a couple underwater snorkeling

Is Snorkeling A Sport?

Snorkeling, especially if you’ve never tried it, seems like such a leisurely activity. Crystal blue water, sunshine, sandy beaches, and exotic locations.

While it is certainly recreational, how exactly do you define it? Fishing is a sport, as is running, so is snorkeling a sport?

While snorkeling isn’t a sport in the traditional sense, as in an act of physical exertion that’s competitive in nature, the word ‘sport’ can be used as a noun to define snorkeling. The word ‘sport’ as a noun would define snorkeling as a pleasant or active pastime.

The ‘sport’ of snorkeling has no professional bodies that represent the sport, nor are there any competitive events for it to be a sport in the accepted use of the term.

As a water sport, aquatic sport, or just a recreational activity is extremely popular, especially on holiday. It’s largely a casual or holidaying pastime.

Often it’s the prelude to scuba diving, as people familiarize themselves with the underwater world and grow more curious, as well as enticing the desire to stay underwater for longer.

So while you may not use sport regarding snorkeling to mean it in a competitive sense, it’s still perfectly OK to say ‘the sport of snorkeling’ as it can be used in its recreational activity sense.

What Is The Definition Of A Sport?

As the language appears to be critical here, it might be interesting to look at the precise definitions.

According to dictionary.com, the word sport has two definitions, that are worth exploring/

As a noun, it’s defined as;

  • “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.”

But as a verb it’s defined as;

  • “to amuse oneself with some pleasant pastime or recreation.

Well, that’s as clear as mud.

So What Type Of Activity Is Snorkeling?

To be honest, it isn’t something you will spend a lot of time defining for people.

If you tell people you are going snorkeling, it’s not like they ask whether you mean competitively. 

People tend to assume you are going into the water with a snorkel and have a play around watching the aquatic life.

So while you might clarify fishing by saying sports fishing to further define an activity, it’s not done with snorkeling.

It’s kind of defined as a recreational activity, leisure activity, or a sports activity.

There’s no competitive aspect to snorkeling, at least in the professional sense of the word.

Final Thoughts – Parting Waves

Language is a fickle mistress, and while it can cause clarification, it can also sow the seeds of confusion.

You can certainly say, ‘many people enjoy the sport of snorkeling’ as you can mean it as a noun. That’s to say people recreationally pursue the activity.

To be honest, no matter how you define it, it’s important to both enjoy the activity, and be aware of the dangers, such as riptides.

So if you go into the ‘sport’ of snorkeling, it’s for your own experience really. You won’t be able to compete against others unless it’s an impromptu competition.

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