Although snorkeling is great fun, it is, like any activity in the ocean, not without its risks. To ensure you have a trouble-free time bear in mind the following:
1) Buy a decent quality mask that fits properly. Better quality masks are made of silicon rather than rubber and they can make an extremely good seal around your face to prevent any water from leaking in.
2) Assess the situation very carefully to see if there are any currents. You don’t want this holiday to be your last. Weak swimmers should wear flippers, preferably use a buoyancy jacket, and never snorkel alone.
3) Don’t snorkel barefooted – use either flippers or light rubber-soled shoes. Razor sharp hard corals and other dangers such as the poisonous spines of sea urchins can cause very nasty injuries. Flippers, although not essential for good swimmers, can make snorkeling much easier and safer, especially in the presence of mild or strong currents.
4) Never stand on hard or soft corals. They are easily damaged.
5) Children as young as five can snorkel with an appropriately sized children’s mask. Get them used to snorkeling in a swimming pool beforehand to build up their confidence before they try in the sea.
6) Take necessary precautions to avoid sunburn. Use water-resistant suntan lotion/sunblocks and even consider wearing a T-shirt while you snorkel, especially under the strong midday sun.
7) Don’t snorkel after eating a large meal to minimize the risk of getting cramp. Watch out for jellyfish too – even small ones can give you a nasty sting. Indeed, don’t try to touch any sea creatures. Even the innocuous-looking sea cucumber, for example, may excrete dangerous toxins that can cause swelling and even dermatitis if it is handled a lot.