Private ScubaSnorkeling Blog › Swimming Goggles

Swimming Mask vs. Goggles

Snorkeling masks and swimming goggles have several important differences, features, and purposes. So why is it that so many snorkelers use terms like 'snorkle goggles' or even 'snorkeling goggles with nose cover'?

Swimming mask goggles are traditionally associated with swimmers. Whereas, you wear eye goggles while snow skiing – or sometimes in the workplace – worn as safety eyewear.

Snorkeling Goggles vs the Swimming Mask

Snorkelers and scuba divers wear a snorkel mask for eye protection. It helps them see things underwater and for extra comfort while they are in – or below – the water.

We will avoid delving into the science and Physics of Boyle's law. But, that is the best way to explain the physiological differences between snorkel masks and swimming goggles.

So, for the benefit of people learning about snorkeling, we will keep it simple.

This particular snorkeling blog focuses on the design features, the size of the lens, waterproof sealing materials around the face, and mask buckle and strap assemblies. Doing so helps to differentiate between snorkeling eye-wear products and water resistant eye equipment.

So here is the clarification. Scuba and snorkeling goggles do not exist. We accept that goggles are often used in water. But, they do not manufacture swimming goggles with a nose cover.

Image of swimming goggles with soft silicon nose cover.A true quote from the dictionary describes goggles in more detail. It states that goggles are:

"Large spectacles equipped with special lenses having protective rims to prevent injury to the eyes from water, strong wind, flying objects, blinding light, or flying objects."

The simplest explanation is the extra feature of a diving mask to include the wearer’s nose inside the face pocket. Whereas goggles seal against the inner or outer eye sockets but leave the nose open to the water.

Thus, if you are wearing a swimming mask with a nose cover, it is actually a snorkeling mask and not a set of goggles.

The importance of this feature is the ability that scuba divers, skin divers or free diving snorkeler’s have to equalize this tiny air space using air introduced from the nose.

Consider that underwater photography would be almost impossible without the facility that dive masks provide for seeing objects clearly and identifying creatures underwater.

So – there it is in simple terms – goggles are for swimming and dive masks are for scuba or snorkeling activities!

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