Snorkeling Gloves – Best Sun Protection for Your Hands

Do your hands always get burnt when snorkeling? Snorkeling gloves will provide better, more reliable sun protection than sunscreen. If you spend hours per day in tropical waters, consider adding some to your gear kit. As the years go by, we keep adding new sun protection clothing, and we definitely recommend wearing some kind of fabric sun protection on the back of your hands and fingers.

Two people wearing snorkeling gloves over a coral reef

When you do a web search for snorkeling gloves you are going to come up with sites suggesting you wear full coverage neoprene gloves for warmth. But, this is not what we recommend.

First of all, many of the destinations we travel to do not allow you to wear gloves that cover your fingers. These rules come about to protect wildlife from getting handled by divers. But, snorkelers are subject to the same rules. Second, neoprene is likely going to be overkill in terms of warmth for tropical snorkeling. Third, if you like taking pictures while snorkeling, you wouldn’t be able to work the buttons on the camera with those clunky neoprene gloves on.

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Palmyth Fingerless Sun Protection Gloves

Here is what we recommend: fingerless sun protection gloves. They are made with UPF 50 fabric on the back of the hand and fingers, which will protect your hands from getting burnt by the sun, but will also be allowed in those places where fingered gloves are not.

The ones that work best are made for fishing, kayaking, or sailing, because they are made to get and stay wet. There are two brands on Amazon that are good for snorkelers: the Palmyth Gloves and the Tough Outdoors Gloves. Galen has a pair of the Tough Outdoors ones.

For both of these gloves, the UPF protection works whether the fabric is dry or wet. They both have synthetic leather on areas on the palm surface for better grip. This will be helpful climbing a ladder back onto a boat or dock.

We have found that getting wet snorkeling gloves off can be challenging, but both of the gloves above have straps in a few places that help you grip them and take them off more easily.

The Palmyth has more size options than the Tough Outdoors, for a more specific fit.

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Alternatives to Snorkeling Gloves

Our favorite rash guards, made my Tuga, have long arms with thumb hole cuffs that protect the back of your hand. When we are wearing these we don’t need gloves, but we do need to add some reef friendly sunscreen to our fingers and thumb because they get burnt too.

Why Do We Recommend Snorkeling Gloves?

For the last number of years, we have been participating in group snorkeling trips, that include being in the water for at least 90 minutes up to four times every day. When you are in and out of your wet rash guards or wetsuit that many times a day, you want the process of getting ready to be quick and easy.

It is necessary for water-resistant sunscreen to be applied 15-20 minutes before entering the water. It will likely wash off if you don’t follow these guidelines. On the backs of our hands, even if we apply sunscreen enough ahead of time, the edge of the rash guard or wetsuit sleeve rubs it off during the snorkel and our hands get burnt anyway. Snorkeling gloves fix this issue.

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