Snorkelingul pentru neinotatori

Snorkeling is a fun and rewarding activity that, unlike many other water sports, has many followers due to its simplicity. There is no need to carry a bag full of heavy equipment or to go through certification courses to see and appreciate the beauty of the underwater world.

All you need to start snorkeling are just a few basic skills and a limited set of suitable equipment, which makes this sport easily accessible to almost anyone. But what do we do with non-swimmers? Can they also go snorkeling?

In the following we will answer this very frequent question and give you some tips for a more fun and comfortable snorkeling experience.

Can you snorkel without knowing how to swim?

The short answer is YES. Basically, snorkeling is a surface sport, which mostly involves floating and requires very little actual swimming, or even none at all. There are a lot of non-swimmers who do snorkeling, but it is important to know how to do it correctly and to prepare ahead of time. How can you do this? Here it is below!

1. Choose the appropriate location

It is very important to do a little research beforehand, so that you can find a good place for snorkeling, suitable for non-swimmers. There are three main aspects that you must take into account when choosing your destination.

  • Find a place with still water. Venturing into the ocean when there are waves can cause you many problems - getting in and out of the water will be more difficult, the risk of equipment problems increases (water entering the snorkel tube) and seasickness can occur. And extremely important, waves almost always reduce underwater visibility.
  • Make sure that there are no strong currents or underwater dangers in the area where you want to snorkel. The currents can take you far from the access point and you will have to constantly fight the water flow, which will be a real problem for those who do not know how to swim. Also, avoid places where there is a risk of entanglement or dangerous marine animals.
  • Choose a location where you can see a lot of interesting things. It will have to be a lively place, with many fish and corals to see. If you choose a dead or boring place, you probably won't understand why snorkeling has so many followers and enthusiasts. Do not forget that the most popular destinations are not always the best, because the traffic can destroy the reefs.

Decide ahead of time if you want to snorkel directly from the beach or from the boat, as part of an organized excursion. Both options have both advantages and disadvantages for non-swimmers.

Snorkeling on the beach

It is generally recommended that people who do not swim and those who do snorkeling for the first time stay closer to the shore, instead of going out to sea by boat. The main reason is that you will be able to decide how far you want to go and you will be able to stay at a shallow depth, where you can touch the bottom of the water and where you can practice using the snorkeling equipment. When you gain more confidence, you can gradually advance to a depth with which you feel comfortable. There are beaches that have a reef right on the shore and there is much to see in the shallow waters. So, you can have fun in small waters without any problems!

The disadvantage of snorkeling on the beach is that it can give you a false sense of security, making you lose contact with the surrounding space and no longer know where you are and how long you have been in the water. Don't forget, even when you gain confidence, that it is very important to stay connected to the surrounding environment, to always pay attention to where the rest of the group is and how far you have moved away from the shore. Another disadvantage of snorkeling from the beach is that you probably won't have an experienced instructor to help you.
So, if you decide to snorkel from the beach, choose a location with calm water, with lifeguards around and always snorkel with someone.

Snorkeling from the boat

There are people who, even if they don't know how to swim, prefer to go on boat trips to snorkel. In this way, you know for sure that you will arrive at an ideal place for snorkeling and, in general, you will have experienced instructors who will provide you with qualified personal guidance.

In addition, there are operators who offer special snorkeling trips for beginners and even for people who don't know how to swim. For this, you will spend some time in the smaller water, with the instructor, learning the basics of using the snorkeling equipment and you will get to feel comfortable in the water, after which the actual boat trip will follow.
Regarding the disadvantages, we note that most snorkeling trips will take you to deep water, so you won't have the luxury of entering the water slowly, depending on how comfortable you feel, as it happens when you snorkel from the beach.
So, if you want to go on a snorkeling excursion with a tour operator, choose an excursion suitable for beginners, confirm that the group also allows access to non-swimmers, and during the excursion remind the instructor or the guide that you do not swim, so that it is more attentive to you

2. Get quality and suitable equipment

Snorkeling is generally an easy activity that does not require who knows what equipment. The basic pieces of equipment you should have are a mask, paws and a breathing tube. If you don't swim, you will also need a flotation device. The equipment can be rented or bought. Investing in good quality equipment will allow you to choose the option that suits you and to practice with it beforehand.

You can try your equipment in the pool or in a shallow area, with access from the beach, where you can touch the bottom of the sea. This way you will get used to the feeling of breathing through the tube, you will know exactly how much pressure you need to hold it in your mouth and you will be able to check if the mask and fins fit. You will also be able to learn some basic aspects, such as cleaning the tube or removing the water from the mask.

Don't know exactly what to look for when choosing your ideal equipment? If you are a beginner, it would be best to opt for a dry tube with a purge valve, which will prevent water from entering the tube, even when you are completely under water, and will allow easier cleaning. When it comes to paws, one of the most important aspects is the proper size. The fins must fit perfectly but not be too tight. The blade of the paws for diving must be flexible, light and relatively short. Thus, your legs will not be too tired and it will be easier for you to move on the surface.
As for the mask, choose a model with a high-quality silicone "skirt", which can provide a good seal. The strap and strap must be comfortable, so that they do not embarrass you.

Many beginners consider that a full-face mask (which covers the whole face) is a better option and in general it is true, because this type of mask is easier to wear, ensures a more natural way to breathe, both on mouth as well as on the nose, eliminates jaw fatigue and has a tube system included.
There are, however, some problems with these masks, basically related to the accumulation of carbon dioxide. In addition, some full-face masks can be difficult to remove. If you start to feel uncomfortable and want to take off the mask but can't immediately, there is a risk of panicking.
If you decide to get a full-face mask, definitely choose a model from a renowned manufacturer, which has a good air circulation system. In addition, just like with the standard mask and the breathing tube, make sure you practice using the mask, try to put it on and take it off enough times that you know exactly how to do it quickly.

3. Calm down and relax

It's normal not to feel comfortable or too confident in the water if you don't know how to swim. In addition, when you try to snorkel, your first impulse will be to stay as much of your body above the water as possible... which obviously does not help you much to have fun and see all the underwater wonders.

Try to get out of your comfort zone, which will be much easier if you calm down, take as horizontal a position as possible and descend more into the water. The more you can relax, the easier it will be to float and the better control you will have over the movement. Try to swim slowly, breathe deeply and steadily and simply enjoy the experience.
Finally, remember that you are wearing a flotation device, so there is little chance of drowning.

4. Never snorkel alone

Although snorkeling is a fairly safe activity, you are still in the water (generally offshore), which means you will be vulnerable to currents, sharp reefs and marine fauna. That's why it's good that even the most experienced snorkelers don't go out to sea alone. And if you don't know how to swim, it's obvious that this rule is even more important!

It is best to snorkel with a more experienced friend or, if you go with a group, to be under the supervision of the guide or instructor. You will obviously be calmer knowing that you have a reliable person next to you in the water, in case you have problems. Whether you're having trouble, you're tired, or you simply need someone to hold your room for a moment, a friend will come in handy.

5. Stay connected to your surroundings

The permanent connection to the surrounding environment is important both for your safety and for the health of the ecosystem. Be careful not to touch, step on or kick fish, corals or anemones. Not only can you get hurt, but these seemingly unimportant actions have a disruptive effect on the ecosystem if we perceive them at a collective level. Also, avoid following, feeding or disturbing marine animals in any way.