Snorkeling is considered to be one of the safest ways to explore aquatic environments, but just like in the case of any physical activity, there are certain precaution and safety measures that any snorkeler must take in order to avoid getting injured – here are the most important ones.
Never Do It Alone
Always go snorkeling with a partner. Choose someone who has experience, someone you trust and feel comfortable with and make sure you never drift too far away from that person. The shallow waters used as snorkeling spots are usually populated by very tame creatures, so encountering aggressive animals is not very likely, but you can still bump into a reef and hurt yourself, you can have cramps or swallow water – scenarios that are much easier to cope with if you have someone around you to help.
Never Drift Too Far from the Shore and Always Know Where You Are
Snorkeling is a shallow water activity, but the marine life you will encounter is usually so colorful and exciting that it is very easy to drift away from the shore following an interesting animal that you see in the water. Whether you snorkel with a partner or in a group, lift your head out of the water every few minutes to check how far away you are from the shore or from your company. If you feel you are too far away, rest for a little while floating on the surface to regain your energy, then swim back to the safe range.
Find out as much as you can about the spot you have chosen prior to entering the water. Are there any dangerous areas to avoid? Are there very strong currents that might sweep you away? Are there any rocky areas or areas with sharp coral formations that might be dangerous to drift into? These are all aspects you need to know about before undertaking the trip.
Energy Management Is Key
Proper energy management is another key factor. You need to know how much you can swim in order to avoid the unpleasant experiences caused by fatigue. If you feel tired, come to the surface and relax for a few minutes floating in the water on your back, treading the water lightly to keep yourself on the surface, enjoying the calm scenery around you; then return to the shore when you feel strong enough. You can also choose to wear a snorkeling vest if that makes you feel more at ease.
Do Not Touch Aquatic Animals
Don’t forget that the safety of the marine life around you is just as important as your own safety, so never try to touch the fish, the corals or the other creatures that you see around. Most marine animals have some sort of defense system in place – some of them bite, while others are covered in mucus that can burn your skin, so the best way to avoid trouble and to protect the beauty that you see under the surface is to observe it without getting too close and certainly without touching it.