When planning a trip to Hawaii, snorkeling is at the top of most people’s bucket lists, and for good reason! Snorkeling gives adventurers a chance to see the underwater world… Swimming next to tropical fish, seeing the coral reef, and even encountering sea turtles or dolphins and other hawaii marine life is an experience that most people can’t find at home. In Hawaii, that dream becomes a reality.
However, many people try snorkeling for the very first time in Hawaii. These people may not always be the strongest swimmers and can be a little shy about getting in the water. As a result, many wonder if they should wear a life jacket.
As Kauai’s top snorkeling tour company, here are our thoughts on whether or not you need a life jacket when snorkeling:
Snorkeling Can Be Dangerous
Like most water activities, snorkeling can be dangerous. Whenever you get into water deeper than a few inches, drowning will be a possible risk. In the open ocean, it’s even riskier. Therefore, it’s crucial to know your limits when swimming in general, but especially when snorkeling.
If you aren’t a particularly good swimmer or don’t swim very often, you may want to wear some sort of flotation device. Snorkeling flotation devices come in two types; life jackets and snorkeling vests. Depending on your situation, one may be more appropriate than the other.
Snorkeling With Life Jackets
Life jackets are the most common type of life preserver that people think of. Life jackets have foam panels covered in fabric. This jacket wraps around your torso and over your shoulders to keep your head above the water no matter what.
Because of that life jackets can be kind of bothersome for people who want to do more snorkeling than swimming. Since snorkeling requires putting your face in the water and life jackets keep your head above water, you find yourself fighting the buoyancy of the life jacket in order to keep your face in the water. They’ll also make it impossible to get lower into the water and closer to the marine life than you would have without the life jacket.
These are ideal for beginner snorkelers, disabled snorkelers, elderly snorkelers, and children. Children especially have a tendency to stray away from the group and run into issues such as swimming into dangerous currents or swallowing water into their snorkel. If there’s a sneaker wave or a random current, a life jacket will provide the most protection. It will also keep their heads above water, even if they initially suck water into their snorkel.
Snorkeling vests have a similar shape to a life jacket. However, they’re a little different since they’re made specifically for snorkeling. While a life jacket is made to keep a body upright with the head above water, snorkeling vests are made to keep the body balanced while horizontal in the water.
Instead of fabric panels filled with foam, snorkeling vests are usually inflatable. This allows the user to inflate it more or less depending on the snorkeling conditions and experience. As a result, snorkeling vests are an excellent choice for snorkelers.
State or local laws, depending on where you are, may require snorkelers to wear snorkeling vests. But you should also note that these are not United States Coast Guard approved and will not work as a legal substitute for a life jacket aboard ships, boats, and other vessels.
Snorkel Kauai With Kauai Sea Tours
Explore stunning waterfalls, incredible snorkeling spots, and the majestic Na Pali Coast on Kauai. As one of the top boat tour companies on the island, we help you find an unforgettable view of Kauai. Our tour guides bring you and your family to the perfect snorkeling destination and bring all of the equipment you need for a day of snorkeling next to beautiful coral reefs and marine life. Book your Kauai snorkel tour adventure today.