Snorkeling

Understand

Snorkeling (British and Commonwealth English spelling: snorkelling) is the practice of swimming on or through a body of water while equipped with a diving mask, a shaped tube called a snorkel, and usually fins. In cooler waters, a wetsuit may also be worn. Use of this equipment allows the snorkeler to observe underwater attractions for extended periods of time with relatively little effort.

Snorkeling is a popular recreational activity, particularly at tropical resort and scuba diving locations. The primary appeal is the opportunity to observe underwater life in a natural setting without the complicated equipment and training required for scuba diving. It appeals to all ages because of how little effort there is, and without the exhaled bubbles of scuba-diving equipment.

Snorkeling is also employed by scuba divers when on the surface, and search and rescue teams may snorkel as part of a water-based search. It is also a means to an end in underwater sports such as underwater hockey, underwater rugby and spearfishing.

Snorkelers swimming with a Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) at Kahaluu Beach County Park in Kahaluʻu Bay — on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

Origins

Archeological evidence from as early as 3000 B.C. point to some of the earliest known divers; sponge farmers in Crete used hollow reeds to allow them to breathe while submerged in water. Snorkeling is also mentioned by Aristotle in his Parts of the Animals. He refers to divers using "instruments for respiration" resembling the elephant's trunk.

Prepare

Equipment

basic snorkeling equipment

Learn

Snorkeling requires no special training, only the ability to swim and to breathe through the snorkel. However, for safety reasons, instruction and orientation from a fellow "experienced" snorkeler, tour guide, dive shop, or equipment-rental shop could be helpful for the inexperienced. Instruction generally covers equipment usage, basic safety, what to look for, and what to look out for, and conservation instructions (fragile organisms such as coral are easily damaged by snorkelers).

Flooding and clearing

Learning to clear a snorkel takes some practice. The snorkeler expels water from the snorkel either with a sharp exhalation on return to the surface (blast clearing) or by tilting the head back shortly before reaching the surface and exhaling until reaching or breaking the surface (displacement method) and facing forward again before inhaling the next breath. The displacement method expels water by displacing its presence in the snorkel with air; it is technique that takes practice but clears the snorkel with less effort, but only works when surfacing. Clearing splash water while at the surface requires blast clearing.

Do/Stay safe

See also

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