Guide To Equipment Care

MASKS
The skirts (face seals) and straps on all Snorkel-Mart.ca individual masks are made from silicone. The soft properties associated with silicone allow for the face seal to easily and comfortably mould to the contours of your face. In the past, mask skirts were made from rubber, and they often became hardened and cracked with age. Silicone, however, will remain supple and pliable for many years.

It is common for clear silicone masks to become a little discolored over time. That once crystal-like appearance of the silicone will become clouded and even opaque. Not to worry, this is merely a discoloration, and it is normal. None of the silicone's other properties will be harmed. A fresh-water rinse after each use in salt-water or a chlorine pool will ensure that your silicone skirt remains as supple as the day you bought it.

Occasionally you may want to add a mild detergent to your fresh-water rinse. A small amount of regular dish soap will do just fine. This is a good practice after using your mask in an environment where residue, such as sunscreen, comes into contact with your mask's silicone skirt.

A frustrating aspect of wearing a mask occurs when your lens repeatedly fogs up under water. All new masks are notorious for fogging, and need to be "primed" before the mask is worn. Priming the mask involves applying a mild abrasive to the inside lens surface of the mask. White toothpaste rubbed with your finger on the lens surface will serve to gentle scour off any residue left on the lens from the manufacturing process, or a commercial primer such as Sea Buff will ensure proper priming. Once the mask has been primed, an anti-fog solution should be applied to the inside of the lens before each use. Sea Gold is an excellent product for defogging your mask. It is also a good idea to repeat the priming procedure every so often, as residue build-up on the lens can occur for a variety of reasons.

Masks should be stored in a dry, cool place out of direct sunlight when not in use. Storing your mask in a protective box or case, such as the ones available in our Accessories section, further serves to protect your mask.

All of the straps on Snorkel-Mart.com masks are made from silicone. Although much more pliable than rubber, it is still possible for your silicone mask strap to break. Mask straps on all masks are designed to be replaceable. We strongly recommend carrying an extra mask strap with you whenever you go snorkeling. We offer replacement straps for all of our masks.

These general care tips for your mask should cover any basic concerns associated with this piece of snorkeling equipment. If you have any concerns or issues specific to your mask or environment, please feel free to email us at customercare@bigtimetrading.com.


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SNORKELS
Snorkels are somewhat maintenance free. By rinsing your snorkel in fresh water after each use in salt-water or a chlorine pool, you are pretty much doing all you can to keep your snorkel in top shape.

However, there are a few components of the snorkel that are prone to wear and tear. These components would include the mouthpiece, snorkel keeper and purge valve.

Mouthpiece: All snorkel mouthpieces have 'bite tabs'. These are the knobby looking tabs on the inside part of your mouthpiece on which you bite down when the snorkel is in your mouth. Over time and from repeated use it is possible to eventually bite these tabs off. The most comfortable mouthpieces are generally made from silicone. Unfortunately they are soft and are consequently easy to bite through. You should periodically check your mouthpiece for signs of wear and tear. Mouthpieces are quite easy to replace; please see our Accessories section to view our replacement mouthpieces.

Snorkel Keeper: The snorkel keeper allows the snorkel to be attached to the mask. There are many different types of snorkel keepers available. No matter what type of snorkel keeper you have, it is possible for the snorkel keeper to break. This is not a major concern, as simply pushing the snorkel tube under the mask strap will work if a replacement snorkel keeper is not readily available. However, in order to keep your equipment functioning properly, we suggest replacing a broken snorkel keeper as soon as possible. Snorkel-Mart offers replacement snorkel keepers for all of our snorkels. Please visit our Accessories section to view these.

Purge Valve: The addition of the purge valve to snorkel design has made it much easier to clear water from your snorkel tube. The purge valve is a thin silicone membrane about the size of a nickel, located at the bottom of the snorkel's mouthpiece section. The purge valve is a one-way valve that lets water out, but will not let water in. It is very rare for the purge valve to malfunction or deteriorate. However, if the purge valve were to rip or be removed, the snorkel would leak. It is a good idea to inspect your purge valve every time you rinse your snorkel in fresh-water. Make sure that there is no sand caught under the seal of the purge valve and inspect for any pin-holes or rips. As mentioned above, it is very rare to encounter problems with your purge valve, however, please feel free to email us at customercare@bigtimetrading.com should you experience any purge valve issues. We do stock replacement purge valves for our snorkels and would be happy to address your question.

These general care tips for your snorkel should cover any basic concerns associated with this piece of equipment. If you have concerns or issues specific to your snorkel or environment, please feel free to email us at customercare@bigtimetrading.com


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FINS
Fins are much like all other components of your snorkel gear. A fresh-water rinse after each use in salt-water or a chlorine pool and storage in a dry cool place out of direct sunlight will greatly extend the life of your fins.

Fins receive the most use and abuse of all your snorkel gear. It doesn't take long for a new pair of fins to become scratched and appear old. Here are a few tips that will serve to prolong the aesthetic appearance and life of your fins.

  • Fins are meant for swimming, not walking. Don't walk on the pool deck, boat deck or beach in your fins. Put your fins on just before entering the water, or in waist-deep water just off shore. Remove your fins just before you exit the water.
     
  • When in shallow water, resist the temptation to stand on the tips of your fins. While this activity is fun and does make you look taller in the water, it will place an incredible amount of stress on your fin blades.
     
  • Over time the rubber foot pocket of your fins may become brittle and start to tear. An occasional application of diver's silicone spray or even Armor All automobile protectant rubbed on the rubber will serve to keep your fins supple and prolong their life.
     
  • Avoid subjecting your fins (or any part of your snorkel gear) to petroleum based products. The rubber found in your fin's foot pocket will rapidly deteriorate if it comes in contact with these types of products. Although this is not a common concern for all, boat owners should avoid storing their gear in the bilge of the boat.
     
  • Avoid placing heavy objects on top of your fins during storage. The molded foot pockets of your fins may collapse (squash) if stored improperly. If this happens, the foot pocket will not feel as comfortable the next time you wear your fins.

These general care tips for your fins should cover any basic concerns associated with this piece of equipment. If you have concerns or issues specific to your fins or environment, please feel free to email us at customercare@bigtimetrading.com with your inquiry.


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GEAR BAGS
A mesh gear bag, such as the ones available in our Gear Bag section, is an invaluable piece of equipment. These mesh gear bags not only allow for convenient storage of your snorkel gear, they also allow for your snorkel gear to be conveniently rinsed.

After each use in saltwater or a chlorine pool, simply pack all of your snorkel gear into your mesh bag and rinse or hose down the bag and its contents. The bag with gear in it may then be hung up and allowed to drip dry.

The zippers on the duffel type mesh bags should be rinsed and occasionally lubricated with a zipper lube or paraffin wax to ensure that they continue to function properly.

Avoid carrying unusually heavy objects (such as a diver's weight belt) in your mesh bag, and your bag will remain functional for years to come.


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