Snorkeling is awesome. There’s nothing quite like throwing on a mask and some fins, jumping into beautiful water, and scoping out some of the sea’s most incredible wonders. It can be a rewarding and relaxing experience for sure! It can also be an unpleasant or even downright miserable experience for the uninitiated. So, here are a few pointers to ensure you have the best possible experience on your very first snorkeling trip.

Safety!

Always snorkel with someone else. This is doubly helpful if your buddy is experienced.

Get gear that fits.

Gear that doesn’t fit can cause a whole host of problems, including water getting into your mask (and eyes) and ill-sized fins making it hard to swim. The best thing to do is ensure everything is comfortable. If you can, test out the gear with a quick trip in the water to ensure you’re getting the right stuff. If you need to make adjustments, do so BEFORE you get in the water.

Know your limits.

Consider what you’ll need for assistance if you have physical limitations. Float devices can be a great way to enjoy snorkeling without burning yourself out and getting into potentially dangerous situations.

Learn the skills.

Snorkeling is not overly skills-intensive, but there are a few best practices. Learn them from an instructor or an experienced snorkeler before you get in the water. Swim slowly and float when possible. Remember that your fins extend well beyond your feet. Learn how to read currents, surges, and waves. Always be aware of your surroundings.

Pick a calm spot.

The best way to enjoy snorkeling for first-timers is with low-effort snorkeling. Go out from a beach rather than a boat. Pick a spot without too much wave activity. Find a spot you can enjoy yourself without having to work too hard!

Appreciate the ocean and wildlife.

Remember why you’re snorkeling: because the ocean is beautiful! Take some time to really appreciate what you see. But remember, ocean life can be fragile. Try not to touch or handle anything and be careful not to kick up too must sand or sediment. Keep those fragile ecosystems around so you and others can enjoy them in the future!

These are the easy, basic tips! If you follow these, you’ll have a great time out in the water. Have a blast in the ocean. A first-time snorkel is a life-changing experience!