In This Guide
Snorkeling is a fun activity for people above the age of twelve who want to explore the world under the seas. All you need is the right equipment, a little know-how, and you can discover a whole new world by jumping into the lake, ocean, or sea and meeting the creatures and plants that live there. Of course, you’ll need to develop some experience to snorkel properly, so here are the best snorkeling tips for beginners.
What Is Snorkeling?
Snorkeling is a specific physical activity where individuals use a snorkeling mask to dive into the water and see and explore under the waves. The snorkeling mask covers the eyes and nose and includes a special tube that covers the mouth. When close to the surface, swimmers can stick the top of the tube above the waves in order to get fresh air.
Swimming is the key ability needed to snorkel effectively since most participants in the hobby will spend up to several hours at a time exploring and searching the waves for new sights and sounds. Most people who participate in snorkeling wear flippers on their feet to help them move more easily through the water and swim faster. Wearing a wetsuit is also common to make sure they stay warm and don’t freeze in cool temperatures. This is a very real problem, especially in large bodies of water like the ocean.
Choose the Right Mask
Most companies manufacture two different types of snorkeling masks: the traditional snorkeling half mask and a full one. In the half mask, the materials cover the eyes and nose with a tight seal and then the actual snorkeling tube is connected to the mouth. A full mask actually covers the entire face and allows swimmers to breathe through their nose and mouth.
The traditional mask is better suited for the experienced snorkeler who is capable of swimming without breathing through their mouth. Novices should consider investing a full mask until they get used to snorkeling. Once you are accustomed to the fit and no longer need to breathe through your mouth for comfort, you can switch to a more traditional style. Always practice snorkeling in a safe, well-monitored area before you attempt a more adventurous scenario.
Put the Mask on Correctly
Snorkeling masks should be simple to wear, but some amateurs do have some issues with sealing them properly. One problem is buying a mask that is the wrong size because you only tested it against your plain face. However, the key is to have the mask still fit when you breathe in through your nose, and this is where there is trouble. The movement often displaces masks that are too small, and ones that are too big will not form a tight seal.
Take Care of Hair
This tip applies more to men than women, for obvious reasons. When you go snorkeling, you need to wear a mask that fits around your face. When men have facial hair like beards, mustaches, and sideburns, the hair actually stops the snorkeling mask from making a complete seal on the face, and water can seep it. Women can have a similar problem if they have sideburns or exceptionally long hair.
One way you can avoid having this issue is to trim facial hair before snorkeling, especially mustaches and beards. Some snorkelers recommend using chapstick around hairlines to create a full seal for the mask. If it really becomes a problem but you still want to pursue snorkeling, consider having a clean shaven face and sideburn area.
Believe it or not, you do need to wear sunscreen when you go snorkeling, especially if you don’t have a wetsuit. Although you don’t spend too much time on land, you can still be sunburned in the water by the UV radiation penetrating the waves and hitting your skin. Most swimmers recommend you wear a waterproof SPF 50 sunscreen that can stay on your arms, legs, chest, stomach, and back to keep you safe from uncomfortable burns. Otherwise, you might want to invest in some extra clothing to wear beneath the waves like the aforementioned wetsuit.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Something novice and amateur snorkelers forget to do is to be aware of their surroundings. Exploring the world underwater can be thrilling and exciting, but many dangers lurk just out of sight. Someone who is swimming in the ocean needs to be wary of potentially unfriendly animals like sharks and jellyfish, but these aren’t the greatest hazards.
Exhaustion is a common problem, especially among beginners. You should swim with a partner who will be with you if you start to experience signs of fatigue and difficulty swimming. You should also be watching out for them.
If you’re in a new area, try not to disturb the natural environment. The creatures like fish, frogs, water snakes, and anemones are all trying to live their own lives and don’t want to be disturbed. The same goes for coral reefs, which are already rapidly dying and do not need to be touched, poked, or prodded by tourists. These areas are beautiful to explore, but remember that you can have an impact and should not touch. Think of the ocean instead as a work of art in a museum that shouldn’t be played with.
Snorkeling is a fun activity and a great way to explore new worlds while also getting some exercise and learning new skills. Following these simple tips and tricks for beginners will help you get ready to explore the beautiful aquatic empires that await just below the water’s surface. Just remember to always bring a friend – or even a guide – and bring all of your equipment.
Now that you have some of the best snorkeling tips for beginners, you can go on new adventures. Check out our reviews of the best snorkel gear here!