What is snorkelling?
A snorkel is simply a breathing tube.
To snorkel, you swim using a mask, snorkel and fins, but without using self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA). If you can swim, you can probably snorkel.
Is snorkelling legal in Scotland?
Yes, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code allows you to roam and swim relatively freely in inland and coastal waters provided that you do so responsibly. This means it is legal to snorkel in Argyll’s sea, lochs and rivers.
Is snorkelling safe?
No water-based activity is 100% safe and you should always have a healthy respect for the water.
If you’re new to snorkelling, you should seek training so that you know how to snorkel safely in open water. BSAC offers a range of snorkelling courses for beginners.
You should wear good quality snorkelling equipment which fits properly. Start at a clear, shallow beach and stay in your depth.
You can minimise the risks by reading and following the safety advice provided by Scottish Wildlife Trust and others (see useful links) planning ahead and exercising caution at all times. Never snorkel alone.
What kit do I need for snorkelling?
As a minimum, you’ll need:
- Full wetsuit (to keep warm, provide buoyancy and shield your skin from stings and grazes)
- Snorkelling mask and snorkel (breathing tube)
- Fins and fin socks or thick boots
If you are going to be in the water a while, a rash vest, hood and diving gloves will be be useful.
Wear lots of layers and bring a robe for changing and warming up after your snorkel. Bring something to stand on while you get changed.
A drink and snack will be welcome after your snorkel.
What do I do if I get into trouble or see another snorkeller experiencing difficulties?
Call the coastguard on: Call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard in an emergency. (If you don’t have a signal, your phone will try to connect you to the nearest network.)
How is snorkelling spelt? Is it snorkeling or snorkelling?
It depends whether you are using UK English or US English. The UK spelling is snorkelling, the US spelling is snorkeling. You will find different spellings for snorkelling and or snorkeling in Scotland – mainly because those writing about it come from different places!