If you are used to water based activities then reasons to try snorkeling are self evident, but if you are considering it as a hobby then some indication of why people undertake the activity is really useful.
With the advent of cheap travel to some of the most fantastic destinations on earth it’s certainly an activity gaining in popularity, although it’s difficult to clarify as there are no formal qualifications when you hire gear.
No matter how you come to it, whether it’s an opportunity while on holiday, an opportunity missed or just surfing the net and coming across pictures that look enticing, it’s an activity that appeals to the spirit in humans.
What reasons are there that attracts many to the recreational pastime?
Let’s take a look and see if there’s something that either appeals to you, or dispels a myth,
Fun – Let’s start with the big one. It’s a great deal of fun. Very few people don’t like water, and snorkeling allows a wide variety of people to pick up the sport with ease, with little learning needed to start.
Because of the environment it’s exciting from the get go. It’s not as knowledge intensive as Scuba so the barrier to entry is non existent, and this allows anyone to admire the reefs, and underwater life.
Cheap To Travel – To snorkel you only need to carry a few items if you don’t want to hire any, so a simple scuba bag can encompass all your equipment. It’s easy to throw in the car, and go to a nearby snorkeling place.
You don’t have to have large and expensive equipment and lug it around with you.
Swimming Not Necessary – Contrary to popular opinion you don’t have to be a strong swimmer to enjoy snorkeling.
You can choose simple locations, or aid yourself with buoyancy aids. At a very simple level it’s much like lying face down in the water. As long as you can do that without panicking then you can enjoy snorkeling.
It’s perfectly possible to enjoy the ‘surface only’ aspect of the activity.
Shallow Water – Some people are put off by the idea of snorkeling as they are uncomfortable with water. When pressed, it’s more about deep water.
They get a little more apprehensive when their feet don’t touch the seabed.
So swimming in the sea might be off putting, as might scuba diving but snorkeling you can do in shallow water, over coral reefs if you like.
There are many areas where you can snorkel, with shallow water and a gentle slope of the land into the water. It’s an easy place to learn and feel less apprehensive as you could easily stand up.
Muscle Toning – As you might expect, a sport that involves swimming or being in the water does involve some physical excursion but it is in no way excessive. Continuous snorkeling burns around 300 calories every hour.
Much like any swimming the benefit is that it is very much an all over exercise.
In general, it helps muscle toning, cardiovascular, and joint mobility but it’s a full body workout. All aspects of the body can get exercised. Mainly though it will be chest, quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip joints that are put to work the most.
Varied Locations – If you end up liking snorkeling, there are many locations where you can go. Secluded pools, atols, to gently sloping beaches there is just too much variety where nothing is really the same giving you endless stunning visuals.
Even nearby to your home, you might be pleasantly surprised where you can snorkel.
Learn About Nature – Snorkeling is an excellent opportunity to learn about an entirely new world, only glimpsed by a few.
By its very nature you are outside of the real world taking a step inside a completely new one. From varying floss and aquatic life you can see fish, unafraid swim near you and around you.
There’s just a vast array of color, and life in many parts of our Oceans just waiting for you to explore.
Essentially it’s very much like going on safari. A safe environment to watch raw nature.
Cardiovascular Fitness – Snorkeling is described as an aquatic activity, and as such it is active in nature.
As snorkeling requires motion your heart rate can gently increase, and thus becomes a cardiovascular activity. You can obviously exert yourself as much as you want to get the heartbeat to rise.
Increased heart rate exercise is good for those with a sedentary lifestyle and can decrease the likelihood of typical diseases.
Additionally, controlled breathing helps with health, and snorkeling can give you much better lung capacity.
Minimal Training – Snorkeling isn’t just fun, but it’s simple fun. As such it can be enjoyed by a vast array of people.
As long as you are comfortable in the water, and have some basic swimming experience then it’s very simple to train yourself.
If you’re more concerned about the water, for you or your children then buoyancy aids are available, which extends the endurance in the water.
There isn’t a great deal to learn, and many places just give you the kit and expect you to work it out, unless you ask for instruction.
It’s not overly complicated if that’s what’s holding you back. It’s so simple that there is no real global certification as there is with Scuba diving for example.
Easy to Learn – If you can already swim then it’s about as simple as putting on a mask. It’s just a matter of learning to breathe while face down in the clear water.
Finds are used to aid forward motion. This greatly reduces the effort that swimmers have to make to propel themselves forward. It’s a leisure recreational activity. Not a race.
Salt water, like an Ocean makes you buoyant as well, so it’s easier to float. Pretty much everything works in your favor.
The most important thing is to learn how to regulate your breathing. Once you accomplish this then everything else becomes a cinch.
Glimpse The Underwater World – The world is supposed to have 1.63 million kilometers of coastlines around the world, and the planet is 66% water.
That’s an awful lot of the wet stuff to see.
So snorkeling allows you to step out of a familiar world and enter another, one filled with nature, beauty and adventure. You can do all this with the simplest of tasks, just pick up some basic snorkelling kit near a fabulous location and get your mask wet.
The true astonishing nature of the aquatic world with its vast array of colors, and moving life are but a simple skill away.
Travel Destinations Are Beautiful – Rather unsurprisingly, when you are talking about tropical clear water, stunning scenery and colorful coral reefs as destinations for a snorkeling adventure this takes you to some of the most amazing places on earth.
South East Asia is just an abundant area of the world with them, but you will find places that are an assault of the senses on every continent.
Take a google around and there is a never ending list of paradise locations.
Simple Equipment – If you take up fishing, you need a van to take your stuff. Take up cycling and your equipment needs to be garaged somewhere.
By contrast, when taking up snorkeling, you can put your gear, if you decide to purchase in a small bag. There just isn’t that much equipment that you actually NEED.
It basically boils down to a mask, a snorkel, and a pair of fins. For future reference this is often referred to as the FMS kit (fins, snorkel, mask).
You can always get a dive top to retain heat if you need to
Easy To Hire Equipment – On almost any holiday destination, especially if it’s specifically known as a paradise for snorkelers and divers, as well as beach life and there often plenty of places that will rent you a set quite cheaply.
It’s something you can try spontaneously a lot of the time.
A lot of the boat tours around islands in South East Asia will have loads of snorkeling equipment in the boat locker and it’s free to use on the tour.
Introduction To Scuba – It’s actually quite a good stepping stone to learning to Scuba. Even though they are quite different, as there are many safety aspects of scuba not needed for snorkeling.
Nevertheless, there are some overlapping skills if you are starting from the beginning. Getting comfortable in the water for one, as well as getting used to breathing with equipment on.
You will need skilled tuition for scuba, but many scuba divers started by learning to snorkel.
They got a taste for it there shall we say.
Easily Accessible – It’s a sport that you don’t really need to plan heavily for. It has simple equipment, the destinations are normally easy to get to, and equipment can be hired really easily and if you need a prescription mask the baggage carry is tiny.
Snorkeling can be done by people on a whim, so it’s not something that is hard to get into if you want to put more time into it.
Great Vacation Holiday – From the Carribean to the waters of the Philippines or Thailand, the chance to get some snorkeling in means that you have a great excuse to plan your next holiday vacation in somewhere amazing.
Pick anywhere with stunning beach locations and there will be snorkeling opportunities everywhere.
Relaxing – When you are in the water everything else seems to disappear. The whole world condenses around you and everything takes on a serene like quality.
Background noises disappear and a quiet aura envelopes you. At the same time there is a sharp focus as you concentrate on what you are doing and experiencing.
This has the effect of being extremely relaxing and is a great cure for stress or anxiety. Your normal world seems to disappear.
Light activity along with fun produces a very relaxed state for the mind.
If you need time away from things then it’s one of the most relaxing hobbies out there.
Easy To Remember – As it is a pretty simple activity, there are only a few things to remember, and it’s an easy activity to pick up. Once you have mastered it, it’s like riding a bike.
There is next to no knowledge fatigue. Years later you can go again, without having to remember a technique and doesn’t require a skill base like golf to acquire.
No Age Restrictions – If you are reasonably fit you can give snorkeling a try. If you have any breathing issues, then I’d say consult a doctor, but there isn’t really a barrier to entry for snorkeling.
While certain sports, like running can benefit from youth, snorkeling isn’t so age dependent. You can give it a go if you are 16 or 60.
If you are fit enough to walk about and are comfortable in water then you have the ability to snorkel.
Educational – As you are experiencing very new things, such as coral reefs it can be very educational.
Probably not high on peoples list for taking up snorkeling, but nonetheless, experiencing different parts of the world gives you a knowledge you may not attain without trying it.
There are also loads of animals in lots of places in the world and this produces a natural curiosity to learn about them. You can observe them in their natural habitat, an watching fish is always relaxing.
It’s not unknown for snorkelers to encounter whales and larger aquatic animals as well, like rays, dolphins and larger fish so there is always plenty to learn.
Solace – Sometimes modern life is just hectic. A sad but true statement.
Even though you may be with friends, once in the water and swimming the whole world can often shrink to what you are doing right there and then.
There is definitely a serenity to snorkeling that is hard to beat.
Social Life Is Great – It’s not just about the water.
While it is undoubtedly an exciting adventure, and there is a sense of solace while undertaking the activity, it’s usually done with friends.
So you kind of have the best of both worlds. Even if done on a holiday there will be plenty of people to meet up with who enjoy snorkeling as well.
There are plenty of snorkeling clubs, as well as scuba to get the decent spots to go, advice and hook up with people for your next adventure.
Inexpensive – In theory you could snorkel with no equipment whatsoever. As long as you are comfortable face down in the water.
That aside, it’s immeasurably improved with just a mask and snorkel. The view becomes clearer and breathing is indefinite.
And that pretty much all you need. Most people add a set of fins to increase the experience so now you’d have a fins, mask, and snorkel set.
The whole lot is quite inexpensive so it’s a much cheaper hobby than most. You could get a whole snorkeling set for less than 1 golf club.
Can Do In Most Holiday Destinations – Basically wherever there is clear blue water, somewhere near there will be an area known for snorkeling.
Many pools in Thailand allow it, let alone the area around island paradises. Look at the advertising in holiday destination areas and you’ll soon gaze upon known areas.
Regressive – As well as being a progression hobby it’s also regressive.
Many see snorkeling as the natural precursor to learning how to scuba. While true there is another side of the coin.
With flotation devices being available, as well as water stabilisers, and fins it’s also perfectly possible for you to get the basics of swimming mastered as well.
While snorkeling, you might actually learn how to swim.
Life Changing Moments – It’s fair to say that unlike some sports, snorkeling offers opportunities to engage with the world in a way that can produce life changing moments.
With vast areas to survey, and millions of wildlife to explore there are certain to be moments that you may not forget in a hurry.
You probably won’t forget a whale shark in a hurry, but something as simple as an octopus in its natural habitat is still amazingly spectacular.
Low Joint Impact – While many sports have significant impact on the joints, most notably running, cycling, baseball or football, there is literally nothing high impact about snorkeling.
If you have bad joint trouble or are concerned about getting it then snorkeling is as easy on the joints as any sport out there.
Maybe chess beats it.
Varied Group Ages – While many like to hang around in their own ages groups, perhaps even most of us, many prefer a varied level of experience in the world as they partake an activity.
The good thing about snorkeling is that you will find people in their twenties with decades of experience, and 60 year olds who are just starting.
That#s quite a spread. The ease of the sport, coupled with exciting travel opportunities, and a low barrier to entry makes this possible.
Entertaining – All the reasons you think you might like snorkeling combine to make it highly entertaining.
It’s a social sport where you can find solace. You can be in some of the most amazing locations and come across some stunning wildlife and corals on any given day.
It can be easily started, needing minimal training and is effortless to do. It’s a wonder more people don’t do it.
This all combines to make it a highly entertaining activity.
Appreciate The Ocean – Despite the fact you can snorkel in a secluded Vietnamese pool, there’s no doubt it’s often done on a beach.
Rather the point of the recreation is to come across little fish and see them swim around you in their natural habitat. There’s a thousand YouTube videos out there showing what life you may encounter.
From witnessing so many of the amazing sights available, there’s a deep appreciation for the planet, and the environment we live in.
It’s said that the big draw for those wanting to start snorkeling is the idea of swimming effortlessly over a coral reef and watching nature as you glide past. From watching the water waft seaweed to fish darting around, it certainly makes you more aware, that’s for sure.
As Adventurous As You Want It To Be – The scope of what you can do with snorkeling is often limited to what you want to do with it.
While gliding around rock pools with fish is great, don’t get me wrong, diving a little for a deeper coral reef can be just as fulfilling.
You aren’t limited to singular track thinking. It’s open and fluid. Learning to hold your breath and swim gives you a whole new world of snorkeling to experience.
Can Be Done Year Round – As there is always some part of the globe enjoying the sunshine, it’s an annual hobby. Your part of the world may be snow covered, but you can get somewhere and enjoy the fresh waters in another place.
Snorkeling has many devotees. From the casual holiday makers to those that do it more frequently.
You can gain priceless experiences sometimes, that money can’t buy, and the ever changing environment coupled with the mystery of the sea can make it simple, yet exciting.
A lot of people don’t try it, even when confronted with the opportunity. Possibly out of incorrect myths or a fear about the water.
Snorkeling for all the reasons above can quite literally be the first toe in the water to some of the most adventurous experiences imaginable.
Those who try it, love it.
If you have any fear holding you back, or uncertainty towards the depths of the ocean, then snorkeling can be a great starting activity.