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Safe Snorkeling – 10 Tips For Your Safety And Comfort

What does safe snorkeling mean for you? We believe that snorkeling is a great experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family and absolutely safe if you follow some rules and instructions. Let us help you with 10 snorkeling safety tips on minimizing the chance of discomfort or water accidents, and make the most of your beach holidays!

Anett Szaszi - Snorkel Around The World

Written by Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver, and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years of experience. She fell in love with the ocean while snorkeling in the Red Sea on a vacation to Egypt back in 2008. Since then, she has been traveling to discover the world’s best snorkeling spots and sharing her experience and tips to inspire others. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

Safe Snorkeling Guide – 10 Tips To Follow

Snorkeling is an easy and fun holiday activity that can be enjoyed by young and old. It requires no qualification, meaning everybody in good physical condition who can swim can snorkel, too. But since you will be out on open water, you need to know about some important snorkeling safety tips and rules.

10 Snorkeling Safety Tips Infographic, Snorkeling Guide

Be confident in the water

Learn to swim and snorkel well! Snorkeling is an easy sport, you can learn how to snorkel in a very short time. If you are a weak swimmer, wear an extra snorkel vest for your safety.

For open-water snorkeling, carry a highly visible swim buoy. It makes you noticeable to your snorkel buddy and other people in the ocean. Boats passing nearby will spot you more easily, and you can rest on your flotation buoy if you are tired. A snorkel vest and a swimming buoy are essential snorkeling safety equipment that should be always part of your snorkel gear, especially if you are a beginner.

Buy good quality snorkel equipment and learn to use it

Buy quality equipment products from trusted manufacturers. Having well-made snorkel gear is crucial for safe snorkeling holidays. Bad quality items might break in the most unexpected moments, so do not risk ruining your snorkel trip because of a leaking mask or damaged fins.

Spend time on selecting the right masksnorkel and snorkeling fins, and learn to use them properly. If you are planning to buy an Easybreath type mask, read about Full Face Mask safety!

Find a snorkel buddy, do not snorkel alone

If your family or partner is also keen on the underwater world, finding a buddy and organizing a snorkeling trip together is not a problem. But if you are alone, try to join a group or find a buddy in your hotel/on the beach.

Unexpected emergency situations and difficulties can happen to everyone; if you are going together, you can help each other. And, of course, the fun is bigger when it is shared!

two persons are snorkeling
Never snorkel alone!

Should you go out alone, though, stay close to shore within sight. A useful snorkeling safety tip is to take your phone with you in a waterproof phone bag so you can call for help in case of an emergency.

JOTO Universal Waterproof Phone Pouch

  • universal phone dry bag up to 6.8 inch diagonal size
  • clear window (front and back)
  • IP68 rate - protection up to 100ft/30m
  • secure snap and lock closing system

Rest after eating

Do not go snorkeling when your tummy is full. The waves and accidentally drinking salt water may upset your stomach, resulting in discomfort and a feeling of sickness. Eat light, but nutrient-rich food like fruits, vegetables, salads with chicken or wholemeal pasta which will give you energy for swimming.

Tip: If you have any food allergies, make sure to pack some snacks you can eat during the day since gluten- and dairy-free options may not be easy to get at the beach. Bring nuts, fruits, sliced veggies with hummus and some gluten free protein bars; they are portable, tasty and will provide you with energy for the day!

Stay hydrated, but say no to alcohol

Did you attend a hard party last night and drink too much? Then, it is better if you stay on the shore and let your body regenerate.

Swimming under the impact of alcohol can lead to dangerous situations. Plan what you want to do, chilling out and snipping cocktails, or having a safe snorkeling day.

person holding a young coconut on the beach
Drink only water and natural juices before snorkeling – The best choice is a Young Coconut!

On the other side, being hydrated is essential, especially while on holiday when you stay long hours outside in the sun not just sitting in an air-conditioned office. Drink a lot of water and/or no-sugar-added juices.

Be fit and healthy

If you feel you are not 100 % fit, have a cold or a sunstroke, wait until you are healthy again. If there is a strong current or you swim too far from your entry point, you will need a lot of energy to return to your beach. Remember, a safe snorkeling session starts with your well-being!

Protect your skin

Protecting your skin against sun rays is a snorkeling safety tip that, unfortunately, people use to skip. Sunburn can be not only painful but also dangerous. Instead of applying sunblock that contains chemicals and can harm marine life, it is better to wear a UV protective rash guard.

Man is snorkeling in UV T-shirt
When snorkeling, wear UV protective clothing!

A high elasticity swimming shirt or suit provides 50+ UV protection and helps avoid getting stung by a jellyfish. Different manufacturers have different types of rash guards: short and long-sleeve shirts, pants and full suits and there are specific stinger suits too, so it shouldn’t be a problem to find one according to your liking. If you don’t want to stop using sunblock, make sure to buy a coral reef safe sunscreen!

Choose a safe spot to snorkel

If there is a „designated snorkel area” stay in it, and you can spend safe snorkeling hours in the water. Staying within the buoy line means that the area is not only safe to swim but also boat-free.

Group of snorkelers in the water
Stay close to the shore/reef when snorkeling!

If there is no sign of where to snorkel, ask the locals about the conditions, currents and things to see. Before you go snorkeling, check the entry and possible exit points, and make a plan where you can come out of the water. Always stay close to the shore/reef so you can return to the shore if you feel tired or not well. If you want to go night snorkeling, check if it is allowed and safe at the given location.

Check the weather/marine weather forecast

Conditions on the sea can change in just seconds, wind, waves and currents can get extremely strong quickly. If the weather is nice in the morning, there can be a thunderstorm in the afternoon, especially in the tropics.

Storm at the sea
Never snorkel when the weather is bad!

Always check the weather forecast before heading to the beach! Take beach warning flags seriously and follow lifeguards’ instructions. For safe snorkeling, learn how to recognize rip currents and escape if caught.

Never touch the corals/marine life

Last but not least, the most important snorkeling safety rule: respect the underwater world! Do not touch corals or chase sea creatures! Not only because touching them is not nice, but also because some species are toxic and stinging such as fire coral, pufferfish, lionfish, scorpion fish, some sea star species, jellyfish etc…

Fire coral in the Red Sea
Touching Fire coral causes a burning sensation

Skin contact with poisonous species can cause severe allergic reactions, in worst cases, you can end up in hospital. Keep a safe distance from marine life! If you must stand in the water, search for a sandy place or a big stone; never stand on corals!

If you like our snorkeling safety tips, share them with your friends! We wish you safe snorkeling holidays!

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