Do you really need a buddy, and why should you follow the recommended safe system of snorkeling together as a group (e.g. the swimming buddy system)?
Information in this guide clarifies what a snorkel buddy is, and how snorkelers use the snorkeling buddy system to help keep swimmers safe in open water.
The snorkeling buddy system is not widely known or observed by many of its participants.
In fact, some recreational tour leaders and individuals often ignore the guidelines altogether.
This is despite the fact that snorkeling buddy systems add safety and enjoyment to most aqua adventures.
Often, the snorkeling buddy system is an agreed procedure by a pair (or a team) of friendly individuals.
They would plan to stay close enough to be able to communicate while swimming in the water. Hence, they will observe the group and assist one another throughout the task. It is helpful for things like:
Snorkel swimming as a sea sport has few restrictions - meaning there are no specific age or minimum height limits necessary to join in the fun.
In fact, most holiday destinations will encourage families to try snorkeling with kids as a family. Doing so, engages them in the popular vacation pastime from a very early age.
This part is important:
Families who snorkel together might take it for granted that they are following the buddy system. They think this because there is more than one snorkeler in the group.
Truth - it is a better technique than snorkeling alone. But, having a companion is often inadequate unless there is some proper planning and awareness.
Reinforcing the in-water safety system should be your primary concern. Following established and responsible buddy system procedures for snorkeling activities multiplies your own safety levels and other snorkelers around you.
So, having a friend with you, or being a buddy for someone else, helps to provide further protection and security for in-water activities.
In most cases, buddy teams will be a pair - especially when scuba diving. Even so, a swim team in snorkeling is better with at least three (3) members in the group.
Two buddies would usually swim around in the water. The third team member would supervise from land or from a good vantage point on board the boat.
But wait - there's more...
Child buddy teams should include at least one adult. This buddy system for snorkelers also allows for the so-called 'one up – one down' skin diving procedures. As a result, at least one team member would stay at the surface while others duck dive below.
There are significant advantages of having a supervisor from the boat or on the shore. They can track and monitor a broader area often from a high vantage point – ideally with binoculars.
This arrangement allows immediate boat or land-based assistance if companions separate or a serious problem develops. Very often, the onlooker providing additional support will be boat crew members as part of the service they provide.