Going snorkelling can be a little daunting if you’ve never tried it before, but with these handy tips you’ll know how to stay safe and open yourself up to an entire new amazing underwater world. Before you know it, you’ll be exploring the Great Barrier Reef, shipwrecks and tropical island waters with confidence.
Make sure the mask fits properly. The quickest way to do this is to try the suction test. Put the mask over your face without using the headband. Apply a little pressure and take your hand away. If it’s the correct fit, it won’t fall off. It should be wide enough for your face, but not too wide, that it lets in water.
Your snorkel should hug to the side of your head so the mouth piece fits comfortably and doesn’t pull. A snorkel with a wave deflector will prevent waves from splashing into your tube. A purge chamber will help you clear your snorkel more easily.
Snorkelling fins should be like a comfortable running shoe without rubbing. There are two types to choose from: Closed foot fins and open foot fins. Read more about how to choose your fins, mask and snorkel.
Have a test run with your gear first
Even if you have to test out your mask and snorkel in a bath tub of water, try them out before you venture out into open water. Also have a practice run in a swimming pool or a calm, shallow area at a beach.
Take your time
Snorkelling is not a race (unless of course, there’s a great white shark headed for you in which case swim like you’re the Six Million Dollar Man). Swimming like a bat out of hell will zap your energy. Swimming can be tiring, especially for first timers. Float on your back if you need a rest or head back into shore. Try and stay calm, the more anxious you are, the more energy you will exert.
Snorkel at a marine reserve
For your first time, try snorkelling at a marine reserve with easy access to the water via the shore like Shelly Beach or Cabbage Tree Bay in Sydney. If you snorkel where there’s nothing to see or in murky water, you’ll wonder what all the fuss is about. If you first time is jumping in to deep water from the side of a boat, you may not be relaxed enough to enjoy the experience.
Remember don’t harass the wild life – there are things that bite and sting, don’t feed fish as it can interfere with the eco system or try to take home any ocean souvenirs. Also try and wear a eco-friendly sunscreen.