When you're not sipping Piña Coladas and working on your tan on the beach... I guess it's time to explore the great unknown. Yes, I'm talking about the ocean. There are many different ways to see the ocean floor and meet some colorful critters. What is the difference between all of these underwater, swimming activities? Well, essentially they are pretty similar. It just depends on how deep you want to explore the ocean bottom! Let's dive (PUN!) into understanding the differences between snorkeling, scuba diving, and snuba diving!
Let’s start with the simplest activity of them all, snorkeling! Snorkeling is when you swim on the top of or slightly below the surface of the water. If you're afraid of the scary unknown depths of the ocean like me, this is a perfect way to explore wildlife.
While slowly gliding across the shallow water, you can see and breath while still holding your face underwater. You have what is called a “snorkel mask” which is similar to a larger pair of goggles. This mask allows you to see while preventing water from getting up your nose. Attached to the mask is a mouth piece that is shaped like a tube. This tube reaches from your mouth to above the surface of the water, allowing you to freely breath the air. This means you can swim with your head underwater for as long as you like without coming up for air!
Training and certifications are not required to snorkel. It is very simple and easy to do! You only need the snorkel mask and a swimsuit, no wet suit is required (unless it’s too cold, of course). Although you can’t explore far from the surface of the water, you can still travel the beauty that is in the shallow reefs.
This is a more intense version of snorkeling. Scuba diving is when a diver goes deep down underwater and breaths through an oxygen tank. This tank is an underwater apparatus that is not connected from the surface supply of oxygen. You probably recognize pictures of people carrying oxygen tanks on their back like a backpack. These tanks carry about an hour’s amount of oxygen. When learning how to scuba dive, most beginners start anywhere from 30-60 feet deep in water. A dive that would be considered a deep dive is anywhere further than 60 feet. Yikes! That sounds scary. This transportable tank of oxygen allows you to move freely within the ocean depths, allowing for much more exploration and discovery.
There are a few tricks and things to learn before you hit the water! It is highly advised to take a scuba diving course before you dive. Most places that allow scuba diving requires that you have a scuba certification and license to scuba dive. Similar to driving a car, after a few lessons it is pretty easy to pick up and becomes more natural with time. You need to have a wetsuit for the deep, cold waters, a snorkeling mask so you can see while your nose is plugged, flippers so you can easily swim with the extra weight on your back, and the oxygen tank with the connecting mouth piece. Having the chance to see far below the water surface is a unique experience that people don’t often do. Now you have the opportunity to go find Nemo! Watch out for Ursula.
Snuba diving is the perfect cross between snorkeling and scuba driving. Like scuba diving, snuba diving entails breathing through a regulator that is connected to an air supply. But instead of carrying around the supply of oxygen on your back, it floats comfortably on the water’s surface. When snuba diving, you can swim from 2 feet to roughly 20 feet deep.
Trainings and certifications aren’t necessary to snuba diving. You only need your snorkel mask and the floating tank with the mouth piece attached, that simple! Snuba diving allows for more room for exploration than snorkeling. Plus, going snuba diving is less of a hassle than getting scuba certifications! These floating tanks are much easier to swim with opposed to the cumbersome air tanks scuba diving requires. Snuba diving is the happy medium and perfect balance of snorkeling and scuba diving.
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