Snorkeling can be a wonderful way to experience the beauty below the Gulf of Mexico’s surface when visiting Destin-Fort Walton Beach, but do you know what’s waiting for you just a little deeper? Perhaps a sea turtle gracefully gliding by as schools of Spanish mackerel or gray triggerfish dart around you. It’s one thing to stay near the surface and spot dolphins from afar and quite another to witness the speed and power of these beautiful creatures up close. And now, there’s nothing stopping you from getting a little taste of this experience without the scuba hassle.

Thanks to a new hybrid sport called SNUBA®, visitors can now dive up to 20 feet below the surface with no required certification or heavy equipment. In fact, kids ages 8 and older can SNUBA too. Talk about creating unforgettable family memories!

SNUBA Origins

This snorkeling-scuba hybrid was the brainchild of Michael Stafford, a ski shop owner living in the small mountain community of Soda Springs, California. He noticed a huge gap in the number of scuba divers versus snorkelers and thought there had to be a way to bring the scuba experience to the masses.

After some tinkering, he created the Surface Nexus Underwater Breathing Apparatus system and sold the patent to SNUBA International, who introduced this fun sport to the world. SNUBA is now a popular dive tour experienced by people all around the world.

SNUBA For Everyone

The beauty of SNUBA is how accessible it is to everyone. You only need to know how to swim and meet the age requirement. That’s it. There are no heavy oxygen tanks to lug around or dive skins or wetsuits to squeeze into. SNUBA divers just wear a weight belt, fins, and a mask and are attached to a harness.

Once you’ve booked a SNUBA tour the process is simple. A certified SNUBA instructor holds a pre-dive lesson and thoroughly covers requirements, safety rules, and goes over how to breathe through the regulator and wear the weight belt and harness. From there it’s time to hit the water!

Divers are attached to a 20-foot air hose by a harness. The hose is attached to a small raft that floats on the water’s surface and supplies oxygen through the air tubes. The raft is also designed to be held onto if a diver needs to acclimate a bit.

There’s no risk of becoming lost from the group or diving past 20 feet thanks to the harness, air hose, and certified SNUBA instructor that accompanies each group.

Divers can explore underwater for up to 30 minutes and commonly see toadfish, sea anemone, flounder, sea turtles, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a whale or manatee—Destin-Fort Walton Beach has had rare right whale sightings.

While SNUBA is safe, it still carries risks because divers are breathing compressed air. These risks, and how to best avoid them, are discussed in the pre-dive safety instruction and all SNUBA tours are monitored and accompanied by experienced dive guides.

Are you ready for an experience you’ll never forget? Book your Destin Snorkel experience online.