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Snorkelling in Sharm el Sheik - Full face?

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New Member
Mar 20, 2024

I'm new to this site and heading over to Sharm with family in 2 x weeks. I have a family of 2 x adult male sons and 2 x teenage girls (17 and 15), the girls are a little bit nervous about snorkelling. I was going to buy some equipment, rather than rent and thinking of 2 x Arai QR+ full face masks, for the girls, as they'll stay on the surface and some masks and snorkels for myself and my 2 x boys. However, the Arai masks are very expensive, are there any other alternative full face masks that are comfortable and safe that they could use?

Happy to receive advice and also on any short fins, are they required or not for the girls?


Hi Steve - I understand your logic but I have to declare a deep distrust of full face snorkel masks (although I had one myself about sixty years ago that featured a ping-pong ball in a little cage at the top of the snorkel). My best advice would be not to use them and to get the girls conventional snorkelling equipment.

Therefore in all conscience I can't recommend an alternative. It sounds to me like you have done your own research and picked out a well designed mask that should minimise the dangers of dead air space, clearing any water that leaks in, and being able to get the mask off quickly in an emergency. You clearly also understand that the girls will not be able to dive any appreciable depth when using these masks. So my very much second-best advice would be that they should take things very easy i.e. minimal exertion, and that they should take frequent breaks. This should let them have fun and see pretty things from the surface without pushing through the safety limitations of the equipment. Someone responsible should be monitoring them at all times and ensuring that they stick to these rules. Since they are not going to be diving or straying far from shore then fins are optional. Just warn them to look up occasionally and not stray further from shore than they would be happy to swim back without equipment!

I am sure you will all have a great time whatever you decide regarding equipment. :)

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Be aware that when it comes to combined masks and snorkels, there is an alternative to the full-face version, namely a half-face snorkel-mask providing eyes and nose coverage but with the mouth excluded:


This configuration would enable the wearer to breathe through the nose while floating on or just below the surface of the water without enclosing the mouth too. The design might accommodate snorkellers who find the presence of a normal breathing tube mouthpiece in the oral cavity irksome or even prone to trigger a gagging reflex. If this is not the case, I second Hyscore's advice and the suggestion that a safer option might be a snorkel independent of the mask.

As for fins, they will enhance mobility and manoeuvrability on the surface as well as when submerged. They are also fun to use, which is bound to increase children's enjoyment of snorkelling. Make sure that the foot pockets fit well and that the blades are not too stiff. From my experience, all-rubber closed-heel fins are both comfortable and effective for snorkelling. Fins are such personal items of equipment, however, so it is best for the end-user to make the final choice.

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Buy the girls a good mask and snorkel and stay away from all the gimmicks. The reason they're not popular is because they're no good. Get them used to using them in shallow water where they can stand up to clear any water and they'll be good to go in no time. I would also definitely go with fins for a few reasons. First they help to keep your feet floating so its easier to relax, one of the reasons you end up swallowing water is from flapping your arms to much. Second when you get comfortable in the water it's easy to lose track of where you are and drift out, swimming with fins is much easier unless they are very strong sea swimmers already. Enjoy!
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