WATER SAFETY AND SNORKELING
All staff instructors are American Red Cross Lifeguard certified. They have lots of experience supervising students in the water. Students are taught snorkeling methods hand signals for communication, and are carefully supervised at all times. MarineLab uses the buddy system, and buddy pairs are instructed to stay within arm's length of each other and within 100 feet of the boats. Orally inflatable snorkel vests are worn by all participants at all times in the water while snorkeling. These vests provide extra buoyancy if desired by the individual and are brightly colored to aid visual tracking of the snorkelers.
Our boats hold a special Oceanographic Research and Education designation. Our boat operators are either Coast Guard licensed Captains, or have attended a boating operations safety course and have hours of experience operating our types of boats. We follow all Coast Guard rules and guidelines for our boats and operators.
Participants do not need to know how to snorkel, or how to swim well prior to their visit. We carefully orient each student to the water and to the use of snorkeling equipment in every MarineLab program.
The first thing our instructors do with any student group is to administer a "swim test." This "test" merely demonstrates the student's comfort level in the water; there is no required time limit or stroke to swim the 100 feet. If a student appears uncomfortable at all, our instructors pay special attention to that student while in the water. Non-swimming students are provided with extra buoyancy and extra supervision. We specialize in encouraging unsure swimmers, through patience and care, to become reasonably confident snorkelers.
After their "swim test", students are shown the proper technique for fitting and using their snorkel gear. They are instructed to use the "HHH" snorkeling position: head, hips, and heels at the waterline to avoid touching the coral.
We have a wide variety of fins and masks in stock to fit snorkelers from 8 to 80 years old.