Snorkeling with Children – Fun for the whole Family!
Children appreciate family trips, especially when they get older. They can look back at all of the fun activities that they did with their parents. Snorkeling with children is one such activity that involves some skill and the right gear.
Children can learn this sport and enjoy it throughout their lives. After all, who doesn't love to poke their head underwater and take a gander at the fish? The following will present more information regarding enjoying this activity with your kids.
How to Introduce Snorkeling to Children
Children can start this activity quite young. Trip Savvy goes so far as to say that kids can start at four or five years old.
The European Child Safety Organization provides more in-depth information on this matter. Kids need to know how to use the snorkeling gear before they go into the water.
They should also still be wearing flotation devices, even if they are proficient swimmers. There are basic hand signals that need to be mastered as well.
Kids also need to be taught to not reach out and grab what they see. Even if it is plant life, the motto should be, look, but don't touch.
This can be especially important because coral is sharp and can cut and scrape people up pretty badly. Parents need to ensure that the snorkeling space is safe - for example, they should take their children to areas with reefs so that the children are not swimming out in the open.
Also, parents need to tell their kids not to go into little coves. It’s easy for a kid to get curious and try to explore a cove or cave that has a lot of fish. These kinds of situations can easily lead to finding other sea life like eels which often can get children scared. This is not a pleasant surprise for a child.
What about equipment?
Children require pretty much the same snorkel gear that adults need. Yet, a couple of sizes smaller. There will be no joy for a kid to go snorkeling when the fins or mask don’t fit because they are too large.
The typical gear your child will require are mask, snorkel and fins. All of those can usually be gotten in sizes that match your children’s height and age.
It’s easy to understand that the fins need to be the right size for the kid’s feet. Otherwise, he or she will constantly slip out of them or they will be too tight if they are too small. Both will ruin the fun instantly.
When purchasing fins for children, adjustable fins are an option. This budget friendly buy can be adjusted as the child grows up.
A mask that’s not fitting right will leak and let water inside. This in turn will end any snorkeling adventure pretty quickly as it’s no fun to having to clear out he mask all the time.
Lastly, a snorkel that is not a dry-top snorkel will make it harder for the child. Especially in the beginning, it will be happening that your child will be getting too low into the water and the snorkel can submerge. If the snorkel is not dry then trying to take a breath will result in a lot of water coming in through the snorkel. The result being that your child has to come up and cough and ends up not liking the whole experience.
If you use a traditional setup with a mask and a snorkel then you also need to make sure that the mouth piece is small enough to fit into your child’s mouth. If it’s too large then it will hurt the kid’s mouth and make it impossible to breathe normally.
A newer and better way might be to get a snorkel mask covering the whole face for your child. They provide better visibility under water and make it a lot easier and comfortable to breathe. Many of them come in sizes specifically fitting children.
Make sure that you only purchase quality items. It can be a safety concern to have for example masks of low quality. The lens could be made from cheap material that breaks apart and could cut the face or the eyes of your child!
Where to start?
People often do not know how to start their children with this sport. According to the European Child Safety Organization, the best place to begin is on land. The reasoning behind this is that children need time to practice before getting into the water. Even if an adult picks up the skill quickly, that does not mean that the child will learn as rapidly.
Two of the major concerns that ECSO suggests are that children need to learn how to breathe through the tube and keep the mask clear. The child might have to learn to do both at the same time if the tube clogs up at the same time as the mask blurs. They must be adept enough not to panic, but instead simply blow through the tube to clear the airway.
Dr. Orlena Kerek suggests in her blog that children can then get used to the breathing aspect in a pool. They will be able to learn the coordinate motions that go with swimming and using the gear.
Once the child has become adept, the ultimate goal is the ocean. After all, they won't see fish in a swimming pool.
Snorkeling trips for the whole family
Many resorts will vie for visits from a family that loves to adventure and snorkel. The Travel Chanel suggests some destinations on their site - https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/beaches/photos/best-us-caribbean-snorkeling-resorts. Most of their picks involve not leaving the resort property. This might be ideal as the family learns to adventure together.
National Geographic offers some advice as well (https://www.nationalgeographiclodges.com/about-our-lodges/best-of-lists/best-family-getaways/#.WtBLyIjwbIU). Generations of families that visit Petit St. Vincent Private Island continue to pass snorkeling onto their children.
The entire family can enjoy snorkeling together. It will take a while to acclimate the children, but once this happens, the clan will benefit from the sea's sights.
There is a cornucopia of color and life below the surface of the water. It is waiting to be explored.
The ventures are fairly low risk, especially if the family chooses to stay in resorts that cater to snorkeler's. And with a little preparation, the family can take to the seas and inhale the open air.
Be sure to follow safety precautions because they are there for one's safety. It is best to ask the locals and hotel owners about any tips when staying on their beaches. They, after all, are trained to keep up to date with the latest weather and nautical conditions.