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Snorkeling + Bad Swimmer = ??

Old Apr 11th, 2004, 06:22 PM
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Snorkeling + Bad Swimmer = ??

My question is simple: Must you be a good swimmer to go snorkeling or do you usually wear a vest to do so?
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 07:00 PM
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Anyplace I have been they require you to wear a life vest unless you have a snorklers vest.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 07:01 PM
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Oops forgot to say you are required to wear a vest if you do a snorkeling tour.
If you go from shore on your own--than you can do what you want to.
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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 05:43 AM
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I think it depends on what you mean by "bad" swimmer. Can said swimmer swim the length of a swimming pool without any flotation aids? Is the swimmer comfortable being in water where the feet can't touch the ground? If the answer to both questions is "yes", then I think there's no problem with snorkeling. I think it also depends on one's overall comfort being in water,period.

Any person who is uncomfortable in the water may panic if s/he swallows a mouthful of saltwater through the snorkel. Or may flail around and damage coral, or get "stung" in turn by fire coral, in a panic. Certainly a flotation/snorkel vest may give extra confidence to someone who is not a strong swimmer, but I personally wouldn't rely on it for people who consider themselves "bad" swimmers. THat being said, I would hate to deprive anybody of the joys of snorkeling, so I would suggest that if you wanted to try it that you start off snorkeling from shore, even if there's nothing to see, just to get used to the feel of breathing through your mouth and floating on top of the water--do it in a shallow enough area that you could stand up if needed. If you're comfortable with all of that, you'd probably be fine in other situations.
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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 07:18 AM
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I am not a swimmer either & we are going to Negril in May. I can swim (if I had to) but don't enjoy it. I plan on wearing a life vest & staying in as long as I feel comfortable. I think the experience of seeing the underwater life will distract me from my dislike of the water. Plus I will be with family that swims well so they will be there to "rescue" me if I get nervous.

My son says that where he lives they have a place that offers snorkling lessons. That might be a way (before you travel) to get the experience so you will enjoy the real thing on your trip.
Give it a try & see.
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Old Apr 13th, 2004, 08:10 AM
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I am a very bad swimmer and LOVE to snorkel. I just keep on the life vest and have had no problems whatsoever. Our most recent snorkeling trip was to Buck Island Preserve in St. Croix and I stayed in the water the longest of anyone else on the boat! One time I went snorkeling in St. Kitts, and instead of life vests the crew offered us floaties -- those long thin chaise things that float. THAT was even better because when my legs got tired, I could heave myself up on the chaise and just stick my face in the water to watch the fish!

Teresa
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Old Apr 13th, 2004, 09:20 AM
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You don't have to be a good swimmer to snorkel. Choose your snorkeling location based on your swimming skill and comfort in the water. Salt water makes you more bouyant so it will be alot easier than you think. You don't have to take a boat trip to deep water to snorkel. Plenty of places to snorkel off shore- I have done it in Mexico and Grand Cayman. I could basically just paddle a bit with my fins to move along and could even just sort of float and hang there looking down. No need to dive down to see things. If you are poor swimmer or fear deep water, you probably should not try a barrier reef or somewhere where you have to go out more than a 100yds or so until you are more comfortable. I found the biggest trick is not the swimming, but getting used to breathing only through your mouth with the snorkel!
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Old Apr 13th, 2004, 11:32 AM
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You don't have to be a great swimmer, but if you go on a tour make sure the guide knows your comfort level. Not every island has life vests readily available for everyone on the tour. (Although I'm guessing they're supposed to.) Lots of places the guide brings along a spare life vest and a life preserver. Jean
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Old Apr 13th, 2004, 05:08 PM
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Thanks everyone! My brave-o-meter is going up!!
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Old Apr 13th, 2004, 05:12 PM
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Im a good swimmer and I still wear a vest! Have fun! you only live once!
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