Scuba diving and snorkelling are attracting more and more people. And it’s not surprising: snorkelling is very accessible providing you can swim. Scuba diving is undoubtedly less accessible, but has undoubted appeal.
These two underwater sports share one thing in common: the essential safety rules, to be followed to make the most of a leisure activity. Focus on the risks associated with marine environments: by learning more about them avoiding them is easier!
DIVING, SNORKELING: MARVELLING AT UNDERWATER NATURE
Scuba diving and snorkelling will enable you to discover magnificent marine habitats and will amaze you time and time again by their scenery and the incredible lifeforms you’ll see.
As divers and snorkellers know very well, the underwater world is completely and utterly different from life on earth. The stunningly rich palette of colours is matched only by the sun’s rays that seem to dance in front of your very eyes… A pleasure accessible to everybody, snorkelling in particular: you only need fins, mask and a snorkel to go snorkelling, a sport open to people aged from 7 to 77, and above! As for scuba diving, more equipment is required and it’s more technical. You also need training and supervision.
But once you’ve been trained, you’ll be able to enjoy these two sports at weekends and on holiday, with friends or with your family. And you can do them, the world over, in fresh or saltwater, warm or cold!
MAGICAL ACTIVITIES – BUT ENJOY THEM RESPONSIBLY
The captivating underwater show mustn’t make you forget about your safety, as, like all open-air sports, snorkelling and scuba diving involve risks.
Diving and snorkelling are sports we do in a natural environment, with its weather hazards and residents. And you’ll often have to use heavy equipment or devices you’re not familiar with which require certain precautions.
Your first diver and snorkeller safety actions:
- carefully read the products’ instructions for use and safety instructions;
- follow a training course;
- never set off alone;
- keep a close eye on your children!
We’re going to look now at the marine environment risks that are common to both scuba diving and snorkelling.
POTENTIAL RISKS TO BE AWARE OF BEFORE ENTERING THE UNDERWATER WORLD
PREVENTING ACCIDENTS ASSOCIATED WITH SEA LIFE
When you’re underwater, you can sometimes experience encounters of the unpleasant kind! Be on your guard when you come across weevers, rays, scorpion fish, jellyfish and sea urchins. Some of them are even electric such as the electric rays. To avoid the risk of being bitten, keep your distance from moray eels and triggerfish and watch out for lobsters that pinch!
Rest assured, these “contacts” don’t happen very often but better to be safe than sorry and by taking a few precautions you’ll avoid accidents of any kind:
- keep an eye on your buoyancy;
- don’t panic and avoid making sudden movements;
- if a foothold is sometimes possible in the sand, don’t “touch” the coral that can cause burns and itching;
- and don’t give in to your urge to touch everything!
- wear a full wetsuit;
PREVENTING ACCIDENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE WEATHER
Is the wind beginning to blow more strongly and the waves building up? Don’t snorkel in these conditions. Get your diving equipment ready on the seafront, calmly and in the dry to avoid rushing and sea sickness.
Is there a strong current? If so, this can lead to you drifting far away from your starting point and leave you breathless - or even worse. Snorkellers: get the latest information and don’t overestimate your physical capacities. Divers: relax, haul yourself with your hands on the lifeline, then on the mooring to descend. On the seabed: protect yourself with the relief.
Is it biting cold on land/in the water? Before, during and after your outing, protect yourself by wearing suitable garments and wearing a neoprene suit with the right thickness, rounded off, as necessary, by gloves, diving booties and diving hood.
Now you’re ready to cope with potential risks at sea: head for the water, well informed and, as a result, with peace of mind!
In order to read about safety in depth, here are two additional detailed articles about safe diving and safe snorkelling.