Fillable Weight Belts for Snorkeling

By Cindi (Lilburn, GA)
Do fillable weight belts for snorkeling exist? I find a weight belt to be a big help in giving me more stability underwater to get that “perfect” photo.

We recently returned from snorkeling in Cozumel and were frustrated that the dive center wanted $10/day per person to rent us a weight belt – and we were staying for 10 days!

Obviously no one wants to drag around a bunch of extra weight when you travel so if there was something that could be filled with sand on site that would be pretty convenient.

Perhaps I have discovered an unmet need – but I thought I would pose the question.

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Galen & Nicole – Jan 5, 2015 – Fillable Weight Belts for Snorkeling

Hi Cindi, we have had the very same question. Traveling for a snorkel trip with weights in your luggage seems silly.

We found out that people fill up ziplocs with sand, or sometimes rocks. But it takes a lot of sand or rocks to equal the weight of lead. And it is also a bit of a pain.

But, there is this Zippered Nylon Bag Weight Belt that gives you a way to carry your bags of sand or rocks. Or maybe with this you don’t need the ziplocs. And you likely could fill it up once per trip and reuse it every snorkel.

Maybe some other folks have some experience with snorkeling with weights of sand or rocks?

Tim – Mar 26, 2016 – Fillable Weight Belts for Snorkeling

I have been looking for something like this for quite some time. Has anyone had any experience using sand as a weight since this was posted?

Galen – Sep 22, 2016 – Update

I have given in to the weight belt. I overcame the idea that it was silly to lug the weight around while traveling. You can read more about why and how I use one on my snorkeling weight belt page.

But here I will say that having the correct amount of weight is important, and bags of rocks or sand are going to be more difficult to control the amount of weight you have on your belt.

Tim – Jul 7, 2017 – Fillable Weight Belt

Long ago I decided that a weight belt would make snorkeling much more fun and enjoyable, but didn’t want to take my old SCUBA lead weights on the plane, and never bothered to rent lead.

After we started using a GoPro a few years ago, it became obvious that a weight belt would also improve the video.

Last year I tried a pocketed weight belt (linked to in the first comment above) that I could fill with sand.

Knowing that sand is much less dense than the lead shot used for SCUBA, I fully realized that it would not provide enough negative buoyancy to compensate for a wetsuit, but I don’t wear one in Hawaii, where we go every year.

The belt has six pockets which, when filled with sand, provide enough weight to make diving down easier and requires less energy to stay down. With less exertion I can stay down longer. I’m sure that it will perform even better for a slenderer person than myself, as I have 28% body fat. Way too much buoyancy!

The ability to take video is much improved as I am not fighting to stay down while videoing.

I know there has been much debate about using sand versus renting lead, but for snorkeling in warm water, the sand seems quite sufficient. At least when you have volcanic sand available. Of course, I am assuming volcanic sand is more dense than coral sand.

Some sand does filter out through the pockets, but it is easy enough to replenish. The pouches are zippered. Which I originally thought might be problematic with the sand, but the zipper teeth are sufficiently coarse to work through the sand grains.

For air travel, the belt weighs about 11.5 oz. Mine might be a little heavier than the stock belt because I swapped out the original stainless steel buckle with a heavier one from my old US Divers weight belt. The belt with no buckle weighs 9 oz. so the weight could be cut down further by swapping the SS buckle with a plastic one.

I highly recommend the Scuba Max Nylon Zippered Weight Belt (linked to above) for any snorkeling trip.

Rob – Mar 2, 2020 – Sand Belt Idea

For years I have struggled with whether to bring eight pounds of lead weights with me on trips. When I haven’t I usually end up with pocketfuls of rocks or even a large “belly” rock under my rash guard. Obviously the problem is my middle aged spread and getting rid of it would be the most practical solution to fix my buoyancy issues.

Last fall before a Cuba Sun Vacation I sewed up a fabric tube about 32″ long and a few inches in diameter. I added six straps around it along its length and at the ends a cinch cord with quick releases. It is attached to a standard nylon scuba belt and filled with sand from the beach. When finishing the last dive and swimming back to the boat or shore the cinch straps can be opened up and no more weight. In an emergency the weight belt can be released or the sand dumped in a minute.

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