Snorkeling is the most popular and enjoyable water activity. Even without good swimming skills, many people are signing up for snorkeling tours to explore the unknown underwater world. It is believed to be the safest water activity as well.
But with a few steps, you can make it even safer!
When you go snorkeling with a tour, usually the guide is responsible for the safety, constantly keeping an eye on all of the people he brought to the spot. Moreover, he is always ready to provide necessary assistance in case of need.
Because in the open water, even if you are a confident swimmer, you are not 100% safe. In the case of dizziness or some bad feeling, you can take care of yourself without any side assistance if you are on land. However, in the water, where you cannot even stand, you need someone to help you in case of a problem.
Besides, it’s much more fun to snorkel with friends.
SAFETY RULE # 1 – When you are in the water, someone should be watching you.
The next aspect I would like to highlight is the importance of being visible in the sea.
When you swim, face down, entirely focused on the beauty of the coral reef with your black snorkel next to your dark-haired head, how do you think the passing boats would know you are there?
Even if you are snorkeling in an area with a bit of boat traffic, there is still a chance for bad luck when there will be only one boat driving by, and it potentially can hit you.
There is an effortless way you can protect yourself – be bright!
Bright neon color snorkel, bright red, yellow, or pink, whatever color except blue and black, rash guard, or t-shirt will increase your chances of being spotted by a captain from far away!
Check this bright O’Neill rash guard (Amazon affiliated link)
Moreover, if you plan to snorkel in an area with heavy boat traffic, it is better to have a floating device. They are usually also bright red, yellow, or orange. Or, if you don’t have any, even your bright color dry bag filled with air and sealed can work well.
SAFETY RULE # 2 – be visible in the sea.
The 3d rule will be about your buoyancy in the water.
After finishing scuba or freediving courses, someone learned that a weight belt is a helpful device for maintaining buoyancy underwater. Well, yes, it is much easier to dive down with a few extra kilos around your waist. However, it is much more challenging to float on a surface with those extra kilos. In scuba, you had a buoyancy jacket to compensate for the weight on a surface, right? In freediving, you have to be positively buoyant on a surface even after the passive exhale, don’t you? So leave the weight belt alone – you do not need it for snorkeling, as you don’t want to struggle with the negative buoyancy on the surface.
SAFETY RULE #3 – be positive on the surface
Further rules go mostly for advanced snorkelers as they deal with some freediving while snorkeling. Still because it is a tiny step from beginner snorkeler to advanced, I recommend you to finish this article, no matter how good you are now.
No wonder that after a while during the snorkeling, you want to have a closer look at some cute underwater habitats. You take a big deep breath on a surface, and you dive.
Do you know what you might forget to do?
You might forget to remove the snorkel from your mouth before the dive. This is a typical mistake even for scuba professionals. Or maybe, it’s just because they feel more relaxed underwater with something in their mouth, who knows.
Why would you need to remove the snorkel before the dive if you can easily blow into it to clean after ascending?
- you don’t want to waste time and energy on it
- it might be potentially dangerous
- There is a chance of inhaling water from the tube.
If you ever decide to take a freediving course, your instructor will explain to you in detail why diving with a snorkel in the mouth could be dangerous.
Imagine yourself swimming up from your dive; you are already a bit out of breath, but still ok, you blow to clean your snorkel, and you fail to clean all the water from it, so you still have water in, and now you are totally out of breath. That doesn’t sound good.
SAFETY RULE #4 – always removes the snorkel before a dive
And the last rule – don’t exhale underwater.
If you have seen in the videos that some experienced freedivers exhale just before they break the surface – don’t repeat this. This is an advanced technique, and if you are not at the same level of experience as someone diving to at least 80 meters, please, don’t repeat it.
Exhaling underwater has no benefits, but it can lead to unconsciousness or damage to your lungs.
SAFETY RULE #5 – don’t exhale underwater
And before I finish, I would like to make sure that when you start some freediving while snorkeling, you remember to equalize your ears.
Freediving equalization is quite a complicated thing. And some people need time to master it. When you take a freediving course, a big part of the course is dedicated to this topic. But if for some reason you prefer to skip the freediving course, at least remember – you do not continue to descend if you have an uncomfortable feeling, or especially pain, in your ears or forehead or anywhere else. Diving with pain may cause eardrum rapture. It will heal after a while as our bodies are perfectly designed for self-renovations; still, you prefer not to damage yourself. Right? To learn more about equalization, check our video about it.
By Svitlana Gaidai