Precautions to Take Before Snorkeling

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Snorkeling is a common activity or excursion at a beach destination that occurs all the time. While many of you may have snorkeled before, you might not have received proper instructions on what to do and what you should be aware of during this activity. Without even going with a group on an excursion, plenty of you have snorkeled by yourselves even though it is not advised to do so. While we can read about all the gorgeous places to snorkel and be excited for what there is to see underneath the water, there are several precautions everyone should take before such a “simple” activity may possibly put your life into actual danger. These are all beginning after the fact that you will not snorkel alone.

  1. Know how to swim very well or use a life vest /snorkel vest

First you should re-assess if you can swim, that doesn’t mean puppy paddling or that you swam “here and there”. You don’t want to risk having trouble getting around and risk drowning if the waters are not calm as well as requiring someone else to save your life out of the water if not necessary. If you’re not a regular swimmer, using a life vest will be helpful for floating in the water. It will also help you maintain more energy and make the experience more enjoyable.

  1. Use snorkel fins that are in good condition

In addition to being a good swimmer, wearing snorkel fins that are not cracked or broken will be beneficial to helping you tread more easily through the waters. It will also help you “free-dive” faster if you choose to do so. It will be quicker to paddle back to shore/the boat using fins.

  1. Keep eye of how far away you are from land/boat

You’re all set up with your gear now and you’re ready to go. While you may be having the time of your life in the water, it is important to realize where you begin and where you move in the ocean. Waves, currents, and even just swimming in any direction will change your location. Be conscious to pick up your head and look to see if the ocean is carrying you out any specific way. The further you go from land or the boat, the higher chances to lose your group of fellow snorkelers, swimmers, or the boat if you’re out at sea to begin with.

  1. Keep safe distance from coral and marine life

It should be mentioned by the instructors during any snorkeling excursion. Coral is sharp and can cut and sting you badly. Coral is damaged when humans touch it and it is to be preserved. Only marine life is meant to touch coral, no exceptions. That brings us to the second part – do not touch the fish. They will become scared and might be scared of humans to begin with. Admire them from afar and this includes sharks if anyone gets funny ideas of getting close to one on purpose. You don’t want any unnecessary bites either from fish that may be poisonous or have stingers.

5. Watch out for each other

On a last note, one of the easiest injuries is between snorkelers and swimmers! If you don’t look where you’re going (Precaution #3) as well as looking a few yards around you, you can bump heads or worse with a fellow snorkeler/swimmer. Make sure you see how close you are to everyone else, especially if in shallow waters. Remember that everything appears bigger and closer underwater because light is reflected back, so re-assess your surroundings at all times. Watch out for any other boats that may be out in the area, canoes, paddle-boarders, anyone that might enter the territory you are in.

Do you enjoy snorkeling?

Photo via Flickr