What is Snuba&Reg;?

Malcolm Tatum

Snuba® is a term that is derived from the combination of snorkel and scuba, and relates to a particular approach to underwater swimming. Just as with many forms of underwater activity, Snuba® diving involves the use of a diving mask, swim fins, and the use of air tanks. However, the art of Snuba® is a little different from both snorkeling and scuba techniques.

Snuba divers can explore areas at medium depth level.
Snuba divers can explore areas at medium depth level.

One of the characteristics that define Snuba® is the placement of the air tanks during the underwater swimming. With scuba diving, the diver wears the air tanks on his or her back. With Snuba®, the air tanks remain on the surface of the water. The tanks are placed in pontoon rafts, with a secure air tube running from the tanks to the breathing apparatus worn by the Snuba® diver. Because the tanks can move around freely on the water, the diver is not encumbered by the presence of tanks on the back, and has a broad range of movement underwater. For new divers, the Snuba® method can also carry a degree of security. Because the hose provides a direct link to the surface, a novice is more likely to feel grounded and connected as he or she gets used to looking around underwater. At the same time, the Snuba® enthusiast will also need to be mindful of tangling the air tubing or hose in any obstructions.

Snuba® diving also makes the process of getting in and out of the water much easier. While air tanks do not pose much of a weight issue in the water, the heavy tanks can be difficult to deal with when preparing to dive, and when climbing back into a boat after the dive. Since the diver does not have to deal with the excess weight, persons who may carry less muscle mass can enjoy Snuba® diving.

Another advantage to Snuba® diving is the fact that the depth of the dive is limited to the length of the air hose. Generally, this means there is much less chance of a novice dealing with any sort of decompression sickness, popularly known as the bends. However, Snuba® carries the same level of risk as scuba diving, when it comes to the potential for air embolisms. In both cases, gradual ascent while venting the expanding gas volume is essential to avoid the problem.

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Snuba® is not intended to replace scuba diving. However, the approach is a great way for persons to get used to the idea of using breathing apparatus while looking around under the surface of the water. Snuba® does not require a complex training program or certification, so learning the basics and engaging in the activity can be accomplished in a very short period of time.

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We really enjoyed the snuba dive experience

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