Snorkeling and scuba diving are both exciting ways for everyone to explore the undersea world. They are also very different. Snorkeling and scuba diving can be brilliant sports in many ways. It is hard to compare these two. But we can say that, from these two, one is 2D viewed from above. And the other is a 3D world viewed from within the water.
Snorkeling is all about swimming on or through a body of water.
Snorkeling is swimming with a snorkel, mask, and a tube that allows you to breathe through your mouth when diving underwater near the surface of the water. It includes observing fish and algae, and coral reefs, especially in underwater bodies with minimal waves and warm waters. It is exciting to see things near the water surface. Here the technique is allowing the head & nose underwater. Snorkel tubes can be used underwater as well. The snorkeler throws out water either with a sharp exhalation in return to the surface of the water. It can be done by tilting the head back shortly before reaching the surface. It would help if you held your breath to swim under the surface of the water to keep more duration underwater.
There is some equipment we use in snorkeling. They are; a diving mask, L or J-shaped tube with a mouthpiece at the lower end. And also, sometimes, we need to have fins attached to our feet. Snorkeling is all about swimming on or through a body of water with a snorkeling mask. It requires no training. Snorkelers’ best shallow reefs are ranging from sea level generally to 3-12 feet. When snorkeling deeper, reefs are good, but repeated breath-holding to dive to those depths limits practitioners’ number and raises the bar on fitness and skill level. The greatest danger of snorkeling is not being spotted by jet skis & crafts, as a diver is often submerged underwater with only a tube sticking out of the water. And also, it can be in contact with poisonous coral, dehydration, and hyperventilation. Sunburn is also a common thing when diving with extended hours.
Scuba diving– Discovering the underneath.
Scuba diving allows you to dive deep inside the water to examine the sea or lake bed. In scuba diving, we should wear a tight-fitting diving suit and breathe through an oxygen tank. Scuba diving is all about underwater diving with breathing equipment, and it stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. There are recreational purposes in scuba diving, including cave diving, wreck diving, and ice diving. There are also professional purposes, including civil engineering, underwater welding, offshore construction, or military purposes. When diving, a swimmer’s entire body is under the water. A diving mask covers the diver’s nose and eyes. The diver can’t breathe through the nose, except when wearing a full-face diving mask, but adapts to inhaling from a regulator’s mouthpiece. These divers can stay underwater longer as one does not need to hold one’s breath.
The equipment used in scuba diving is a pressurized gas tank fastened to the diver’s back. It has a single hose, open-circuit 2-stage diving regulator, connected to the first stage attached to the gas tank, second to a mouthpiece. The swim fins connected to the feet of the diving suit. It requires training in how to use breathing equipment when diving, safety procedures, and troubleshooting. Although no centralized certifying or regulatory agency. Many dive rental and sale shops need proof of diver certification when scuba diving needs training in using breathing equipment, safety procedures, and troubleshooting. Consequences of breathing compressed air such as decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis, oxygen toxicity, refraction, and underwater vision can cause during the improper way of scuba diving.
The difference between scuba diving and snorkeling
When compared with snorkeling, scuba diving equipment is more complex and heavier. It contains a pressurized gas tank, and it is filled with enriched air nitrox with extra oxygen. Therefore, to reduce decompression sickness, there is 36% oxygen and less nitrogen. The first stage regulator in the ” single-hose,” two-stage design minimizes the cylinder pressure of about 200 bar (3000 psi) to a middle level of about 10 bar (145 psi). The second stage demands the valve regulator, and it connects with a low-pressure hose to the first stage. It delivers the breathing gas at the relevant, appropriate pressure to the diver’s mouth and lungs. The diver’s exhaled gases are released out directly to the environment as waste. It has at least one outlet delivering breathing gas at unreduced tank pressure in the first stage. To show how much breathing gas remains connected to the diver’s pressure gauge or computer.
A swimmers’ snorkel
A swimmers’ snorkel is a tube that is about 30 centimeters long and the inside diameter, between 1.5 and 2.5 centimeters. This tube is mostly L- or J-shaped and fitted with a mouthpiece at the lower end. It is made of rubber and plastic. This snorkel is used for breathing air from above the water surface when the wearer’s mouth and nose are submerged. This tube usually has a rubber piece that attaches the snorkel to the outside of the strap of the diver’s/ swimmer’s diving mask.
Besides the normal atmospheric pressure, water involves in increasing pressure on the chest and lungs in scuba diving as one descends. When calculated to the nearest pressure of the inhaled breath must almost exactly counter the surrounding or ambient pressure to inflate the lungs. By consistently providing the gas to breathe at ambient pressure, modern equipment confirms that the diver can inhale and exhale naturally and virtually without considering the depth. The swimmer’s nose and mouth are submerged and covered by a mask when snorkeling. A mouthpiece connected to the L or J-shaped tube gets air from being above the water surface, and the breathing takes place. When diving, the tube is allowed to flood when underwater, and at the same time, the swimmer has to hold his breath.
The snorkeler clear water from the snorkel with a sharp exhalation on return to the surface. And another way is called the displacement method. It can be tilting the head back shortly before reaching the surface and exhaling until reaching or “breaking” the surface and facing forward again before inhaling the next breath. The displacement method removes water by replacing its existence in the snorkel with air. It is a more up-to-date technique that takes much practice. However, it was like that it clears the snorkel with much greater efficiency.
In scuba diving, it needs to train in using breathing equipment, safety procedures, and troubleshooting. There is no centralized certifying or regulatory agency, and many dive rental and sale shops require proof of diver certification. There is no needed to have training in snorkeling. Usually, shallow reefs ranging from sea level to 3 to 12 feet are suitable for snorkelers. Deeper reefs are also helpful for snorkeling. But frequent breath-holding to dive to those depths boundaries practitioners’ number of times and raises the bar on fitness and skill level.
Effect on Health
Scuba diving can affect breathing compressed air such as decompression sickness, oxygen toxicity, refraction, nitrogen narcosis, and underwater vision. The danger of snorkeling is that snorkelers are challenging to spot in the water by jet skis and leisure crafts as a diver. The diver is often submerged underwater with only a tube sticking out of the water. Some of the other health hazards are in contact with poisonous coral, dehydration, and hyperventilation. Sunburn is also a standard-issue while snorkeling as the back is exposed to the sun when spending long hours in snorkeling.
Advantages of scuba diving
- Scuba diving is a sport that allows you to breathe underwater with the help of air tanks.
- Humans have always been curious and fascinated with the mysteries of deep blue and scuba diving. So, whenever we explore it, we feel like we also are a part of it.
- Although you are ready to scuba dive in a tropical destination, you will dive with a wet suit as the temperatures drop as you dive deeper underwater. A belt with weights will help to swim deeper.
- Now the scuba diving has become popular around the world. It is also known that it is a perfect way to explore all the deep blue was to offer.
- You avoid the rough surface waters.
When scuba diving, we should consider the direction and strength of the water currents. There should also be the guidance of a good instructor, which will use to your benefit to save oxygen. For all these reasons, scuba diving is the better option when exploring the coral reefs.
- You can go more in-depth and observe and discover more underwater.
It is the best advantage of diving that all the scuba divers are keen on. The fact is you can explore more and more when you dive deeper into it. But you cannot be sure that your van dives deeper and deeper as you want. You can swim deeper for longer as the surface waves won’t bother you anymore and to the level that you can bear enough.
Disadvantages of scuba diving
Although there are tremendous benefits of scuba diving, there are some negative impacts of scuba diving also.
- You cannot do it if you are flying in the next 24 hours.
Most of the divers have insufficient knowledge of this. Some may know, and some may not. You should not have scuba dive if you are going on a flight in the next 24 hours. The risk of decompression sickness may increase when you increase altitude as you travel on a plane. You might have a few small air bubbles in your body after scuba diving which does not cause any issues at ground level; however, these little bubbles can expand and cause decompression sickness if you fly. It is an easily avoidable disadvantage as you can schedule your dives well in advance of your flights.
- You cannot do it if you have asthma or other medical problems.
If you have asthma or other medical issues, you should check before booking a scuba diving tour. If you have any of these medical issues, then the diving instructors will not let you in the water to dive.
- The compressed air tastes bad when scuba diving.
Whenever scuba diving, there is a foul taste in the mouth and a rather sore throat. The air you breathe from the tanks is not the same as regular air. The air you live from the tanks is compressed air that has been filtered and dehumidified. It is not a huge disadvantage as it does not have side effects on you other than the unpleasant taste it leaves behind. If you’ve never been to dive and do 2+ dives on the same day, this is something to keep in mind.
Advantages of snorkeling
As same as scuba diving has pros and cons, snorkeling also has advantages and also disadvantages.
- Anybody can go snorkeling.
You can snorkel underwater as long as you can float and more or less know how to swim and regardless of your fitness level. All you need a mask and snorkel, and where you are good to go.
- There is no risk of decompression sickness in scuba diving, and you are not in a position that entrusting your life to an oxygen tank strapped to your back. It is the best and more comfortable option to choose If you’re not a big sea lover.
Disadvantages of snorkeling
Some of the disadvantages identified in snorkeling are as follows.
- You can not go as deep.
It is not a significant disadvantage of snorkeling. As if a person is new to scuba diving on his first dive, he won’t be allowed to go deeper than 10 meters. As generally, what you can see at 10 meters is not massively different from what you can see on the surface. Anyway, the animals like turtles and dolphins need to come up to the surface to breathe. So, if anything, you have a better chance to see them more while snorkeling than scuba diving. The marine flora and fauna do vary from the surface. So, this does not apply if you are a qualified diver, and so that can go beyond 10 meters.
Scuba Diving vs. Snorkeling: Which is better for you?
While considering all the pros and cons of both snorkeling and scuba diving and now you are probably wondering, which is better for you? The answer to this question is that only you can know and decide for yourself. You should have an interest as well as you should fulfill the relevant requirements before dive. A person can prefer snorkeling if they dislike the feeling of breathing compressed air. As if he is not a certified diver, he cannot go as deep. In most cases, we cannot see anything at 10 meters; that is why many people would not have been able to see while snorkeling. Some love scuba diving, and they would never pick snorkeling over it. But it is better to know all the pros and cons of each and make an informed decision for yourself before diving.