questionswhy do people use masks instead of goggles when…


A mask provides a more substantial anchor against one's face for keeping a snorkel in place. The snorkel attaches directly to the head strap, so the more stable the strap, the more stable the snorkel. It's not that you can't use goggles for snorkeling, you'd just have to deal with a more flimsy snorkel if you do.


Great answer! I hadn't thought of that. Looking at buying some snorkeling gear for an upcoming trip & thought I could save some bucks by just getting a snorkel, but it sounds like getting a mask will be worth it. Don't want poor gear to hinder my snorkelin'.



@brandie346: You can purchase snorkel gear in sets. That usually helps keep the price down, compared with purchasing the items separately. The sets always include a mask. Don't worry about getting the most expensive gear out there if this is your first snorkeling venture. You won't really notice all the wiz-bang features until you're over the "wow" factor of the sport. You can then get "spendy" if you plan to do it more often. The most unusual part of snorkeling for the first time is getting used to the fact that you can actually breathe while your face is in the water. It's pretty unnatural in the beginning until you realize it really is okay to breathe under water! Have fun!


So this is how a shill is born...


You can definitely snorkel with only goggles but it's not in the least bit fun. That big beefy strap on a mask really does make a huge difference.


Sorry that I offended at least two people. This is just a very odd question, which seems like it requires a really specific answer. It then had two very in-depth answers from an account created today. Just seemed a bit fishy to me (no pun).

If this was a question asked on a snorkeling forum, I wouldn't be suspicious, since there would be a lot of snorkeling experts. But to get such a detailed answer from a new account on something as weird to deals.woot as snorkeling, just seems odd.


Well gosh, I'm so sorry. I haven't had any other questions to ask. I'll try to post meaningless queries and buy a lot of products I don't need so that when I do have a legitimate question I won't seem so shifty.

Hang on, I gotta go load up on personal lubricant.


@eraten: I see where you're coming from, but I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. I didn't see any of the new posts trying to sell anything or something, just give information. There have been plenty of sites that I lurked until a post struck me as worth making an account over. If someone is knowledgeable on snorkeling, how often are they really going to get to show it? I'd make an account for that.


@brandie346: You can usually rent gear at your destination, too.


Interesting discussion and all that, but one thing I didn't see mentioned is this:
The mask blocks your nose, goggles do not. I think that's kind of critical when snorkeling.

j5 j5

@eraten: As someone else commented, I lurk on a number of sites that I find interesting to read. Sooner or later someone asks a question that I can answer well, and I end up delurking to do so.

Perhaps you just don't know what the word "shill" really means?


I appreciate all the helpful answers. The only times I've been snorkeling before, I did, as @curil76 suggested, rent or use the gear provided. This is a special trip, though, to a land far far away, and I don't want to rely on used gear. I want stuff that fits properly and isn't scratched up. So thank you for the suggestions, all.

I'm also (maaaybe) in the market for an underwater camera. I see some new ones are coming out later this month, so if anyone has any experience with, say, the Olympus TG-1 (soon to be replaced by the TG-2), please feel free to shill, I mean, pipe up.


As @j5 mentioned, I think having the nose coverage is a pretty essential piece to answering your question, it is a carryover from the same equipment being used for scuba diving. If water gets into your mask while snorkeling or diving you can easily clear it from the mask by blowing through your nose, a nice convenience when snorkeling and a necessity when diving.


@eraten: I upvoted your shill comment. The comments are 13 minutes apart.


Another somewhat unclear reason unless you are familiar with diving physics and physiology:

Masks allow the pressure in the air space between the mask and the face to be equalized with that of the ambient environment via an exhalation from the nose. Goggles do not allow this. If a snorkeler isn't planning on going very deep (10 ft/3 m or so) it doesn't much matter. Beyond that the pressure on the face gets very uncomfortable, and can result in a mask squeeze. Pics here:


@wilfbrim: You beat me to that answer...
Mask squeeze is painful and I have heard goggles leave marks in addition to the pain..


Holy exophthalmos! I choose to not look like I'm a zombie.

I will buy a mask. I WILL BUY A MASK!


@brandie346: If it's just for a trip, I'd just rent the gear. If you think you'll go snorkeling more often, then get the gear but I still wouldn't buy it for your first trip.

And yes, get the mask. I've never seen anyone snorkel in goggles because, as state earlier, if you get water in your mask, you can blow the water out - push the top of the mask in, lift the bottom off your face and blow through your nose. This fills the mask with air and pushes the water out. You can't do this with goggles and would have to surface.

Sometimes, you'll want to flood your mask intentionally as it will fog up. Regarding the fogging up, don't forget to get some anti-fogging liquid to coat the inside of your mask to prevent fogging.