A question that sometimes comes up about snorkeling is why a pair of goggles cannot be used in place of a diving mask. The answer is that the snorkel, or diving, mask is a much more durable and versatile piece of gear, and it is more helpful for pursuing snorkeling in every way.
Water and air refract light in different ways, and our eyes are evolved to focus in air. Thus, our vision underwater becomes fuzzy and unfocused. A snorkeling mask creates a pocket of air that allows the eyes to focus normally.
Much like goggles, a snorkeling mask will offer some protection to the eyes and prevent irritation from saltwater exposure.
If a snorkeler decides to dive down to have a brief-but-closer look at something, the nose piece in the mask allows them to put a little extra air in the mask to equalize against the underwater pressure. This is impossible with goggles.
Snorkel masks are better than swim goggles for seeing things underwater in open water conditions because they have a firmer fit on the face and are less likely to be knocked off. Also, they are less prone to leakage.
Range of Vision
Snorkel masks offer a greater range of vision than goggles, because they are usually made with panels that permit at least some peripheral vision.
Finally, snorkels are made to be clipped onto the heavy-duty straps of a snorkel mask, so the mask serves as a convenient mounting point. Goggles, with their flimsy rubber-band strap, cannot be used as a substitute.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.