How to Go Freshwater Snorkeling in a River or Lake
When you think of snorkeling, you might picture an ocean or coral reef. But you can see many fascinating things in lakes and rivers as well, such as fish, amphibians, river otters, turtles and crustaceans.
What Is Freshwater Snorkeling?
Freshwater snorkeling is a way to explore bodies of water such as streams, rivers and lakes using snorkeling equipment. Snorkeling equipment allows you to swim with your face underwater while still being able to breathe. You can observe all sorts of wildlife and animal behaviors and uncover hidden worlds. Snorkeling is a great activity for people of all ages and abilities.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
You don’t need a lot of equipment to go freshwater snorkeling, so it’s easy to get started with this new hobby. You’ll only need three things:
- Mask: You need a mask that fits well. It should feel comfortable and no water should leak into it when you’re underwater.
- Snorkel: Your snorkel should fit comfortably in your mouth and attach to your mask. There are a few different types of snorkels. A great choice is a snorkel with a valve on the top that will keep water out when you dive underwater.
- Fins: Fins are optional but they will help you move around more quickly and easily.
General Snorkeling Safety Tips
You should follow certain safety precautions wherever you snorkel. Here are our top snorkeling safety tips:
- Bring a buddy: It’s important to always go snorkeling with a buddy. Any water activity can be unpredictable, including wildlife hazards, equipment failure or injuries. It’s much safer when there are at least two people looking out for each other.
- Check your equipment: Always check your equipment for fit and functionality before going snorkeling.
- Scout the area: Before entering the water, make sure to scout the area for potential hazards. These hazards could include wildlife, sharp rocks and bad weather.
- Relax: Snorkeling is more floating than swimming. As long as your snorkel is working, just float along, breathe and observe. A lot of kicking can cause water to splash into your snorkel as well as disturb the sediment and aquatic life.
Tips for Snorkeling in Lakes or Rivers
If you are a beginner, lake snorkeling is a good way to get more comfortable. River snorkeling often comes with a few more safety precautions than a lake.
- Don’t go far from the shoreline: Stay close to the shoreline when you start. Even when you go farther out, you should always know exactly where your exit point is.
- Avoid strong currents: Rivers can sometimes have strong currents, quick bends and large rocks. Places with strong currents will have very low visibility in addition to being dangerous.
- Use river diving equipment: If you are diving in a river, especially one with boats, you need to have river diving equipment. This includes a floating tube with a highly visible flag, a high-density wetsuit, knives, lights and gloves.