underwater photo of female snorkeler with island visible

How Much Does Learning To Snorkel Cost?

While not the main reason for taking up a sport, cost will still be a major consideration for most people taking up a sport.

Taking up bridge (or gin rummy) is obviously cheap, while Golf or Go-Karting is more expensive. Both in equipment costs, and utilizing the sport. Especially if you get a hole in one.

Snorkeling, by contrast, has a multitude of factors affecting cost, and perhaps the expense of the activity isn’t clear or defined.

So what’s the reality? If you are thinking about taking up the sport, what is the cost of snorkeling?

The costs of snorkeling largely revolve around equipment, lessons, and travel. Once you have acquired the equipment, and possess the skills, it’s pretty much all travel with respect to expense. A mask, fins, and snorkel set can be anywhere between $100 to $300 with the ancillaries like rash vest, bags, sprays, and gloves might be another $100. Lessons, should you need them will be up to $50.

Unlike golf, cards etc you need to be near water to practice. A lot of pools won’t allow snorkeling in with general swimming.

Snorkeling Equipment Cost

Actually purchasing equipment isn’t necessary if you only intend holiday snorkeling. It’s perfectly possible to use tour gear, or if you have some knowledge, hire equipment that you know will fit you perfectly from a dive shop.

That said, many who deliberately find snorkeling spots on a holiday will often have some basic gear, especially the mask and snorkel, so that the experience is more enjoyable. With some owned equipment, you know the mask will fit.

underwater photo of female snorkeler

They are small, lightweight, and easily fit within a suitcase for travel. The fins seem a bit more bulky.

The gear is pretty simple, and normally boils down to mask, snorkel, fins, and a rash guard.

Mask – A mask is probably the most important thing in snorkeling equipment. As you might imagine. If you are going to skimp on equipment, make the mask the last thing you do that with.

A mask that ill fits, and fogs all the time will drastically reduce the quality of your experience. In many places I’d swap the fins for a better fitting mask.

Depending upon the amount of snorkeling you are going to do, a well fitting mask that will do the job is between $50 to $100.

Snorkel – Along with the mask, another important bit of kit. The Breathing bit. With a good snorkel you will be able to breathe face down indefinitely, so getting one that is comfortable and has some features like a drain valve seems a good idea.

A basic tube with a mouthpiece is a few cents.

If you get a drain valve then it can be around $30, but one that is comfortable which might be labeled as ‘ultra dry’ has valves to stop water coming down the tube when diving only cost around $50.

Fins – Like almost anything in life, something that you know fits you well makes whatever you are doing more enjoyable. For holiday snorkeling you will be given a set of adjustable one size fits all fins.

Certainly good enough for an hour or so, but many prefer their own gear so take a set of fins.

You can buy specifically designed ‘travel fins’ that have a shorter blade, but personally I just put a set of proper snorkelling fins in. My suitcase fits them, so all is good.

Fins can range anywhere between $50 to $200 depending upon quality and fit, but $100 should get you a perfectly serviceable set of fins.

Rash guard / vest – While this item isn’t strictly necessary you may want if you plan to do a significant amount of snorkeling.

Many snorkelers are happy to go out as they would in a swimming pool, personally I prefer the UV protection of a suitable vest.

Entirely up to you, but $50 will get you a new one that will stop the burns of an overbearing sun.

Lessons Cost

Snorkeling is considered pretty easy by many. As such many dive centers don’t really offer a specific snorkeling course. They are far more prolific in situ.

Visit a dive shop in the Caribbean, Thailand, Philippines, or Australia and you tend to get a ‘start snorkeling’ course somewhere on the menu.

So while a snorkeling lessons has a small cost, often it’s not necessary depending upon how prolific the snorkeling is as part of your holiday interest.

Generally, if it’s a small boat tour and you are a strong swimmer, you won’t really need it.

But if you plan a few days of it, or want to take it up as a hobby activity, then a lesson seems more necessary.

Particularly if you aren’t as strong a swimmer, or you want some mask advice, and can indeed test a mask out before you go.

a snorkeler face down in crystal clear water

A simple lesson with an instructor in a group might be as little as $15 for a ‘try dive’ type lesson, but can go up to around $50 for the more intensive ones.

They aren’t expensive, but if you have never snorkeled before and are planning extensive days snorkeling in your future then it’s something for you to consider.

The Biggest Cost In Snorkeling Is Travel

And here we move onto perhaps the biggest cost of snorkeling. Getting there.

While you can snorkeling in any type of water, there’s no denying it, many of the worlds best aquatic experiences won’t be anywhere near you.

Unless you live in an area of the globe where snorkeling is a small trip away, then getting there might cost more than the equipment.

While you are in SouthEast Asia, short hop flights can be around $50 and the accommodation in the $20 dollar range, so snorkeling is cheap.

I’ve lived in Thailand, and my accommodation for the month was around $200.

If you live in Kentucky then getting there isn’t easy.

Again, if the Caribbean is nearby, then that’s handy.

So prepare yourself for the fact that unless you actively live near an area you’d be happy snorkeling now, the biggest cost for your hobby might be the travel.

Final Thoughts

While snorkeling is pretty cheap to enter as a sport, it’s also relatively easy to master the basics, and enjoy the sport.

It’s what attracts many to the sport, and eventually gives people the impetus to try scuba diving.

Plenty of people, only really snorkel when they go on holiday, and that’s fine.

Obviously, there are some ancillary costs like dry bags, and anti fogging spray but the sport in general is easily accessible and cheap.

The biggest cost by far once you have the gear, is getting to where you need to go. Certainly if you want to get the very best out of the sport, and why shouldn’t you?

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