Countless movies and tv shows have shown the ocean as this dark, menacing threat that people should stay far away from, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is nothing like jumping in feet first and exploring what the ocean has to offer, for the less experienced, snorkeling is the best way to do it.

First, before you even think about jumping into that water, you’ll need the right equipment. A common mistake is believing that any old mask and snorkel will do, and this can ruin a perfectly great snorkeling trip. Just like equipment that you would use for other types of exercise, you want to make sure that your mask, snorkel, and fins are all comfortable and functional. For someone who has never done anything like this before, trying to select a snorkeling can be challenging. Often they choose to rent rather than trying to sort through all the choices. With a little bit of research however, somebody can find exactly what they need and not break the bank.

When searching for mask the two most important things are comfort, and field of view. Nothing will take you out of the amazing experience of snorkeling faster than constantly having to readjust your mask for either relief, or because you can’t see properly. To those who believe that this may be exaggerated, I wouldn’t wish the soreness that comes from outfitting mask on my worst enemy.

Seeing as how this is many peoples first time, spending $200 on a mask doesn’t make sense. For these people I would recommend the IST Sports MP110 priced at $45 this mask is comfortable, easy to clear (or easy to remove water from the inside during use) and has a great field of view. It comes in a variety of colors and the only major downside is that as it is frameless the lenses cannot be replaced for corrective lenses if you wear glasses.

When looking for a good snorkel things can get a little more complicated, some things to take into account are the adjustability, comfort, ability to block water, ability to remove water (throwing water out when you blow) , and most importantly the ability to supply air. This may seem like a lot but typically you can tell right away whether or not a snorkel is going to work for you. Before you get in the water you can check the mouthpiece, biting down on it to make sure that is not too large for your mouth or too rigid. Other things that can be checked by trying the snorkel in some form of water, maybe even a bathtub. For newcomers I would recommend the Body Glove Majorca snorkel. At $25 this snorkel performs exceptionally well and, it’s comfortable.

Fins are the one thing that are  overly expensive, there’s no real way to justify the purchase of those unless you are an active snorkel/diving enthusiast. Considering the cost, and the size of the fins it makes sense to just rent at your destination. In place of fins, you could buy dive slippers, as the name suggests, he’s our slippers you put on before the fins that allow for extra comfort. They also work just fine no the situation as well like at the pool or at the beach. If you choose to flow this advice, Tusa is always a great choice.

Now that choosing our gear is out of the way, what can you expect from your first snorkeling adventure. Well, with over 150 species of fish South Florida is home to some of the best diving and snorkeling spots in North America. From Fort Lauderdale all the way down to Key West, there are almost too many to count. Whether it’s the only barrier reef in North America or one of many artificial reefs there is plenty to do.

From the shallow and crystal clear water of Fowey Rocks (a decommissioned lighthouse a few miles from shore, that is home to mesmerizing schools of young fish to one of the many ship wrecks and reefs both natural and artificial that hold many untold wonders beneath the surface.
Whatever you choose, there’s no doubt I want to hit the warm tropical waters and see the many wonders and beauty that the ocean holds you’ll be counting the days until your next adventure.