Do I Need to Know How to Swim to Snorkel?

Written by: sharonelyt

Who doesn’t love a good snorkel in the clear, blue waters? Well, certainly not everyone. However, for the few who do, a widespread concern is whether being a good swimmer is necessary for snorkeling.

Do you need to know how to swim to snorkel? The short answer is no. However, that is no excuse for you to jump straight to snorkeling without the proper information. Fortunately, there are several paths you can follow if you want to snorkel without being a good swimmer.

Generally, we recommend having a more experienced individual with you. This is to ensure your safety and prevent major incidents. Read further to discover the secret to snorkeling without really not knowing how to swim.

Can You Snorkel Without Knowing how to Swim?

Technically, you don’t need to know how to swim to snorkel. There are different equipment pieces that can keep a non-swimmer safe in water to snorkel. Such pieces of equipment include life jackets, fins, and wetsuits.

Such pieces of equipment allow you to float on the water surface with little to no swimming experience or expertise needed. However, we recommend you acquire some basic swimming skills such as comfortably floating in water for your safety. Moreover, having some basic fundamental skills will generally allow you to feel more comfortable in the water, further enjoying your snorkeling experience.

You don’t need to know all the types of strokes or be a fast swimmer to snorkel. However, it is important that you know how to dog paddle and move comfortably in the water. Luckily, if you are not a confident swimmer and would like to enjoy a snorkeling experience, wear a life jacket or a float vest to keep you safe.

Is Snorkeling Safe for Non-Swimmers?

Generally, snorkeling is only safe for non-swimmers only if the snorkeling is done in protected areas with no currents and tides. Snorkeling for non-swimmers is also safe if you use a snorkeling vest, life vest for buoyancy.

What Are the Risks of Snorkeling Without Knowing How to Swim?

As mentioned, you don’t have to be a good swimmer to snorkel. However, you expose yourself to several risks by gambling your options-especially without taking the necessary precautions for non-swimmers. Some of the risks of snorkeling without basic swimming skills include:

·Drowning. Being overly confident while lacking the basic swimming skills, and still ignoring safety measures, exposes you to the dangers of deep waters. One of the most common risks is drowning, especially without an expert swimmer near you as a backup plan.

·Harsh Currents and Rip Tides. Currents are uncontrollable, but your approach to them matters a lot to your safety. In the event of currents and rip tides, your best bet to stay is your buoyancy which keeps you afloat. However, having some basic swimming skills can help you swim back to the shore for more safety. If you can swim, always remember to swim across and not against a current or riptide.

·Equipment Failure. This happens on rare occasions. Your equipment may not necessarily be failing, but it is certainly not working according to your expectations-and this poses a major challenge. Such an instance includes water seeping in through your mask, which causes discomfort. In such a scenario, having a few swimming skills can go a long way to help keep you safe. However, it would help to learn how to clear and operate a snorkel for added safety.

·Fear and panic. Perhaps you have entirely no swimming experience, yet you decided to take on large waters for snorkeling. Fear and panic tend to be normal, especially if it is your first time snorkeling. It is important to rely on your instinct to remain calm to avoid your fear escalating into unwise choices.

Tips for Non-Swimmers Going Snorkeling

Are you going snorkeling without any swimming experience? Here are few tips to keep you safe before and after you jump into the water.

·Ensure you know how to float in the water comfortably

It can be as simple as laying on your back or kicking your legs. Keeping your head out of the water is underrated yet vital.

·Always go snorkeling with a friend or expert

Avoid snorkeling alone if you don’t know how to swim. If you get tired or the conditions change, it is vital to have someone close by to help you.

·Join a snorkeling trip

The best snorkeling trips tend to have a snorkel guide who gets into the water with you. These snorkeling guides can share a few snorkeling techniques and help you if needed.

·Get the right equipment

When it comes to snorkeling, equipment is essential. You want to ensure you get a correctly fitting swimming snorkel mask, fins, and snorkel. Fins keep non-swimmers confident while in the water. They help you move better if you lack basic swimming skills.

In addition, individuals who don’t know how to swim mostly feel uncomfortable in the water, and breathing via a snorkel tends to make things a little uncomfortable. Therefore, if you are a non-swimmers, wearing a full face mask keeps your breathing easy and natural.

As such, you will naturally be inclined to feel more comfortable and safe, reducing the chances of succumbing to fear and panic.

A life jacket also provides an equal if not more level of safety. Generally, it is impossible to sink while wearing a floating device, whether you are an expert swimmer or completely don’t know how to swim. The more you can float comfortably in the water, the more you will get used to doing without an actual floatation device.

Moreover, equipment failures are rare but not inevitable. Therefore, ensure every gear is in its proper condition before jumping in the water to snorkel.

·Practice in Shallow Waters

It is important that you know what is required of you in the water. Before going deep, put on your snorkeling gear, head out in the shallow area, and practice dipping your head underwater to experience what snorkeling feels like. This will get you accustomed to using the snorkel as it builds your confidence levels. Once you are well-equipped and confident enough, you can head out with the rest of the team.

·Choosing A Location

You can always snorkel at the shore or in open water. Most experts advise non-swimmers and first-timers to try and paddle about with their snorkeling gear. However, this is only good for practice, as mentioned above. Chances are, if you decide to go into the open waters, you will be naturally inclined to go with a few experts to bail you out in case of anything.

Moreover, some locations generally expose you to the dangers of snorkeling as a non-swimmer. Therefore, if you don’t know how to swim, choosing a location plays a great deal in your safety. Avoid rough and scary waters. Snorkeling is a naturally enjoyable process in calm waters that provide a clear vision of marine life underwater.

Can You Drown While Snorkeling?

Yes, it is possible. It is not uncommon to hear such cases. However, being in the water always entails the risk of drowning. However, most drowning incidents happen when snorkelers get exhausted from being in the water for too long. They also happen when one is fighting currents and rip tides.

However, one of the most common drowning causes while snorkeling is not using snorkeling and water safety gear for non-swimmers. If you don’t know how to swim. It is vital at all times to put on a floatation device and use a snorkel.

Benefits of Being A Good Swimmer Before Snorkeling

Even though you are well-protected by safety gear as a non-swimmer, there are still some fundamental benefits of knowing how to swim if you intend to go snorkeling. The pros of being a good swimmer-at the very least-include:

  • Ability to float. Good swimmers are naturally good at floating on water. Therefore, in the event of equipment failure or fatigue, your swimming skills can keep you afloat and safe
  • Ability to avoid disaster. In the face of heavy approaching currents, your basic swimming skills can take you back to shore.
  • Being a good swimmer does not limit your adventure. Non-swimmers are generally limited to a certain radius, especially if they are under guidance. As such, your snorkeling experience may not be as enjoyable. However, if you know how to swim, chances are you can navigate the water to different areas and maximize your snorkeling experience.

Can You Snorkel Without Swimming?

Yes, you can. As long as you feel safe and open to listen to instructions, you can snorkel without swimming. Unlike in swimming, where you stretch your body while using your legs and hands to move, you will not be moving as much in snorkeling. Arm movements are not entirely necessary in snorkeling, provided you have the proper gear to keep you safe and comfortable and help propel your movement, such as the fins.

Bottom Line

While it is possible to go snorkeling without knowing how to swim, we don’t always recommend it. Doing so is only limited to certain conditions. Firstly, you need to have the proper gear for snorkeling. You also need to be confident enough and willing to receive instructions. Most importantly, a non-swimmer can snorkel, provided an expert is present and ready to intervene in case of anything.

Useful Information

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Can I Snorkel if I Don’t Know How to Swim? Snorkeling for Non Swimmers

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