Snorkeling is a fantastic way to see underwater life forms. The multicolored coral reefs and the bounteous species of fish will make you look differently at the world. But, before you begin your snorkeling adventure, you must be aware of snorkel gear care and maintenance.
Best Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining Your Snorkel Gear
Mask Care and Cleaning
Not all snorkel masks come with a special coating. But many do. This coating protects the mask from the sun’s rays and it may look white and waxy. This coating needs to be removed in order to avoid the mask fogging up when you are snorkeling.
There are two types of lenses used for snorkeling. Some people use glass lenses and others use plastic. It’s very simple to remove the coating on glass lenses. There are special formulas on the market such as Sea Gold or Spit Anti-Fog, but you can also use items found in your home. Toothpaste or dish washing detergent with mild abrasives will get that film off your mask. Just take a small amount of toothpaste or detergent and thoroughly coat the lens of your mask with it. Then use your fingers to scrub only the lens. You should avoid using the abrasive on the plastic part of your mask because it could damage it. After scrubbing the lens with your fingers, thoroughly rinse the mask making sure to get rid of the toothpaste or detergent. If you’re using toothpaste and see that some has gotten stuck in the corner, a soft cloth will safely get rid of the residue. If you use a mask with a plastic lens, you needn’t worry about the defogging process because most plastic lenses come with an anti-fog spray already added. Rinsing the skirt of the mask can be achieved by using dish soap and water. Just coat the skirt with the solution and rinse it off with water and use your mask.
After the First Use of Your Snorkel Mask
After the initial treatment, it’s very easy to clean your snorkeling mask. After every dive, you should submerge your mask in warm, soapy water and clean it afterwards with fresh water. This helps to get rid of sand, salt and other debris that may get trapped in the mask. Even if you’re snorkeling in freshwater, debris can get trapped in the mask.
Snorkel Care and Cleaning
The snorkel doesn’t need as much prep as the mask does, but it is a good idea to clean the mouthpiece out with mouthwash before using it for the first time. Even if the snorkel came in a sealed package, you still need to make sure there are no germs on the snorkel. Block the valve and then pour in the mouthwash, give it a few shakes and then rinse with water.
After the First Use of Your Snorkel
It’s easy to clean your snorkel after use. As you did with your mask, just let the snorkel soak in warm, soapy water, rinse it out and put it somewhere to dry.
Fin Care and Cleaning
Fins help you move quickly underwater. Unlike the mask and the snorkel, fins don’t need special preparation initially, but they should always be checked before each use. Examine your new fins for cracks, tears or rot. If any of these are present you might lose a fin while snorkeling and that will put your enjoyment to an end.
After the First Use of Your Fins
Fins should be cleaned as your mask and snorkel after an outing. Just use soap, rinse them off and let them dry.
Snorkeling Gear Storage
Masks, fins, and snorkels should be stored in a dry place away from sunlight. It’s also a good idea to keep them away from metal. Your gear can deteriorate prematurely if exposed to these things. Another matter that should be addressed is mold and mildew. If you store your gear in a place that’s not well ventilated or that is prone to moisture, the next time you go to use your equipment you may find a very unpleasant surprise.
Your mask, fins, and snorkel can be hung on a hook or placed in a mesh bag. Mesh bags are probably the best choice because all your equipment will be in one place and stay safe.
Once you’ve found snorkeling gear that fits you perfectly, you must keep replacement parts on hand. Mask straps are cheap and come in different colors and sizes. Once you find a mask that fits you well, and sometimes this can be hard to do, it makes sense to replace the traps instead of buying a new mask.
Fin straps are another item that suffers from wear and tear. Sometimes while checking your fins, you will notice the strap is tearing or has torn. The solution is to quickly replace the broken strap with a new one.
Even though the initial mask treatment will help prevent your mask from getting fogged up, it won’t last forever. In this case, if you find that your mask is constantly getting fogged you have a few options. You can purchase a defogger or you can get creative and use techniques that divers and snorkelers use. You can carry a spray bottle with a mixture of water and baby shampoo. Just spray a bit of the solution onto the lens and rinse with whatever water is available. Another method used is spit. This method doesn’t seem very sanitary, but it is used quite often. Spit into your mask, rub it around and rinse with water. Before using any defogging method, you must start with a mask with dry lenses.
Snorkel keeps are very inexpensive and very useful. Your mask is attached to the keep thus holding it in place. Keeps can be damaged by normal wear or an accident that tears it. This is another item that you should keep on hand for emergencies and you can find them for as little as $1.
Lastly, snorkel mouthpieces are another item to keep handy. This part of the snorkel suffers a lot from being bitten or just the constant contact with saliva. You never want any extra holes in the mouthpiece.
Snorkeling gear care and maintenance is very easy. If you just take a few minutes after every outing, and stock up on some replacement parts, you will be able to use your gear for years and enjoy the pleasures that snorkeling can give you.