Snorkeling and scuba diving are enjoyable and exciting activities. But individuals have to note that there are differences between the two that you need to learn.
Snorkeling isn’t expensive and does not need certification. Snorkeling is also easily accessible to anybody. This activity can even be enjoyed by those non-swimmers with the use of their life vests and the kids.
Snorkeling lets you enjoy and explore the underwater world from the water surface and dive down as you hold your breath to obtain a clear and closer look.
Scuba diving, on the other hand, is a type of water activity or sport that requires good health and certification. This is more costly than snorkeling, and much effort is involved in order to become a good diver. You also need to regularly and adequately maintain your fitness, your equipment and your certifications.
It might seem that surface breathing with snorkeler is a lot easier as compared to dealing with the diving equipment. However, it’s surprising how better and much comfortable breathing by means of the regulator can actually be.
Snorkeling, on the other hand, can be frustrating and stressful to deal with splashes and waves getting into the snorkel and to your mouth as well but with scuba diving, you won’t really be battling with this issue.
Scuba diving gives you that great feeling of being part of marine life. You can stay under the water and go even deeper for long since you do not need to be holding your breath unlike in the case of snorkeling.
Scuba diving also brings you closer to the world of underwater and its diverse and extraordinary collections of colorful and beautiful sea creatures.
In the snorkeling and scuba diving battle, one common positive aspect of both is the chance to meet and be friends with fellow divers. While on a diving escapade, you will get the chance to meet individuals with the same passion and interest in snorkeling and scuba diving.
This encounter might blossom to long lasting friendships and even take you with the diving buddies you met to different interesting snorkeling and scuba diving sites all over the world.
Diving allows you to appreciate the sea and the ocean more and can also bring you to people who can share their knowledge about the delicate underwater habitats and know the great importance of protecting and preserving them.
Snorkeling and scuba diving both have their own distinguished attributes that will captivate one’s interest and attention, and but these also have key differences.
The Major Differences between Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
The snorkeling and scuba diving activities are undeniably thrilling and fun, allowing you to explore, admire and appreciate the beauty and value of marine life. But these greatly differ on how these water activities allow you to do them and in many other factors.
General knowledge tells individuals that the snorkeling pursuit includes tube or snorkel and mask while the scuba diving requires complicated sets of tools and equipment such as autonomous gas supply for breathing.
The following are just some of the differences between snorkeling and scuba diving that every diver and swimmer should know:
- Necessary Training
This is one of the major differences between the two, and this covers the amount of preparation needed to be undertaken before you get into the water. On the other hand, snorkeling does not require training.
If you can swim, then you can fully enjoy this activity by means of slipping into your gear and going to the water.
Even somebody who hasn’t really tried and experienced in snorkeling can be pro within just a few minutes. More experienced and advanced swimmers can easily dive down a bit of way while the snorkeling, they can manage to stay under the water only if they can still hold their breath.
Scuba diving requires more training before one can dive in. Since you will be underneath the water surface, you will need to learn ways on how to properly breathe using tube and tank.
You must also know the safety precautions to be taken during your dive. There are also extensive training programs, excursions, and resorts that require training before you embark on a scuba diving activity.
Due to the necessary training, investing energy, money and time is greater for those who are serious about learning scuba diving. Many individuals believed that pay-off is great as well.
Snorkeling the waters to witness marine plants, coral reefs, and more beneath the water surface. While snorkeling is mainly for the purpose of recreation, this can be performed in combination with some competitive and thrilling underwater sports like hockey and water spearfishing.
Meanwhile, scuba diving enables divers to explore greater depths than what snorkeling can allow. This is usually done for activities that are mainly recreational, like exploring shipwrecks and caves, practicing deep-water spearfishing and more.
However, for expert divers, scuba diving is not just for personal leisure and hobby. This is also used for commercial purposes, particularly civil engineering, military diving, and other related operations, underwater welding and more.
- Essential Equipment
Snorkeling and scuba diving also have another obvious difference, and that is the essential equipment needed. Having the necessary equipment is vital to ensure that you get the most of your snorkeling and scuba diving experience.
The basic snorkeling equipment includes a snorkel, a mask, a swim fin, and a dry or wet suit.
- Snorkeling mask should fit well around your nose and eyes and allow you to see conveniently and clearly. Keep in mind that you cannot wear glasses under a snorkel mask but the contact lenses are fine. There are also options to purchase a prescription mask if you wanted to.
- A breathing tube or snorkel is usually attached to your mask. This extends above the water surface and allows you to breathe during the time that your face is under the water.
- Swim fins tend to attach into your feet. This helps you move across the water easily and quickly.
- Snorkelers wear wet suits in keeping your bodies warm. In the cold waters, you will need to wear a dry suit or under suit.
- Gloves and hoods are needed in the cold water as well.
A scuba diver utilizes more complex pieces of equipment than the snorkelers. The essential scuba diving gears include a dry or wet suit, a mask and Buoyancy Compensator or BC, a scuba tank, fins, weights, and regulators.
- Your eyes cannot see well underwater; therefore, a diving mask is necessary. This is indeed one of the most.
- When scuba diving, you need to wear a dry suit or wet suit. If you are diving below 10 degrees Celsius, you will definitely need an under suit or a wet suit. The diving suit is tight-fitting and is usually made from a thick neoprene. Aside from suit, you might as well need gloves and hood.
- The Buoyancy Compensator or BC refers to a jacket which can be filled or can be emptied by air. This helps you in staying under the water and floating in the surface effortlessly.
- Regulators and scuba tanks deliver the air that you need. The scuba tank is comprised of pressurized air. Regulators provide you with air from your scuba tank at the right pressure to be able to breathe under the water.
- When you’re in the water, the tendency is for you to float naturally. Weight actually help divers in off-setting their diving suits and the buoyancy of their bodies. There are various weight systems, such as weight harness, weight belt, or weight integrated BC.
- The fins assist the divers in propelling themselves all across the water easily and also to be able to swim well.
The Breathing Technique
Snorkeling typically permits you just to keep your face under the water to also prevent breathing tubes from flooding. In case you wanted to dive deeper, you must hold your breath and get rid of snorkel from your mouth.
The time that you needed to take one more breath, you should go back close to the surface and allow the tube’s end to stick out of water. Also, allow this to blow out the air from the snorkel and clear this out before you inhale more air.
Or you can just make use of the dry snorkel that is specially designed to allow divers to dive deeper. The dry snorkels are known to feature a special mechanism that seals the tube’s top-end automatically to prevent the water from entering if submerged and purge the valve to ensure that water is expelled easily in case it enters the tube.
When it comes to scuba diving, there are really no exact techniques needed. Since this requires the utilization of a scuba tank, the entire body can be kept under the water and then breathe by means of regulator mouthpiece. This is designed to release the gas each time you inhale or in times of emergencies.
Another major difference between snorkeling and scuba diving is that while the snorkelers can hold their breath safely and at any given time, remember that the breath-holding aspect is ultimately dangerous and can result in fatal concerns.
If in snorkeling, your major purpose is observing the life underwater while you are floating underneath the surface. You can actually do this as you wish since breathing tube enables you to access consistent air supply. If you plan to dive a bit deeper, you are limited to the duration of holding your breath under the water.
Scuba diving that includes tank enables you to stay under the water for a longer span of time without needing to hold your breath which is a bit dangerous as mentioned.
Moreover, there are factors affecting how long that you can stay under the water on scubas like the decompression limits and environmental factors; however, these certainly enable you to stay far longer as compared to snorkeling. The real and only limit is your scuba tank that may run out of gas quicker if you go deeper.
Risks and Dangers
Snorkeling is risk-free and safe, but there is a real danger and that is when you get in the way of the motorized jet skis and boats since these may not instantly see your snorkel from afar.
Moreover, there are also risks of scrapes and curs from the corals and rocks and also from jellyfish stings. Risks also include the possibility of injuries from life forms underwater.
There is also a possibility of getting sunburned if you go snorkeling for longer hours, especially if you are close to the surface of the water. But do not worry that much because this can be prevented through the application of the right amount of quality sun protectant and through wearing a wet suit or rash guard with UV protection.
There’s a possibility that the equipment will malfunction and this can cause decompression sickness, drowning and oxygen toxicity or nitrogen narcosis. This can happen if you drive over 100 feet deep or probably pulmonary embolism due to improper ascent.
There are also the most common dangers, such as run-ins with boats and sea creatures.
Swimmers without diving experiences can snorkel in the water even without any certification or training. Nevertheless, snorkeling deeper than twelve feet needs more experience and practice in the repeated holding of breath.
It’s pretty obvious that scuba diving tends to require serious deep-water training and also requires the use of breathing techniques and diver certification to ensure that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to keep them safe and fully protected during their dive.