Snorkel fins make the rest of your body go when you’re in the water. They may not be the most important part of your snorkeling set, but a good pair of fins makes life a whole lot easier when you’re in the water. There is some debate as to whether fins are even a necessary piece of snorkel gear.
Whichever side of the fence that you fall on in the fins or no fins debate, you should be aware of how to maintain and care for your snorkel fins. Just like your feet, or the engine of a car, snorkel fins are what drives the larger piece forward but it’s easy to neglect if you’re not paying attention.
4 Steps to Care and Maintain Snorkel Fins
Taking Fins Out of Storage
Maybe you have snorkeled in months. Maybe it was just a day ago. You should still take the time to inspect your fins for wear, tear, and serviceability. Check straps, foot pockets, and the soft rubber/plastic parts of the snorkel fin for tears, cracks, and dry rot. You replace buckles and straps sometimes, but if you see tears in the foot pocket or other parts of the fins then you may want to think about buying a new pair. Small tears and rips become larger over time. I once started with a quarter inch tear on a set of snorkel fins and one month later they were unwearable.
Carrying Your Snorkel Fins To and Fro
The longer the snorkel fins, the more difficult it will be to stow in anything other than a snorkel bag or something that was made for the piece of gear themselves. We have our own recommendations about the best snorkel gear bags and many snorkel sets come with at least a basic carry bag that should all the gear in the set. I like to put my snorkel set into the bag that it came in and then strap that to my larger, military grade back pack when traveling to other snorkeling locations by air. Again, you can buy some pretty nice snorkel bags that can do both at the same time, but I like to be able to drop my snorkel gear off in a hotel room and just carry my backpack if I’m walking around town or hiking and there will be no snorkeling being done.
Always rinse your fins and the rest of your snorkeling gear in fresh water to prevent salt water crystallization and build up from eating away at the fins and dry-rotting them. It will also prevent dirt from building up. Don’t store in direct sunlight. This means not just throwing them in the back seat, cargo, or bed of your vehicle. The plastics and silicone materials of snorkel fins many melt or warp. All of this maintenance also helps to prevent dry rot.
Storing for Longer Periods
If you’re going to store your snorkel fins for a long period, perhaps for the winter or during an off-season. Soak in warm, soapy water (dish washing liquid is fine) to really remove salt and dust particles and then rinse. If you have any stingy spots then use a soft-bristle brush to remove anything that won’t go away within the rinse. Then rinse in clean water and dry them. Some people use dry cry cloth to rub some silicone grease for snorkel and SCUBA gear onto the rubber parts of snorkel gear. Personally, I don’t do this but it can’t hurt. If you go this route, then allow the fins to set for an hour prior to packing and storing to allow the rubber to fully absorb the liquid silicone. Store snorkel fins in a cool dry spot that is away from direct sunlight. An attic, closet or under the best is fine.