Snorkeling Vs scuba diving: Which Is Right for Me?

Snorkeling Vs scuba diving: Which Is Right for Me?

Snorkeling and scuba diving on Phu Quoc Island are fascinating underwater sports. These two are the go-to options for tourists interested in exploring life underwater themselves. Many tourists feel that scuba diving and snorkeling are interchangeable, but they are vastly different.

Scuba diving and snorkeling are vastly different.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are vastly different.

Besides this confusion, many tourists think that snorkeling is just for the amateur, and going scuba diving will admire more beautiful scenes of coral reefs. John's Tours will help you explore how scuba diving differs from snorkeling and which suits your desire and preference the most in this article.

Shallow-water corals and deep-water corals

Corals occur throughout the world's oceans, in both shallow and deep water. However, only shallow tropical and subtropical waters corals develop reef-building corals.
It is because the algae in their tissues need light for photosynthesis. They prefer clear, moving water and warm temperatures between 70-85°F (22-29°C). 
Many shallow-water corals cover a large horizontal area to optimize their exposure to sunlight. Therefore, these corals usually live a couple of inches from the surface down to 20 feet.

Shallow-water corals (Photo: CSIRO)
Shallow-water corals (Photo: CSIRO)

Deep-water corals, also known as cold-water corals, occur in deeper and darker parts of the oceans than shallow-water corals.
Cold-water corals are most often stony corals. They do not require sunlight to survive. Only a few deep-water species develop traditional reefs because they need to optimize their exposure to food particles in the currents. Deep-water corals often display a vertical growth pattern of a hard substrate on the seafloor.

Deep-water corals (Photo: NOAA-OER 2005)
Deep-water corals (Photo: NOAA-OER 2005)

The difference between scuba diving and snorkeling on Phu Quoc Island

Depth levels

The key difference between these two activities is depth. Although the aim of snorkeling, as well as scuba diving, is to explore the underwater world, the extent of depth varies. 
Snorkeling allows tourists to see the beauty of the coral reef and other marine species even from the surface.

Tourists are snorkeling on Gam Ghi Island
Tourists are snorkeling on Gam Ghi Island

Snorkelers swim on and near the surface of the water and breathe through a snorkel (0.5m - 5m). On the contrary, scuba divers go deeper and need more complicated equipment (5m - 18m).
Snorkelers can admire fishes and coral reefs, whereas scuba divers get to explore seabeds, witness shipwrecks, unique marine life, etc.

Scuba divers get to explore seabeds,shipwrecks, etc. Photo: Amy Stevens (@ beyond_amy)
Scuba divers get to explore seabeds, shipwrecks, etc. Photo: Amy Stevens (@ beyond_amy)

Gear and equipment

Snorkeling: swimmers use a snorkel tube that helps to breathe when their face is under the surface, a mask (and fins if needed). Snorkelers swim at the water's surface or dive down to about 5 meters.

John's Tours' tour guide shows tourists how to use snorkeling equipment.
John's Tours' tour guide shows tourists how to use snorkeling equipment.

Snorkelers will exchange air at the surface of the water through the breathing tube. If the snorkel is submerged beneath the water's surface, you will not be able to breathe through the tube.

Scuba diving equipment and gear (Photo: divemagazine.com)
Scuba diving equipment and gear (Photo: divemagazine.com)

Scuba divers use advanced and more complex equipment such as a mask, a scuba regulator and tank, a wetsuit, and fins to help them go deeper and breathe underwater for a longer duration.

Duration underwater

With snorkeling, you can watch underwater life while floating just below the surface. You can enjoy it for as long as you want because your breathing tube has access to a continuous supply of air. The deeper you dive depends on how long you can hold your breath underwater.
Scuba diving with a tank allows you to stay underwater longer, without holding your breath. Many other factors can affect how long you can stay underwater, such as decompression limits and other environmental factors. The only real limitation is the deeper you go, the faster your tank will run out of gas.

The aim of training

The training for new snorkelers focuses on enhancing swimming skills and putting into practice some breathing exercises.

Snorkeling with John's Tours
Snorkeling with John's Tours.

On the other hand, scuba diving is an intense sport because scuba divers often go deep into the sea. They can be in danger if they are not well-trained. In addition, tourists have plenty of chances to make mistakes with snorkeling, but even a slight error can be extremely dangerous with scuba diving. 

A beginner learns to scuba dive.
A beginner learns to scuba dive.

Therefore, becoming a certified diver with a reputable dive center is really essential.

Which is suit for you?

Both scuba diving and snorkeling are exciting activities for tourists who enjoy admiring marine life in its natural environment.
If you are interested in admiring coral reefs and exploring marine life from the surface, snorkeling is a perfect choice. You don't even have to know how to swim, just simply move in the water. Tourists who are not good at swimming can use life vests to keep afloat and protect them from shallow-water coral cuts.
If you want to go into the depths of the sea, and explore marine life up-close, caves, shipwrecks, big-size fish, and exotic sea creatures, choose scuba diving.

Children enjoy snorkeling with parents (Photo: sunplay.com)
Children enjoy snorkeling with parents (Photo: sunplay.com)

Children and the elderly can also snorkel as long as they have the support of others.
Snorkeling is generally considered safer than scuba diving – tourists are on the surface and breathing ordinary air, after all. But with proper training and a professional guide, scuba diving is also an extremely safe sport.

Scuba diving (Photo: Treehugger)
Make sure you have good health when scuba diving (Photo: Treehugger)

With scuba diving, you have to make sure you have good health. Physical conditions that may not be disruptive and noticeable in everyday life may be dangerous underwater because of the high pressure.
Heart problems, lung problems, ear issues, allergies, and certain diseases are all potentially dangerous underwater. Some medications are contraindicated for people who want to dive.
You also have to consider your travel budget. The cost of a snorkeling trip is usually low while scuba diving is a little higher.

Some recommended Phu Quoc daily snorkeling trips:

Contact John's Tours Phu Quoc if you need any information about hotels, restaurants, transfer services, sightseeing tours, daily island tours, etc. John's Tours with more than 15 years of experience in organizing and operating Phu Quoc tours will satisfy you the most.

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