Can You Snorkel Without Knowing Swimming? Yes, with Caution!
First, there is a difference between swimming and snorkeling. While both are some of the most enjoyable water sports, they are inherently different.
So, do you have to know how to swim to snorkel? While there is no regulation requiring you to know how to swim to snorkel, a swimmer will enjoy the water more because they will be comfortable. If you don’t know how to swim, wear a personal flotation device for snorkeling.
Also read: Stand Up Paddle Boarding When you Can’t Swim
If you did not have an opportunity to learn how to swim when you were younger, you can still go ahead and enjoy snorkeling. In fact, today, many people even enjoy scuba diving without knowing how to swim.
Does this mean that you can just wear your snorkeling gear and head out to that snorkeling spot in Oahu?
You need to prepare amply for the adventure.
Snorkeling for Non Swimmers – 5 Vital Life Saving Tips
If you cannot swim to save your life, but you would still love to snorkel, these tips will help you.
While snorkeling is a pretty safe adventure, still, large water bodies can be unpredictable. A gust of wind can sweep over the water surface without notice and whip up a frenzy of waves.
Here are the tips that you can follow for safe snorkeling for non-swimmers:
1. Gear Up Properly
Can I snorkel without knowing how to swim and if yes, how well-prepared do I need to be to undertake this adventure?
Well, to tell you the truth, you will need to be more prepared than a person who is a good swimmer. At the same time, you will need to gear up more than a person who can swim.
Read our article on: Can you paddle board with bad knees?
The vital gear includes snorkeling boots, full face snorkel mask, a wetsuit and even a waterproof underwater camera to take stunning pictures of the world below the surface of the water.
If a full face mask feels too bulky and uncomfortable, you might want to use a more traditional snorkel mask. However, this will also mean that you have to wear a tube in your mouth to help you breathe.
Remember your snorkel fins too, they help in propelling you through the water. If you wear water shoes, you will not need fins. However, you can wear water socks with your snorkeling fins.
2. Wear a personal flotation device
In one of our articles, we saw helpful tips for how to float in deep water. However, if you do not know how to swim, you definitely do not know how to float.
Therefore, if you cannot tread water naturally, you will need to wear a personal flotation device such as a life jacket. It will be bulky, but it will help bolster your confidence in the water.
There are other personal flotation devices, but the vest is your best option. It keeps you afloat through the entire adventure.
3. Get familiar with the water
Before you can start your snorkeling adventure, get inside the water and feel comfortable in the ocean. You need to get over your anxiety for large amounts of water.
If you know how to swim just a little, you will know how to swim against a current. However, if you have never swam even a bit before, it is best to choose a very calm day for snorkeling.
Get deeper into the water than you are used to. You should get inside until such a time that you feel increased buoyancy.
Can you go snorkeling if you can’t swim, you need to at least be very comfortable in the water.
4. Choosing a spot – Is snorkeling safe for non swimmers?
If you are a non-swimmer, but you want to snorkel, pick a spot that is safe, calm, has no currents and where the water is not deep.
The advanced snorkelers will opt for the open water snorkeling because honestly, that is where all the fun is.
That is where plenty of marine life is. However, when you are snorkeling for the first time, and you do not know how to swim, stay close to the shore.
As you gain more confidence in the water, and you get used to the gear on your face and body, you can move to the open water.
When you are starting out, do not expect too much because most of the marine life moves to the deep waters. The people frequenting the beach and swimming close to the shore drive the marine life deeper.
You can consider the first time a learning experience. When you gain some skill, you can now get ready to move to the open water.
The most important thing when you are starting out is safety, comfort, and confidence in the water. Later, you can plan for deep water snorkeling, where you can snorkel with the turtles.
5. Snorkel in a group to stay safe
Does snorkeling require swimming? It does not. However, you still need to be safe.
Currents and tides have been known to carry people away. Thus, stay with other snorkelers. In fact, you can book for snorkeling trips with groups of people and a tour guide per group. There is safety in numbers.
However, make sure that the group you sign up with is small enough so that you can get full attention from the guides. We suggest you do groups of six people or less.
Groups also benefit from low rental prices for equipment. You do not have to buy your snorkel mask, fins and other stuff. You can rent them at a low price.
Do You Need To Know Swimming for Snorkeling FAQ
For a first timer, it can be hard choosing a spot for snorkeling, choosing the time and many more. However, in this FAQ section for do you need to know swimming for snorkeling is going to shed more light.
Is snorkeling hard?
Snorkeling is not hard at all. You just need to have the equipment for the same, and you need to know how to float in the water and propel yourself with your fins. That is all that is needed in snorkeling.
How do you breathe when snorkeling?
There are two ways to inhale when you are snorkeling. One, if you are using snorkeling goggles and a snorkel tube, you need to bite on the tube between your teeth when your face is flat in the water.
The second way is to use a full face snorkeling mask that is designed with antifogging technology. This keeps your face out of the water.
How dangerous is snorkeling?
Just like any other water sport, you should not take your safety for granted when you are snorkeling. People have drowned. You should never let your guard down. Snorkel in a group so that you can watch out for each other and most importantly, know your skill level and do not outdo yourself.
What skills do you need for snorkeling?
You require swimming, flotation, and treading water skills. However, if you do not have these skills, you can just wear a personal flotation device to help you stay afloat in the water. Your fins will propel you in the water.
Do I need snorkeling lessons?
Yes you do, if you intend to make this a full-time hobby that you can enjoy with your family, if you have moved close to the sea. Luckily, these lessons do not have to cost you a lot and once you learn how to wear your gear, how to float and swim against the current, you are good.
What are the benefits of snorkeling?
You will have a great time snorkeling with turtles, fish, whales, and other marine life, especially close to the coral reefs. It also gives you a good workout, enabling you to burn up to 300 calories in 60 minutes. The more you snorkel, the better you become.
How deep can you go snorkeling?
Snorkeling in a maximum 2 feet of water when you are a beginner is safe for a beginner. This means staying close to the shore. Snorkel tubes are only 18 inches long so any deeper than that they will let in water. However, as you become more skilled, you can snorkel further out in the open water.
Final thoughts on snorkeling when you can’t swim
Do you need to know swimming for snorkeling? You can have fun when you can’t swim.
However, you will need to stay close to the shore, where there is not much to see really except the sand and the water.
If you want to snorkel with the marine animals, you will definitely need to learn how to swim so that you can move further out to the deep water to see marine life.
Also, for safety, choose a calm day when the current and tide is low. If you cannot swim, even the lowest current can take you further from the shore.