but we think snorkeling without a life vest is like jumping from an airplane without a parachute.

Non-swimmers should always wear a snorkel life vest for snorkeling. Even strong swimmers get into trouble with foot cramps or become overexerted and tired a lot sooner than you might expect.

Most snorkeling flotation vests are specifically designed to keep you buoyant, but modern bladder styles also to allow you to lower your head into the water.

Snorkel Vest vs Life Jacket - Important differences

Wraparound jacket Style Snorkeling VestA modern inflatable snorkeling vest lets you add and release air which provides you with the ideal level of buoyancy.

Generally, as long as you wear the appropriate size and lift capacity, snorkel vests work as well for children snorkelers as they do in the adult versions.

Whereas, a snorkeling life jacket is meant to keep your head above water which means it can be a little cumbersome and awkward at times.

Water is much denser than air - around 800 times more in fact - and moving through sea swells and currents makes you tired very quickly.

So be a savvy and safe snorkeler and add one more piece of equipment to your basic mask, fins, and snorkel kit -buy a snorkeling flotation vest from our online shop in Thailand.

Snorkel Buoyancy Vest Designs

Inflatable snorkeling vests are designed to offset some of your body's negative buoyancy. When you add positive buoyancy, either by wearing a foam or inflatable device, you can float and rest much easier at the surface. But be aware that many polystyrene and neoprene assemblies lose their flotation characteristics after long periods of being wet.

This is the most important difference when you compare the best snorkel vest vs life jacket. Even though you can snorkel in a life jacket, like you would find in an aircraft or on a ship, they are actually designed to be a life preserver by keeping you afloat for much longer in the water.

The two basic styles of snorkeling floatation vest are horse-collar or wraparound - commonly called jacket style. The best snorkeling vest or 'PFD' for you usually depends on your size, weight, and how the device actually feels for your personal comfort? Perhaps you prefer to use an inflatable vest rather than a polystyrene foam filled jacket.

Either way, we cannot stress enough how important it is to choose an appropriate sized and working flotation device when you go snorkeling. It is not an expensive item to buy a snorkeling floatation vest that is lightweight which will also make you more visible in the water.

Make a note of the chart sizes before you buy the best snorkel vest that you can afford. For example, the manufacturer's sizing of a small (SM) or an extra-large (XXL) vest, may both have the same size label but have different lifting capacities. Be sure to read the instructions for the maximum recommended body weight and you may be surprised that there is often a difference of up to 10kg between different designs.

Horse Collar Snorkeler Vest

Aqualung Horse Collar Snorkel VestThe horse collar snorkel vest is very popular in some snorkeling hot spots because it is quick to slip on and comfortable to wear.

An oval shaped single bladder simply slips over your head – like the collar on a horse – and then secured by adjustable nylon straps and buckles. Some horse collar vests also have a crotch strap running between your legs to avoid the bladder riding up high around the your head.

Jacket Wraparound Vest

Another popular snorkel vest is the wraparound vest or jacket. You wear it like a jacket by sliding your arms through the side openings and fastening the vest at the front using the nylon straps and male to female quick release snap buckles. Although they are not expensive to buy, they have limitations on adequate lift capacity and floatability because they usually have small foam pockets or only a front bladder.

This design often has no crotch strap and sometimes has a zipper instead of heavy duty plastic front fasteners. Perhaps one of the main advantages of the jacket style vest is the range of sizes. Most major manufacturers now supply a range of snorkeling equipment for kids and cater for small children with tiny vest sizes going all the way up to the most generous plus size life jackets.

There is no valid reason to test your swimming skills against the might of the ocean. Simply put, the best snorkeling vest or jacket on the market is not going to help you unless you wear one.

Any snorkel life vest is best!

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