How to Take Care of a Snorkel Vest


Inspect both the waist and crotch straps of the snorkeling vest for any fraying. This is more likely to occur at the ends of the straps but inspect the entire strap just to be sure. If fraying is found, trim the frayed area with scissors, then, using a butane lighter, carefully melt the trimmed area which will effectively reinforce the area against additional fraying. Check the fastening devices (buckles) for any cracks or damage and replace if necessary. If it has any pockets, check them for any surprises that you may have forgotten were in there. If the pocket is a hook and loop closure, use a soft toothbrush and brush both the hook material and the loop material.


Examine the exterior of the vest for any salt crystal formation which has a white powdery appearance. Magnified, salt crystals have sharp and pointy protrusions so rather than simply brushing them off of the vest, it would be better to soak it in warm tap water using **BC Life by McNett which will help to loosen and dissolve these crystals. Read and adhere to any and all warnings, cautions and directions printed on the label. If it has any zipper closures, this would be an excellent time to brush them with a soft bristled toothbrush to remove any salt deposit or dirt buildup.

Inspect the oral inflation hose for any signs of deterioration or dry rot and test the mechanism to ensure functionality by orally inflating the vest to capacity then dunking the mechanism under clear fresh tap water looking to see if any bubbling occurs. Any bubbling from the opening might require professional service from a scuba diving store but it could also be saltwater or dirt buildup. Since you have the vest already inflated at this point, you can continue to dunk various portions under the surface of the water to make sure that there are no leaks in any portions of the bladder.

Once you have made sure that the vest is leak free you can turn your attention from the outside portion to the inside. Pour a small amount of BC Life into the vest and add warm water until the vest is about half full. BC Life acts to both clean and condition the internal portion of the vest. Pick up the snorkeling vest and slosh the liquid around making sure that all internal portions have had the liquid touching it. Lay the vest down on it's back and leave it for awhile. Every time you walk by, pick it up again and slosh the water around then lay it down again but lay it front side down. You can do this a few more times before draining the liquid out of the vest. When you are ready to drain it, you want to make the oral inflator hose the lowest point for the water to drain. You will probably not be able to get all of the water out on the first try. Re-inflate the vest and repeat the draining process 2 or 3 times.

**There is no other substitute to McNett BC Life because other cleaners (Woolite, etc) will pull the oils out of the fabrics and BC Life cleans and conditions the fabrics and the internal bladder. This will help to extend the life of your snorkeling vests.


Partially inflate and hang it up to dry, out of direct sunlight. If it has any zippers, use parafin wax and run it along the teeth of the zipper (a crayon will work in a pinch). Zip and unzip the zipper a few times which will help to lubricate the slider and the zipper teeth. It should then be stored partially inflated on a plastic hanger in a cool dry location.


If you followed the "care, inspection and maintenance procedures prior to storage" instructions then you will have less to do when you bring it out of storage. Check the inflation and the deflation.


When packing your snorkeling vest for vacation travel, keep it separated from any sharp objects and rolling it up, rather than folding it, is preferred. If possible pack it in your carry-on luggage if using commercial transport in case your check in luggage is lost or delayed during transport.


If you are snorkeling more than once a day you should always rinse your vest in fresh tap water (if available) between excursions. If you are out of the water for prolonged periods keep it out of direct sunlight, excessive prolonged heat and away from sharp objects. Partially inflate between uses.

Please note that under no circumstances is it acceptable to put any equipment in a dishwasher, washing machine or dryer nor should any blow dryers be used to dry any equipment.