As a snorkeler, if you don’t intend to go underwater, you don’t need to wear a weight belt. To dive below the surface, as a skin diver, you may need to wear a small amount of weight, even if you aren’t wearing a wetsuit. Buying a great snorkeling mask is the most important thing you need to do before you head out to the ocean. You should get yourself the best mask that is available in the market so that you can enjoy your diving experience properly.
Two things are essential when you are wearing a weight belt. First, your belt must always have a clear drop path, so that if you ditch it, it will fall cleanly away from your body. Secondly, you should always don your belt so that the buckle is oriented the same way.
If you are right handed, you will probably want a right hand release, so that the buckle opens to the right. If you are left handed, you will probably prefer a left hand release, with the buckle opening to the left. It doesn’t matter which way you set your belt up so long as you get in the habit of being consistent about the way you do it.
Your weight belt should always be the last piece of gear you don after your dive suit and snorkeling vest or buoyancy compensator. Your belt must never be under your vest, especially if the vest is equipped with a crotch strap where the belt might hang up if you needed to drop it.
The easiest way to don the belt is to “step into it,” by holding it low to the ground in front of you, and stepping over it one leg at a time. Lift the belt to your waist, lay it across your back at your waist, bend forward, and tighten the belt until it is snug. The buckle should be situated in the front of your body at waist level.
You will usually find that once you enter the water, the belt will tend to slide around a bit. It is important to check the buckle on the belt occasionally when you are in the water to make sure that it is oriented in the proper position. If the buckle has slid and it is behind you, you will not be able to locate it quickly should you need to drop the belt.
Just like a weight belt, as a skin diver, it’s always a good idea to carry a dive knife with you, and most people find it most convenient to mount the knife on the inside of their calf, on the leg opposite from the hand they use. If you are right handed, mount the knife on the inside of your left calf. If you’re left handed, mount it on the inside of your right calf.
Be sure to adjust the straps on the knife so that they are snug, but not tight. Most straps are made from stretchy rubber and should have a bit of tension on them to hold the knife in position.
Both weight belts and dive knives are huge assets to the snorkeling and skin diving experience.