New to Snorkeling? Here’s What All First-Timers Should Know

There’s a lot to do in Maui and a favorite activity with locals and tourists is snorkeling. Maui’s crystal-clear waters are perfect for snorkeling. You can see everything from colorful coral reefs to aquatic life. 

Best of all, unlike diving, you don’t have to be certified to snorkel. All you need is the gear and of course, know how to swim. You have plenty of unforgettable Maui snorkeling tours to choose from, but before booking your excursion it helps to know a few things about the fun activity.

Snorkeling Tips for Beginners

Knowing how to swim is a prerequisite if you’re planning on snorkeling in Maui. If your idea of swimming is an enthusiastic dog paddle, now’s the perfect time to sign up for some lessons. You can go all out and pay for a private instructor. 

Adults may find this option a little more comfortable. However, if you don’t mind jumping into the water with beginners of all ages, your local YMCA or neighborhood pool often offers swimming lessons at budget-friendly prices.

Once you feel comfortable in the water, doing more than a dog paddle, it’s time to start thinking about your upcoming snorkeling excursion in Maui. Some of the following tips address your safety in the water. Others can help ensure your experience is unforgettable for the right reasons.

Always Snorkel with a Buddy

If you’re booking a snorkeling excursion, there’s a good chance you’re going with a group. Most Maui snorkeling outfits go out in groups, even if it’s only a large family or a bunch of friends. The reason you’re probably not going to find solo excursions comes down to cost. Taking only one individual is expensive for the excursion outfit.

So, you’ve got the group part covered. You’re not jumping into the water alone. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to start swimming off by yourself. Remember, you’re not swimming in a pool, you’re in the ocean. The chances of a lifeguard being nearby to help out are pretty slim. 

In other words, if an issue pops up, you’re on your own. The ocean is deep and vast, even close to shore. Panic attacks aren’t uncommon, especially if it’s their first time snorkeling.

Muscle cramps can occur at any time, even if you’re only in the water for a few minutes. Your flippers will help propel you through the water, but you’re still using your muscles. Another common issue is leaky gear. For example, water can get into your mask making it difficult to see. With a buddy by your side, you can safely navigate almost any issue that may come up.

Double Check Your Gear

Okay, so snorkeling doesn’t use a lot of gear. You basically only need a mask and a pair of flippers. Your breathing tube is usually attached to the mask, so don’t worry about picking one up.

Before heading out on the water, make sure everything fits. Yes, fins (flippers) come in different sizes and so do face masks. You don’t want to grab a pair of fins that are too tight for your feet. 

The last thing you want is to be uncomfortable while snorkeling, it takes a lot of the fun out of the activity. You also don’t want the fins to be too large. You also don’t want to spend your time in the water chasing down a lost flipper.

Your mask should fit snugly over your face. Most face masks come with an adjustable head strap so play with it a little until the mask seals around your face.

Before heading to the water, double-check your gear. Now, you’re looking for any cracks or scratches in the mask. Even a small scratch can obstruct your view. With over 1,500 species of aquatic life in Maui’s waters, you don’t want to miss a thing. 

Now, look at your fins. You’re checking for any cracks or missing pieces. Even a small tear can affect the flippers. Remember, your fins are designed to help propel and steer you through the water. A tear or missing piece may leave you fighting to not swim in a continuous circle.

Always Keep Your Snorkel Above Water

Your snorkel is the breathing tube attached to your face mask. There’s an obvious reason why you don’t want it to be submerged over the top. 

Completely submerging your snorkel allows water to get into your lungs. Yes, you can avoid this issue by holding your breath but you still need to empty the water from the tube. This means taking off your mask, holding it upside down, and ensuring all of the water has drained out.

While getting the water out of a snorkel isn’t difficult, it’s time-consuming. Instead of floating around and marveling at the tropical fish, invertebrates, and possibly even sea turtles, you’re stuck playing with your face mask.

Float Don’t Always Swim

Yes, you’re a proficient swimmer but snorkeling isn’t the time to show off these skills. Snorkeling is primarily floating and occasionally kicking your legs to move to another location. In other words, you’re not going to be doing the back or breaststroke while snorkeling.

This is the time for you to relax and let the ocean current carry you along. However, don’t get too relaxed that you end up floating too far away from the boat or shore. You always want to pay attention to your location when you’re in the water.

Look But Don’t Touch

Maui has some strict conservation rules you don’t want to break. Fines are often steep and you don’t want to be responsible for damaging the area’s fragile ecosystem. Don’t kick the coral reefs with your fins or even brush against them. The slightest touch can harm the reef.

Sea turtles are a common sight on some snorkeling excursions. You may even be able to swim up to them. However, keep your distance and never try to pet any aquatic life you encounter on your snorkeling excursion.

Hopefully, each of these tips help guarantee that you remember your first snorkeling adventure on Maui for all of the right reasons. 

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