Underwater Snorkeling Etiquette: Respectful Practices for Sharing the Water with Other Swimmers & Wildlife
A day out in the sea is the ultimate experience, especially when it involves certain activities. Snorkeling is one of the best activities to try out. There are, however, a few rules to remember if you’re new to it.
Make sure you get the right equipment and it fits perfectly. When snorkeling underwater, there are certain etiquette rules that should be followed to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all involved.
Here are some respectful practices for sharing the water with other swimmers and wildlife.
7 Tips for Sharing the Water with Other Swimmers & Wildlife
Keep the distance from others
It’s never a good idea to come too close to others, unless you’re doing it in a group and you’re actually supposed to stick together.
Imagine being with your loved one or perhaps your kids and a bunch of strangers come just a few feet away. Not always nice to have your privacy invaded, is it?
With these thoughts in mind, you should also avoid other groups or people. Keep your underwater snorkel away from them and if they go in one direction, you should make sure you’re not crossing their way.
Avoid touching things
Most instructors will tell you this rule, but you should also remember it, even if you snorkel with a friend. One of the first rules is to avoid touching anything.
It might be tempting to reach to fish, corals or different creatures while underwater, but it’s highly contraindicated. Not only do you endanger yourself, but you also risk stressing and injuring animals.
No matter how small and fragile some animals may seem, they can bite and sting. Watch, admire and enjoy, but avoid interacting with animals.
Stick to biodegradable sunscreen
Whether you take your snorkeling fins to a Hamata island or somewhere in Hawaii, you’ll obviously need some sunscreen. You need to look after yourself.
However, when you go snorkeling, make sure you opt for a biodegradable sunscreen. Many products today are rich in substances like oxybenzone, which can hurt sea life and coals.
Indeed, no one’s going to check what kind of sunscreen you use. But then, you’re about to enjoy a priceless experience. Preserving the environment should be part of your goals.
Sunscreens based on titanium or zinc oxide are considered safe for the sea life.
Stay away from makeup
You’re going snorkeling, not to an opera show. You don’t need your fanciest clothes. You can forget about makeup too. After all, water’s going to ruin it anyway.
While you might be able to find types of makeup that can resist water or tears, it’s highly recommended to avoid it.
Get your snorkeling fins, your underwater snorkel and a mask, a camera and you’re ready to go.
Don’t feed the sea life
It’s tempting to bring some food for fish, thinking they’ll come closer to you. But bread and other human foods are not always suitable for fish.
Even if you buy specific food, such things can pollute the environment, harm the fish and interfere with their feeding habits. Watch them from a safe distance, take some pictures and call it a day.
Don’t touch corals
Sometimes, if you get tired, it’s tempting to use corals at footstools. You need a couple of minutes before moving on. Bad idea!
While they may not always be visible, corals host a lot of organisms, including many small invertebrates.
Resting on corals can seriously damage such colonies, so don’t even touch them. There’s nothing special about touching corals anyway, they feel like stones.
Don’t leave trash behind
Ideally, you shouldn’t take anything with you, but just your underwater snorkel, fins and mask. The more things you take, the more likely you are to leave stuff behind.
You should only take a few pictures and some good memories.
Don’t dump trash or other things around, not even food for the sea life. This small idea helps prevent pollution.
In the end, these small rules can and will make your snorkeling experience more exciting. Knowing that you look after the environment and those around you will give you a more rewarding feeling.
Breaking these rules won’t bring in any extra satisfaction anyway. Avoid touching things or organisms, stay away from others, keep an eye on the environment and only bring your underwater snorkel, fins and mask.