At some point or another, we have all seen one of those holiday advertisements for some exotic country that shows the white sand beaches and deep blue waters. In all of those advertisements, you can also usually see a beautiful young couple snorkeling and enjoying all of the underwater wonders that the location has to offer. On more than one occasion, you have probably sat there and thought ‘that could be me’, as you settle in for a night on the sofa.
Though you may quickly forget about your momentary scuba dreams, there is no reason that you have to completely abandon them. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the country to experience the wonders that scuba has to offer. Here is a beginner’s guide on underwater snorkeling.
Before you even venture into the water, you will need to do some preparation ahead of learning how to snorkel.
A very common thing that occurs when people are learning how to snorkel is that they realize that their swimming ability isn’t what they thought it was. Let’s admit it, unless you have been lucky enough to head on holiday or have your own pool, most of us haven’t hit the pool in years. Even though it’s been years, a lot of us still hold the assumption that we are strong swimmers and compare it a lot to being able to ride a bike, which isn’t necessarily true. Swimming is all about technique and if you attempt to learn how to snorkel without having your swimming technique down, you’re just going to make it difficult for yourself.
Don’t let the first time you’ve been in the water for a while be when you start snorkeling and take a few opportunities to make sure that you are familiar with the water and can still swim confidently.
Another common occurrence that is often unfortunately seen is people attempting to snorkel and then being stopped by debilitating fear that they weren’t aware they had. The wrong thing to do is just avoid thinking about it until the day arrives, as you may find yourself in a situation where you are far too afraid to take the plunge. The best thing you can do is think it through and ask yourself if there is anything you are really afraid of. This will allow you to do any necessary research to reassure yourself or even ask for professional advice. All it takes is a quick chat with a trained scuba professional and you will learn that there is nothing to worry about and there is no truth behind the 47 meters down movie.
Find a professional snorkeling instructor
Snorkeling is not on the list of activities that you can pick up easily alone. In fact, trying to learn how to snorkel on your own is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous as there are a lot of techniques that need to be learned in order to ensure your own safety. It is incredibly easy to find a snorkeling instructor in your local area for a more than reasonable price. A lot of instructors usually host group induction sessions if you are nervous to try it out alone. However, if you do want that one to one learning, plenty also offers private classes. These instructors will have years of experience and so will ensure that your ventures into the water are completely safe. They will also teach you any handy tricks that they know that you can use in other snorkeling trips, which will only expand your own knowledge.
Get the right gear
If you wish to take snorkeling seriously, you need to make sure that you are getting all of the right equipment. Unfortunately, snorkeling can be quite an expensive hobby and you don’t want to scrimp out and buy cheap gear. This is because cheaper gear may not be very secure and could break at any minute, which means that you are only risking your own life by saving a few dollars. Though it can be quite pricey, snorkeling equipment doesn’t need to break the bank. In fact, through some research, you can find the best scuba regulator for under $300with no issues, along with other equipment. This is also another reason why it is important to find a good instructor, as they can usually point you in the direction of some high-quality gear or even sell some of their own to you.
How to Snorkel Underwater
Now that you know all about the steps of preparation that you need to take, you may be wondering how to actually snorkel underwater.
Before you jump in and start snorkeling in the ocean, you should first familiarise yourself with surface snorkeling. Practice in water that you can stand in and then slowly progress into deeper waters where you are required to keep yourself afloat. Though you shouldn’t build a dependency for them, you can use buoyancy tools to assist yourself in the water to start, however, you should be able to keep yourself afloat.
Work on your airway control
One of the main things you should master before taking part in deeper snorkels is controlling your airwaves. Though snorkeling masks will help you breathe, there are occasions where the tube can leak water for various reasons. If this happens you may panic and swallow water. This is something you should absolutely not do and if you have practiced correctly, you should be able to manage your own breath while the pathways clear. You may also reach a depth where the snorkel tube is no longer above water, so you will need to know how to manage your breath if you ever reach that point.
When you dive into the water, the pressure of the water can push against areas such as your ears drums, and sinuses. This can be uncomfortable and can even affect the way that you manage your breath when you are diving. The main way that snorkelers combat this issue is by pinching their nose and swallowing as they jump in, this prevents the pressure from the water from being too intensive and makes your snorkeling experience much more comfortable.
Keeping your snorkel clear
As previously stated, it can be easy for foreign objects to enter your snorkel tube. In fact, it is quite common for that to happen. If you feel as though your snorkel is clogged, you will need to resurface and clean it properly as it is impossible to do so when underwater as you will not be able to maintain your breath.
Never snorkel alone
Finally, the most important tip that you should follow is never snorkeling alone. Even if you are only surface snorkeling, there are plenty of things that can go wrong which could compromise your health. Having a snorkeling buddy means that you have someone looking out for you and it also means that you can look out for them. This is especially the case when you get deeper into the water, as anything could happen. You could possibly get hurt or some of your gear could break, so having a buddy means your life will always be safe.