Snorkeling is a great family activity that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.  Exploring the underwater world is the perfect way to learn about animals, nature, ecology, and conservation.  Most kids are ready to jump in the water immediately; however, snorkeling with kids requires a few extra precautions that, with practice and patience, will become second nature.

  • Kids need to know how to swim before snorkeling.  If children are uncomfortable with the idea of snorkeling, do not push the envelope.  Introduce snorkeling little by little until your child is comfortable.
  • Do not push your child to get in the water if he or she does not feel comfortable.  Snorkeling should be fun, not scary.
  • Children need to have the stamina for an entire snorkeling outing.  A day of many short outings can be more rewarding than one or two long outings before lunch.
  • Kids need gear that fits.  Gear that is too big or too small will leak, and nothing causes jaw fatigue like an adult-size snorkel in a child's mouth.  We have a wide selection of gear for younger kids and preteens here.
  • Fins are essential for children.  Wearing fins will help kids keep up with the adults while minimizing leg cramps and fatigue.
  • Have your child practice with their snorkeling gear in a pool or shallow water before setting off on a snorkeling excursion.  Being comfortable with their equipment will make kids more confident in the water.
  • Snorkeling vests can make children more comfortable in the water.  The vest aids bouyancy and keeps the body in a good snorkeling position.  Remember that a snorkeling vest is not a lifejacket--not a lifesaving device.  Kids need to be good swimmers to snorkel effectively.
  • Plan ahead.  Decide where and when you and your child will snorkel.  Book any neccessary reservations ahead of time--spots on boats or other group excursions fill up fast.  Ask questions about what marine life you might see, any procedures to follow, and any equipment required by the operator.  If you are snorkeling on your own, ask a local dive shop, visitors' center, or hotel information desk about the best places to snorkel.
  • Talk with your child before getting in the water about your planned safety procedures, snorkeling route, and some of the underwater life you might encounter.  Stress to your children the importance of looking and not touching.  The reef is a very delicate living organism and needs to be treated with utmost care. While some underwater creatures are dangerous or poisonous, they do not normally interact negatively with humans unless provoked.  Most marine creatures will be most interesting if you and your child are calm, move slowly, and stay farther away from activity.  The most breathtaking reef is the undisturbed reef.
  • Keep a close eye on your child while in the water.  It is very easy for kids to be overcome by a small current, misjudge distances, or focus on something underwater and not be aware of their location.  The best way to know where your child is to hold hands while snorkeling.  Nobody will drift off this way!
  • Use your snorkeling expeditions as a learning experience.  Visiting the underwater world is a great way to introduce topics like classifying animals, ecosystems, conservation, and water safety.  A fish identification book, picture story, or even newspapers for older kids are fantastic tools to tie in previous snorkeling experiences to daily events.
  • Giving your child an underwater camera is a great way to let kids show off a unique vacation scrapbook.  Reusable film cameras are inexpensive and kid-friendly.
  • Remember to have fun!

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