Snorkeling best practices
These simple guidelines to follow in order to be an environmentally responsible snorkeler come from the Green Fins organisation.
- Practice your snorkeling skills away from the coral reef where you can do no harm.
- Make sure your equipment fits properly – it may be difficult to adjust in the water.
- If you feel uncomfortable in the water, wear a life jacket
This is a suggested way for first time snorkellers and swimmers who are not confident in the water to remain above the corals without accidentally standing on or kicking the shallow corals. This can help prevent a lot of accidental damage from people who are new to the marine environment.
- Choose boat operators that make use of available moorings. Anchors can destroy fragile marine life.
- Do not throw garbage, plastic or toxic substances into the water. Make sure all garbage is well stowed and disposed of responsibly.
- Look but don’t touch. Do not touch, stand or rest on corals even if wearing shoes and gloves. You could harm delicate marine life (and marine life could hurt you).
- Do not hold onto corals while taking pictures. Photography equipment can affect a snorkelers mobility and buoyancy in the water. Improve your skills to avoid contact with marine life and improve your photos.
- If you are wearing fins be aware of where your fins are. Don’t stir up sediment or damage coral.
- Do not chase, harass, ride on, fee or handle marine life.
Fish feeding has become a large-scale problem the world over. Feeding fish or any other species can lead to them becoming reliant upon that food source. It makes fish more aggressive towards divers and snorkelers and can lead to species interacting with others that they are not normally used to. It can also lead to corals getting smothered in algae as fish no longer eat the algae but eat the food instead. It also increases the amount of nutrients in the water.
- Take nothing alive or dead from the water.
- Do not purchase souvenirs of corals or other marine life. It is illegal to take shells or corals from a national park in Thailand.
- Learn about coral reefs and other marine animals that life on reefs.
- Spread the word. Tell other snorkelers the importance of best practices.