Three Ways to Explore Underwater Worlds

Get unfiltered views under the water’s surface with a face mask, snorkel setup, or simple pair of swim

Swimming is one of the best all-around exercises there is. It’s low impact, great aerobic conditioning, and requires nothing more than a body of water and a little training. Throw in a dive mask and snorkel, however, and a whole new world opens up before your eyes. From games in the backyard pool to exploring ocean reefs or local lakes, learning to use a dive mask is a critical milestone in any swimmer’s progression. That said, you don’t need a full mask and snorkel to swim laps at the YMCA, and goggles alone won’t suffice for serious underwater exploration. Here are three variations on classic dive gear that will suit any underwater environment.

State of the Art

A full-faced swim mask offers unbelievable views of underwater worlds. Greatever

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As mask-and-snorkel sets evolve, they have begun to merge into one item. A full-face mask with integrated snorkel provides a snug, waterproof chamber that is less claustrophobic than a regular mask, makes for easy breathing, and offers a panoramic perspective. A detachable camera-mount allows the diver to share each adventure from their point of view, from reef to river.

Classic Masks

A self-sealing snorkel will automatically close when you dive, and open when you resurface, to prevent you from ingesting water. SwimStar

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If you are partial to the classic swim mask and snorkel set, a silicone rim is the best material to ensure a waterproof fit. Look for a self-sealing snorkel top that will close upon diving, and anti-fog glass that won’t cloud up as you change water depth and temperature.


Adjust the nosepiece and head strap until your goggles sit comfortably over your eyes without adding discomfort to other parts of your head. Aegend

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Whether you are swimming laps in a pool or just want something to keep on hand for impromptu free diving, such as scrubbing barnacles from a boat hull or diving for lost car keys, a basic pair of goggles with keep the chlorine or brine out of your eyes and offer enough field of view to see what’s going on underwater. These are best suited for use in a swimming pool, especially by those who are in training or exercising, but a pair of goggles will serve their purpose anywhere the water is deep enough to dive.