Beach snorkeling is just what it sounds like, snorkeling right from the beach. This can be fun and at times a little challenging. The fun part of enjoying a quiet day in a secluded lagoon, getting in and out of the water as you like, might be the perfect pairing to a relaxed and romantic day on the beach.
What are the challenging parts? Getting to the water from the beach. However, with the right accessories getting out into the water has never been easier. Something as simple as a snorkel belt to clip your water shoes to can help in an easy transition into fins in the water.
Why Snorkel Off The Beach?
It’s free! It can also be a much easier transition for beginners than jumping in deep water off of a snorkel boat. It is also less intimidating for kids so they can practice getting their masks wet and peering into the water while still standing up or kneeling in the sand.
The kind of beach for snorkeling is critical here, though having to climb over slippery rocks or exposed coral, just to get to the water, can make for an unpleasant time. Finding a beach with easy access, along sloping sandy beaches, will make for a more pleasant time.
Not unlike most sports or hobbies, having the right equipment can make or break a good time. So knowing the area, water temperature and sea life will also help you to prepare. Some snorkeling equipment that is handy to have is a snorkel belt, they come weighted or non-weighted. The right fins for the swim, a waterproof camera, and an inflatable vest.
Also, an inflatable snorkel raft, snorkel board or even a simple pool noodle can add to the fun of snorkeling. It also helps to know a bit about the area you are going to beforehand. How to get there, what is available and if you are in a foreign country, where the closest medical facilities are located.
What is the water temperature?
If it will be cool to cold, a wetsuit will make the time snorkeling much more comfortable and extend your time in the water. A simple shorty wetsuit will be a small investment and will give you a bit more buoyancy in the water too. A shorty is just what it sounds like, a wetsuit with short legs and arms, so it is easy on and off, unlike a full body wetsuit.
If the water will be warm check out a rash guard or rash suit. These are worn alone or over a swim suit for sun protection, or even under a wetsuit for comfort. Remember, even waterproof sunscreens only last around an hour or less in the water, and your back will be exposed to the sun, at the surface nearly the entire time you are snorkeling. A sunburn is a surefire way to ruin a vacation.
To Fin Or Not To Fin
So if you don’t need to fight a swift current or tide, then you can just kick around and not worry about getting anywhere fast. You may be fine with just some snorkeling shoes or water socks, but if you happen to see something interesting, like a moving sea turtle or group of fish you may have wished you had fins on. They make them in many different lengths, for different types of dives so do a little research and try them on.
To get from the beach to the water with fins on can be a bit awkward, unless you are used to walking like a duck and in an exaggerated way. So one option is to wear a snorkel belt which you can clip your fins too, then wear your snorkeling shoes or water socks and change them out when you get to deeper water. If you want to simply slip on your fins over your shoes, then an open fin will work best. However, open fins are lighter and will cause less fatigue on your legs and ankles.
Do I Need A Snorkeling Belt?
A snorkeling belt can become your new best friend. Not only can is carry your fins or shoes, but it may come in handy to carry a camera, mesh bag, waterproof wallet or knife. It is nice to have a hand’s free snorkeling experience to take pictures and explore the amazing underwater world around you.
Snorkel belts also come with a weighted option. This option will allow you to sink a bit below the surface instead of constantly fighting to keep yourself submerged to view the sea life and capture underwater photos. You will also thrash around less and find that the sea life may be more apt to visit you and not swim away in fear of a thrashing and splashing intruder.
I’m Not The Best Swimmer
If you think of yourself as more of a floater and not an Olympic swimmer, snorkeling is for you. A snorkeling vest may be just your thing to give you that peaceful floating experience so you can eavesdrop on the fish in their own environment. There are a few different types, like a collar type or a full vest type, but most have a long tube-like straw in the front so you can inflate and deflate at your discretion.
A snorkel raft may help to be a real confidence booster too if you don’t feel extremely comfortable in the water with your face a few inches under. They even have some that you can hold on to, like a boogie board but that have a viewing hole to peer through to see underwater.
What Type Of Masks Are Recommended?
Several types of masks are available. Masks that just go over your eyes and do not cover your nose are for the more experienced snorkeler. Most people feel more secure having their eyes and nose covered in a mask. But the best recommendation is the full face snorkeling mask. Since it is not natural to only breath through our mouths, while using the regular masks, some might feel a sense of panic and dislike snorkeling because of this.
A full face snorkeling mask allows breathing naturally through the nose and it has the snorkel attached to it as well. This can also be a better experience because the snorkel tube does not have to be clenched in the mouth and as a result cause jaw soreness after a day of clenching on the snorkel
What Type Of Snorkel Is Best?
For the beginner and for most, a dry snorkel is absolutely the best one to use. After snorkeling a few times you will no doubt want to invest in your own snorkel instead of renting one. A dry snorkel has a slight bend in to keep the tube out of the water even when you tilt your chin down while underwater. But the most important part of the dry snorkel is the floating ball that automatically floats up the tube when submerged, and then sealing the water out.
A non-dry snorkel does not have a floating closure and will allow water to enter the tube if you go below the surface. Experienced snorkelers will keep a little bit of air in reserve to blow the water out of the tube while at the surface for just this reason.
The best of both worlds, and superior to a separate snorkel and mask, is the full face snorkeling mask. These have become very popular in the short time they have been out. Most allow a full 180-degree view, is much better than peering through a regular goggle mask. The ability to breath normally is another reason for the popularity too.
Snorkeling is all about having a relaxing zen-like time within the beauty of the world below the surface. Having the proper equipment to make this possible is priceless and a small investment that will make for great times and memories.
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