Is this your first time going on a snorkel tour or snorkeling in Maui? Are you curious what the rules of snorkeling are and what you need to know to make it the best snorkel experience?
We’re here to help! Snorkeling in Maui is one of the best activities to do! We want you to be prepared so we made a list of some tips to help you out.
What You Need to Know about Snorkeling!
#1 Learn to be Comfortable in Maui’s Ocean
Before you attempt to snorkel, spend some time in the ocean! Maui has amazing beaches and some of the best snorkel spots, but the ocean is it’s own living being and needs to be respected. First step would be wading into the water and swimming in the ocean. Feel the currents, the way the ocean moves and never turn your back on incoming waves. Ocean conditions can change quickly, so it’s important to swim where a lifeguard station is located if you are just getting to know the ocean. Always look for ocean safety signs posted about tides, sharks and waves! Avoid snorkeling right after a heavy rain or if the water looks murky or there are big waves! If you are in doubt, don’t go out!
#2 Use the Correct Snorkel Gear
Enjoying your snorkeling tour in Lahaina, Maui can often be a matter of using the correct equipment! Just like other sports, the fit and quality of the product contributes to the overall snorkel experience!
- Mask and Snorkels: For fit, choose a mask that doesn’t put too much pressure on your forehead, nose or other pressure points. You want it to fit snug if you hold it on your face and breath in through your nose. If there are any gaps and it does not suction well, the mask is not the right fit. Some snorkel masks also have prescription goggles for those who typically wear glasses or contacts! Selecting a snorkel, choose a mouthpiece that fits comfortably so you can have long wear without pressure on teeth, tongue or jaws. It’s important to avoid the full-faced mask and snorkel set-ups. They do not allow for fresh oxygen or circulation of CO2 and can lead to shallow water black out. They also do not allow for equalizing, so if you attempt any diving the full-face mask will not allow. You don’t have to select gear on your own! We size gear for everyone on our snorkel tours, and snorkel stores will help you find the right snorkel mask for you as well!
- Fins: Fins are a bit easier to fit. Select a size similar to your shoe size and try them on dry. When they are dry they should be very snug but not pinching. When you get in the water they will definitely losen. Short fins are for boogie boarding, average length fins work great for snorkeling and long fins are for freediving or scuba diving. Avoid your snorkeling fins on the beach before getting into the water. Instead put on your mask and snorkel, wade into the water and put on your fins there. This prevents stumbling and falling on the beach or the awkward walking backwards to the ocean scene. We provide fins on all our Maui snorkeling tours and size them for every guest!
- Flotation Devices: Flotation devices often make the snorkeling experience much more relaxing and increase your time in the water! On our Maui snorkeling tours we provide float belts and pool noodles. Float belts are a float that straps and adjust around your waist! Avoid wearing a lifejacket while snorkeling. They are designed to float your head above water, whereas float belts allow you to place your face in the water to snorkel while keeping your body at the surface. Pool noodles are great for snorkeling support. You can place them under your torso, chest or arms to keep you at the surface while you explore the underwater world while snorkeling!
- Wetsuits: Wetsuits can be helpful while snorkeling for many reasons! The obvious reason is to keep your body temperature up so you can spend more time in the water. If you are on a Maui snorkel tour and there are multiple snorkel locations, you often cool down while traveling on the boat in the ocean breeze. A wetsuit helps keep your temperature up at the second or third locations! Other reasons for wearing a wetsuit while snorkeling are for both sun protection and extra float! The best form of sunscreen is wearing coverage. Also the thickness of the wetsuit gives you extra float to snorkel at the surface with more ease. We provide all sizes of 2mm short sleeve zip up wetsuits to rent on our Maui snorkel tours!
There are so many amazing snorkeling locations on Maui! Avoid picking a snorkel spot just based on how it’s promoted online. Talk with locals, ask questions about crowds, tour duration, weather, snorkel sites and what marine life you may see and make your decision from there! When booking a snorkel tour for your Maui vacation there are three main options!
- Maui Snorkel Tours: Maui Snorkeling Tours are going to take you to some of the following locations: South Maui Snorkel Tours will take you to snorkel spots like 5 Graves, Turtle Town and Coral Gardens! West Maui Snorkel Tours will take you to snorkel locations like Olowalu Reef, Mala Wharf, Cliff House or Honolua Bay. You may see tropical fish, Hawaiian green sea turtles, reef sharks, rays and other marine life in Maui! Our Lanai Snorkel Tour often includes a Maui snorkel location for sea turtle sightings!
- Molokini Snorkel Tours: What makes Molokini a desirable snorkel location is more about the geological nature of the crater than the actual marine life. It is a very cool spot to visit as the structure is unique and you will see a variety of tropical fish! Most snorkel tours that take you to Molokini will also include a snorkel stop somewhere on Maui to see Hawaiian green sea turtles!
- Lanai Snorkel Tours and Dolphin Watch: Lanai is our favorite snorkel location because it is more remote so there are very few crowds, the reef is in great condition and the sea cliffs are some of the tallest in the world! Lanai is just a short boat ride from the west side of Maui and these snorkel tours typically include dolphin watching as there are many resident species of dolphins that live near the island. Pods of spinner dolphins, bottlenose and spotted dolphins are the most frequently seen species! Some of the tropical fish found on Lanai are found nowhere else in the world! There are more than a dozen snorkel locations on Lanai; Club Lanai, Manele Bay, Shark Fin, Buddha Bay, Dinosaur, Sweetheart Rock, Lighthouse and Armchair to name a few!
How long you want to spend on the water, where you are staying on Maui and what you want to see will determine what snorkel location works best for you!
#4 Shared Experiences
It’s important to always snorkel with a buddy! Avoid snorkeling alone! Snorkeling with a friend will ensure safety in case of equipment failure or you begin to feel ill. Guided snorkeling tours are an even better choice as our snorkel guides offer snorkel instruction, equipment fittings and educational marine life sightings and talks! As an added bonus it’s always way more fun to share your underwater exploring with a friend as well!
#5 Protect Future Snorkeling
Do you love seeing Maui’s underwater paradise, tropical fish, sea turtles, dolphins and other marine life? Don’t forget about the ocean once you return home! Every day we make choices that either protect or harm our planet and ocean. Did you know our ocean produces more than half of the oxygen on earth? Quite literally our oceans allow us to breathe and live! Here are a few simple things you can do daily to help protect our oceans ecosystem and in turn protect yourself!
- Avoid single use plastics: We see plastics go into our garbage, but do you realize it makes its way to our oceans? More than 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year. Marine life can be entangled in, or ingest these plastics. Upsetting the balance of marine life health affects the reefs and the ecosystem, leading to lack of oxygen production. Instead you can bring your own containers for to-go order or go to restaurants who use paper instead of styrofoam. Carry your own reusable silverware and straws! Look at each room in your house and search google or Pinterest for ways to make it more sustainable!
- Avoid using chemicals: There is a lot of talk about chemical sunscreens, but chemicals in general are not helpful to our planet or the animals that live here and balance our ecosystem. Instead of applying sunscreen, wear a sun shirt! Find ways to clean or groom with natural products! We offer sunshirts to purchase and also non-chemical reef safe sunscreen for our snorkel tours.
- Shop Smart: Purchase products that reflect sustainability. Healthy fishing and farming practices all affect the ocean and the careful balance it needs for our planet. A quick google can usually help you determine what brands and companies make for smarter purchases! Shopping locally can often be a reliable option for sustainable practices and products. We sell T-shirts that are made from recycled fabric because shopping smart is not just something we say, it’s something we do!
- Respect the habitat: Leave nothing, take only memories! Wherever you travel to, respect the habitat, talk with the locals, appreciate the beauty and nature without altering it. You can create your own eco-habit where you live too! Plant something green or maybe reduce your driving and ride your bike! We try every day to ask ourselves how we can give back to this amazing plant and ocean that helps sustain us! Every Maui snorkel tour we do our best to educate guests on sustainable practices and the importance of the ocean. Our small group snorkel tours also leave a smaller footprint and we snorkel a variety of locations so we do not put pressure on any one reef habitat!
Join us in caring and enjoying our oceans and our world just by booking an eco- snorkel tour with us!
Check out our Lanai snorkel tours from Lahaina today!