In an ideal world, our mates would be available to hang out with us whenever we want. We’d spend our days in the sea, snorkelling and swimming, eating fish and chips, with no work or family obligations. Sounds dreamy, right? That’s cos that is a dream. In the real world, we can’t always count on having a buddy around to join us on our adventures. And when it comes to diving, we already know not to go alone. But does that same rule apply to snorkelling?
Many experienced snorkellers will find no problem with the idea of snorkelling alone, but experience doesn’t allow you to control the conditions around you. Things like currents, equipment failure, and so on, need to be taken into account. That doesn’t mean you have to sit at home alone if your mates are busy though! As long as you exercise certain precautions, and are aware of the dangers of snorkelling alone so that you’re prepared, then you can enjoy solo snorkelling safely.
First off: the risks
In an ideal world, there’d be no risks associated with anything fun, ever. But as we said, this world is far from ideal, and snorkelling along comes with its own risks which you should be aware of before you hit the water.
Dangerous currents – If you’re going to head off snorkelling, make sure you’re familiar with the area you’re snorkelling. If it’s a controlled area with slow currents, then you should be OK, but if you’re hitting up an unfamiliar spot then it’s not a good idea to snorkel alone.
Equipment failure – It might not necessarily be failure, but something as simple as losing a fin, breaking your snorkel, or even getting pebbles stuck inside your fins can be horrible to deal with when alone. If you plan on going solo snorkelling then make sure your equipment is working and fitting well and comfortably.
Getting lost – It can be easy to lose track of where you’re going while snorkelling, and a buddy is a great way to have a backup GPS system (so long as they’ve been paying attention). Once again, if you want to snorkel alone then do it somewhere you’re familiar with, and stay close to shore so you can easily navigate your way back.
Coming into contact with nasty sea stuff – Aah! You’ve been stung by a jellyfish or come into contact with some other nasty sea stuff. We’d never wish this upon anyone, but such things can happen, and for that reason it’s important to be careful if you plan on snorkelling alone.
Developing cramps or injuries – Just like swimming, developing a cramp or injury while snorkelling alone can be dangerous. Try to stretch before hitting the sea, and keep your movements slow and gentle. Don’t get too adventurous – solo snorkelling might be boring but it’s better than not snorkelling at all.
Falling into a panic – Maybe you thought you’d be fine snorkelling alone, until you got out there and realised that actually, you’re not. Panic can come out of nowhere, and when you’re in the water alone it can be scary. Make sure you’re aware of what to do when panic strikes, and try to stay calm throughout.
Precautions so you can stay safe
Now that we’ve got all the scary stuff out of the way, let’s talk about what you need to do in order to stop that stuff from happening. Of course, in an ideal world we could control all the events in our lives, but… You know what we’re gonna say. Take these safety precautions and enjoy a safe solo snorkel with peace of mind. Don’t worry about being ‘amateur’ with all this safety business – this is about potentially saving your life so man up.
Wear a safety vest – This’ll make sure staying afloat is easy in all situations, whether disastrous or not. Go for a colourful one so you can easily be spotted.
Carry a whistle – People might see you and think you’re having a grand old time when you’re not. Carry a whistle so you can call for help from afar whenever you need.
Stay close to shore – Even if the best corals and sea life are far out, make sure you’re always close to shore and in easy view of everyone on the beach. Maybe boring, but maybe also life-saving.
Be familiar with the area – We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again. Don’t go out exploring new areas if you’re going to be alone. Make sure you’re familiar with the currents before you step inside, and also if any jellyfish are around.
Don’t be overconfident – You might be looking at all these safety tips and thinking that a pro like you doesn’t need to take any of this stuff into account. However, let’s keep your ego on the shore and try not to be overconfident in the sea. It has a way of being unpredictable, and humans should never mess with nature.
Wear a visible snorkel – Wearing a visible snorkel will make sure people on the shore will be aware that you’re snorkelling and so take extra care in looking out for your safety in dangerous conditions (hopefully!) Luckily the snorkels at Ninja Shark are longer than average and with the tip of the tube in RED, keeping you easily visible to others.
Bring first aid supplies with you – How many times have you been injured and relied on someone else’s bandaid to get you out of bleeding everywhere? We’ve been guilty of it, too. If you’re heading off snorkelling alone, bring a first aid kit along in case of injury.
That’s about it, really. The world may be far from ideal, and you may have to take the occasion snorkel alone. Luckily, snorkelling is just as fun without mates as it is with mates, and as long as you exercise the precautions above then you can enjoy a safe solo snorkel session. Your mates are gonna be so jealous they missed out.
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