28 Jan

Vital Safety Tips for Snorkeling

When you are not accustomed to swimming with fins and you overdo it, it is easy to end up with cramps in your legs. Although they can be very painful, they are also easy to relieve. 

To ease the pain of a cramp, straighten your leg as much as possible, then grab the tip of your fin and pull it towards you. This action will usually help relieve the cramp very quickly. Relax for a moment or try a different swimming position, such as on your back or side. 

Safety is the first step in the strategic planning that has to be taken whenever you are out on a snorkeling trip into the sea or ocean as there are numerous obstacles lying in wait in the depths and who knows what they have in store but what acts in your favor are some of the best snorkeling masks that cover your face and allow you to breathe normally as the oxygen tank supplies oxygen to your body regularly while you are in the water. 

You can help your dive partner to relieve a cramp in a similar way. Have him or her relax on the surface on their back with their snorkel out of the mouth. Place your hand under their calf, grab the tip of the fin, and push the tip of the fin towards their body. Once the cramp is relieved they should rest for a few moments before trying to swim and use a different swimming position from what they were using when the cramp set in. 

Whenever you swim, snorkel, or dive, your body has a natural reaction to being immersed in the water, causing you to produce more urine that you would on land. The colder the water, the more pronounced this reaction and the more urine you will produce. When you urinate, you lose body water. If you’re in the tropics and you sweat when you’re out of water, you lose additional moisture. 

To avoid dehydration, it’s important to drink more fluids than you would normally. Drink water, fruit juices, or soft drinks to restore lost fluids. Avoid alcohol prior to or during snorkeling. 

But what about in the water you ask? To avoid entanglement underwater, keep an eye out for lines, nets, and aquatic plants. These objects can become snagged on your gear, but it’s usually a simple matter to disengage them and clear yourself. 

Although it’s rare for divers to become completely tangled up in kelp or lines, these obstructions become more of a problem when the water is murky and the visibility is poor. This is one reason why divers carry knives with them underwater. 

There are specific techniques for skin diving in and around kelp which are easy to learn and will help you avoid entanglement. In California, the most interesting diving is in the kelp, because this is where most of the marine life is found. 

To avoid having your gear snag on anything underwater, it’s important to streamline your equipment as much as possible. Any piece of gear that sticks out at an odd angle can snag on seaweed, coral, parts of a shipwreck, and similar items. Streamlining will also help you to swim more quickly and easily. 

If you do find yourself caught on some type of obstruction, it’s important to remain calm and not panic. Usually, if you back up slowly, the snag will free itself, but if you panic and thrash about, you may make the situation worse. 

When backing up doesn’t free you, carefully use your knife to cut the obstruction away. You can also try dropping your weight belt if you are wearing one. In a situation like this, a competent diving partner who is watching you from the surface is invaluable. 

Drowning is a risk for anyone who plays in or on the water, but most drownings occur because people violate one or more water safety rules. In snorkeling and skin diving, you wear equipment that helps make swimming easier. However, this equipment should not be a crutch for poor swimming ability. You must be able to survive in the water comfortably even if you lose your mask, fins, and snorkel. 

As long as you are floating on the surface your chances of drowning are greatly reduced. For this reason, when you are not swimming underwater, you should always maintain positive buoyancy through careful weighting or the use of your snorkeling vest. If you find yourself exhausted, your first action should always be to get rid of any weights that you are wearing. In most cases, they can be recovered later. 

If you should ever feel faint or otherwise unwell while you are in the water, take your weight belt off and hold it in your hand. If you pass out, you’ll drop it and float upwards. Every snorkeler and skin diver should take a water safety course as well as a CPR and first aid course. If you have children who snorkel or skin dive, these courses become twice as important.