What a difference a long spell of warm weather makes to the environment and to us snorkellers.
We don’t need encouragement to go and enjoy a coastal trip, and once there it is difficult to keep us out of the water. So much so it is just possible that we may overlook / ‘forget’ / omit some of the basics of safe snorkelling. Calm seas, blue skies can lull us into a false sense of security.
With the start of the school holidays we more ‘senior’ snorkellers must remember we are role models and continue to demonstrate the golden rule of having a buddy; and emphasise the importance of doing our homework on our chosen snorkelling site. Remember also personal requirements such as staying hydrated, applying sun screen and having other suitable sun protection.
Do also listen to the relevant news broadcasts and follow comments on social media - warmer seas may attract marine life we do not normally see off the British Coast – these creatures can be of interest but may also bring potential safety issues. Don’t forget to follow weather forecasts – UK weather could return to its normal ‘unpredictable’ self without too much warning.
- Marg Baldwin, Snorkel Instructor Trainer
The golden rule of snorkelling is one up one down and on the surface ideally no more than an arms distance away from one another. Two pairs of eyes spot more and sharing the experiencing simply adds to the enjoyment. Should you need a bit of help getting in or out of the water or during the dive it is great to have a buddy. Don’t forget the all-important Snorkel Dive Manager watching over all the activities with a wealth of knowledge which will include your dive plan as well as what to do should there be a problem.
Snorkelling site research
Make sure you can get in and out easily at all times during your snorkel dive. Calm waters can ‘hide’ currents. Make sure you know about local topography, any currents and the tidal cycle. Find out about other likely water users for the site. Do your research before a trip and then back that information up by using reliable local knowledge as you arrive on site.
Look after yourself and your buddy
Remember to be well rested, eat good food and make sure you are hydrated before going snorkelling. Waterproof sunscreen applied well before your skin is exposed to the sun and water is a must (there are some good quality eco-friendly sunscreens around if you search online).
Even in the warmest UK waters a wetsuit is likely to be worn but don’t forget to cover your neck and head, and if necessary any other exposed bits such as the back of your legs if a ‘shortee’ is used.
After the dive remember to drink more water and it may just be possible for particularly a young snorkeller to be quite chilled. So, get them dry and into suitable clothing and possibly give them a warm drink!
Different sea creatures
The public has been warned to be extra vigilant at beaches around the country as the heatwave brings swarms of jellyfish to our shores. The lion’s mane jellyfish has been spotted at several beaches around the country as the warmer waters have become a more attractive location for the animal, which has the most severe sting of any of its species in the UK.
Grey triggerfish are also visitors to our shores. It has tough, sandpaper-like skin and a sharp spikey dorsal. This trigger-shaped fin is what gives the species its name because when the fin is depressed it shoots out a second fin as a form of defence. Triggerfish have small mouths but eight sharp teeth and strong jaws, useful for crushing the shells of mussels and other prey. Remember look don’t touch.
Watch the weather when snorkelling
At the time of writing this article, severe thunderstorms are being forecast – do keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to amend / adapt your plans.