You’ve seen the photographs and films of colorful reef fish undulating in the warm, deep blue ocean currents and now you want to experience the sensation of meandering right along-side. But diving way down to the ocean’s depths, complete with heavy tanks, seems a bit much for you right now and snorkeling only scratches the surface.
There is a compromise. Snuba, invented in 1988, is a dive experience that combines the best of both scuba and snorkeling. It allows participants to go deeper than snorkeling using a shallow water dive system that makes it possible to dive as deep as 20 feet below the surface for up to 30 minutes without wearing heavy air tanks. Divers wear masks, fins, and weight belts. What sets snuba apart is the mouthpiece (or regulator) that is attached to a hose that extends to the surface where air tanks float in a raft, hence no tanks on your back.
Instruction begins on the beach or aboard a boat by a certified guide/instructor. You’ll learn breathing techniques, how to descend and ascend slowly, and even how to relieve pressure in the ears as well as how to drain water from your mask. Dives are restricted to 20 feet, and an instructor accompanies you.
Some medical conditions can prevent people from diving, including heart, lung or sinus problems. It’s not advised for pregnant women. Children as young as eight can snuba as long as they are comfortable in the water. The equipment cannot be rented or bought, and diving must be done at a site equipped for the sport. Children as young as eight can snuba as long as they are comfortable in the water.