It is true that you do not need to be a confident swimmer to enjoy snorkeling.
Nonetheless, beginners or non-swimmers, and those who have never snorkeled before should find these five basic safety tips invaluable knowledge before you don your mask and snorkel gear and jump in the water.
Familiarizing yourself with a few snorkeling basic tips and learning the correct techniques will increase the thrill of the holiday pastime and especially for first timers and novices.
The aim of this basic guide for beginners is to cover the most important points of water safety, help you achieve a joyful experience, and increase your confidence to go snorkeling more often.
The first time you go snorkeling is likely to be a conflict of emotions between buoyant excitement and fearful nervousness. The trepidation will be increased four-fold if you do not know how to swim or are a complete beginner to water-based activities.
Non-swimmers are unfamiliar with the basics of staying afloat and using propulsion techniques through water. Knowing how to maintain your buoyancy is the fundamental rule of water survival in the open sea environment.
Wearing a personal flotation device for snorkeling in open water should be your number one priority and particularly prudent if you cannot swim. Snorkel vests and swimming aids are designed to increase your buoyancy and help keep your body afloat.
Flotation devices are meant to keep your head above water so you can rest, retain energy, or recover from exhaustion. Even competent swimmers can get tired.
Nonetheless from a snorkeling point of view, the encumbrances of wearing an inflatable vest around your torso can restrict your enjoyment.
Wearing a snorkel vest upside down around your waist area helps to keep your body bobbing in a vertical position for social floating.
Nonetheless, the human body is naturally buoyant and especially so in salty sea water. A device which aids buoyancy and allows you to peer face-down in the water would be more ideal for snorkelers.
You may find inflatable water wings or polystyrene noodle tubes work best for small children splashing around in swimming pools.
Personal and recreational flotation devices are worn by snorkelers, surfers, swimmers, and boaters. PFD's offer variances in level of protection and convenience.
They are usually colored fluorescent orange or yellow and available in different accommodating sizes depending on your body weight and stature.
Non swimmers can snorkel safely after they have become familiarized with the safety equipment and basic gear essentials. For the most part there is limited swimming required for snorkeling.
With a little practice you will soon be floating on the sea's surface with a mask and snorkel enjoying a day around shallow island destinations enjoying the underwater life below.
Tip #1. Never snorkel alone and non-swimmer beginners should always wear a flotation device.
First time snorkelers should try out the gear and get comfortable wearing the equipment before heading into deep water.
Make sure the mask fits snugly. Wearing it too tight will be painful and not tight enough means you could lose it. Practice slow relaxed breathing through the snorkel tube with your face looking ahead (not directly down).
First timers should do this in shallow water initially where you can stand up if you get anxious or have breathing difficulties.
Rehearsing the skills of clearing water from the mask and snorkel while standing in knee-deep water is a great way to familiarize yourself with the equipment and build up your confidence without tiring yourself out.
There is no substitute for owning a customized or personal quality snorkeling set. For around $100 worth of investment you can expect to buy a color-matching dive mask, a trendy snorkel tube, and a pair of diving fins. A mask, two fins, and snorkel is considered to be the basic kit and enough to 'get your feet wet'.
Tip #2. Use comfortable equipment and practice water clearing techniques in shallow water.
The best destinations for beginner snorkelers and non-swimmers is not necessarily the one with most active marine life. Learners will most likely have a better experience in shallow, calm water conditions than those requiring competent swimming skills.
Our basic guide for novice snorkelers suggests joining an organized tour for your first open sea experience.
Newbies may also be unfamiliar with boating activities so maybe a snorkel tour from the beach or shore is best for the first attempt. Try to find a tour operator that caters for families and groups of beginners and you will likely receive closer attention and proper supervision.
Tip #3. Join a supervised snorkel tour catering for families and groups of non-swimmers.
Buddy teams are usually in pairs, especially in snorkel diving. Ideally a swim team in snorkeling has at least three members in the group.
Two friends would usually swim around in the water, while a third member of the team would be monitoring from the shoreline or aboard the boat.
Children's buddy teams should have at least one adult. The buddy system for snorkelers also allows the so-called 'one up - one down' skin diving method whereby one team member remains on the surface while others duck dive underwater.
Tip #4. Ideally a swim team in snorkeling has at least three members in the group.
The statistics for fatalities caused by snorkeling-related activities are relatively low compared to other sports. Nonetheless, certain predisposing factors increase the likelihood of dying while snorkeling.
Therefore, our final tip for beginning and especially non-swimming snorkelers relates to general water survival techniques.
Tip #5. A swimming pool is an excellent place for snorkeling beginners to practice.