The experience of diving in the crystal blue waters of the ocean and watching the amazing sea creatures with your own eyes cannot be described in words. It is a life-changing exhilarating experience that revs up your adrenaline and makes you want to stay underwater for long. Nevertheless, if you have never been snorkeling before and you Google the gear and requirements online, you might probably be daunted by the idea of it due to the extensive gear.
Exploring the depths of the sea is no small feat. However, as snorkeling is gaining popularity among people, it has become a famous feature that most of the resorts on various islands offer. If you have signed up for snorkeling and are perplexed about it now because of the high-quality gear and all those astounding videos on YouTube, then fret not.
This article takes you through a thorough discussion about the importance of training before snorkeling. Further, it discusses some important tips that all first-timers should keep in mind before going snorkeling. The snorkeling gear you buy must be of high-quality as it is what holds you put under the sea. Let us begin.
Is Snorkeling Training Important?
First of all, snorkeling is not about your experience only. It is a highly sensitive sport or adventure for marine life too. Often, there have been reports about damage to marine life when snorkelers unknowingly endanger themselves and their surroundings. Though there is no legal requirement of having training before snorkeling, it is crucial to understand that taking lessons before diving in the water helps understand the DOs and the DON’Ts.
Due to lack of training and guidance, snorkelers have encountered several accidents wherein they have damaged the coral reef by stepping too hard on it. The shallow water coral is usually very susceptible to damages. Knowing how to swim is mostly the only informal prerequisite for first-timer snorkelers – which is a very grave risk to take. You might know all the swimming you can, but the knowledge specific to snorkeling, such as diving techniques, handling the gear, knowing about the water currents, marine life, and tackling any problem underwater, is very important.
Moreover, it is observed that some first-timers go for high-end steps and freediving techniques which should only be performed by experienced professionals. As a result, they end up going far beyond the usual safe depth of the water and experience shallow-water blackout. Some might try breath-hold freediving and end up getting themselves hurt underwater without any proper training on how to deal with it.
Why is Snorkeling Training Important?
Getting snorkeling lessons and training is important because it helps in the following:
1. Learning all About Diving
It is highly recommended that you perform a practice dive before you go snorkeling. Taking snorkeling lessons will help you get the most out of your practice dive. Moreover, it will help you practice your breathing, learn about the gear, and getting comfortable exploring around.
2. Ensuring You Have the Right Gear
If you go order your snorkeling gear without any help or guidance, you might not get the correct things. Sure, a quick Google search will help you get the necessary items, but the points your trainer tells you about the gear you need to buy are important. Nobody wants to risk buying the wrong snorkeling gear and realizing the mistake while seeing coral reef deep underwater.
3. Choosing the Right Location
There are tons of various popular locations that offer snorkeling. Some of them might match your skills or experience with the sea, while others may not. An insightful training about the type of marine-life sightings a location has plays a major role in finalizing the location.
4. Knowing How to Use the Snorkeling Gear
Even if you buy the gear before signing up for the snorkeling lessons, you are good to go unless you have to use the gear. Getting accustomed to the snorkeling gear and using it for proper functioning is important. Following are the reasons why first-timer snorkelers need to have training on how to use snorkeling gear.
- Underwater Breathing
If it has not dawned upon you yet, let us make it crystal clear like the Hawaiian waters: humans cannot breathe naturally underwater. For breathing underwater, fish have gills, and humans still have not developed them. Nevertheless, what snorkeling requires is to rely on the gear you bring along underwater to breathe. This is where your training lessons come in. You need to know how the breathing equipment works so that you can breathe through the tube that brings in air from above the surface.
Just like breathing, you cannot see underwater with your eyes open without goggles. The entire aim of this breathtaking experience is to see underwater creatures and marine life closely. If you cannot use your snorkeling gear correctly to witness the incredible marine world, what good would snorkeling do?
Do You Need Snorkeling Lessons?
Having reviewed every possible aspect regarding the use of snorkeling gear and choosing the right location, it all comes down to two main points that decide whether you need training or not. Firstly, analyze why you are taking them. Is it a requirement of the snorkeling location? If it is, then you should get lessons. If the training is included in your package, then there is no harm in learning about the experience.
Secondly, the critical question is to see if you are benefitting from it or not. If you have gone snorkeling before but consider yourself a weak swimmer, then you should probably get it. The training will help you work on your swimming tactics. If it is your first time, then taking training lessons or classes is highly recommended.
Some Snorkeling Tips
- Get a perfectly fitted mask for yourself. Make sure that the mask is perfectly fitted around the widest part of your head
- Ensure that there are no extra straps or twists around your head and above the ears.
- Defogging the mask before jumping to explore underwater cannot be stressed enough. You can use baby shampoo or a defogging gel for this purpose.
- Do not let your mask be filled with water for a long time. Listen closely and learn how your instructor or guide tells you to take out excess water from the mask while you are in the water. Even if you are unable to do so, do not panic. You can always come out of the water to the surface and drain out water from the mask.
- Beginners are advised to get full-foot fins that fit perfectly without being too tight, snug, loose, or painful.
- Nothing is more important than practicing deep breathing and not panicking when you are snorkeling for the first time. Deep focused breaths help you remain calm and composed so that you can think clearly.
- Do not touch any coral reef you see out there. Coral is a living being, and stepping on it or touching it might harm either or both of you.
- It is highly important to preserve marine creatures by wearing only biodegradable sunscreens. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are the two common ingredients used in typical sunscreens that posit harm to coral reefs.
- Remember never to interfere with the marine creatures. This could potentially lead to grave risks as some of them might be poisonous.
- Never feed the fish.
Nothing can beat the wondrous experience of diving in the deep waters and witnessing the marine life – except doing it again. It is an experience that takes your breath away – both literally and figuratively. Therefore, you need to learn to control and monitor your breathing and know all the little tips and tricks that can save your life in the face of unprecedented danger.