Do You Need A Floatation Belt For Snorkeling?

Do You Need A Floatation Belt For Snorkeling

What is a floatation belt for snorkeling? Just as its name suggests, this floatation or flotation belt is designed to help snorkelers and swimmers float in water. You wear it like a belt between your ribs and hips. There is the means to secure it in place, mostly a buckle or a clip.

As you will see when you buy on, these are also worn by seniors and handicapped people for swimming. Thus, swim belts are also used for snorkeling sometimes, as are the snorkeling flotation belts used for swimming. If you are a water recreation enthusiast, you know very well the importance of having a buoyancy device.

When snorkeling, you want to stay afloat as much as possible. You also want to move in the water. Therefore, you want a snorkeling floatation aid that will not hinder your movement.

You can even use a life jacket for snorkeling. Seniors, invalids and kids can use a life jacket. It is big and it hinders movement, but it is designed to keep you afloat, and visible! But a snorkeling belt is so much better.

Here are just a few floatation belts for snorkeling:

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Floatation belt vs. snorkeling vest

Floatation belt vs snorkeling vest

The debate among people who love water sports and recreational activities is whether the belt is better than the snorkel vest. Some people swear by the flotation belt. Others swear by the best snorkeling vests. Personally, I would say it is a matter of personal preference because both are flotation devices designed to keep you afloat.

Some people say that when they wear a snorkel vest on top of their wetsuit for snorkeling, they experience no drag at all when swimming or moving about in water. On the other hand, people who use a float belt say that they hardly even remember that they are wearing it. Thanks to its comfort and small surface area, you just slip it on, fit and then you are good to go.

For a better opinion though, just have both the flotation belt and the snorkeling vest. Then when you have tried both of them, you can decide which one you feel comfortable in and wear it. Both are good quality snorkeling flotation devices. They will help you stay afloat as you snorkel.

But first, why is your snorkeling buoyancy so important? See the video below:

Benefits of using flotation belts for snorkeling

Why should you wear a snorkeling belt instead of a snorkel vest? Well, to tell the truth, it is much better to wear what you prefer, what you feel is right for you. As long as you wear a PFD- personal flotation device, everything should be good for you.

One of the benefits of a floatation belt is that it is affordable. Some cost even less than $10. Then they last a long time. Given good care, rinsing it in fresh water and air-drying it when you are done snorkeling, this belt will last a long time. If you are planning to go for a snorkeling vacation in some of the best places in the USA, you need to bring a snorkeling belt with you.

Just pack your snorkeling belt in your travel diving bag. Even when you are going for a scuba diving holiday, you can still bring it along with other gear like snorkeling water shoes. As you pack your scuba dive tank, beach shoes, just toss in the floatation belt.

Like any scuba diving or snorkeling gear, you will get the confidence that you need to feel safe in water when snorkeling. A floatation belt is going to enable you feel very confident even when you are a non-swimmer. You will enjoy peace of mind knowing that you cannot drown. However, please note that this is a snorkeling belt, not a life saving device.

Some of the snorkeling floatation belts can also be used for teaching kids how to swim. However, it is best to get kid specific swim belts for that. You want the belt to be nicely fitting before you let your toddler out in the water. Just as you can go kayaking with toddlers, you also want them to learn how to swim and snorkel as soon as possible. A snorkeling belt for kids will not only keep them afloat, but it will give them confidence and they can learn how to swim much faster.

Snorkeling for non swimmers

Snorkeling for non swimmers

When you mention swimming and snorkeling in the same sentence brings rise to the question of is snorkeling for non-swimmers safe. You will always feel safer when you know how to swim, when you are in the water than otherwise. However, if you do not know how to swim, it doesn’t mean that you cannot snorkel. You can!

While these snorkeling and swimming belts are used by seniors, children and non-swimmers, they are so well made such that even professionals use them. Thus, there is no shame at all in using these devices.

A floatation belt lets you walk into the water majestically, carrying your fins and then if you like, you can flip on your back, pull on your snorkeling fins and start snorkeling.

Floatation belt for snorkeling features

The snorkeling belt for flotation that you will buy will be designed to fit in the space between your hips and ribs. Thus, it is a very comfortable snorkeling floatation device to have on your person. For the very first time, you may experience some slight discomfort as you get used to it. However, once you get used to the hang of wearing the floatation belt, there will be no looking back.

Floatation belt for snorkeling features

Size and adjustability

One of the features that you must look for is adjustability. There is no standard size for these flotation belts since people come in different sizes. However, when you wear it, you want to adjust it accordingly so that you only wear the most comfortable size.

If it is too large, you will not feel too comfortable moving around in the water with it. Again, if it is too small, you will also not be comfortable as it could be too constricting. As it is adjustable, you just have to size it up for comfort.

Usually the belts will have the sizes that they can fit indicated. This could be between 26 and 42. Thus, it means that a person whose waist size falls between these numbers can use the belt. You will secure it around securely so that it does not come off.


The most common floatation belts for snorkeling are made with closed cell EVA foam. Don’t fret when you hear mention of the word foam. It does not get wet, no matter how long you stay in the water. Besides, it is firm and as such, it can offer you good lumbar support. That is why these belts are used for different forms of water exercises, including jogging in water.

The EVA foam is attached to a nylon belt. The point is to keep the snorkeling belt as simple and light as possible. The kind of foam used to make these belts is good for use in all types of water environments. It could be in the swimming pool or in the ocean. Chlorine or the saline conditions of the ocean will not damage this flotation belt.

Some floatation snorkeling belts may also come with elastic belts. These are good as they fit snugly on your body and they can be worn on any body shape.

Some of the snorkeling floatation belts are made of polyester material that is then coated with polyurethane, which makes it waterproof. This is a sort of an inflatable flotation device although it is not as popular as the EVA foam ones.

Weight rating

Some belts come with weight rating. When you look for information online, you will find many people asking whether a person of 200 pounds can float with that belt. Well, it is best to ask about the weight rating when buying.

Mostly, except when buying floatation belts for children, most of the adult belts will support any adult, irrespective of their weight. However, find out the weight rating because you need a snorkeling belt that will keep your shoulders and your head out of the water when snorkeling.

The fit

Look for a belt that can fit all body shapes. That way, you will still enjoy good movement when you are wearing the belt. You will also be able to breathe without the belt restricting you.  You also want to know whether you can remove some of the foam modules without affecting your buoyancy. Same as you would do with a buoyancy control device, you want to ensure that that your shoulders, neck and head stay above water. This will give you a perfect snorkeling experience.


Having read about the benefits of using a floatation belt for snorkeling, you can now go ahead and buy one on Now that you know how it works, the materials and other features, you will figure out how to wear it easily. If you do not want the encumbrance that comes with wearing a snorkel vest, take the snorkeling belt. Like many floatation devices, take good care of this belt and it will last a long time. When done snorkeling in the ocean or in the pool, just rinse it and your full-face snorkel mask thoroughly with fresh water. That way, you will get off the salinity of the ocean and the chlorine from the pool.