If you’ve got a chance to choose between snorkeling and scuba diving, it’s a good idea to learn the difference between the two. Even though the two activities aren’t really that similar (aside from being underwater activities), it’s still easy for people to get them confused.
Snorkeling is an activity that involves remaining close to the surface of the water. The snorkel is a short tube that allows snorkelers to breathe in oxygen while they swim just beneath the water’s surface.
Scuba diving, on the other hand, is much more intense. Scuba divers make use of an entire underwater breathing device – the scuba suit – which allows people to breathe even while they’re underwater. This allows for them to explore much deeper than they would be able to with a simple snorkel.
The main difference between the two is the depth that you’ll get to explore underwater. Snorkeling is generally good for providing people with panoramic views of coral reefs or other underwater sights. Scuba diving, however, allows people to actually explore and adventure beneath the water.
Differences in Required Skill
Another major difference is the amount of skill required to participate in either activity.
Snorkeling doesn’t really require that you have past experience. You can learn how to snorkel pretty quickly, as long as you know how to swim. Some people say that you can snorkel with a life jacket even if you don’t have previous swimming experience, but this presents a possible risk and we can’t recommend it.
Scuba diving, on the other hand, requires quite a bit of training and experience. Generally, you will have to complete a scuba diver’s training course before you’ll be allowed to rent scuba diving equipment. This is because scuba diving is a lot more complicated (and potentially dangerous) than snorkeling.
It’s also important to note that scuba diving requires a reasonable level of fitness. If you are obese or have difficulty exercising, you may want to work out a bit before trying to scuba dive.
It’s also important to avoid scuba diving if you struggle with heart problems, lung conditions, or if you’re pregnant.
Snorkeling, on the other hand, does not require the same degree of fitness and caution. As long as you are physically capable of swimming, then you’ll have no problem snorkeling.
How to Start Scuba Diving
It doesn’t take too long to become a certified scuba diver – most people can get certified within a couple of weeks. You can find a number of different agencies that train scuba divers around the world.
Finding a group associated with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (or PADI) is a good way to find a reliable trainer. PADI is the largest network of diving schools.
Entry-level training courses will provide you with enough basic knowledge to start scuba diving. You’ll learn how to use your equipment, how to stay safe, and how to move about underwater. You’ll also generally have the chance to finish your first dive with the assistance of a qualified diving instructor.