Sometimes, it’s just a bad dive day. I had fallen foul of the exception that proves the rule. I had miscalculated my air and surfaced safely, but 100m or so from the beach, with an empty tank.
For around a decade, I had planned for such a moment of utter stupidity by carrying a folding snorkel in my BC pocket. And, of course, it was now on shore in my dive-bag, because I was testing a wing that didn’t have a suitable pocket.
I blew the BC up by mouth, rolled onto my back and kicked for land. It was a drag.
Snorkels are an important safety-aid for scuba-diving, because, if out of air, they mean that you can still breathe easily, swim on your front and don’t have to fight to keep your head and mouth above water, especially in a chop.
The problem is how to carry it. While some agencies encourage divers to wear their snorkel on their mask-strap at all times, I never got on with this. Too often I’d stick my head into wreckage or a gap in some rocks and knock the snorkel, dislodge my mask and fill it with water.
Store a rigid snorkel under your knife-straps or stuffed beneath your harness webbing and it’ll likely fall out and be lost.
The snag-free, loss-free solution is a folding snorkel with, of course, a suitable pocket. Folding snorkels are most useful, in my experience, for an out-of-air situation.
The suppleness tends to make them flex if you use them for proper snorkelling, which makes them vibrate annoyingly as you swim.
I have a rigid snorkel I use for breath-hold diving. While a folding snorkel does work for finning to and from the dive-site to save air, it’s not as comfortable as a “real” snorkel.
So TUSA’s SP-170 Platina II Hyperdry snorkel quickly won me over. It’s a real snorkel that also happens to fold.