Ah, the pains of snorkelling. From foggy goggles to getting water in the tube and in your mouth (and then choking). They’re all a part of the fun, but that doesn’t mean that we have to put up with it! Luckily there are pieces of equipment out there that solve these issues for us, and a dry snorkel is one of them.
If you’re not sure what exactly a dry snorkel is, it’s basically a snorkel that’s fitted with a mechanism which prevents water from entering the tube. Even if you’re underwater or just got splashed by a massive wave! If water does get in, a dry snorkel seeps it back out so your breathing is uninterrupted. It’s a wave of genius, it’s nothing new to the snorkelling world, but it’s still a mystery to many.
While freedivers and spearfishers may not necessarily be looking for a piece of equipment like a dry snorkel, a lot of snorkellers are looking for just that. If you’re curious as to how dry snorkels work and the advantages they provide little ol’ snorkellers like you and me, read on for a little lesson in ‘snorkelgineering’.
What is a dry snorkel?
We’ll go into it again before we explain how it all works. Perfect for beginners and those who want a seamless experience while watching marine life, dry snorkels prevent water from entering the snorkel tube so you can focus on snorkelling and not expelling water or panicking.
There’s usually a cover and a mechanism at the top of the snorkel tube that prevents water from going inside the tube. So whether you’re floating on the surface or submerged underwater, a dry snorkel will never have water in its tube.
How does a dry snorkel work?
This is where we give thanks to the genius of engineering. Get ready for some technical talk on how exactly dry snorkels work to keep water out of the tube. Most dry snorkels will have a valve or hinge at the top.
When the top of the snorkel is submerged underwater, the hinge reacts and closes on top of the tube, sealing it so water can’t get in. If there is a bit of water, you can usually just blow strongly and it’ll be easily expelled through either a purge valve at the bottom or through the top, like a whale.
At Ninja Shark, our dry top seal has a ball sitting at the top, which automatically seals the air valve when underwater. We’ve also got a purge valve at the bottom of our full face masks, so water can drain out naturally without you having to do the whale thing.
Advantages of a dry snorkel
So we’ve gone into how it all works, but what are the advantages? If you want to know if a dry snorkel really is the right option for you, then we’ll give you a quick rundown:
- No water – It’s inevitable in snorkelling that water will get into the tube and you’ll have to expel it. Your mouth gets salty and shrivelled, it’s annoying, and it simply doesn’t happen with a dry snorkel;
- Uninterrupted snorkelling – What happens when water inevitably gets in with a normal snorkel? You have to stop what you’re doing to get it out. With a dry snorkel you get to enjoy more seamless, uninterrupted snorkelling without having to stop and expel water all the time;
- Good for beginners – Water scares a lot of people, and beginners are usually already a little afraid. A dry snorkel gives them that confidence to know they won’t have to worry about water in their mouth, and gives them the time to concentrate on getting a feel for snorkelling rather than focusing on expelling water.
Disadvantages of a dry snorkel
Everyone has their preferences, and while a dry snorkel sounds like heaven to some people, it may not be another’s cup of tea. As we’ve mentioned, dry snorkels aren’t the best when it comes to free diving or spearfishing, but here are some other reasons that people may opt out:
- Possible air blockage – Sometimes the valve on a dry snorkel can accidentally close when it’s not supposed to, like all mechanical things. This can make it difficult to breathe, but the key here is to stay calm and not panic. It happens! All you have to do is to give a blow or tap the valve at the top of your snorkel back open and keep going.
- Buoyancy – With the addition of the valve, a dry snorkel is a bit heavier than a normal snorkel and can bob around the surface of the water a lot more. Some people take issue with this, others don’t care because the whole ‘no water’ thing outweighs this issue.
There’s no doubt that a dry snorkel has a lot to offer in terms of seamless, uninterrupted snorkelling (i.e. more time looking at pretty stuff and less time fixing your snorkel), but it all still comes down to preference.
While beginners and relaxed snorkellers will cherish the lack of interruption and water, others might be looking for an experience that allows them to dive deep and be more streamlined and simple with their snorkelling. Whatever it is you love about snorkelling, there’s a piece of equipment out there for you, and that’s so great about this sport!