E.S.S. Equipment

One of the beauties of Extreme Shallow Snorkeling is that it requires little equipment. At a bare minimum, you will need a snorkel, mask and swimsuit. There’s nothing special about any brand of mask or snorkel. When choosing a mask, it should be comfortable and fit your face. If you’re trying on a mask, press it to your face without strapping it on and inhale through your nose. If the mask stays on and feels comfortable, it’s likely to be a good fit.

Fins are useful in some situations, but unnecessary in most extremely shallow areas. But if your plans include normal snorkeling or diving as well as E.S.S., you’ll definitely want them. They should be comfortable on your feet, neither too loose nor too tight.

Depending on local conditions like the water temperature, you may or may not want to use a wet suit. Hopefully you are somewhere where you would be happy swimming without one. Wet suits do provide some protection, so they may be useful in areas where there are fire corals, sea urchins or other potentially dangerous objects. They also provide bouyancy, which is usually also not an issue in very shallow waters. Still it could make a long snorkeling session a bit easier, depending on the situation.

Aside from these basics, you may want to have an underwater camera or video camera to record your snorkelings. Many manufacturers make relatively inexpensive housings for their point and shoot cameras. Extremely shallow areas make for great underwater photography because the light is filtered through very little water. Underwater strobes are almost totally unnecessary for most E.S.S.

Safety Tip: Be sure to put sunscreen on your E.S.S. gear list! Especially in tropical areas, shallow water may magnify the effect of the sun, while cooling your skin so you may not notice you are being burned. Sunburn and skin cancer are no joke! Be prepared and be safe.