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Is Snorkeling Dangerous?

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Snorkeling is an incredible entry-level ocean adventure sport, with over 11 million participants per year in the United States.

As long as you can comfortably swim, have a mask, snorkel and fins that fit and you know how to use properly, you can get a sneak peek of everything the underwater world has to offer.

snorkeler kick above vibrant reef

That being said, the waters do have an inherent danger to them, which is why you’re probably wondering, just how dangerous is snorkeling?

To answer the question, it would depend on what we mean by dangerous.

If we’re speaking about deaths, CivilBeat claims there were 184 between 2012-2021. This leaves us with around 18 deaths from snorkeling per year. 

In the cases of death, the majority of causes were cardiac arrest and seizures due to epilepsy.

Those most vulnerable to cardiac arrest are typically overweight or older in age. If you have a history of epilepsy or seizures, we don’t typically recommend engaging in water sports like scuba diving or snorkeling.

Now that we have an idea of the potential dangers of snorkeling, we’ll go over some potential hazards while participating in the sport, as well as some other general safety tips.

a snorkeller diving down under the water

What are the Most Common Dangers of Snorkeling?

The most common dangers of snorkeling are likely to sunburn, dehydration, and fatigue.

We’re not joking! So wear a wetsuit or a rash guard, use sunscreen (preferably reef safe-sunscreen), and drink lots of water. 

Outside of those with a predisposition to cardiac arrest or health concerns it is very safe to do and you shouldn’t be in any danger. 

Are Full Face Snorkel Masks Dangerous?

full face snorkel mask

Full-face snorkel masks have come under a lot of attention these past few years as there have been several incidents of snorkelers dying in Hawaii while using them. This prompted several studies and investigations by the NIH. The idea is that the full face mask gets a build of of Co2 and the snorkeler passes out. This is a possibility if the mask do not vent properly. The masks that do not vent proper are have been found to be knockoffs and cheap ones that were not tested so make sure you buy from a reputable company like the ones here. 

Welcome to our blog!
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I am a PADI Divemaster based in South Florida. With nearly 10 years of diving experience, I have accumulated the knowledge to help readers become better divers, buy their next piece of gear, and plan their dream dive vacation! Please contact me if you have any questions.

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