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Purge snorkels make it easier to clear water from your snorkel. There is a purge valve located at the bottom of the snorkel, which may enable divers to use less air to blow out water. Some purge valves are sheltered by a little cage that keeps debris out.
Some divers will only use purge snorkels, while others do not find them helpful and prefer simple snorkels. When you go on scuba trips, it's always handy to have a snorkel. You can snorkel at the surface, for example, as you wait for the rest of your dive party to enter the water. If you surface far from the dive boat, it's easier to use a snorkel to swim back, rather than getting a mouthful of water.