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Snorkeling With a Vest [ Benefits to Life Jacket Use ]

Discovering new things and exploring the ocean wildlife has become an increasingly popular pastime. One way people do this is by taking up snorkeling as a hobby or even just for fun on holiday.

But one question that comes to mind with any leisure activity is whether safety gear should be worn at all times, including while snorkeling.

Is a life jacket a good choice of safety gear for snorkeling?

You can use a life jacket for safety when snorkeling, but it is not easy for this activity. A life jacket intends to keep your head above water, so you constantly fight the lifejacket when you snorkel. There are better safety devices for snorkeling, such as a snorkel vest.

It is an excellent mindset always to be safety conscious when involved in water activities. Safety conscious should be combined with using the proper safety gear for the activity rather than using a device intended for another purpose.

A life jacket for snorkeling is a piece of safety gear that falls into this category.

Can You Snorkel With A Life Jacket?

Snorkeling is a popular activity for holidaymakers because it allows them to explore the water and nature beneath the surface without too much effort or strong swimming capability needed.

Because the type of people who become involved in snorkeling is so diverse, and many holidaymakers are participating in snorkeling for the first time, safety during this activity is a concern.

Many people, especially holidaymakers, do not take the safety aspect of snorkeling seriously enough, which is why there is a high rate of snorkeling-related accidents at many popular seaside holiday destinations.

While it is admirable to have safety in mind when participating in activities in the water, it can be problematic to use safety gear for a purpose that it was not intended for.

To begin our investigation, we will look at why people need to wear a life jacket for snorkeling.

Once we know the reasons, we can find alternative safety gear that is better suited to snorkeling than a life jacket.

Why Do You Want To Snorkel With A Life Jacket?

The majority of people that participate in snorkeling do not feel the need to wear any personal safety gear.

Still, others may feel the need to wear safety gear, and the first personal safety gear for the water that most people consider is a life jacket.

The reasons people need to wear a life jacket while snorkeling can include the following.

  • They are not strong swimmers. Snorkeling is so popular at holiday destinations that it even attracts people who have limited swimming capability. Their lack of swimming skills may prompt them to seek out safety gear for snorkeling.
  • People who are not comfortable in the water. People who are elderly may feel uncertain of themselves in the water, even if they can swim. Younger children who cannot stand in the shallow water may also feel uncomfortable without a floatation device to assist them, and parents may insist they wear safety gear.
  • People with pre-existing health issues. People who have physical injuries, disabilities, or health issues could feel uncertain of their strength and ability in the water and may feel more comfortable with a device to assist them when they snorkel.

While all these reasons are valid concerns, and these people should wear a safety device when snorkeling, it is necessary to evaluate if a life jacket is the perfect gear to wear in these circumstances.

Why A Life Jacket Is Difficult To Use For Snorkeling

A life jacket is generally intended as a safety device if someone falls out of a boat or finds themselves in the water. They are designed not only to be a safety devices but also emergency floatation devices.

In this role, they may have to keep a weak or unconscious person floating in the water and, more importantly, keep their heads above the water.

Because of this intention for life jackets, most are designed to automatically try to orient the person wearing them in a near-vertical position or even slightly on their backs.

This promotes keeping their head above water and their face out of the water to enable them to breathe, even if they are unconscious.

This tendency of a life jacket to want to orient you vertically in the water or slightly on your back makes it difficult to use this device when snorkeling.

The normal snorkeling position is face-down in the water, which is the typical drowning position that a life jacket is attempting to prevent.

While it is possible to use a life jacket, you will constantly fight it to get into the snorkeling position.

If you consider the reasons for wearing a life jacket, which are people who do not feel comfortable in the water in the first place or who have physical or health issues, you can see how a life jacket may not be the ideal safety device!

What Can You Use Instead Of A Life Jacket For Snorkeling?

Even though it is possible to use a life Jacket for snorkeling, we have established that this device may not always be the best choice or the right choice for most people.

So what options or alternatives are available for snorkeling that may perform better in the role of a floatation device for this activity?

A snorkel vest is a better personal floatation device for snorkeling than a life jacket.

A snorkel vest gives the wearer additional buoyancy without trying to constantly lift your head out of the water and turn you onto your back.

The design of the snorkel vest will allow you to swim face down in the water without you needing to put in much effort to stay afloat.

Snorkel vests are usually inflatable rather than using foam to keep the wearer afloat.

This means that you can adjust them for more or less buoyancy, depending on your needs. They are easily inflated or deflated, even while out in the water.

It is important to note that a snorkel vest is not a life jacket and is, therefore not the right floatation device to use for an emergency.

This would still be the domain of the life jacket. A snorkel vest will, however, make it easier for you to snorkel with less effort and fewer problems staying on top of the water.

A snorkel vest is intended to make snorkeling easier; it is not designed to prevent drowning.

This will help people who do not feel comfortable in the water to have more confidence while snorkeling as it will assist them to stay afloat.


While it is possible to use a life jacket for snorkeling, most people would find it a hindrance to the activity rather than a benefit. A life jacket is intended to be an emergency life-saving device for people in distress in the water.

Wearing a life jacket while snorkeling could cause you to become fatigued quickly by constantly fighting the life jacket when trying to snorkel face down.

A better snorkeling assistance device would be a snorkeling vest. This will make snorkeling easier, but it is not intended to save your life should you have an emergency while out in the water snorkeling.

If you are looking for snorkeling gear we have a huge list of lists to help you find just the right snorkeling gear to get you up and moving, check it out here!

If you feel unsure of yourself in the water for snorkeling, then a snorkel vest will be a good option that will assist you to stay afloat and enjoy the snorkeling without worrying about being in the water!