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Do You Need a Wetsuit to Snorkel?

   January 10th, 2020   Posted In: Articles  

Do You Need a Wetsuit to Snorkel?

When you’re planning your trip to an awesome snorkeling destination, you’re probably asking yourself, “Do I need a wetsuit to snorkel there?” Experienced snorkelers recommend wetsuits in most climates for protection against the sun, cold water, and even the occasional pesky, painful jellyfish!


There are numerous factors to consider when choosing a wetsuit ensuring your snorkeling adventure is solid fun, safe and a mind-blowing experience.

Do You Need a Wetsuit to Snorkel in Tropical Climates?

To get the most out of your snorkeling experience you need to know your body and what kind of temperatures you’re comfortable in. That will help you determine if you need a wetsuit for your travel destination and what type of gear will be right for you.


Some people get colder much easier than others. Although both tropical climates, it’s colder snorkeling in Maui, Hawaii than the Caribbean. If you get cold easily and would like to stay in the water as long as you want, consider a springsuit wetsuit. It has either short sleeves or long sleeves for sun protection and warmth. It doesn’t matter if no one else is wearing one. You’ll notice snorkelers getting out of the water sooner than you (probably because they’re cold!).

Do You Need a Wetsuit to Snorkel and Freedive?

If you prefer to float on the surface while you snorkel and witness amazing sea life, a wetsuit will give you extra buoyancy allowing you to take in the breathtaking underwater aquatic life to your heart’s content. The extra warmth will extend your time in the water so you don’t have to cut your snorkeling adventure short.


do you need a wetsuit to snorkel

Image courtesy of O’Neill Wetsuits.

Freediving while snorkeling allows you to get up close and personal with the underwater sea life.

How Your Wetsuit Fits is Important!

“When do you need a wetsuit to snorkel?” is an often asked question. This general guide will give you an idea of what type of wetsuit you’ll need regardless of where your snorkeling adventure is taking you.


If you’re going to a colder climate for your snorkeling vacation you’ll have numerous considerations. A shorty wetsuit may be all you need. The warmer the climate the thinner wetsuit you’ll need. Or, if you’re fine with tropical water temps, consider a Lycra rashguard or Lycra full bodysuit.


Anyone who’s ever put on a thick wetsuit will tell you it’s no easy chore. If you need a full wetsuit many experienced snorkelers and divers recommend getting neoprene socks to make it easier to get a thick wetsuit on.


Having a wetsuit that fits properly is key to having an epic snorkeling experience. Having a loose wetsuit in cold water not only ruins the snorkeling because your body can’t stay warm, but it’s dangerous for hypothermia. Using someone’s beat-up old wetsuit isn’t going to do you any favors. Holes let water in and warmth out.

Should You Buy or Rent?

Are you a die-hard traveler? Do you love water sports of all kinds? Does your Bucket List have more beaches on it than any other type of destination?


Then a wetsuit is probably in your future. Whether you buy or rent one when you need a wetsuit to snorkel will depend on multiple factors.


While renting a wetsuit is cheaper than buying, if you rent more than two or three times the advantage is a moot point. There’s always a deposit you pay each time. If you return the wetsuit unharmed you’ll get your money back. But if it gets damaged scraping against rocks or some other sharp object and gets a hole, your deposit is gone. Most rental suits aren’t top of the line and may tear or get damaged more easily. And they may have been worn more times than the wetsuit rental company can count. There’s also the cleanliness factor. How clean do they keep their wetsuits? If the thought of someone else peeing in your wetsuit to keep warm in the ocean gives you the creeps, consider shelling out the money for your wetsuit.


The advantage of buying your wetsuit for snorkeling is you have a wetsuit that fits you the way it’s supposed to. Having your proper gear for your snorkeling adventure can bring peace of mind and make for a much better experience.


There are numerous types of wetsuits and different pieces of gear to enhance your snorkeling or any water sports activity. Not sure what you need? Contact our customer service team for more information and you’ll be on your way!

Donna Kos

Donna Kos

Donna Kos is a content marketer, freelance writer, travel blogger, and certified beach and travel junkie. She raised three amazing humans who are also world travelers. Donna is passionate about traveling the world to learn about new cultures, preferring to spend months at a time in one location to get to know the community. When she’s not writing, Donna loves to surf, snorkel, cook and lay in a hammock reading a good book. For some of Donna’s travel stories check out her travel blog: Gusty Globetrotters!
Donna Kos

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