Apr 6th, 2006, 05:43 PM
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Dumb question I should say. Does one need to know swimming to go snorkeling?

I don't know swimming but have gone snorkeling once in lakshwadeep islands but now sure how it is here in the US (key West, FL). There was very little water in lakshwadeep islands and I coudl just sit in as I am 6'3".

Appreciate suggestions/inputs.

luvdodo is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 05:53 PM
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Believe it or not, no you really don't. Just use a life belt or vest. You put on your gear and go. Your arms are down by your side and you just use your feet/fins to propel you through the water. I'm not a very good swimmer at all and I love snorkeling.
chasechow is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 05:54 PM
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Thanks really would like to try it out in Key West, FL after going that far

Thanks for the valuable input.
luvdodo is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 06:02 PM
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i'd consider going in water not taller than you...a t-shirt or surfer's rashguard will keep your back from frying!
eRnO is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 06:03 PM
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Sure, no frying 4 me )
luvdodo is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 06:05 PM
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When we go in the Keys the water is always about 20 - 25 feet deep but thats not near shore. I would suggest getting a little better at swimming before going out to the reef (if that is what you were planning on doing)
No_name is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 06:18 PM
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Well it sure can't hurt, but it's not required. It is recommended that you do have some comfort and experience when you are in water though. A few things to consider is that your fins help you a great deal in terms of movement, and they float. : ) As well, the mask that you wear will have air trapped in it will helps you float as well. If you don't feel safe enough, you can also rent floatation devices, as well as boogie boards that you can lay on top of.
marleneawe is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 06:22 PM
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hi dodz, i'm not a great swimmer either but feel completely comfortable snorkeling. the salt water helps alot with buoyancy. get the vest that chasechow mentioned. you can see them at , type snorkel vest into the search box. you blow into a little tube for a second and it floats you. you can let the air out anytime you don't need it. i often use mine when i need to adjust fins or mask or just want to rest.
virginia is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 06:30 PM
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I always bring a boogie board with me when I snorkel. A velcro strap wraps around my wrist and the board is attached to the strap with a small cable. I don't use the board while snorkeling, but I know it is right behind me if I need it.
wtm003 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 02:49 AM
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One thing you might want to consider before you go is practicing (in a neighborhood pool or even in your bathtub). The first time I went snorkeling (about 10 years ago) in Hawaii, I got a little panicked while in the water and would come up gasping for air and yanking off my mask. I can swim, but I'm not a particularly strong swimmer.

The next time we went snorkeling, I practiced in my neighborhood pool (just practice even, slow breathing while your face is under the water) and this helped me a lot while snorkeling in the ocean.
Samsaf is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 02:58 AM
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I guess you don't know how to swim to go snorkeling. With a life west you can just dip in the surface and watch the "action" below. But I think that it is better if you do know how to swim...then you can dive down a couple of meters and get closer to fish, corals etc. My wife and I just came back from Malaysia and we went snorkeling with small sharks and barracuda and it was great

Gard - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 03:38 AM
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I am also not the strongest swimmer, but snorkeling is fine. My advice would be similar to the others in that you should just make sure that you are comfortable doing it. My suggestion is to have your own snorkel gear that you like. I love to scuba dive, but I personally don't like snorkeling b/c of all the times that I have to clear the mask and snorkel. That being said, being in the sea water with your vest will be sufficient to keep you afloat. However, if you aren't a strong swimmer, I wouldn't dive down to explore. Have fun!
divingaggie is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 03:49 AM
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You don't have to, but if you are going in water over your head, consider a flotation device of some sort - belt, vest, etc.

Also, please be careful not to EVER stand on or touch coral. Find a sandy spot if you are in shallow enough water and never stand on a coral head.

It destroys the slime layer that protects it from fish and results in the death of the coral (which takes many many years to grow).

In Key West, especially, there is a lot of fire coral which will burn you badly if you come into contact with it. I found this out the hard way the very first time I went snorkeling years ago and a surge picked me up and sat me down on some fire coral. Not good.
Diana is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 05:13 AM
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Thanks everyone for responses. Yep I don't know swimming but went snorkelling earlier once to lakshwadeep islands and did okay because there wans't much water and had the required mask.

Maybe the floating gear should do then. I am wondering if this approach would be the same as the glass boat effect?


luvdodo is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 05:37 AM
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Don't go alone if you can't swim!

Stay close to a swimmer for safety if you are even close to getting out of your depth.
highflyer is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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just an fyi - a white t-shirt when wet provides no sunburn protection. You might want to try a rashguard like someone else said, or a dive skin, which provides cover all down the back of your legs too. Here's an example -
cruisin_tigger is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 08:10 AM
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None of the snorkeling trips in Key West will allow you to go into the water without a life vest (negative bouyancy flotation device) No matter the depth, you will actually be floating on this as it will contain a small amount of air. One trick if there is any kind of current where you go is to remain statinary over a section of reef and let the fish come to you. This way you will not tire.

Peter_krynicki is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 09:46 AM
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In response to your question about the glass bottom boat effect, to me there is no comparison. You have to go with what you are comfortable with though.
chasechow is offline  
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