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Buying gear from a snorkel or dive shop


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I'm an avid snorkeler and for many years struggled with leaky masks and snorkel mouth pieces that were too big. Several years back I visited snorkel dive shop in Maui and what a difference it has made. The mask was not expensive (about $60) and it fits the shape of my face. No more leaking. I don't think of myself as having a small mouth (dh would agree) but I guess I have a small bite. Always had trouble closing my mouth around snorkels. The shop didn't have what I needed but recommended a particular Cressi snorkel that I was able to pick up on Amazon. No more difficulty. Did the same with fins after mine tore. Found that to really get what is comfortable a visit to a shop is essential. We've been bringing our own stuff wherever we go for 20 years now.

 

But don't buy a bunch of equipment however if it's your first trip or unless you go at least once a year. Not worth it. Stick with rentals or get something inexpensive on Amazon. Hopefully this world will get on top of COVID and we'll be able to cruise again soon. At least the environment is a lot cleaner without us humans standing on coral etc. since COVID.

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I disagree about not buying equipment for the first trip or once a year trip.  When I started scuba diving 10 years ago, I bought all my own equipment before ever hitting the water.  I never have used rental equipment.  Learn how to use your equipment and how to maintain it.  You will be much better off, and safer, for a number of reasons.

Edited by Laurie S.
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I think it's very different circumstances. I'd agree- you need your own diving equipment if you're a diver. For a new snorkeler who doesn't know whether or not it will hold his/her interest I still think better to either rent or buy cheaply.

Maybe you mistakenly thought since I mentioned dive shop I was including divers in my suggestion. Dive shops often offer snorkel gear as well. It was where I bought the great mask I have.

 

Good wishes.

Edited by Petoonya
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The difference in price between a cheap mask, that's almost bound not to fit properly; and a well made mask, that a professional has helped you fit, is likely less than the cost of a snorkeling excursion.  Atop this is the fact that an excursion made unpleasant by poor equipment means an unpleasant day of vacation, and losing a fun day in a spot you likely won't be back to soon.  

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

 

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Before we focused our efforts solely on diving, we used to take snorkelling tours for the cruise ships.

All our rental masks, snorkels and fins were of "dive quality" and guests used to comment on how great our gear was.
Often had guests with their brand new $25 snorkel set from walmart or similar, most of those guests would finish up using our gear due to bad fit and leaky masks.
The less confidence you have, the more important it is for your mask to fit properly. That means making a trip to the dive shop, spending a little more, but getting quality, well fitting gear.

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As the 2 previous commenters stated and I think omeinv directed me in my post, as  first time cruiser in 5.5 months, I was planning on buying mine to take on our cruise. I asked and you can see the post. Since things have been shutdown here, I tried my luck on an Amazon purchase ($100 Cressi set)...no big deal because I can return it. I received it yesterday and it went back today. First, the fins were so tight it cut the circulation in my foot. These were open heel that were suppose to be big enough for booties. They couldn't accommodate my feet alone. I wear size 11 and the fins might have fit my daughter with a boot. The mask was so close that the glass pressed against my forehead. 

 

From the advice, they said to go to a dive shop. I was bored, our pool opened, and it was worth a try. Now, we will no longer do that. We will go to our local dive shop, get what fits properly, and go from there. Heck, my first cruise is costing a small fortune as it is, so what is a little bit more. I was looking at ~$100 for the set for each of us. Now it may be $150 or more. Oh well.

Edited by bigrednole
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  • 4 months later...

I've never rented, bought my own set awhile back on Amazon spoke to the seller got everything lined out as far as sizing went. 

Everything fit perfectly, mask, fins, snorkel perfect size I've literally wore the whole deal out but everything still works great. 

I have to disagree as well about renting, you don't have to do that anymore. 

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In this COVID era I would err on the side of safety and at least purchased my own mask and snorkel.  Not only can you ensure that it fits properly but you know it is clean.  I am sure all operators claim they disinfect their gear between uses but how would you know.  I would be comfortable in using rental fins if you have a "normal" size foot.  I wear a size 14 shoe and can't trust that any rental will fit.  I also wore dive booties which are a little thick when I was diving and switched to very thin booties for snorkeling.

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6 hours ago, FlightMedic555 said:

In this COVID era I would err on the side of safety and at least purchased my own mask and snorkel.  Not only can you ensure that it fits properly but you know it is clean.  I am sure all operators claim they disinfect their gear between uses but how would you know.  I would be comfortable in using rental fins if you have a "normal" size foot.  I wear a size 14 shoe and can't trust that any rental will fit.  I also wore dive booties which are a little thick when I was diving and switched to very thin booties for snorkeling.

Smart!! I second this philosophy.😉😎

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  • 6 months later...

My late father was a diver so when we opened our surf shop he made sure we stocked decent masks and snorkels as snorkelling is one of those flat day activities for surfers and there are a few dive clubs in our area. When I went to do snuba on my last cruise the instructor was sceptical that my mask was the right size... instead my problem was with the rental flippers. 
I always had fun when I had to get new glasses as the standard fit was always too wide on my face. So my mask is a youth size and I’ll be bringing my own flippers in future as well. 
 

We still stock masks and snorkels and most ladies wind up with the youth sizes. Unfortunately our best supplier has stopped producing foot pocket fins which were preferred by the local lifeguards for competition use. Everything we have now uses heel straps which are too wide for people with narrow heels unless you’re wearing boots which I wouldn’t be using when snorkelling on vacation. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for everyone’s comments.   Just needed confirmation it is best to have own snorkel gear.   I remember my first cruise in late 80’s signed up for snorkel excursion. When I got there I didnt participate because it grossed me out to put the snorkel my mouth.   I have dive gear I haven’t used in 25 years  -  thinking on getting new mask and snorkel. 

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