Deep sea adventures can be a magical experience. It gives you a peek into a part of this world that humans may never be able to explore entirely. But with a few snorkeling tips and the right equipment, you can do a little exploring of your own.
I recently had my first experience snorkeling, and it was breathtaking. We went on a family cruise to the Bahamas. While it was all fun and games on the ship, I was so excited to take my first snorkeling adventure as soon as we hit the beaches.
It was beautiful in the clear waters of distant islands and so different from the rolling grassy hills I call home. Even the nearest beach to me has murky water and rough waves -- not exactly snorkeling material.
In the Bahamas, the water is so clear you can actually see what’s below the surface. You can view all the brilliant fish against the white sand. You can also see where the ocean floor cuts off and drops into unknown depths.
Most people believe that snorkeling is a much easier alternative to getting a diving certification. It’s certainly much cheaper and doesn’t take the same level of safety training. Unfortunately, snorkeling isn’t quite as natural as you might hope.
You need to have all the right equipment and a good bit of practice before you’re going to be fully comfortable. You’ll also feel a bit silly as you paddle around with your face planted firmly in the water. The snorkel poking out above you, like you’re a strange little shark.
Luckily, there are plenty of snorkeling tips that will help you along. It might not be natural at first, but you can certainly stay safe as you going on your first snorkeling adventure.
Time to Get Your Own Equipment
I went on a snorkeling excursion, right off the beaches of the Grand Turk island. Our tour guide gave us everything we could need, including fins, snorkels, and power scooters.
The problem was, they didn’t give us snorkeling tips, and I got in trouble a few times for drifting away. It was hard to stay with a pack of people who had no idea how to use their equipment gracefully. I got tired of bumping into people and watching where I was going because I wanted to look below at the wonders of the sea.
So the first thing I did was distance myself from the pack, just a bit.
The only issue was, the flippers were strange on my feet, and I kept sucking water into my snorkel. Plus, when my vest came undone, I had to stop and re-tie the straps continuously.
Everything was so rushed, and by the time I was comfortable enough to stick with the rest of the pack, the guide was over.
If you’re going snorkeling for the first time, a guided tour can feel like the safest and most inexpensive option. You’ll still have to pay your way, but they will provide everything you need. It’s also a great way to venture to a deeper part of the ocean safely.
As great as that is, it will also be over too quickly. When you get back to the beach, you won’t be able to keep exploring because you won’t have access to the gear.
As someone who chose that route first, I highly recommend using the money to buy your own equipment. It will give you time to get more comfortable, and you can snorkel whenever you want. Plus, your mask will fit perfectly for once.
The trials and tribulations of snorkels
A good snorkel isn’t hard to come by. You just have to figure out what kind of snorkeling you want to do. Some people want to stick to the surface, like me. Others want to dive down and get a closer look, like my husband.
One of the best snorkeling tips I can give you is to get a snorkel that doesn’t pop off of your mask easily. During my short experience, I learned how obnoxious that can be.
Besides that, there are quite a few different styles you can choose from.
First of all, classic snorkels are rigid but easy to use. They are meant for paddling along the surface, more than diving. Water can also enter the tube quickly with the wrong move. Therefore, you will have to blow into the tube hard to expel it.
In my case, all the time. Whoops.
Flexible snorkels have the same design as a classic snorkel, but they aren’t rigid. You can bend the snorkel out of the way as you swim along. That’s a *++nice feature if you have tried a rigid snorkel and find that it gets in the way often.
Semi-dry snorkels are an excellent choice for beginners as well. They feature a splashguard to prevent water from entering the tube. Plus, they have a purge valve that will allow you to expel water from the tube effortlessly.
Dry snorkels are more comfortable to dive with because you can close the tube and prevent water from entering. Although they are a bit trickier to get used to, so they aren’t always the best choice for beginners.
No matter which style you choose, they will all serve the purpose well. Before long you won’t even notice it's there.
Picking the perfect face mask
There are two things you need to think about when selecting the best snorkeling mask. The lenses and the silicone skirt. Obviously, they also need to be the right fit for your face, but that can’t be the only thing you consider.
A quality snorkeling mask will have tempered glass lenses and a high-quality silicone skirt. If the lenses are made with tempered glass, they won’t scratch and will always provide a clear view.
In turn, a good silicone skirt will provide a reliable seal around your face to keep water from getting in.
The Things They Don’t Tell You
While most people think equipment is everything, there are a few more snorkeling tips you need to know.
The first, and weirdest, of our snorkeling tips, is that you can spit on your mask.
Spit on the inside of the mask and rub it around. Then rinse with the sea water. It will keep the inside of your mask from fogging up and ruining your view of the sights below.
If you’ve never gone snorkeling before, you might think this is one of the craziest snorkeling tips ever. However, if your mask won’t stop fogging up, and you don’t have anything on hand to prevent it, it might be your only option.
Although, if you prepare ahead of time, a few drops of baby oil will do the trick well.
Getting your mask to seal around your face is another problem you might run into on your adventures. If it doesn’t seal, it might have something to do with your hair. All you have to do is make sure long hair is tied up out of the way, and any facial hair is trimmed down or shaved entirely. That will give you a smooth surface for the silicone seal to do its job.
One of the most obvious snorkeling tips is to wear extra sun protection. You’ll likely be on the water for a long time. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re captivated by the beauty below.
During your adventure, your back is going to take the brunt of the sun. Even if you use sunscreen, it will wear off eventually. To reduce your risk of a nasty burn, consider wearing a long-sleeved swim shirt. It might not protect your whole body, but it will make a big difference.
When it comes to snorkeling, you need to be smart about where and when you go.
First of all, the weather is a huge concern. Make sure you aren’t caught out at sea when it turns for the worst. A simple check on a weather app will serve you well.
Plus, there are some snorkeling tips you will hear over and over. One of which is that you should try snorkeling near land, rather than out at sea. At least for your first trip.
It’s easier to get used to your equipment if you’re able to put your feet down every now and again to get your bearings.
For another thing, you should always be aware of your surroundings. We aren’t all so fortunate to live on a gorgeous island with clear waters. So if you’re traveling to go to reach those beautiful places, make sure you know what you will find there.
There are a lot of mysteries in the sea, but we have gotten a chance to learn how dangerous some sea life can be. Make sure you know the dangers before you venture out.
Practice makes perfect
It might seem a little obvious, but you’re going to need to practice to get comfortable snorkeling -- just like you would with anything else. If you don’t bother practicing, you might as well toss all other snorkeling tips out the window.
It can be challenging to practice if you don’t live in a place with clear waters. It’s pretty dull to snorkel in murky water where you can’t see anything beneath you. Masks won’t do you much good in my neck of the woods, for example. You might as well keep your eyes closed!
Luckily, you can practice in swimming pools before you take a trip out to sea. That will give you a chance to get comfortable with the tools at hand.
Other than that, you need to make sure you listen to your body when you’re snorkeling. You need to know when to call it quits.
If you’re paddling farther out, you should always be aware of the distance you need to travel back. Using fins will make it much easier to travel with ease, but you will still get tired with all the sun and exercise.
Additionally, make sure you understand the currents. If they’re strong or unexpected, it could carry you away. Fighting currents will only tire you out faster. Understanding the sea, as well as your surroundings, is going to make your adventures much safer.
Snorkeling Tips Will Only Get You so Far: It’s Time to Dive In
In the end, snorkeling tips will only get you so far. You need to get out there and try it for yourself. There’s nothing to worry about, as long as you have the proper equipment and awareness of your surroundings.
Snorkeling is relatively straightforward, once you get the hang of it. It’s also breathtaking to see life in a world that is so much different from ours. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that the brightly colored fish and the gorgeous coral reefs are merely beautiful.
With a handful of snorkeling tips and some practice, you’re going to be a natural in no time at all. You’ll be able to keep your mask clear and actually see what’s around you. Plus, you’ll get in the habit of using a snorkel without sucking in water by accident.
Sucking in water is no fun, and you’re going to do a lot of it before you get the hang of things. I know I did. But it’s a small price to pay when you’re having the adventure of a lifetime.
If you’ve snorkeled before, we would love to hear about your snorkeling tips in the comment section below -- as well as any incredible snorkeling locations you’ve traveled to!