Snorkeling Tips to Make Your Next Beach Vacation More Fun

Every time you dive, you hope you’ll see something new – some new species. Sometimes the ocean gives you a gift, sometimes it doesn’t.

James Cameron

It’s almost summer and that means it’s time to head to the beach! A friend and I started talking about booking a vacation somewhere warm and then we blinked and we had booked a 3-day cruise to Bimini, Bahamas… Whoops! No regrets here. Just an intense desire for August to be here so we can soak up the sun, take a break from work and life, and just enjoy everything that the Caribbean has to offer.

Snorkeling is one of the best ways to experience undersea life in the crystal clear water the Bahamas are known for. Not everyone wants to scuba dive, especially when you’re on a time crunch like cruises force you to be on. That’s why I wanted to share some tips now about making snorkeling way more fun so you can just enjoy swimming around seeing the underwater life thrive around you.

Snorkeling might seem like the easiest thing on the planet. After all, you’re just breathing through a massive straw. Until you’ve tried it and choked on a drop or accidental gulp of water, you’ll realize it takes some practice to master and some finesse that only comes with practicing. That’s where I’m coming in to help!

As a scuba dive master, I’m certified to teach snorkeling and love helping people discover just how easy it can be. I’ve had my fair share of mishaps as well as incredible experiences to bring you a short and simple list of tips to make the most of your snorkeling adventures. Enjoy!

Get Quality Equipment That Fits

No one likes a leaky mask or that awful feeling of not being able to get enough air into your lungs. Masks and snorkels might seem like one-size fits all kinds of equipment, but you need a good fit to be safe. Masks should be snug, but not so tight where it cuts off circulation and leaves heavy lines on your face. The sides of the mask should also be touching your face, not your eyes. Lots of masks that are too small have the lining pushing up against the crinkles of your eyes and that means it’s too small.

Snorkels come in a few sizes, but should generally be about 12″ long. Any longer and it will be hard to clear, especially if you’ve taken a short dive under the water and don’t have a lot of breath left. Any shorter and you’ll constantly be clearing water out of it.

Learn How to Defog a Mask

You can’t see all of the amazing coral, plants, or sea life if your mask constantly keeps fogging. Luckily there are several ways you can easily defog a mask.

  • Purposefully bring water into your mask and then purge the water. Only do this if you’re comfortable removing water from a mask.
  • Add defog to your mask before diving.
  • Use spit! It’s the free alternative to defog, and it honestly works the best. Another great option is abrasive-free toothpaste. Just rub either on, rise gently and you’re good to go!

Practice Removing Water from Your Mask

Having water in your mask sloshing around isn’t the end of the world, but it’s distracting and sometimes can make people nervous, especially beginners. Practice this in the shallow end of a pool until you’re comfortable. Make sure to keep your breathing even and know that it’s okay if it takes a few tries to get all of the water out.

You’ll be happy you practiced when you’re out enjoying yourself and you can spend 2 seconds getting water out versus several minutes. Once you’ve got it down, you will barely have to think about doing it so you can concentrate on what really matters.

If water consistently keeps getting in your mask, you have a mask that doesn’t fit or a seal may be wonky. Any local dive shop will be able to help fit you with a new one or be able to see what’s going wrong.

Pace Yourself

Most sea life is skittish and if you swim up to a tiny fish like a terrifying predator, they won’t stick around to show off for you. Swim leisurely and try to spot hard-to-see creatures living within the coral or hidden in the sand. You’ll end up seeing way more sea life that way!

Most snorkeling excursions last a while, so it’s important to pace yourself so you aren’t worn out within the first 10 minutes. This will also help prevent cramping and keep you adventuring for longer.

Protect Your Skin

Light reflects off of water making it much easier to get sunburned, especially since you’ll be swimming around for quite some time and potentially spending time on a boat ride to and from the snorkeling destination. Make sure to apply powerful sunscreen before and each time you leave the water to keep your skin safe.

You also lose heat quickly in the water. Even if the outside temperatures are high and the water is warm, you can quickly get cold. Wear a light wetsuit (3mm) or a long-sleeved board shirt to help keep you warm while you’re in the water.

Location Matters

Snorkeling in strong currents is probably not high on your list. If you get seasick easily, you probably want to avoid boat rides and need a location you can access from the shore. Some locations are very shallow and will also trigger seasickness. If you want to see tons of sea life, you might want a location with a thriving reef or a shallow shipwreck that attracts a wide variety of creatures.

Long story short, plan your location so it matches your ability and what you want to see/accomplish. You’ll have a much better time.

Have a Plan and Bring a Buddy

Just like in scuba, you need to have a plan and you really should never snorkel alone. Are you going to be hopping in and out of the water? Will you be doing a little free diving? Where are your entry and exit points in the water? How long will you be out? These are simple questions, but allows you to enjoy yourself while also being safe.

Whether you have someone watching from the boat or shore, it’s important to have someone with you in case you need assistance. You could get a cramp or cut yourself on something, or get stuck in a current. Make sure you have someone there to help if your plan doesn’t go perfectly.

Look, but Please Don’t Touch

Some corals can be damaged or even killed by the oils in human hands, especially if you have sunscreen on. Other animals will go “ooohhhh food!” when they see your waggling fingers coming at them. Tetanus is a worry if you’re snorkeling and grabbing a shipwreck and so many other things can go wrong when we start getting grabby.

As a general rule, look and enjoy everything around you! Just don’t touch it.

Bring Post-Snorkeling Snacks

You’d be surprised just how exhausting and dehydrating a snorkeling day can be. You might not notice you’re sweating, but swimming can get your heart rate up and work up an appetite. Bring snacks like fruit, protein bars, and gatorade to help replenish your system after a fun day in the sun.

One thought on “Snorkeling Tips to Make Your Next Beach Vacation More Fun

  1. Absolutely superb, helpful, and enticing, safe holiday adventures. Also, if you charter a diving boat, make absolutely certain they are fully reliable and have an excellent reputation. And, night diving is a whole other kettle of fish, with unique requirements and training. Enjoy your new discoveries and adventures.


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