Beginner underwater explorers usually don’t think about using a snorkeling watch, but when you get more advanced and start spending longer times in the water, a waterproof watch comes in handy. We personally use a dive computer and here we share why it is useful and what models we recommend getting if you also decide to buy one.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of using a waterproof watch for snorkeling
- Factors to consider when choosing watch for snorkeling
- 5 Best snorkeling watches
- How to clean your watch after snorkeling
Benefits of using a waterproof watch for snorkeling
Having a snorkeling watch is not a must-have accessory, but you may have already seen that serious snorkelers or tour guides usually use one.
Even a basic waterproof watch that is only telling you the time provides various benefits. It keeps track of the time you spend in the water, helps to plan with the tides and if it offers an alarm function, it can notify you when you need to go back to the shore.
A dive computer supplies you other useful data too like water temperature and depth (if you swim not only at the surface but also freedive). Moreover, smart models with built-in GPS map your route too which is helpful for advanced snorkelers who like to explore new places, perform a study or research where the location information is important. If you live an active lifestyle, you can choose a swimming smartwatch too that can monitor your heart rate and analyze you snorkeling session as part of your workout plan.
The available functions and benefits vary from model to model, so before buying a watch for snorkeling, make a list of the features you except, set a budget so you can choose one that will meet your needs.
Factors to consider when choosing watch for snorkeling
Buying a snorkeling watch is easy since the selection is so wide, but if you want to use it for several seasons, it is good to know what features you should check to find the right one.
Those swim on the surface only might think that depth rating is not that important for them, but you still need to check it if you don’t want to destroy your waterproof watch.
Snorkelers should have one that has 330ft/100 meters (10 bar or 10 ATM) of water resistance, if it’s only 30 or 50 meters, it is rather just splash resistant.
If you use to freedive too, a proper freediving computer is the best to choose that are water resistant up to at least 300 meters/990ft, which is the dive watch territory. We like the Suunto D4F that is great for snorkeling, freediving and spearfishing.
If it comes to a watch you will take into water, especially salty water, it is important that the band is made of a durable, quick-drying and easy-to-clean material.
You should skip fabric and leather and choose one that comes with silicone or rubber band. Even stainless steel is a good option that typically you get with expensive watches.
Classical waterproof watches are analog because they have less buttons and therefore, better seals, but thanks to today’s trends, more and more digital and even touch-screen models are available. These are not only more cool-looking, but usually feature more functions like alarm, GPS, light, etc…
Snorkeling watches come in all price ranges, and it really depends on your needs and budget what model to buy. If your purpose to be able to check the time while in the water, a simple model will be fine that usually costs about 20-30 USD.
If you want an all-rounder smart activity tracker or a computer you can use for diving and freediving too, it is worth to invest in a quality brand. In this case, expect to spend 200-400 USD, but with dive watches, the sky is the limit.
5 Best snorkeling watches
Now that we explained why it is a good idea to use a snorkeling watch and what to look for when choosing one, here are some of the best models from budget options to pricier professional ones we recommend buying.
Casio Analog Waterproof Sport Watch
Those who look for a simple and cheap watch for snorkeling, this Casio model is a good option to choose. This classic easy-to-use model looks good, lightweight and comfortable to wear and features 330ft/100m water resistance.
- a classical, sporty and elegant waterproof watch with 330ft/100m water resistance
- classical design that is easy to use and comfortable to wear
- features 44.6mm analog face, bi-directional rotating bezel, resin band
The 44.6 mm analog face provides easy reading and displays the date/day too. The back of the face is stainless-steel, the band is black resin making it an excellent choice for saltwater activities. The only thing we don’t like that it doesn’t offer nighttime readability; it is slightly luminescent but fades quickly.
Garmin Swimming Smartwatch
If swimming in all forms is your preference, you should consider the Garmin Swim 2. It is made for open-water use and features an 5 ATM water rating meaning that you can use it for showering, swimming and snorkeling but not for diving or any high-speed watersports.
It is lightweight, slim and the full-color Chroma-display offers easy-reading even in direct sunlight. Large, but not too big buttons ensure that you can easily change your settings to view different data.
- all-rounder activity tracker for pool and open-water use
- it monitors your body out of the water and with advanced swim features, it fully tracks your in-water workouts
- it can be paired with smartphone so you can stay connected and receive notifications and share your workout data online
No matter what type of water -lake, ocean or pool- this smart activity tracker will monitor your workout and provide you with various data besides the actual time. Thanks to its built-in GPS, it records the distance, stroke count and pace and also monitors your heart rate.
Besides being a superb snorkeling watch, the Garmin Swim 2 is a fantastic all-day activity tracker too providing you with various wellness insights such as sleep monitoring, but you can use it to improve your breathing too.
Citizen Promaster Dive Watch
Citizen is a well-known name in the waterproof watch market for years. Although their watches come with a more advanced depth rating (666ft/200m) you would need as a snorkeler, if you are looking for a precision model that you can use in and out of the water too, the Promaster is a great choice for active guys.
- ISO-certified Professional Diver Watch with 660ft/200m water resistant depth
- elegant and sporty design with analog display in 48mm stainless steel case
- it is fueled by light, never needs a battery
This ISO-certified professional dive watch for snorkeling features a 48mm stainless-steel case analog display, anti-reflective mineral dial window, luminous hands and hour markers. It comes with a comfortable but durable polyurethane band with classic buckle closure.
One of the best features of the Citizen Promaster that it doesn’t need any battery. It uses Eco-Drive technology that converts light -including sunlight and any indoor light-into energy and stores it in the rechargeable lithium-ion cell, so technically this watch can run forever.
Seac Partner Freediving Computer
If you seek out an affordable but professional snorkeling watch, the Seac Partner freediving computer is what we recommend. It is perfect for snorkelers who regularly freedive to shallow depths to get a closer look and take photos of marine species.
- lightweight, simple and easy to use waterproof watch that is a superb snorkeling watch or entry-level freediving computer
- shows various information like water temperature, depth, surface time, dive time, descent/ascent speed, records sessions up to 99 dives
- with clearly visible, intuitive backlit display
This cheap dive watch with depth gauge provides you with various time information including the actual time, dive time, descent/ascent speed and surf time as well as the depth and water temperature.
All the most important data is easily readable from the digital display that has backlit function too. The rubber strap is comfortable to wear on the skin but since it is long enough, it can be worn over wetsuit too.
Apple products are widely used worldwide, therefore it became a frequently asked question if you can you go snorkeling with Apple Watch? The good news is that if you own a Series 2 or higher, it can be used for shallow water activities with the fitting sport band.
- stylish smartwatches with fantastic health-oriented capabilities and fitness tracking as well as telecommunication function
- measures your blood oxygen, checks your heart rhythm, analyses your sleep
- swim proof design, measure all your workouts like walking, running, cycling, yoga, swimming…
As stated in the product’s technical specification, the Series 6 features ISO standard 22810:2010 water-resistance level of 50m/165ft. You can go swimming in a pool or snorkeling in the ocean with the watch on in shallow waters but should remove it while diving or high-velocity water sports.
A great function of Apple watches (Series 2 or later) is the Water Lock that will lock your screen preventing accidental touches when in water. This function automatically turns on when you start a pool swim or open water swimming workout. Or else, you can activate it manually too by taping the Water Lock icon in the Control Center.
To turn this function off, turn the digital crown until ‘unlocked’ appears on the screen. When the Water Lock is off, the watch automatically clears the water from the speakers by playing a series of tones. When it’s finished, you can use the watch as usual, although after swimming in salty or chlorinated water, rinsing the watch with freshwater is highly recommended.
How to clean your watch after snorkeling
Just like all other pieces of your snorkeling equipment especially your underwater camera, you need to clean your watch too after swimming in salty water.
To remove salt crystals and other dirt particles, follow these steps:
- rinse the watch with fresh, lukewarm, non-soapy water
- dry it off with a soft, lint-free nonabrasive cloth
If particles got stuck around the buttons so they are hard to press, let the watch soak for about an hour and push the buttons a few times to remove dirt. If the problem still exists, take the watch to the service, don’t open it at home because you may damage the seals that will reduce the water resistance of the product.
In order to preserve the waterproofing feature of your watch for a long time, keep these things in mind:
- avoid water sports with high velocity water
- don’t take it into high temperature environments such as hot baths and steam rooms
- keep it free from sunscreen, perfume and insect repellent
- never use detergents, heat, sprays or compressed air for cleaning
- don’t drop it
If you keep these simple maintenance tips in mind, you can use your underwater watch for several seasons with no issues.
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