How to Snorkel Correctly
Snorkeling is an incredibly fun activity that can be enjoyed with family and friends, as long as you do it right. As it is with most water activities, a lot could easily go wrong in a split second. In this guide, we’ll look at simple and easy to follow tips that would help you snorkel correctly.
The Do’s of Snorkeling
1. Equipment Check (Mask, Snorkel, Fins)
With Snorkeling, the gear matters a great deal. One pro tip would be to ensure that your equipment are in a good state. Especially for first timers, bubbles and water getting into your mask can be a nightmare and might cause you to panic. If you are renting gear, check them properly for fit and damages before heading out into the open sea.
Mask – If you’re a frequent snorkeler, purchasing your own equipment is better than renting them. This way you can personally check your gear for any damages before heading out into the sea. Either way, ensure you choose one that fits properly. To test the snorkel mask, hold it to your face and breathe. A completely sealed mask that stays in place without any aid from your hands should be the perfect mask for you.
There’s a variety of masks in different shapes and sizes, so it is essential to choose one that doesn’t leak. The excitement to get into the water and begin your snorkeling adventure should not override your safety, so defog your mask by using the spit and rub technique.
Fins – Another gear you need for snorkeling is snorkeling fins. It is highly recommended to rent your fins, but do not be a cheapskate. Rent fins that are neither too loose or tight on you. Make sure that your fins fit properly, abysmally fit fins can ruin your snorkeling experience.
Rashguard – If you don’t want to get sunburned, get a rash guard. You can also wear a t-shirt to avoid sun damage, especially if you’ll be snorkeling all day. SPF should also be your best bud, generously lather on as much sunblock as you possibly can. Choose an SPF that is biodegradable so as not to damage the reef.
2. Stay calm, don’t panic
Now that you have your mask, fins and rash guard, or t-shirt in check, it’s time to head out. If this is your first time, do a quick test run. Get into a small pool of water and learn how to breathe out of a snorkel. If you’re already at the beach, swim around the shallow water first before approaching the deep. This should allow you to get used to the feeling.
Practice should get you calm and used to the idea of swimming with a mask around your face. The top of the snorkel must always be afloat. If water flows into the snorkel, you can easily get the water out.
3. Float, Glide, Relax
Snorkeling is less swimming, more floating. Fold your hands in front of your chest while snorkeling to keep you warm and save your energy. You can float, glide and use the fins to move around in the water.
This outdoor activity is meant to be relaxing, so swim slowly. You’re probably not snorkeling right if you’re out of breath and moving like a whale. If you’re new to swimming, you can wear a life jacket, this can actually relax you, keep you focused on snorkeling and slow down your breathing.
4. Diving Down While Snorkeling
If you’re tired of floating around and you want to get a bit closer to the reef, you can dive underwater. For experienced snorkellers, this should be a breeze but for newbies, there’s a different method. Start by lying flat on the surface. Move by kicking forward to get a horizontal momentum.
Once you’re ready, bend forward from the waist down into the water. Dive with your hands and head first and then move your legs high so that your entire body is straight but pointing down. You should be in a handstand position. Your legs will get heavy and will eventually push your torso down.
5. Know Your Surrounding
Stay away from strong current if you are an inexperienced snorkeller. Waves are not the friendliest when snorkeling, especially for newbies. Strong waves make it difficult to move around, so it is better to stick to places with calm waters.
Go to a spot with awesome things to transfix on while in the waters, a barren reef will be as dull as staring into a black screen. Also, if you’re new to snorkeling, do not jump out of a boat, instead go to a beach, this way you can swim to a depth that is comfortable for you.
6. Dry Snorkel
It might require you to spend more, but it is way better to rent a dry snorkel or at least a snorkel with a dry splash guard, than one with a lot of water dripping out of it. Dry snorkels have a unique valve on top that is completely sealed shut for going underwater. It also has a purge valve at the bottom of the snorkel, for getting water out the tube easily.
7. Check the Weather/Marine Weather Forecast
The sea can be pretty unforgiving, and it’s easy for conditions to change within a matter of seconds. A lot of weather-related factors have to be considered when it comes to the ocean, including the tide, waves, and wind speed.
So, make sure that you always check the weather forecast before you head out to the beach to snorkel. Also, when you do get to the beach, make sure that you take things such as beach warning flags seriously, and if a lifeguard present gives you any instructions, heed them.
8. Never Touch The Corals/Marine Life
This is another essential safety snorkeling rule. There’s a world that exists underwater, and you have to be familiar with the inhabitants of that world.
Avoid touching any of the corals or chase sea turtles. First thing, this is generally not nice, and most of these animals could be toxic. Making contact with any of these poisonous species could cause some severe allergic reactions, and in some cases, you could even have to go into the emergency room.
So, steer clear of marine life. If you have to sand in the water, be careful and look for a big stone or a sandy place to touch down. Never should you stand on a coral.
9. Don’t Eat and Snorkel
It would be best if you never went snorkeling on a full stomach. This can cause a nasty reaction, especially if you get some salt water in through your nose or mouth, which could be dangerous for your health. If you have to eat, take light food like fruits, salads, and vegetables.
10. Stay Hydrated but No Alcohol
Stay at home or ashore if you’re inebriated. Swimming under the influence can be dangerous, asides from drowning; you can be a danger to others around you. If you snorkel for a prolonged time, stay hydrated (with water of course), before heading out into the sea.