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Maui Snorkeling Q&A

Do I need to know how to Swim to go Snorkeling?

Yes, to snorkel you must know how to swim. Even if you are in standing depth water, you might get in a current that takes you out of your depth. In the water you don’t weigh much, and even a tiny current can move you. So you must know how to swim well enough to be able to tread water and keep your head above water, and you must be able to make it through the water well enough to get yourself back to shore.

Can I use flotation Device if I cannot Swim?

NO, because you need to be able to Swim to Snorkel. You can use a flotation device if you are a weak swimmer, but you can never totally rely on a flotation device. A life-jacket does not replace the ability to swim. Life-jackets can come off, and they only assist to make you more buoyant in the water. A flotation device will just allow you to remain on the water’s surface a little longer, so that someone has a better chance to rescue you.

Is a surfboard a flotation Device?

No, a surfboard or body board is not a flotation device. Because you can fall off a surfboard and then you must know how to swim to get back onto it. Boards can blow away very quickly and them they can leave you stranded in deep water. They can give people a false sense of security.

Do I need to swim to go kayaking?

Yes you need to be able to swim. A kayak is very easy to tip over. And fall out of. When you fall out they are difficult to get back onto. They blow away fast too.

Do I need to swim to go SUP?

Yes you must know how to swim to go SUP. Never go farther than you can swim. An SUP board should (must) have a board leash. The board leash helps to keep the board nearby, but they do break, come off or people forget to attach them. If you fall off your board in deep water what will you do? When you fall the board gets pushed away, and then it can blow with the wind faster than most people can swim.

Can I rent or Buy Snorkel Gear without knowing how to swim?

Yes it is possible to rent or buy gear without knowing how to use it. A responsible store will advise you against this. Having the gear is a temptation and a bad situation. It is also possible to buy a car without knowing how to drive. But it doesn’t mean that you should attempt to use it. Know the risks before you go. Get informed and take lessons.

Is Snorkeling Dangerous?

Snorkeling is enjoyed safely by hundreds of thousands of people every year in Maui without incident. However it also has the most number of fatalities of any activity on Maui. Most people will have no problems if they are properly prepared for the activity. Sadly if you have a medical problem in the water you are much more likely to drown, Problems like: Seizures, Heart attacks, Stroke and Fainting, are more survivable on land, in the water they are catastrophically bad.

How to I stay Safe when Snorkeling?

Be sure to know how to swim. Get swimming lessons. Even swimming doggie paddle is better than not swimming at all. Get confident in the water. Panic Kills. Always snorkel with a buddy, preferably a much stronger swimmer. Get a lesson with an expert. If you are a weak swimmer get a private snorkel lesson with an instructor. Learn to snorkel in a pool while supervised at all times. Stay close to shore when in the ocean for the first time. Do not attempt to snorkel from a boat until you have mastered shallow water snorkeling first. “If in doubt don’t go out”.

What is snorkeling Like in Molokini?

Snorkeling at Molokini Crater is not for the timid snorkeler. The water is 20-30 feet deep. So you cannot touch the bottom. Though the water is very clear and beautiful. The best boats usually have snorkel instructors and/or lifeguards on duty.

What if I can’t Swim can I still enjoy the underwater world?

Yes there is the Atlantis Submarine, there are Glass Bottom boats, and the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium as well.

Can I get Swimming lessons?

Yes there are swimming lessons available on Maui, but ideally you should learn before you come to Maui.

Can I get Snorkeling Lessons?

Yes there are guided snorkel tours and Snorkel instruction available on Maui. Just ask.

Remember these Safety Tips:

  • If in doubt, don’t go out.
  • If you can’t swim, don’t dive in.
  • Always; Swim, Surf, SUP, Kayak, Snorkel, with a buddy.
  • Never; Snorkel, Kayak, SUP, Surf, or float, farther away from shore than you can swim.


Have Fun, and Snorkel Safe,

snorkeling on Maui