Snorkeling is an awesome activity which can bring the family together for a day of fun this spring. Surrounded by ocean waters and filled with clear natural springs, Florida is the ideal location for snorkeling. And whether you are a seasoned snorkeler or brand new to the activity, here are some snorkeling tips as well as some of the state’s best snorkeling spots. Get ready for a fabulous family adventure!
Swimming is a natural prerequisite, and once you and your family members know how to swim, snorkeling is easy to learn. When snorkeling, learning mouth-breathe through the short tube is key, and if you can drink through a straw, you are well on your way to learning! Getting the right gear is also an important step. Keep in mind, quality gear will make your snorkeling adventure easy and more fun. If you’re new to snorkeling, visit a dive shop for advice, as well as checking online guides and equipment reviews before making your choices.
How to Get Started
The best place to learn snorkeling is in a swimming pool where you can practice until you and your family members are comfortable. To begin, have everyone put on their masks and snorkels, and get the straps adjusted correctly. Once adjusted, each of you will want to apply a commercial anti-fogging solution, or do what most divers do, spit in the mask and cover the lenses with saliva. Rinse the mask slightly without washing away the solution or the saliva.
Next, have each family member put on mask and snorkel, and practice by simply putting their faces in the water and breathing. As everyone reaches a comfortable level with breathing, begin to swim around, diving to allow water to enter the snorkel. Now, everyone can practice getting water out of their snorkel, blowing it out or draining it out.
Snorkeling can be done with or without fins, so how do you decide? If you aren’t planning to carry a camera along, swimming without fins while snorkeling is easy. If you do want to get some underwater shots, using your fins means you can swim easily with your arms at your side or taking pictures. Fins can also give you more power and control when snorkeling in the ocean.
Investing in snorkel safety vest for your family members is a good idea. Without air, the snorkel vest allows you to swim and dive with ease. Should a member of your family get tired or have an issue, the snorkel vest can be inflated by mouth and then float. Once you begin snorkeling in open water, you and your family will want to use a dive flag to alert boaters to your presence. In Florida, this means boaters must maintain a distance of 100 to 300 feet (depending on the body of water). And finally, though not always a necessity in Florida for warmth, a wet suit is also a good investment for protection against sun, rocks, and jellyfish stings.
You have the basics and the equipment ready, now remember snorkeling is a “buddy” sport making it perfect for your family to enjoy together. Never snorkel alone, and never turn your back on the ocean. Always check conditions – wind, waves, weather – before you begin your snorkel adventure!
Ready, Set, Snorkel
All you need now is a destination for your family snorkeling adventure and Florida is filled with lots of perfect spots from the deep blue ocean to the crystal clear springs to the living coral reefs. Here are some amazing places to visit: Bathtub Reef Beach (great for beginners and families with small children), Biscayne National Park, Ginnie Springs, Key Largo, Looe Key, Peanut Island, Salt Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Looe Key, just to name a few. Enjoy!