Snorkeling isn't only a saltwater activity and while most think it's something you'd do on vacation in the Bahamas, it's not restricted to exotic locations. In fact, snorkeling can happen must closer to home - like in lakes! The US is full of beautiful lakeside beaches and one of the most fun ways to explore them is by snorkeling.
There's no need to dive to the depths to see the beauty of a freshwater environment and plenty of it can be seen through a pair of goggles. With that being said, there are some things to know before diving into a lake to see its marine life, but don't worry - it's about as simple as can be. Plus, there's no need to wash the salt out of your hair!
What You'll Need To Start
As with any snorkeling expedition, you'll need a mask, a snorkel, and potentially, fins. Most important is a mask and a snorkel because that's what will allow a swimmer to put their head underwater and still be able to breathe. A mask prevents water from getting into a swimmer's eyes and will also keep water from going up their nose, which, obviously, is important. A snorkel should be comfortable to wear and should easily attach to a mask, and they're generally pretty easy to find and relatively affordable. Simple is good here - it has one job to do and doesn't need to be fancy.
Fins are optional but are very helpful when it comes to propelling yourself through the water while snorkeling. They create minimal resistance and won't disturb the water as much as finless kicking would. They also allow the snorkeling to have full control over their direction, swim more easily, and it allows a person to focus on what they're seeing rather than their swimming form.
Knowing How To Snorkel Safely
Just because it seems easy doesn't mean it should be entered into with reckless abandon. Snorkeling is an activity that requires both focus and stamina, as it's basically lengthy swimming. It might take some practice as well to get used to not getting water into a snorkel, so practice should be done in shallow water, first and foremost.
Going too far from the shore can result in a swimmer-rescue situation, so it's always important to not veer far from the shoreline, especially for those who aren't strong swimmers. Snorkeling should always be done in pairs, much like diving, to avoid any accidents or swimming out too far. An entrance and exit point are important as well - if diving off a dock or along a rocky shoreline, knowing where you can get out of the water is just as, if not more important, as knowing where one can enter the water. This viewpoint should always be within a snorkeler's line of sight at all times.
It might seem like common sense, but knowing the weather ahead of time is also huge. Weather patterns can vary over open water, especially over places such as the Great Lakes. Knowing the forecast for the day is a great start, but it's also important to recognize the sign of a weather pattern change. Furthermore, no snorkeler should ever enter the water if there are white caps or signs that the water will get rough in any way. Above everything else, it is a sunny day, summer activity. '