The 5 Commandments of Snorkeling Etiquette


Last Updated on June 28, 2023 by Snorkel Ken


Snorkeling etiquette is an important part of enjoying your time in the water and discovering the underwater world and life that resides in it. Most recreational past times have their own set of rules, or basic etiquette that should be followed to ensure a safer and more enjoyable time for all. Snorkeling is no different than any of these past times. By following simple, snorkeling etiquette you will ensure that you, ocean, and the marine life stay safe as well as ensuring a wonderful time for all.

Don’t be that guy for girl! People who care about the water and the marine life will surely call you out if you’re doing something against basic snorkeling etiquette. Especially if they feel that you should know better by way of common sense.

Snorkeling Etiquette Commandments

  1. Thou Shall Not Touch the Coral!

Seems simple enough but people will not only touch the coral but they’ll stand or sit on it to take a break from snorkeling. In fact, I’ve even seen people break pieces of coral off just so they could take it with them. That’s just ignorant.

Coral is a living animal. Yes, it looks like rock and may seem pretty durable but it’s actually a lot more delicate than it looks. If you need a rest then learn to float on your back or tread water. Or, here’s an idea, go back to the boat or shore and rest there. Don’t rest, stand, or sit on the coral.

Note: In emergency situations, to save a life, would be the only time this is okay.

  1. Thou Shall Not Touch Other Stuff, Either!

There is stuff underwater that looks cute that will snap your fingers off. There are pretty shells that have spines that will poison and kill you. Dangerous things aren’t everywhere when you’re snorkeling but if you don’t what is or what isn’t dangerous then why take the chance? Even getting scraped on coral can put some nasty bacteria into the blood stream and get it infected. Trust in this: Don’t touch anything snorkeling that you don’t have to. Snorkeling is about seeing and discovering…it’s not a petting zoo or an archaeological dig site.

  1. Thou Shall Not Bother the Sea Life

Dang, it’s their house! Let them be. They’re awesome to look at and snap some underwater photos of guys but don’t harass the turtles or the fish. They need space to live and move. Don’t stress out fish and particularly turtles by chasing them everywhere. Let them rest if they’re resting and admire from a respectable distance.

  1. Thou Shall Not Feed the Fish

Snorkel shops are notorious for selling or giving away some fish food with their rentals or sales. Heck, I’ve been on snorkeling tours in Hawaii where the crew fed the fish in order to ensure a more enjoyable experience by patrons.

Feeding fish messes up the eco system of and the natural way of things. Fed fish forget to feed themselves or survive without it.

  1. Thou Shall Use Natural, Biodegradable Sunscreen

Out of all the rules we’ve listed here, this is the one that we would be most lax on. Everyone should wear sunscreen so that they don’t get burnt and then cancer. If that was too harsh for you, sorry. Truth is the sun is dangerous.

Another truth is this: Some of the ingredients in non-biodegradable sunscreens are killing reefs. Do everyone a favor and wear natural, biodegradable sunscreen if you can. It works and it’s better for the Earth.

By following these simple Snorkeling Etiquette commandments you’ll ensure that you are having a great time while at the same showing respect for other snorkelers, the marine life, the natural ecosystem…and the Earth.

Peace and thanks for reading!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.