Have you ever heard of snuba-diving? If you thought I’ve confused the C for an N here (as in scuba), you thought wrong.

The word Snuba is composed of the two words snorkel and scuba. And that’s pretty much what it is, something in between the two. Snuba divers use also swimfins, a diving mask, harness, regulator and weights as in scuba diving. Pretty much an ideal invention for people like me, who love snorkeling and would like to descend deeper to have a closer view to the reef, but are somewhat afraid of scuba diving. With the snuba, you can descend up to 6metres/20ft and enjoy the beauty of underwater life without wearing heavy diving gear or having prior dive experience or even a licence. The trick about it is the hose connecting you with a standard scuba tank, which is located on a raft on the surface. This raft follows you every step allowing you to “sea walk” and discover species you have only seen in television before.

photograph by www.dolphindiscoveries.com

photo by www.dolphindiscoveries.com

photograph via Snuba International, Inc.

Snuba diving may serve as a form of introductory diving, but is suitable for pretty much everyone: couples, families, children older than 8 years and seniors – even those with just basic swimming skills. With the hose connecting the diver to the raft, they can choose and control the depth they feel comfortable with, making them feel more secure in their descent. You are also able to hold onto the raft if you want to return to the surface.

photograph by Amen-Ra

The Snuba system was developed in 1990 by Snuba International, Inc., who are licencing it as a touring program. Their recreation centers are located all over the world, but mainly in tropical tourist locations such as Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean (Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Puerto Rico, St.Lucia), the USA (Florida and California), US Virgin Islands and in the South Pacific (Fiji Islands, Guam, Japan). Every tour is guided by a diving professional.

photograph by Kosan

Although snuba diving is easy and does not require any certification, you should be aware of a few things: Snuba shouldn’t be practiced in areas with strong current, wave action or high wind, but since all snuba tours are offered by licensed operators, this will be very unlikely. As snuba divers are not equipped with any emergency buoyancy system, you would have to swim to the surface in a case of emergency. Breathing ought to be normal and continuous while ascending to avoid air embolism. This and other important facts should always be explained in pre-dive briefings.

photograph by Kirst0174

photograph by mattfaries

photograph via www.wherewhenhow.com

If you want to read now more on this subject, here is a good article listing all pros and cons. This blogpost is a nice personal testimonial if you’d like to hear it from someone who’s tried snuba-diving.

post written by Franziska Gutsche