Your on holidays and planning to go snorkeling for the day and are wondering do you need to be able to swim to snorkel. Unfortunately, many tour companies give the impression that to go snorkeling, that it is so easy that all you have to do is put on a snorkeling mask, a snorkel, and fin. And then jump in.
The short answer is no if you use a life jacket and yes if you do not use a life jacket. And you need to be comfortable to put your face under the water without panicking and breathing through the snorkel. The reality is that there needs to be a basic understanding of the equipment, and awareness of the dangers and conditions of the ocean.
In this post, we will go through do you need to know swimming for snorkelling. Let’s get started!
Read more on common questions asked by beginner divers
Difference Between Snorkelling And Swimming
Snorkeling is almost exactly like swimming but snorkelling requires equipment like a snorkel, fins and wearing a mask. Similar, to swimming, except snorkeling is like swimming with fins and with your head under the water.
You don’t need to worry about doing the know the crawl arm strokes, breaststroke or butterfly, or how to breathe while doing swimming. Snorkel is mostly involved in floating to be able to float and move around.
If unable or not comfortable doing this, use a life jacket.
To go snorkelling, this requires the following basic equipment needed to actively participate.
- Snorkeling Mask.
- Life Jacket.
Getting yourself used to wear snorkeling equipment, is not hard. You can need to adjust the equipment for personal comfort and if you planning on using a camera or GoPro then there will be more equipment to get used to.
How To Breathe Using Snorkeling Equipment?
The snorkel allows you to keep your face under the water and see what is in the sea while the end of the snorkel is above the water and the other in your mouth so you can breathe. This is the main function of the snorkel.
So, when you dive, you hold your breath, and upon surfacing you clear the snorkel of water by blowing out through the snorkel and then start to breathe again.
Is Snorkeling Dangerous?
Snorkeling is very safe assuming you are a strong swimmer or using a life jacket. Most snorkelers stay at the surface, as a result, there are no depth-related pressure adjustments to consider. And if you get into trouble help is near.
You should remember to avoid swimming over shallow reefs. Regularly, looking around to check how you are from the boat or shore. Also, looking out for jellyfish if they are the area you are snorkeling.
And try to stay away from Sea urchins. Those are the are round spiny animals that are found on the seabed.
What Causes Accidents When Snorkeling?
The most common accident that people most want to avoid is drowning. While it’s true that there are diving masks, life jackets, and other diving and snorkeling equipment, there are limitations on them that there are times you can’t rely 100% on them.
This poses the greatest danger to snorkelers. For example, the mask may have a leak. So, when water gets inside the mask, you may have trouble seeing. This might cause the snorkeler to panic.
The equipment does not create an immediate problem it is how the snorkeler reacts to the problem that causes most of the snorkeling-related incidents.
The ocean itself also presents more dangerous considerations such as jellyfish, sharks, and strong currents. The biggest cause of Snorkelling injuries are collisions with jet skis and small boats.
Snorkelling Tips For Beginners
For beginners to snorkeling and those who are not comfortable in the water, here are a few tips to make sure that you enjoy the experience.
Try and learn or improve your swimming, and then if possible try with fins. This will help improves your stamina and confidence in the water. And also if you practice with fins will help you get used to the extra drag and weight of the fins.
Starting off don’t rent the cheapest snorkelling equipment you find. You will get what you paid for.
When renting equipment, it is best to practice doing an equipment check. Try on the fins ensuring they fit. Put on the snorkeling mask and try to breathe through the snorkel and make sure they fit and work properly, before going out to the open sea.
Practice With Your Gear
If possible, after you have rent the snorkeling equipment you need. Try using the equipment in the swimming pool or a calm shallow part of the beach. This helps you get used to putting the snorkeling equipment on as well as using it in the water.
It helps you to know if your mask leaks and if you need to adjust it if it is too tight or too loose.
Defog Your Snorkelling Mask
You can defog your snorkeling mask with defogging gel. This is a very important skill to use as this can have a big impact on your snorkeling experience.
Simply put a few drops of the defogging gel inside the mask. Then rub it around with your finger, and rinse briefly with fresh water.
Remember, this improves visibility with the idea of creating a thin layer of the defogging agent inside the mask so that the air in your mask and the glass of the mask itself is separated.
Decide On A Good Location
If you are a beginner snorkeler, choose a place that is not too challenging such as somewhere with no strong currents and the water is calm.
For beginners, the best thing to do is going to the beach instead of jumping out of a boat as you can gradually swim towards a depth you are comfortable with.
Finally, to answer the question “Do you need to know swimming to go snorkeling?” The answer would be a “Yes” for the best experience. If you can not swim you can snorkel using a life jacket but they will be limitations such as to can’t dive under the water and to be of drifting away from the boat.
And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on do you need to know swimming for snorkeling has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.