Here are some simple tips on how to have an amazing Florida Keys snorkel experience.
Call ahead and ask about the weather conditions. Poor visibility, strong winds & surge from waves reduce safe interaction at the reef. Be "rigidly flexible", we have to respect Mother Nature to be safe, trips may leave earlier or later, due to tides and weather conditions, snorkel locations may change due to these conditions.
Before you leave the dock inform the Captain as to what your swimming ability is, your level of comfort in the ocean and ages of particpants.
How many people will you be snorkeling with on the vessel?
If there is a large group, they can stir up the sediment and cause visibility to be greatly reduced as well and running into each other. At Sail The Keys, we take out only up to 6 people per vessel, this gives our clients, a premier personalized experience both underway and in the water. We also make sure that we bring back the same number that we go out with, people left out on the reef happens more than you think.
How long is the trip? How long do you get to snorkel- actual time in the water? Is there more than one location that you will get to snorkel at?
At Sail The Keys, we plan for almost 2x the amount of time of our competitors spend out on the water. We plan for 3 hours total and with weather permitting, we have many options to snorkel at different reefs and If weather is not pleasant or seas are too rough we have the option of going bayside too- very good for beginner snorkelers.
Is the in water-snorkel part guided at all?
At Sail The Keys we offer a guide in the water beside you to ensure your safety, comfort in the water, knowledge of unfamiliar equipment and assist with marine life identification.
Some more useful tips
Make sure to stay hydrated and put sunscreen on before you get on the boat. Be careful not to get sunscreen near your eyes as once in the water it can cause your eyes to burn. We recommend wearing long sleeves with a sun SPF surf shirts as this can keep you a little bit warmer in the water and fend off possible jellyfish stings.
At Sail The Keys we are dedicated to the protection of coral reefs!
Remember that even the lightest touch with hands, fins or other dive and snorkel equipment can damage sensitive coral polyps, the small living animals that make up the hard and soft corals at the reef.
Snorkelers should wear buoyancy control or snorkel vests to allow gear adjustments without standing on the coral.
Avoid contact with the ocean bottom. Sandy areas that appear barren may support new growth if left undisturbed.
Please don't feed the fish; it destroys their natural feeding habits, and avoids any potential injury to you or the marine life.
Remember, it's illegal to harvest coral in Florida.