When it comes to snorkeling, most people only talk of the usual mask and snorkel tube. Unfortunately, these aren’t the best if you’re a newbie, and this is where rafts come in handy. Boards are easy to use and safer, plus you will still have the ability to comfortably view incredible undersea creatures.
Here are some of the best boards/rafts you can use to make your snorkeling experience awesome and memorable. In addition, find a guide on what to look for when buying or renting this equipment.
What is a Snorkeling Board and why is it important?
Before we head out to the intrinsic details about what board or raft you should buy, let’s first define what these pieces of equipment are and how they are used for snorkeling.
Further Reading: How to Safely Snorkel: Beginner Guide & Pro Tips
A snorkeling raft or board is a piece of inflatable floating equipment with a transparent bottom designed to allow one to see underwater through the viewing bottom. This method saves one from having to put on the modern full-face snorkel mask or traditional mask, a snorkel, and a float vest when heading out into the waters.
Over the years, the rafts have been designed differently from a flat shape to something more versatile to allow for more movement and comfort as snorkelers enjoy the underwater scenery.
Many brands also design them lightweight so you can carry them along with you as you go out. Their sizes are can also accommodate kids as well as adults.
From the snorkel window such as the lookup board to the raft where you can actually lie on the transparent glass to view, they have proven to be the safest option, especially for weak or novice swimmers.
Now that you are acquainted with the definitions, let’s have a look at the different boards/ rafts available and what makes them stand out against other types.
1. Sea Window Atlantis Snorkeling Raft
The antlantis Snorkeling raft by sea Window is our top pick for adults. Its magnification is 0.25 stronger thanks to the aqua optics used to design the raft. It has impeccable clarity regardless of the water body in use such as the lakes, oceans, and rivers.
Its comfort is also top-notch with a head supporter, where the head and neck rest as the back is equally supported. The hard lenses are very clear and can similarly be used with corrective glasses. You will have an unlocked peripheral vision of the waters.
The inside of the raft has double layers of clear window which is not only for magnification but also for ease of viewing.
It has also a built-in cup holder where, as you wind down watching the sea creatures, you can indulge in your favorite beverage.
If you’re looking to mount a camera or your phone, the raft provides a convenient way to catch all the action without getting submerged in water. It’s also light in weight and hence easier to travel around with.
2. SEA WINDOW Explorer Kids Snorkeling Raft
From the Calypso, next, we have the explorer. A great alternative for your kids weighing up to 145 lbs and about 5 feet in length. It’s very light in weight and hence easily portable for travel.
The raft features crystal clear hard lenses that can equally magnify over 25% more thanks to the patent design of the Aqua-Optics. It’s also very comfortable to use with an attached headrest that can be adjusted and deflated every now and then. Even with the hard lenses, you can also use corrective lenses such as constant for goggles to view the underwater.
The viewing space is an open environment with peripheral vision. It’s constructed with a 12-piece gauge, unlike the previous choice that uses a 16-gauge PVC. With the above features and benefits, it’s a great choice for your children.
3. Sieco Design AQUAVUE Voyager Inflatable Raft for Kids and Adults
Last but not least is the Aquevue Voyager that’s versatile enough to be used by kids and adults as well. It doesn’t require any snorkels, masks or fins to get a glimpse of the underwaters.
This inflatable raft isn’t like the other snorkeling windows, it features a completely transparent bottom that allows you to view underwater the water without actually submerging into the water.
It has stable walls around the raft that are meant to keep your baby safe within its boundaries. It’s tall enough to avoid mild splashes hence ensuring your kids remain dry and safe. the raft is connected using the safety handles and a pull rope that also controls how the raft appears.
For inflation, the raft can either be manually or electrically pumped to capacity, similar to an inflatable boat. Besides these above features, the raft also has;
- Has paddles to assist with moving around on the surface of the water for maximum visibility of the sea creatures.
- It’s very light in weight and hence ideal when traveling.
- It has pull ropes to allow the rider to be conveniently moved around in the water using hand poles.
- It has a mouth/ hand pump valve for faster pumping and inflation of the raft.
- It has a large valve for the quick release of air. This helps when you’re done and you simply want to deflate the raft.
4. Sea Window Calypso Snorkeling Raft
This board comes with an ergonomic design that offers more comfort and support for your body and especially the neck and back area. Its lenght also adds convenience to its design. It allows you to add an adjustable headrest hence less strain from you as you snorkel.
The incredible and advanced Aqua-optics underwater viewer allows you to view all those beautiful corals from a close range. Furthermore, it has patented hard lenders that not only widen the scope of view but also add to the clarity of the images.
In terms of sizing, the fact comes in adult sizes measuring about 225 pounds; approximately 100 kgs. As the company seeks to enhance its customers’ experience, they have improved the patented design improving the fit of the mask. This had adversely reduced discomfort from the use of a snorkel as more you get to breathe easy as you enjoy your favorite water sport.
Its comfortable, stylish, has a personal magnifier, and also can be mounted on various accessories including cameras and phones for your videos and selfies.what more could you as for.
- It has great aqua-optics to help you magnify and image.
- Support and comfort for the head, neck, and back.
- It has hard lenses that can also be worn with corrective lenses during viewing.
- It has an unblocked peripheral view hence also avoiding claustrophobia from putting on a mask.
- Easy to transport and carry with you
5. Zayak Sea Sled Bodyboard Snorkeling kickboard
Moving on to a different manufacturer, the Zayak Sea Sled by Reef Tourer offers great snorkeling experience with its neoprene dry mask. The mask not only aids get rid of water from your airway tube, but it also blocks out all reflective light that’s seen underwater. Hence a clearer view altogether.
This sea sled is the number one alternative to the traditional masks and snorkels that could be uncomfortable once you are slightly submerged in water. With its tight construction along with stable flotation, there is much more comfort as you snorkel. What’s more, it offers a wide view of the water
6. Looky Board
Next up is the looky board. A versatile raft that comes with a peeking window at one side and a flat surface on the other to allow you either to snorkel or surf. It can be used by people of all ages due to the comfort it offers, as well as its buoyancy.
Features to look for when Buying/Renting
If you’re looking to get yourself a board or a raft, take a look at these there features below. These are the most common features to look for.
All the above boards and rafts have different sizes for inflation. Depending on your taste and preferences, a highly inflatable raft is the best choice
Windows for Seeing
Especially if you’re not looking to get in the water, its best to have a look at the windows attached to the rafts. Most will have a wide enough window where you can fit your head in and begin snorkeling.
Room for Attaching Other Devices Like Cameras.
The Sea Window inflatable raft features this as their main improvement. The ability to mount your underwater camera or phone and be assured that it’ll remain dry. It features two-plus patent-pending camera mounts to allow you to capture the best moments from inside the water.
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