snorkelling - lifejacket or none?

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lisalovlee33

Guest
#1
My husband can't swim. Are lifejackets available on these snorkelling excursions in the carribean? Do people tend to not wear them? Thanks in advance.
 
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runner15km

Guest
#2
I don't think a lifejacket could be worn while snorkeling since the jacket is worn to keep your head out of the water. I beleive some tour companies have a snorkel board which looks like a surfboard which has a viewing glass built into it. Some snorkeling trips you can walk into the water from shore and others you will need to jump off the side of a boat into the water which could be about 20 feet deep.
 
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jwmcq

Guest
#3
On the tours that I have been on, they provided snorkel vests and they required you to wear them. They are less bulky than a life jacket but give you enough bourancy that you just float. You blow them up with the amount of air that you want, then you can release the air if you want to dive down. The angle of the head allows you to still look down, where as a life jacket is designed to keep your face out of the water. Also, the salt water makes you float some. I think a non-swimmer could do it, if they were not just terrified of jumping into the water as a non-swimmer. You might consider a walk-in type tour as opposed to a boat tour as those usually everyone just jumps overboard.
 
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lizardstew

Guest
#4
Some of the snorkeling trips I've been on required the use of life jackets (Cabo San Lucas) and other have not (Grand Cayman). They are always available for use, though.
 
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Trish1c

Guest
#5
I am a strong swimmer & woudl NEVER swim in unfamiliar waters without a life jacket. You don't know the current & people tend to overdo things on vacation. High school is over. You are better off being safe than looking cool.
 
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lisalovlee33

Guest
#6
Haven't really decided which ones to take, but would be within our port cities like st. lucia, barbados, dominica, st kitts and st. thomas. Definitely will try the catamaran and turtle encounter in barbados.
Could be a problem fom the sound of it, because i remembered we had a good time swimming with the dolphin in mexico even though with a life jacket, but it slipped my mind that snorkelling means under the surface!
Is the snorkelling vest a floating device? I mean does it support you like a life jacket does? Thanks again.
 
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paljoeysmom

Guest
#7
Currents can be STRONG in some places. My suggestion is to wear a life jacket/snorkeling vest. I almost drowned several years ago in St. John because I was NOT wearing a vest. We went out on a scuba boat, with other snorkelers. I asked the guy for a life jacket since I am NOT a very good swimmer. Well long story short, I was snorkeling around, the waves were strong and when I looked up I was really far from the boat. I tried to swim back in but was getting battered big time. Then my arms got really tired, so I thought I would just try and float for awhile. In the end I panicked and HYPER VENTILATED! This was the first time in my life that this has happened to me. No joke, I seriously thought I was going to die. I started flailing my arms and fortunately someone saw me on the boat. The captain threw out the life saver but it was too far from me, and I started to go down. Scary!!! He swam out and got me. All this time my husband did'nt have a clue what was happening since he was scuba diving. Since then I learned my lesson.
 
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cozumelinsider

Guest
#8
Lisa
The snorkel vests are good to have with you on all snorkel excursions for just the reasons mentioned above. Plus, you never know when you leg might cramp up on you and you just need to take a break! Here in Cozumel they are standard issue for all snorkelers doing boat excursions ~ from the beach they are optional. My suggestion is to put one on and then if you don't need it at the moment, completely deflate it and you'll never know you have it on! Then should something happen and you need some floatation assistance you just inflate it a bit and you're set!! Have fun and enjoy your snorkeling!!
 
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lisalovlee33

Guest
#9
Thanks for the advice. I was just a bit concerned. Two years when we were in Punta Cana, we went out on a snorkeling boat. A guy who was snorkeling with us told us later on when we were all back on the ship he almost drowned. He said he couldn't breath and even worsened when he started to have a panick attack and started sinking, but nobody even noticed him yelling for help. Anyway, he calmed himself down and thank god he was alright. Thanks all.. sailing off this Sunday. So excited!!!!
 
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Rosie

Guest
#10
Wear the life jacket. We went skorkeling in Cozumel and the equipment rental people on the beach told me I didn't need the vest. Well, the water was about 15 feet deep I realized I could be in big trouble if I panicked, so I went back and got the vest. My husband doesn't use one because he is experienced at scuba and spends more time diving to the bottom. He's done marathon swims, so I don't worry much about him.
 
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tequilamary

Guest
#11
Hello,

Went on a great snorkel excursion on St. Kitts, it was a full day excursion, with snorkeling at Smitten's Bay off St. Kitts and then a sail to a beach on Nevis.
This was on a catamaran, it was a ton of fun.

The life vests are compact so you don't feel encumbered but they are great, they enable you to take off your mask if you want and empty it out, while slowly treading water, without the feeling like you are going to sink. As was said before, do wear the vest, it is very helpful while you are in unfamiliar water. The currents can be strong even in a calm bay.

I hope you have a great time. Wish I could go back!!
 
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lizardstew

Guest
#13
Rock...I don't know for sure but they must. Some excursions require the use of the jackets to they must be able to accomodate everyone.
 
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chuckg0413

Guest
#14
Rock,

I'm a big guy too, around 325, but down from 370 at XMAS.

I have used snorkel vests and the strap has always gone around me, admittedly with the catch all the way at the end. Of course it looks more like a bib than a vest :)

I have also found that as soon as you get in the water, you want to pull the strap as tight as possible to keep the thing down around your shoulders.

There are sizes to the things, but I assume as soon as the crew get a look at me, they get out the biggest one on the boat.

Chuck
 
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Raven

Guest
#15
The inflatable life vests work great. I learned my lesson the hard way once by nearly drowning while snorkeling from shore at Roatan. I had decided to not use the life vest that time and was caught in a current as the tide went out. I am a poor swimmer and quickly tired while trying to get back to shallow waters. Thankfully, my wife saw I was in serious trouble and came over to help me. I was on the verge of going under when she got to me. I will NEVER snorkel without a vest again, no matter what the conditions or depth. Perfect ocean conditions can and do change quickly and can put a swimmer in trouble just as quickly.
 
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Smoochy

Guest
#16
I agree with most of the posters. The snorkling vests are great. (They look like the life vests that are demonstrated on air planes.)

All the catamaran cruises in Barbados carry these vests and for the most part, REQUIRED snorklers to wear them.

I lived/worked in Barbados for 9 months and went on many catamaran cruises. One of my co-workers was a non-swimmer and a crew member accompanied him in the water. My co-worker never learned to swim, but became completely comfortable in the water with the snorkle vest. When you get on the catamaran, be sure to notify the crew that your husband is a non-swimmer so they can provide him extra attention.

I always recommend the Cool Runnings II catamaran. They watch their guests like hawks while they are in the water. (One CR II crew even 'saved' a guest from another catamaran!) The CR II crew ALWAYS offered to accompany non-swimmers or first-time snorklers.
 
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p.g.

Guest
#17
Just to make it clear, there are life jackets and then there are snorkle vests. They are not the same item.I really would think twice about snorkling off a boat( as in over your head) if you really are a complete non swimmer.
You should at least know how to doggy paddle and be comfortable in the water, as noted above some people panic when in deep water and that definately affects their ability to keep themselves afloat.

I love snorkling, and if you want to try it ,wear the vest, and start snorkling from SHORE before you start jumping off boats in the middle of the ocean!! There are lots of fish near shore also, and you wouldn't start mountain climbing by starting with Everest would you!??? Work your way up.Being on holiday does not guarantee you won't run into trouble, use a smidgeon of common sense and anyone can enjoy this the most wonderful water sport!!