SNKG – CHAPTER 2 – LEADING SNORKELING EXCURSIONS

When you lead snorkelers, you often guide people who have never taken a snorkeling course, and their swimming skills may be limited. Safety is paramount, and while guiding snorkelers might seem easier than guiding snorkelers, the reality is the opposite. Snorkelers require much more attention than snorkelers. Here, we summarize the steps and specific needs when guiding snorkelers.

Equipment typically used by snorkelers includes

  • Mask and snorkel.
  • Full foot fins.
  • Wet Suit or Lycra Suit depending on the water temperature.
  • Rash Guard instead of a Suit in warm water to avoid sunburn.
  • Life-Jacket or Snorkeling-Vest.

It’s important to inform your clients about sun protection. While snorkeling, the sun can irradiate their skin, necessitating protection from sunburn. A Rash Guard is ideal, but a cotton shirt can suffice. Advise against sun protection creams that can pollute the sea and recommend environmentally friendly products instead.

The equipment you must use include also a floating buoy or ring buoy with line, large enough to allow multiple people to support themselves.

SNORKELING FROM SHORE

Shore excursions are often the most economical and accessible options for participants, allowing for the possibility of self-organization with a buddy. However, they come with unique challenges that, if not properly addressed, can turn the experience from a pleasure into a cumbersome task.

Transporting the equipment for shore excursion: Shore diving often presents logistical challenges. It’s common to park your car a distance away and then navigate down slopes or across rocky terrain while carrying your gear. Additionally, remember that this equipment must be carried back after the excursion, which can be quite demanding. The risk of slipping or falling is a significant consideration.

Given these challenges, SNSI recommends utilizing diving centers to organize excursions, even in areas where shore excursions are prevalent. Well-organized diving centers typically provide staff to assist with equipment transportation and set up designated areas for preparing gear and dressing the snorkelers. This approach ensures that snorkeling remains an enjoyable activity rather than becoming a burdensome task. With the support of a diving center, the logistical aspects of shore excursion can be managed more effectively, allowing snorkelers to focus on the enjoyment of the excursion itself.

Preparing the Area for Dressing
When setting up for a shore excursion, the area designated for dressing should be thoughtfully prepared. Cover the ground with a plastic sheet or mat to prevent sand from getting into the suits, which could lead to uncomfortable or even painful abrasions. It’s also a good idea to provide basins of water near this area. Snorkelers can use these basins to rinse sand off their feet after emerging from the water and before stepping onto the mat. This practice helps keep the mat clean and effective in protecting the suits from sand. Properly preparing this space is key to ensuring a smooth and comfortable transition from gearing up to snorkeling, and back.

Prepare the Entry Point
For shore activities, particularly in areas with coral reefs, undertow, or ebb currents, it’s important to set up one or more lines for snorkelers to grip when entering or exiting the water. These lines should extend from the point where snorkelers start to swim to the area where the current’s influence ends. This setup aids snorkelers in safely navigating these potentially challenging entry and exit points.

Place Ground Staff for Assistance
The presence of staff to assist snorkelers with carrying equipment and helping them in and out of the water is invaluable in shore excursions scenarios. This assistance not only makes the excursion less strenuous but also enhances the overall comfort and experience of the participants.

Provide Shaded Areas
Shade is a critical consideration in organizing shore excursions. Set up tents or place umbrellas to create shaded areas where participants can seek refuge from the sun and relax between water activity. This is crucial for preventing heatstroke and ensuring clients remain comfortable and safe throughout the day.

The Buoy
The Snorkeling Guide should always bring a signal buoy. This is essential for alerting any boats in the vicinity to the presence of snorkelers, helping to maintain a safe distance and avoid potential hazards. The buoy serves as a vital safety measure, ensuring both the visibility and protection of the snorkelers during their activities and allowing them to use it if they need to grasp for resting.

Entering and Exiting in the Presence of Breaking Waves
When dealing with breking waves, specific procedures must be followed for safe entry and exit.

Snorkeling from Rocks
If the excursion requires entering and exiting from rocks, it is crucial to cancel it if there are breaking waves. The danger in this scenario lies in the possibility of snorkelers being thrown against the rocks by the waves, potentially causing serious injuries. As a Snorkel Guide, you must recognize and avoid this risk. If you decide to proceed with the excursion despite the presence of breaking waves on rocky terrain, you are assuming a high liability for a foreseeable accident. Your responsibility as a Snorkel Guide is to prioritize safety and forego such an excursion.

Snorkeling from the Beach
If the excursion starts and ends on a beach, entering and exiting with breaking waves is possible, provided the waves are not higher than a person. Instruct snorkelers to put on their fins in shallow water, where the waves have already broken. They should then walk backward until reaching a depth where they can swim past the wave zone. For exiting, snorkelers should swim close to shore and proceed on all fours until they reach a point where the waves have lost their strength. Only then should they stand up and remove their fins.

During the briefing, it’s imperative to explain these procedures clearly and precisely, ensuring that all participants understand, feel comfortable, and are capable of performing the described maneuvers. If you notice any client feeling uncertain, don’t hesitate to advise them to skip the excursion. It’s common for the human being to feel pressured by the group or fear embarrassment for opting out. Your role as a Snorkeling Guide is crucial in these situations: encourage honesty, assist snorkelers in managing their anxiety, but also be prepared to recommend withdrawing from the excursion if, despite your support, a snorkeler still feels uncomfortable.

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Snorkeling Guide