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How to Choose a Wetsuit for Snorkeling

   November 9th, 2017   Posted In: How-To   Tags:

How to Choose a Wetsuit for Snorkeling

Choosing a wetsuit for snorkeling can be daunting with so many different types to choose from. It is important to get it right so you have the correct thickness and size for your needs. We like to use this water temperature chart to help determine what type of wetsuit to wear:

 

Switch to Celsius

40°+ 48°+ 52°+ 58°+ 60°+ 65°+ 72°+ 80°+
General Watersports
(Surf, Wake, Kite, Etc.)
6/5/4mm
Sealed
5/4/3mm
Sealed
4/3mm
Sealed
& Taped
4/3mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Flatlock
Springsuit
Neoprene Top
Poly Top
Rash Guard
SCUBA
8/7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
7mm Full
5mm John
& Jacket
5mm Full
3mm John
& Jacket
3mm Full
3mm John &
Jacket
3mm Full
Springsuit
Springsuit
Lycra
Bodysuit
Triathlon &
Lap Swimming
5/3mm Full 5/3mm John Neoprene Vest
Kayak &
Paddle
5/4/3mm
Sealed
4/3mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Flatlock
Neoprene
Top
Neoprene
Vest
Rash
Guard
General
Watersports
(Surf, Wake, Kite, Etc.)
SCUBA Triathlon &
Lap Swimming
Kayak &
Paddle
40°+ 6/5/4mm
Sealed
8/7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
5/3mm
Full
5/4/3mm
Sealed
48°+ 5/4/3mm
Sealed
4/3mm
Sealed
52°+ 4/3mm
Sealed
& Taped
7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
3/2mm
Sealed
58°+ 4/3mm
Sealed
7mm Full
5mm John
& Jacket
5/3mm
John
3/2mm
Flatlock
60°+ 3/2mm
Sealed
5mm Full
3mm John
& Jacket
Neoprene
Top
65°+ 3/2mm
Flatlock
3mm Full
3mm John &
Jacket
72°+
Springsuit
Neoprene Top
3mm Full
Springsuit
Neoprene
Vest
80°+
Poly Top
Rash Guard
Springsuit
Lycra
Bodysuit
Neoprene
Vest
Rash
Guard

Now, here’s how to find wetsuits that will work well for you!

Think Location

Where you plan to go snorkeling will affect what type of wetsuit you buy. You’ll need to think about the time of year, the climate and the locations where you’ll be snorkeling. Wetsuits come in varying thicknesses of neoprene, and you’ll need to know the temperature of the ocean to ensure you have the correct insulation. If you are in the tropics with water temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees, a 2-3mm thickness will be adequate. For cooler waters, you’ll need thicker material to protect you against the cold. If you think you may be too hot in a wetsuit, you could buy a rash guard as well. These are Lycra shirts and are ideal for snorkeling in warm water where thermal protection is not essential.

Short or Long

Wetsuits come in different lengths. A shorty springsuit is ideal for warmer climates, but you will need to take care if you are snorkeling near coral. While you shouldn’t touch the reef at all, accidents can and do happen, and you could end up with cuts on unprotected skin. For cooler temperatures, a full-length wetsuit will work well. In cooler water, you’ll be able to stay in longer. Sleeve lengths are short or long, depending on your needs.

Fit

When you buy a wetsuit, it is important to check the fit. You’ll need your height, waist and chest measurements. Your size will vary depending on the thickness and brand of wetsuit. In general, wetsuits are meant to have a snug fit, and the thicker the neoprene, the more awkward they can be to get on. One of the best ways of getting a full wetsuit on is to wear socks, as the neoprene then slides over the feet. The knee patch should have the top lying just above the knee. Work any excess neoprene up the legs and thighs. Ensure the zip is able to close easily. There should be a snug feel to the suit.

 

All you need to do once you buy your wetsuit for snorkeling is to then just enjoy the underwater world!

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Chris Moleskie

Chris "Mole" Moleskie is the Founder, President, and CEO of Wetsuit Wearhouse. Mole grew up in the water on the East Coast. After graduating from Salisbury University, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, he headed to San Diego to find the eternal Ocean City. Wetsuit Wearhouse was formed a few years later in 2001. He swims, surfs when he can, SCUBA dives, wakeboards, SUPs, snowboards 15-20 days a season, and recently fell in lust with wakesurfing. Mole spends his summers at the not so secret Wetsuit Wearehouse Testing Facility on the Potomac River.
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