Snorkeling is such an eye-opening experience, and a great addition to any beach getaway! It gives you a whole new perspective on the water and its multitude of amazing life. But there are some essential snorkeling tips for beginners that you should familiarize yourself with before your first time.
Otherwise, snorkeling can be a disappointment. Novice snorkelers often contend with certain problems that greatly detract from the experience. For example, a persistently foggy or leaky mask, a snorkel tube flooded with sea water, struggling with poorly fitted swim fins, and physical fatigue are common.
Inexperienced snorkelers can also be at risk of becoming suddenly afraid, missing out on underwater excitement, and getting injured. If possible, snorkel with a professional guide who can help you with your equipment and technique, and take you to prime snorkeling spots. But whether or not you’ll have such assistance, take a few minutes to go over the tips below to help ensure the best snorkeling experience possible.
Advice for Novice Snorkelers
- Do some research ahead of time to find the best snorkeling locations with lots of intriguing marine life and corals to see; look for experienced snorkelers or local pros recommending specific places and times at your destination
- Consider snorkeling in shallow water from shore, rather than in deeper water from a boat, your first time or two; it’s far less scary and more manageable (even if you’re not daunted by the prospect of snorkeling, many people experience unanticipated fear their first time)
- Whether renting or buying, don’t cheap out on the mask; get a quality piece that fits snugly, but not painfully tight, to ensure it won’t fill up with water or cause distracting discomfort
- Test the mask by putting it over your face and inhaling through your nose; if it stays in place, suctioned to your face, it’s a good fit
- Also, the mask’s strap should be snug while around the widest part of your head; if you wear it too low down toward the base of your head, water will leak in
- Don’t touch the inside of the mask lens or let it get dirty, as this promotes fogging; apply an anti-fog product before getting into the water as per the package directions
- Choose swim fins that fit snugly; you don’t want them slipping off your feet and interfering with your ability to move through the water, or creating friction that’s likely to cause blisters
- Make sure the fins aren’t too tight, though, to the point that your toes curl; that can cause cramps while you’re in the water
- Spring for a dry snorkel, even though it’s a little more expensive; these have a valve that closes to prevent your tube from filling up with water—an entirely unpleasant experience that’s all too common for new snorkelers
- Get used to putting on and wearing snorkeling gear ahead of time; it’s also very helpful if you can try it out in a pool or shallow beach area before your real underwater excursion
- Most importantly, practice breathing through the tube until you get the hang of it
- Swim slowly, breathe calmly, and float plenty; it’s easy to become exhausted, especially if you’re not a regular swimmer and because the snorkel tube does make it tougher to breathe
- Watch out for the tendency to bite down on the tube, as it’ll leave you with a really sore jaw and/or teeth if you do it for an extended time without realizing it
- Read up on the ocean currents and conditions before hitting the water, or speak to a local expert about what to expect; tide, waves, and rip currents can present challenges and dangers
- To follow up on the above, go snorkeling when the sea is calm