Once you have purchased a good snorkeling vest, you will find that there is little instruction available on the pack.

This can be frustrating for those who haven’t used a vest before. Sometimes, companies will introduce new designs, which can also confuse even the experienced snorkelers.

This guide will help you know how to use the snorkeling vest to get the best results.

What You Should Know

First, make sure that a good snorkeling vest you select is a good fit with your body frame. It should also have enough lift capacity for your weight. Also remember, you cannot use this vest for diving, skiing or surfing. It is designed specifically for snorkeling. These vests are inflated orally, as the air goes from your lungs to the vest’s bladder. Avoid older models with CO2 cartridge inflators as they are unsafe. Kids using these vests have to be monitored closely at all times when they are in the water.

Inflating the Snorkel Vest

An oral inflator mechanism inflates your vest. There is a rigid or semi-rigid tube on the left side of its front panel. It is called the ‘oral inflator stem’. This tube attaches to the inflator where there is a locking ring and nipple, which you can push down with your finger as it is spring loaded. It comes back to the original position on release.

You have to first find the inflator stem and confirm that the locking ring is disengaged. Rotate the ring in clockwise direction to disengage. Now, place the nipple end to your mouth, depress the nipple, and blow into the tube. Release the nipple so that it goes back to the original position and only then remove your lips.

Deflating the Vest

The inflator stem should be out of the water while deflating. It always helps if the exit point is located high. So first find the inflator stem. Then, rotate the locking ring clockwise to disengage it till it stops turning. Hold the stem with your hand. Make sure that you are gripping the nipple with your forefinger and thumb. Pull the nipple down so that air can go out of the bladder. Now, squeeze the bladder to your chest with your free hand. This will help you get rid of the air quickly.

A snorkeling vest is very useful in the water. But you will have to use it correctly to get the most of your sea experience and to stay safe.