Is Snorkeling at Night Dangerous? What You Need To Know
Author: Suzanne Lamoutte
What you’re about to uncover is exactly what to expect when you go snorkeling at night and all of the potential dangers that you’ll face. You’ll also learn how to make the most out of your adventure and uncover exactly what you’ll want to take with you to keep you safe.
Snorkeling at night offers additional dangers that you do not experience when snorkeling in the daylight - the inability to see what’s in front of you, nocturnal sea life comes awake and disorientation. You’ll need to pack extra equipment to ensure your safety on your adventure.
But before you head out with your friends for an adventure-filled night, you should know exactly what you’re getting yourself into - what to expect and what to bring. Even your favorite snorkeling environment at night is going to look different and put you in front of additional hazards. If you are not following these necessary safety precautions you’ll be putting yourself into potential harm.
What Are Some Of The Dangers of Night Snorkeling?
Night snorkeling is by far one of the most amazing experiences you can have. The entire underwater sea life changes including the scenery. There is so much beauty that comes awake once the sun goes down and you’ll have the opportunity to experience so many unique creatures that can only be seen at night, such as starfish, octopus, lobsters, eels, and the open corals. However, with this beauty also comes its share of potential dangers. You must understand your potential dangers so that you can be prepared,
Here they are:
An Increased Number of Marine Life: There are so many nocturnal sea creatures. This marine life you’ve probably only seen on the discovery channel and it’s lurking beneath the waters. This can be scary, and exciting. While most of the sea life will swim past you harmlessly there are some that are on the hunt at night and can be dangerous. Understanding your location will expose these dangers.
Darkness: Without the sun shining down on the earth it’s extremely difficult to see through the water. This low visibility limits how far you can see in front of you. It will even make you feel disorientated and you can become lost if you are too far. This is why choosing a night with clear skies is a good decision. The lights from the moon and stars will offer some ambient light.
Lights: Lighting is a necessity, but it can also serve as a potential hazard if not used correctly. It can blind another snorkeler and they can become disoriented and it will also attract some curious sea life for example jellyfish, manta rays, squid, and even some sharks. Be sure that you are sweeping your light across the water rather than shining directly in one direction. As much as we don’t like lights shining in our faces neither does marine life.
What Should I Bring Night Snorkeling?
Of course, you’ll bring the normal snorkeling equipment - fins, mask, snorkel, wetsuit, and your favorite snorkeling buddy. Your wetsuit will not only protect you from the chillier water, which can potentially drop 10 to 20 degrees once the sun goes down. It will also give you some added protection against some of those night time critters.
In order to have a safer and more enjoyable experience, you’ll want to bring some additional equipment with you.
An Underwater Light: This will not only offer you protection from the darkness, but it will help you to see the ocean floor in a “whole new light”. In addition, it will serve as communication if you are separated from your partner. Be sure you are purchasing a water and corrosion resistant light. This will reduce the risk of your light going faulty when out in the water. You may want to have a backup light as well. You can find a huge selection of good snorkeling flashlights.
A Whistle: You may be asking yourself what’s the point of this. But it is just as important as a flashlight because it’s an additional form of communication in case you get separated from your group. The sound of the whistle will travel pretty far over the water.
Water Socks: Without the sun, the water and night can get cold. The socks will offer you an additional layer of warmth. It’s a good idea to check the weather before heading out to determine if these will be necessary.
Snorkeling Vest: Snorkeling Vest for an additional form of protection. Many snorkelers don’t wear a vest, but with your limited visibility and difficulty seeing the current you may want to reconsider taking this. Not to mention it’s also a great way to carry your extra equipment.
How To Reduce The Dangers?
Snorkeling at night may have its share of dangers but if you are following these safety rules, planning accordingly, and packing the proper gear you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the experience.
The most important thing is to never go out on your own and have a plan for communicating already in place.
Proper planning doesn’t take long and it’s certainly worth the few extra minutes. Good planning will include researching the area, knowing the water conditions, and the marine life that you can potentially see. You can find plenty of websites and Facebook groups to do some research on a specific location before heading out. This will help with any potential dangers that you may experience. This is also a great way to identify any sea creatures that you can be on the lookout for and snap a picture of to share with the group later.
On the night of your trip be sure that you’re checking the weather conditions before heading out. Weather conditions can change fairly quickly and can change your experience as well.
Be sure that you have everything you need before heading into the water and that everything is working properly. Make sure your lights have new batteries and you have two forms of communication - your whistle and lights.
As mentioned earlier, the darkness can lead you to be disoriented and confusion is common. Be sure that you choose an area that offers you some type of landmark with flights so you can find your way back.
Should I Do A Guided Tour?
This is certainly something to consider especially if you’ve never been night snorkeling. The guide will be with you the entire time. He/she will give you the necessary experience and confidence that you’ll need to be successful on your own. Often times they’ll even provide you with all of the equipment needed.
One of the best aspects of choosing to go out with a tour guide is their knowledge of the area and their ability to identify the marine life, the dangers of the location, and help you to feel at ease to get the most out of the experience. You’ll be able to relax and soak up the beauty.
Who knows maybe your tour guide will dive down and bring up some fish to the surface for you to hold and see.
Cherish This Experience With Photos
Don’t forget your camera. You don’t want to forget a single moment of this night.
What you’re about to uncover is a whole new world of the underwater and you’ll want to share this newly found diversity of sea creatures. After all, you may never get another chance to see them again.
You can use your lights to capture the activity of the coral or take advantage of the ambient light and allow the lights of the bioluminescent creatures to provide the light. In order to better see the bioluminescent creatures, you’ll need the least amount of light. As long as you are following these night snorkeling safety rules - checking all of your equipment, understanding the location before heading out and never going alone and you’ll have a great experience on your adventure. If you don’t have a buddy to go out with or you lack the confidence to go out on your own then you should begin researching tour guides.