Love snorkeling, HATE the vests!

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Hi,

We go snorkeling maybe once or twice a year, but I do enjoy it enough that I bought my own mask and fins rather than rely on the tour guide's equipment, which never fits properly.

Anyway, my biggest complaint is the flotation vests we're required to wear. I find them extremely uncomfortable and annoying, even painful. No matter how tight I cinch the waist strap, the vest rides up under my chin and chokes me, plus it presses on my stomach causing reflux. Not to mention the other strap that goes between the legs...let's just not go there, shall we? LOL Suffice to say that if it's pulled tight enough to prevent the vest riding up, a whole new set of problems arises! :shocked2:

In variably I end up using one hand to grab the front portion of the vest, pull it down and HOLD it down. I've tried putting only small amounts of air in the vest, or no air. I can swim but don't consider myself a strong swimmer so I'm happier with at least a bit of air in the vest. But any amount of air, and the problems start.

Is there any alternative out there? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Carolan
 
if you are on the surface and want floatation... a ski vest might be more comfortable, but the tour operators might not like/allow it..
 
If the water temp allows a 2mm vest will give you plenty of flotation but again "the tour operators might not like/allow it..
 
Thanks to both of you, I will look into flotation vests! The places we go around the Virgin Islands, we do a lot of on-our-own snorkeling, so even if the tour guide doesn't let me use it, I can wear it on my own paddling around the coves and close-to-shore reefs.

Most of the tour operators down there make you wear their vests, but don't require you to actually inflate them, so I guess theoretically I could put on a Class II or III vest, strap the deflated "approved" one down over it, and be "legal."
 
It sounds like the vest may be too big on you, I never had to tighten a snorkel vest before. and that includes the crotch strap. The crotch strap prevents it from riding up.

However, I did do an amazon search just now, maybe something like this would be better for you?
Amazon.com: Scubapro Cruiser Snorkeling Snorkel Vest: Sports & Outdoors


I just noticed you said it isn't uncomfortable uninflated. so I would use the tours vest, just don't inflate them. Float on the surface without it. You can float right?
 
I snorkel and free dive....a LOT. And you're right...it really sucks to be uncomfortable. It's the ultimate to just totally relax on the surface to where, even when you exhale, you don't start to sink.
For me, I use a full 1.5 to 3mm (depending on the time of year) wetsuit for warmth and jelly fish protection. With no weights, I can float all day and I'm very lean.
Not sure who your tour guide is, but I would bet I could have you snorkeling comfortably and safely with no vest in less than half hour.
And within a day or two, you'd be wanting to add some weight, so you could dive down and get a closer look at stuff.
A wetsuit is all you'll need to make you float like a cork.
 
Anyway, my biggest complaint is the flotation vests we're required to wear. I find them extremely uncomfortable and annoying, even painful. No matter how tight I cinch the waist strap, the vest rides up under my chin and chokes me, plus it presses on my stomach causing reflux. Not to mention the other strap that goes between the legs...let's just not go there, shall we? LOL Suffice to say that if it's pulled tight enough to prevent the vest riding up, a whole new set of problems arises! :shocked2:

If you don't put air into it, it won't cause you any problems.

Unless you have an astonishing muscle:fat ratio, chances are excellent that you'll float nicely in seawater with no air in the vest.

If it turns out that you don't, just add a puff of air until you do. The vest will only ride up with a force equal to the weight of water it displaces, so a pint of air will give you roughly a pound of floatation.

An even better option is to pick up a 3mm full wetsuit. You'll be warm, float very nicely and not need any air in the vest and it won't pull at all.

flots.
 
Based on the info I got from some tour ops, the vest thing is an insurance/liability issue, and precaution on their part ... Cattle boat, half the folks barely able to keep their heads above water, ... pretty easy to see why, if you ask me ...
 
If the problem is the vest riding up, get a crotch strap. You might need to get your own vest, but they are available at dive shops and cost less than a good mask or fins.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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