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15 Things to Remember While Snorkeling

I know you're excited about your upcoming snorkeling trip! As a lifeguard, I want you to have the best and safest adventure ever! They key is safety first. If you're safe, you can have fun.

Here are a few things to think about before, during and after your snorkeling experience.

Even if you're not a swimmer, you can snorkel. Enjoy your time!

  • RELAX In 1, 2, 3, 4. Out 1, 2, 3 4. In for 7 seconds. Out for 7 seconds. Practice it now. You have to keep control of yourself and your breathing. Keep your heart rate low and steady. The in and out for 7 seconds could save your life. Just relax. If you feel like you can't control your breathing or heart rate, get out of the water.

  • BREATH Like stated above, breathing in and out in 7 second intervals could absolutely save your life. Your steady breathing will stop you from going into cardiac arrest or swallowing water. Breathing accurately will help keep you afloat as well. Slow movements in the water keep your breathing low lessening the change of you inhaling water. Honestly... breathe like you're in a space suit. Can you hear that sound? Nasa on the moon? Yeah, breathe like that. THAT will save your fuckin life.

  • KNOW YOUR GEAR Test the gear. Put your mask on tightly, place your face in the water and exhale as hard as your can. Immediately stop while under water and the mask should suction to your face. This will let you know if you have any leaks. Come out of the water to take a breath and test your mask again. This time just hold your breath and see if the mask leaks. No leaks? Good. Now on to the snorkel tube. Make sure it stay upright, make sure no water is in the tube. Put the mouth piece in your mouth and blow out any excess water in your snorkel tube. Breathe in and out multiple times to make sure nothing is blocking your airway. Place your face in the water and make sure you have no leaks for both the mask and snorkel tube. I DON"T RECOMMEND FULL FACE SNORKEL MASKS!

Check Your fins. Are they too tight? Too loose? Make sure they fit you properly. Too tight will have cuts on your ankles and smashed toes. Too big can cause you to lose one or snap your ankle. No one wants a snapped ankle in water. Now you gotta get back to land. Deeper water needs longer fins. Your fighting currents and waves, longer fins will allow you to swim through the water smoother and faster. Less energy needed for longer fins.

  • NEVER GO ALONE Normally snorkeling isn't done in an enclosed area... so have a buddy system in place. Anything could happen. Your body could cramp, go in shock, hit your head, pssssh animals.... have a damn buddy system in place.

  1. DON'T TOUCH DO NOT TOUCH THE WILDLIFE. Respect their habitat. Sure as hell don't touch reefs or habitat regrowth areas. See a shark, just watch it. If it bumps into you, push it away. See a gator, swim away slowly. Most gators don't even care you're there. You leave slowly, don't wait for them to leave because they're sizing you up. HOLY Jellyfish! Yeah, get the fuck away from it. DO NOT TOUCH THE REEF. Don't touch the fish either. The most beautiful fish are poisonous and the most deadly don't show themselves until it's time to attack. Don't allow your fins to touch the reef. Don't drop trash. (Why do you even have trash with you?) If it's not on you, don't touch it. The water and your buddy. That's it.

  • PAY ATTENTION TO THE WATER Paying attention to the water also means paying attention to the weather. Currents change and wild shit does happen in the water. A 12ft rouge wave could come out of nowhere in calm open water. A fast, cold current could come in a river. Pay attention. If you feel it's getting harder to swim, that means the current has changed. See where your buddy is at and stay close together, swim diagonal (/) in the direction you need to go. If you are in open water, keep sight on the boat and head towards it or the land. DO NOT swim against the current, you will tire yourself out staying in place or just get pushed further out. Pay attention to sediment in the water. If it changes direction, look up and see if a wave is coming or if storm clouds are rolling towards you in the direction the sediment started moving. Duck or Dive There's only two ways to conquer a wave, duck under the wave or dive over it. Ducking under saves getting hit in the face. That will move your mask, possibly knocking it off or causing facial injury. Diving over the wave will avoid that wave collision. You can possibly still have water smack your face by diving over. Going down under the wave is safest if its one wave. if its multiple, dive the first wave, duck under the second and third. That will save you from getting smacked by the second wave.

  • GET ON YOUR BACK! Are you tired? Did fear just sink in? FLIP THE FUCK OVER! Don't hesitate! Call for help. Flip over onto your back, place your noodle or floating device behind your back, right above your butt and swim backwards to your destination. If you don't have a floating device, float on your back, breathe properly and swim backwards to your destination. Backstroke with your arms, one at a time and move your legs from your hips. You get more out of your swim when you kick with your hips and not your thighs.

  • PAY ATTENTION TO THE WATER LIFE When you're in the water, remember you're in their habitat. That's their home, their food, their playground. Respect it. Also, remember you can easily be touched by an octopus, jellyfish or shark. Snakes will swim right past you. Just understand it's their home. Don't try to harm them or be the alpha. They're used to water combat, you aren't. Dolphins will bump into you, manatees will smack you, sharks are really just interested in what you are, they don't even like our flesh. Gators, the "mama bear" of the water, they will attack if their young are around or mating season. The only absolute water life I'm 100% terrified of is barracudas. They're fast, they're aggressive and they take pit bull style bites. I'm good. Pay attention to the water. Look down, look out. Look down, look to the right. Look down, look left. Look down, look up. Look behind you. Look down, look up. Pay attention. Water clarity is everything, and also depends on the weather.

  • DON'T CRASH Don't crash into your buddy. Don't crash into the boat. Don't crash into the reef. Don't crash into a wave. Don't crash.

  • TAKE IT ALL IN Appreciate what you're viewing. Truly appreciate it.

  • KNOW YOURSELF When is fun too much? Don't push yourself because you want to keep up with the group. Simply tell your buddy you're tired. Motion sickness? Sun drunk? Time to go back.


  • OPEN WATER Open water is vast. There's illusions. There's movement. Pay attention. Some wildlife can be seen from 30ft away, others will show up 10ft to 15ft away. Thalassophobia is the phobia of open water. Some people don't know they have it until they go through it. Know yourself. Open water also is cooler than land locked water like lakes and rivers. Wet suits are recommended if you cool and tire easily.

  • FRESH WATER Always remember there's a current. You will be taken down stream. You may not notice it right away, but 4 or 5 minutes floating in water, you can be a 1/4 mile down stream. Pay attention to the water.


Some things to think about after snorkeling

-You can feel sick or dizzy after spending time in the water. Always stay hydrated. Motion from the water could have you feeling loopy.

-If you have acid-reflux snorkeling could cause a sore throat. -If you have a headache, it could possibly be a carbon dioxide headache. Time to take the mask off.

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