This week I will present the other side of last week’s persuasive writing assignment, “Why Scuba Diving is Better than Snorkeling.” There are lots of different reasons why.
First, you do not need very much gear to be able to enjoy snorkeling. All you really need is a mask, snorkel, fins and a bathing suit. These items are more simple in design and therefore less expensive and easier to maintain. If you take care of them, they will last much longer than Scuba gear items like a dive computer or regulator. You can spend the extra money on getting to the places you want to go and on getting really good gear that is comfortable and durable.
No Bubbles Needed.
Snorkeling gear is also lighter and much less bulky than Scuba gear. This means that you can bring more guidebooks, camera equipment, sunscreen and other important items on a vacation to a tropical island. This is especially important now in the age of baggage weight restrictions by airlines worldwide. My parents had to pay extra in luggage fees when we came to Fiji, even though we didn’t bring that much stuff. If they had left their Scuba kit at home, we probably would not have needed to pay.
What’s more, Scuba gear is hard to carry around with you when you are not using it on a regular basis. We are still trying to figure out how we can store Mom and Dad’s Scuba gear when we travel light in Tasmania and other non-Scuba destinations. We also have to worry about the Scuba gear being stolen or knocked around and broken. My mom’s dive computer broke during the trip over here and there is no place in Fiji to get it fixed or replaced. We still don’t know what to do with it but have to carry it around with us for the rest of the trip.
Gear issues aside, snorkeling has another benefit over Scuba in that you can stay out as long as you want on the reef. When you Scuba dive, you are limited by the air capacity in your tank and by decompression limits. Depending on your depth, you can only stay down for an hour or two tops, unless you are using an expensive re-breather.
Decompression rules also require you to wait between dives and before you fly. You are not allowed to fly until at least twelve hours after your last dive. By contrast, you could snorkel until the very last minute of your vacation.
Finally, Scuba diving is not for everyone. People who are intimidated by all the gear, people who are afraid of going underwater and people who have a hard time clearing their ears may not be good candidates for Scuba diving. Certification also takes a lot of time, studying and money. Kids are also not allowed to get certified until they are at least ten years old. Snorkeling provides a fun, cheaper and less time consuming alternative in these cases. Although you cannot get very deep, you can still see a lot of what the ocean has to offer.
A regular visitor during our snorkels at the drop off. No tank required.
Even though I think Scuba is better, I can see why some people might think snorkeling is the way to go. You don’t have as many gear issues, you don’t have as many time constraints, and snorkeling provides a good alternative for those who aren’t able to or don’t want to go down under. Snorkeling is also excellent practice for Scuba diving. Both activities require many of the same skills. Once you learn to snorkel well, you will be much better prepared to try Scuba. Either way, there are lots of things to discover under the waves. I urge you to give it a try someday soon.