Snorkeling is a great way to explore nature and interact with marine life, especially if you take part in snorkeling photograpghy. As exciting and fun as snorkeling sounds, it can also be a dangerous experience. There is always the chance of the ocean becoming rougher than you expected, and you may find yourself struggling to keep your head afloat.
One way to keep yourself safe is to wear a snorkeling life vest. These lightweight vests let you swim deep down into the ocean but also inflate or deflate easily to add or remove buoyancy when you need it. This life-saving vest is great for any skill level scuba diver and should be a part of any snorkel diver’s gear. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best scuba vest and a few reviews to help you start shopping.
The Best Snorkel Vests Go as Follows:
- Jetty Inflatable Snorkel Vest
- Scubapro Cruiser Snorkeling Vest
- Cressi Safety Vest
- Lesberg Inflatable Snorkel Vest
- Phantom Aquatics Snorkel Adult Vest
Best Snorkel Vest Reviews
The following are picked based on customer reviews.
1. Jetty Inflatable Snorkel Vest
The ideal adjustable float assisting vest, the Jetty Inflatable Snorkel Vest is made of durable premium materials to keep you safe when you are out in the water. Not only does it keep you safe, but it also looks good at the same time, and it is a great choice when paddle boarding, swimming or snorkeling. This is a compact snorkel vest with a single side entry that lets you put the vest on and off quickly.
Available in four sizes, it will give you a great fit with the ability to tighten it snugly around your waist to keep the vest from riding up on you. The Jetty is a balanced snorkel vest that will keep you stable and upright when you are in the water and is easy to customize with the adjustable shoulder and side straps. Make sure you get the correct measurements around the largest area of your chest to ensure you choose the right size.
Easy to use, the Jetty can inflate in just a few seconds with an easy to open and close lock valve that is secure when you are active. It also allows you to add the buoyancy level when you need to by just unlock the valve to allow pressure to leak out or inflate the vest in just a few seconds to increase your buoyancy level. The Jetty Snorkeling Floatation Vest also comes with a large hook and loop secure pad and spandex side panels that will prevent the webbing from coming in contact with your skin.
- Packs away easily in your carry on
- Fits snugly with Velcro adjustments
- Nice side entry and looks great on the beach
- The Best Life Jacket for Snorkeling
2. Scubapro Cruiser Snorkeling Vest
Perfect for any skill level, the Scubapro’s Cruiser Snorkeling Vest is a great choice when scuba diving around a reef. This is a built to last snorkel product made of neoprene and nylon giving it a comfortable and durable fit. It features an oral inflator valve that is easy to use and a handy pocket to store your personal items.
The Cruiser also features a Nylon back that gives you additional protection from the sun when you lie on the surface, an 1/8-inch neoprene gives you added warmth without giving up comfort. You can also easily control and increase buoyancy with the Cruiser with this stylish and snug fitting snorkel vest.
- Fits well and is very stylish
- A nice quality vest that is easy to use
- Comfortable with handy pockets
- On the expensive side if you don’t use it frequently
- Rides up on you as you wear it
3. Cressi Safety Vest
The Cressi Saftey Vest is a good choice for those just beginning to learn to snorkel as well as more advanced users. It features a bright yellow tinge that allows you to be more visible both underwater and above. It can fit almost any user with it’s adjustable waist and crotch straps that insures it stays on you in all conditions. It is also great for use as a travel set as it folds and can be easily transported in any luggage you pack.
Some of the downsides include users complaining about it not fitting right. I would reccomend looking at the Cressi Sizing chart on their website to get full details on this item. this vest has been reccomended for many different water conditions including both calmer and rougher water use.
- Works well for all skill levels
- Can even give you more buoyancy if you need it
- Works well in really rough waters
- There isn’t a sizing chart so hard to know which size will fit
- A little on the expensive side
4. Lesberg Inflatable Snorkel Vest
Compact and lightweight, the flexible Lesberg Inflatable Snorkel Vest increases your self-reliance and confidence in the water by ensuring your water safety. Even though it is small in size, it features up to 220 pounds of buoyancy with fast inflation and deflation. It is available in several fluorescence colors for increased visibility.
With a horse collar style, the vest fits over your neck with a comfortable fit that won’t leave skin abrasions. Made of polyester and PVC, this snorkel vest also features crotch and waist straps that are adjustable and fits most adults securely. This is an easy to pack snorkel vest that includes a mesh bag for storage.
- Works well and is perfect for traveling with
- Easy to use and takes up a lot of space
- Nice and lightweight, great purchase
- Can move around a lot on a thinner person
- Straps are pretty tight can’t be loosened
5. Phantom Aquatics Snorkel Adult Vest
Designed so you can swim with your head out of the water, the Phantom Aquatics Snorkel Vest allows you to add or release buoyancy to match your needs. Featuring a crotch and waist strap that is adjustable, the Phantom keeps the vest securely in place with the most comfort. A necessary part of anyone’s snorkeling equipment, the Phantom comes in a Day-Glo yellow color and includes pockets that come with buckle closures.
Made with a durable nylon design, the Phantom also has a neoprene back for added comfort and a heavy-duty zipper on its front, plus a comfortable rolled edge collar and handy locking oral inflation tube that is easy to reach. The addition of 3M reflective tape allows you to be seen easily from a distance. It also easily maintains buoyancy by sealing enough air to keep a body up to 200 pounds and over six feet tall afloat.
- Folds up really small which is great for traveling
- Easy to control and inflate
- Nice thin material that is still sturdy
- Sizes run small
- Can be hard to adjust the straps
Best Snorkel Vest Buying Guide
What is a Snorkel Vest?
Worn while snorkeling, a snorkeling floatation device, aka a snorkeling vest should be a part of your safety equipment. This lightweight vest shares similarities with a life jacket but is made of a thinner material. Created to be worn underwater, a snorkel vest will allow you to dive under the water’s surface without having any restrictions. If you need to add buoyancy, you can simply fill the vest with air by using the oral inflator that will be located near your mouth.
Snorkeling vests made of neoprene can also give you protection from cold weather by locking in your body heat. This is a great feature for those that plan to be in the water for extended periods of time.
Snorkel Life Vests Versus Life Vests
The designs and function of life vests and snorkel vests vary greatly. Made out of a dense flotation foam, life vests were created to keep your head above the water while you wait to be rescued from drowning. To do this, the majority of the foam in a life vest is in the front of the chest area while a small foam strip supports your head.
Snorkeling is not the time for your head to be kept out of the water. It is difficult to snorkel with a life vest since you won’t be able to put your body in the correct position to snorkel. You will also have a hard time swimming forward when wearing a life vest. Drag is created by the large pieces of foam on your chest which makes snorkeling very tiring and hard to enjoy.
With a snorkel vest, you will have a loop around your neck and a bib on your chest. With these floatation devices for snorkeling, you can inflate the vest to whatever level you need since it uses air instead of foam. This also helps you get into the correct positions for snorkeling, plus you won’t have to deal with drag since you can deflate the vest if needed.
Types of Snorkeling Floatation Devices
Horse Collar Snorkeling Vest
The smaller of the snorkeling vest types, the horse collar vest features a neck hole that you can easily slide over your head. Normally only available in one size, the horse collar vest should have two straps that allow you to adjust your fit and help to keep the vest secure. You will find one strap that will wrap around your waist while the second strap will reach from the back of your neck and the loop up in between your legs so you can attach it to the bottom front of the vest. These straps are held securely by clips or buckles but you can release them easily when you need to take off the vest.
Snorkeling Life Jacket
Similar to typical life jackets, a snorkel jacket is thinner when it is not inflated. Covering the front of you like a snorkel vest, the snorkel jacket gives you more protection by extending around your body which also gives you back added warmth. Normally warmer than a snorkel vest, snorkeling jackets are usually the best choice when snorkeling in colder temperatures.
Available in a wide range of sizes, you need to get correct height and width measurements as well as weight limit before you make your decision on a snorkeling jacket. It is imperative that you get the right fit so that you will always want to wear it and so that it will work properly in an emergency. Keep in mind that these jackets do have waist adjustable straps that are adjustable but usually do not have adjustable crotch straps. You can also find some snorkeling jackets with pockets so you can carry some personal items with you.
When choosing the right size snorkel vest, a manufacturer will usually have a few sizes available, but remember to check with their sizing charts and with reviews to see if the jackets run large or small. Also, your weight is needed to determine how much buoyancy you will need to stay afloat.
The buoyancy needed to keep you easily afloat is really the determining factor when choosing a snorkel vest, more so than the physical size of the vest. You need to consider the lift buoyancy that a snorkeling vest can provide. You will see adult sizes that include extra-large, regular, medium, and small that are all dependent on your weight instead of your height. All of these size categories relate to a person’s weight so it is important to make sure to match your weight and size to the manufacturer’s size and weight chart.
Keep in mind that there are also jacket styles and hybrid styles that include more limitations in regard to size. Since they will wrap around your body, you won’t necessarily find a really good size for if you have a larger chest area. If that is an issue for you, stick with horse collar styles that don’t have the same limitations.
Remember that no matter what type of vest you get, it should not ride up since it is pretty much worthless if it rides up too high. If you have a snorkel vest that comes with a crotch strap, make sure to use it and make sure it fits tightly. With a snorkel jacket, make sure that it fits tightly around you to stop it from riding up, and it is important to make sure it fit right for that very reason.
To be lifesaving, a snorkeling floatation vest needs to be slightly inflated. Most people think they will only use the snorkel vest if they need to, so they don’t inflate them. Since no one knows when that might happen, it makes sense to inflate your snorkel vest before an emergency happens and you are too tired to inflate it.
An inflator tube needs to be pumped up manually. Buoyancy in a snorkeling jacket is only achieved from the air that is found in its bladder.
With the inflator tube, you can control how low or high you will float in the water by either decreasing or increasing how much air is in that bladder. You will normally find the inflator tube in the front of a snorkel vest, and almost all snorkeling vests these days have tubes or decreasing the amount of air in the bladder. The typical location of the tube is in the front. Nowadays pretty much all snorkel vests use tubes made of plastic.
Buckles, Straps, and Zippers
Buckles, straps, and zippers will keep your vest attached to you securely in place around your body. Most jackets these days will have zippers, buckles, or straps in their design. You will have a few durable nylon straps on a horse collar design that will use plastic squeeze clips to connect them.
Jacket and hybrid designs will use zippers to close and adjust them. Typically, these zippers are made of plastic but sometimes you will see metal ones. Remember that is you get a vest that has metal components that they should be rust-resistant so you don’t end up with a rusty zipper.
Other Features to Consider
After finding the right fit, then you can consider what type of style you want. How a vest looks should always come after you make sure it is safe for you to use. Snorkel vests today come in a wide range of plain and neon colors, plus you will find many options that come with D-rings and pockets so you can carry personal items with you. Just remember that whatever you bring with you when you scuba dive needs to be waterproof.
The winner of the best snorkel vest roundup is the Jetty Inflatable Snorkel Vest. Made from premium materials, this is the perfect adjustable float assisting vest to keep you safe when you are out in the water. This is a great choice when paddle boarding, swimming or snorkeling for keeping you safe and looking good.
Featuring a single side entry that lets you put the vest on and off quickly, this compact snorkel vest is available in four sizes giving you a great fit without riding up on you. The Jetty is a balanced snorkel vest that will keep you stable and upright when you are in the water, plus it is easy to customize with the adjustable shoulder and side straps.
Easy to inflate in just a few seconds, the Jetty features an easy to open and close lock valve that is secure when you are active. You can also easily add to the buoyancy level when you need to by just unlocking the valve to allow pressure to leak out or inflate the vest in just a few seconds to increase your buoyancy level as needed. The definite winner of the best snorkel vest round up is the Jetty Inflatable Snorkel Vest hands down.