Snorkel Wisely

Snorkeling can be an exciting and relatively inexpensive way to explore the world beneath the surface of the ocean or a way to exercise in the water with the benefit of observing the plant and animal life that lies beneath. To get started, only a snorkel, mask, and flippers are needed. Whether an experienced snorkeler or choosing among Key West snorkeling tours for an aquatic excursion, there are a few basic guidelines that will make any snorkeling trip, healthy, fun, and safer.

Safety Tips

First, it is important to never go snorkeling alone. While ocean conditions may be favorable, emergencies can happen, even to experienced snorkelers. Therefore, it is best to snorkel with a friend or a guide in the event that assistance is needed. Given the unpredictable nature of the ocean, large waves may suddenly emerge. For this reason, snorkelers should never turn their backs toward the ocean as it is best to remain aware of approaching waves. Asking a lifeguard or another person on the beach about the water conditions can be helpful in preparing for a safe snorkeling outing.

Because the ocean can be extremely unpredictable, extra caution must be exercised when bringing children along on Key West snorkeling tours. When snorkeling with children, uninterrupted, experienced adult supervision is necessary, even for children who have had swimming lessons.

Sunscreen should be worn regardless the level of cloudiness. The sun's rays at the beach can be extremely harsh, even when the sky may appear cloudy. Furthermore, weather condition are constantly changing. A cloudy morning can give rise to a bright, sunny day. Therefore, it is best to be prepared by applying and reapplying waterproof sunblock.

Visibility Tips

The best places to view marine life are often both man-made and natural structures in the water. These structures offer safety and food for reef fish as they hide from predators; therefore, marine animals tend to congregate around them. Fish are also more active in the morning; therefore, snorkelers are able to observe more sea life during the morning hours. Visibility may be reduced during times at which the winds are high. High winds may disturb sand at the bottom of the ocean, thereby giving the water a cloudy appearance, making it more difficult for snorkelers to see the sea animals and plants.

Remaining relaxed enables humans to get closer to marine life. The key to remain relaxed while snorkeling is to rely on floating more than swimming. Floating will also help to conserve energy.

Preserving the Environment

While it may be tempting to stand on coral reefs, these underwater structures should be visually observed, but avoided. Coral is a living sea creature like fish, crustaceans, and other animals. Although they appear to be strong, they are actually very delicate. Coral reefs play a vital role in their underwater environments as they provide shelter for many different sea animals. These vital parts of the marine ecosystem must remain undisturbed by humans as it takes many years for damaged coral to repair itself.

A relaxing way to explore the ocean without investing in scuba lessons and equipment, snorkeling is an activity people of virtually all ages can enjoy. By observing safety rules and respecting the beach and aquatic environment, the snorkeling will be an activity that future generations can safely enjoy for many years to come.