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Home > Beach > Snorkel

Snorkeling - Just Float and Watch

Snorkeling is a popular recreational activity, one of the most exciting ways to see the fantastic life in the seas, particularly at tropical resort destinations. No special skills are required and no exertion is required to stay afloat.

Face down in the water and breathing through a short tube called a snorkel, your body is naturally buoyant. Even non-swimmers can do it safely using a flotation device. Learn how to stay safe and have fun in the water by following these essential snorkeling tips.

Snorkeling Hazards

Coral is quite fragile and can be easily damaged by clumsy swimmers, but it is also often razor sharp, which is another reason to avoid contact. It takes many years for a coral reef to grow.

When snorkeling along the coast, please do NOT stand on, or touch live coral. You will harm these delicate animals and ultimately the entire ecosystem. Coming into contact with coral generally kills it so please avoid contact with the coral.

Please do not feed the fish. Please look, but do not harass (touch, pet, grab, or chase) the Green Sea Turtles. They’re air breathing reptiles, a protected species, and a stiff penalty can result from harassment. Please minimize sunscreen use near coral reefs. Wear long sleeve surf shirts instead.

Tips for Safe Snorkeling

  1. Never swim alone. The safe minimum snorkeling team is 3 swimmers: a buddy pair to lookout for each other in the water and a shore lookout.

  2. Wear bright coloured clothes. Avoid sunburn and jellyfish with soft and comfy clothes. Bright colours make you more visible. Try these clothes first in a swimming pool to make sure they fit well and feel good in the water.

  3. Check your equipment. A strap breaking on a fin, a badly fitting mask or a leaking snorkel valve while you're at sea can cause problems and discomfort. Take good care of your equipment and check it carefully to reduce the chances of problems.

  4. Get Fit. You will be able to enjoy your snorkelling more and be much safer if you stay fit. A good way is to regularly swim in clothes. The resistance gives you strength over time.

  5. Choose a safe site. Make sure the entrances and exits to the water are easily accessible and that there are alternative places to exit if the dive is cut short. Avoid areas with heavy boat traffic, dangerous currents and rip tides.

  6. Check tides. The safest times to snorkel are at the slack water, which usually occurs near high or low water.

  7. Check weather and surf. Before setting off check the weather forecast. Rain is usually no problem. You'll get wet anyway. Wind can cause waves to increase which make snorkelling tough. Force 3-4 (12mph+) is usually enough to cancel.

  8. One up, One down. While diving with your buddy, avoid both diving under water at the same time, one should stay on the surface in case the diver has problems.

  9. Do not hyperventilate. Hyperventilation can reduce the levels of CO2 in your lungs, which decreases the trigger to breathe and can lead to black outs.

  10. Don't dive with a cold. If you have cold you could force mucus into the Eustachian tubes and cause an infection.

  11. Get proper training. Learn with a recognised training scheme, like a progressive training course to help people build skills and technique and enjoy the sea safely.

Know Your Limits

One of the best snorkeling tips that someone could give you is to learn your limitations. This is a vital skill that is often overlooked. There is no good reason to push your limits as you snorkel. These will change and grow as you become more experienced.

As a relaxed snorkeler you will get lots more pleasure out of snorkeling once you understand and consider all factors such as water temperature, surge, currents and water visibility.

Being relaxed as you snorkel will make you less threatening to the local marine wildlife. This is great, because once they realize you represent no threat, they will act normal around you which allows you to have a better experience.

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