Snorkeling has its roots in history going back 5,000 years. People have been wanting to explore the ocean depths a long time and snorkeling was the closest to seeing these beauties underwater until technology caught up with our needs.
Today learning how to snorkel by learning the basics first is an important step to being a confident and safe snorkeler. Learning the way the gear works and what to do if you panic or have an emergency situation is very important. This all begins with the most important thing, feeling comfortable using your gear underwater.
Getting Comfortable Snorkeling Gear
Feeling comfortable underwater is the key to having a great experience and adventure while seeing the beauty of the sea bed. Much of this will depends on how secure you feel with your snorkeling gear. Some people can become anxious when relying totally on breathing through the mouth. We normally breathe through our noses and mouths, so the change to breathing just in and out through the mouth can be hard to get used to.
So feeling comfortable with your mask, snorkel and fins is a major step to becoming a good snorkeler and have fun. It is a good idea to practice first in shallow water or a swimming pool to get the hang of it before going into deeper depths.
What To Do If The Snorkel Gets Clogged?
Learning to clear your snorkel is the first exercise, after feel comfortable with your gear. Some snorkels have a dry type, this means that a little float will close off when the swimmer goes underwater or is hit by a wave keeping the snorkel dry.
But some do not have this float and clearing water out of your snorkel becomes a very important lesson to learn. Some may have a purge valve at the bottom end, right under the mouthpiece.
If the snorkel has this valve a forceful blow should rid the water and saliva from the tube through the valve. But if it is just a very basic tube with none of these extra options, a lung full of air must be maintained at all times to blow out the water, before breathing in air.
This can be difficult to do, especially for kids or adults with small lung capacities. This alone can discourage people from every trying snorkeling, or try it again if they had an unpleasant experience.
How To Clear Your Mask
There are a few ways to clear the mask of either water or of fog. If you find your masks gets fogged up, a solution can be purchased to spray on the lens or some may spit into the mask so to get the fog to not build up.
If your mask gets water in it, it is important to know how to not panic and how to purge the water. Again, it can be a very weird and even uncomfortable feeling to have your mask take on water. This can happen when the mask breaks the seal. It can be the splash of a wave, a smile or anything else that may cause the skirt on the mask to lose the seal.
If that happens, you can lift your face out of the water and pull the mask up and let the it drain out. Some more experienced divers can blow air into the mask, through their nose, and blow the water out while still underwater. This is an advanced move and takes some practice.
Practice Makes Perfect
Yes, and the best place to practice is in shallow depths. You want to build confidence and learn how to trust your gear. Wait until you are much more comfortable before going into the sea that is too deep to touch the bottom.
It is also a good idea to never snorkel alone, especially if you are still a beginner. Not only good advice for the inexperienced but for all. It is a good idea for two people to enjoy this wonderful experience together, this will keep track of where you are in the sea, how far you are from shore, how long you have been snorkeling and also, your surroundings.
When underwater enjoying the view, it is very easy to lose track of all of those things. When this happens, even the most experienced of snorkelers have found themselves in dangerous situations.
Do I Need To Be A Good Swimmer?
It is not a good idea to rely completely on your equipment to keep you safe while snorkeling. The same safety rules apply to all water sports, know how to swim and know how to help yourself if you get into any danger. At least be an average swimmer before ever trying.
Times when you become too tired to swim or get a leg cramp, you have to know what to do. In this case, you will roll over onto your back while in the water. Remain calm and form a semi-sitting position with your head out of the water. Stay like this until you feel okay again or until help comes, this is yet another reason not to snorkel alone.
How To Be A Safe Snorkeler
The same rules apply to all watersports, have respect for the surrounding, never do activities alone, know what you are doing and what to do in an emergency. It is important to know how to swim well and know how to get help, even if you are a child.
When swimming with fins and the rest of your gear it is a good idea to learn how to use the fins to stay afloat and to move through the water. You do this by keeping your fins underwater and slowly kicking, around 20 kicks a minute, to swim at a comfortable calm pace.
Just remember, if you are thrashing around with your flippers, you will scare away all of the wildlife.
How To Interact With The Sea Life
Interacting with the sea life and beautiful surrounding is what snorkeling is all about and why it is so popular. But respecting the animals and their habitat is key to preserving their environment and not destroying it.
Try never to touch a fish or kick, step-on or break coral. Coral is vital in supporting aquatic life around it. Thousands of creatures live in and on it and it is integral in keeping other aspects of the ocean healthy, without coral reefs, beaches can wash away.