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I use mine early in my breathe-up so that my face-down position can induce the dive reflex. If i am doing a shallow to medium depth dive (30-75 feet), I'll keep it in place. If I am going for more depth (100+) I leave it at the surface.
Snorkels are a vital piece of equipment, at least at Laguna Beach, they prevent municipal revenue enhancement, i.e. a ticket from the life guard for "scuba without snorkel" violations.
Tobin you mean that there's a law in CA that requires you to wear a snorkel.....man talk about a nit-picky way for the Man to get your hard earned geets....the only thing that I can think of that they are good for is making your mask leak...although I do carry one in my OS**t bag on ocean dives...a folded one along with flares,strobe,mirror,knife,emt scissors,and whistle....I don't like being lost at sea....not a good feeling....
Tobin you mean that there's a law in CA that requires you to wear a snorkel
Not everywhere in CA, just Laguna Beach AFAIK. The Snorkel Police, AKA city lifeguards, write tickets if you don't have one, some even require you have it deployed, but then this a city where about 50% of the parking meters eat quarters routinely without crediting the 15 minutes. I think they like it that way.
Many freedivers use snorkels when starting out because its a comfort thing but once you get better it more becomes a pain in the *** and "dead air space". Meaning its not prime air, its air that you've already breathed out and if your goal is to flush out Co2 for longer bottom time the dead air does not help.