So, what exactly is a snorkel buddy and how do snorkelers use the snorkeling buddy system? Do you really need one and why should you follow the recommended safe system of snorkeling together as a group (e.g. the swimming buddy system)?
The snorkeling buddy system is not widely known or observed by many of its participants. In fact, some recreational tour leaders and individuals often ignore the guidelines altogether. This is despite the fact that the buddy system for snorkeling adds safety and enjoyment to your aqua adventures.
The snorkeling buddy system could be an agreed procedure by a pair or a team of friendly individuals. They would plan to stay close enough to be able to communicate while swimming in the water. Hence, they will observe the group and assist one another throughout the task.
How the Snorkeling Buddies System Helps
- Logistical planning of the excursion and evaluating the sea and weather conditions.
- Donning and doffing snorkeling equipment and checking your gear fits correctly and secure.
- Choosing the best location for water entry and exit.
- Assist with swim cramp removal, overexertion, or fatigue.
- Alerting the group to interesting marine life and sea creatures.
- Make suggestions to reduce the impact on the underwater environment.
- Taking in-water photographs for sharing and blogging about snorkeling through social media.
This particular sea sport has few restrictions – meaning there are no specific age or minimum height limits necessary to join in the fun. Indeed, most holiday destinations encourage families to try snorkeling with the kids. Doing so, engages them in the popular vacation pastime from a very early age.
Families who snorkel together might take it for granted that they are following the buddy system. They think this because there is more than one snorkeler in the group.
True, it is a better technique than snorkeling alone. But, having a companion is often inadequate unless there is some proper planning and awareness.
Reinforcing the in-water safety system should be your primary concern. Following established and responsible buddy system procedures for snorkeling activities multiplies your own safety levels and other snorkelers around you.
So, having a friend with you, or being a buddy for someone else, helps to provide further protection and security.
Snorkel Buddy System Teams
In most cases, buddy teams will be a pair – especially in scuba diving. Even so, a swim team in snorkeling is better with at least three (3) members in the group.
Two buddies would usually swim around in the water. The third team member would supervise from the land or aboard the boat.
Child buddy teams should include at least one adult. This buddy system for snorkelers also allows for the so-called ‘one up – one down’ – skin diving procedures. As a result, at least one team member would remain at the surface while others duck dive below.
The advantage of having a supervisor from the boat or shore is commonplace. They can track and monitor a broader area often from a high vantage point – ideally with binoculars.
This system allows immediate boat or land-based assistance if companions separate or a serious problem develops. Very often, the onlooker providing additional support will be a boat crew member.