With a somewhat wet and windy summer almost behind us, don’t hang up your fins just yet – you may not know what you are missing!

Winter time snorkeling can be some of the best of the year here in some destinations and in New Zealand, with the waters still relatively warm at 16–18°C in the north. The other benefit is the visibility, with upwards of 25m often found.

With both air and water temperatures definitely cooler, careful consideration is required before planning a dive. Ask yourself, “Am I prepared for wintertime snorkeling?” If not, you can find yourself in serious trouble.

Ensure you have a waterproof coat, a warm hat and possibly gloves too for the cold days – and hot drinks as well. Then always remember sunglasses and sun cream for the hot days, and plenty of water too.

Go to a local dive store and ask for their tips and advice over the winter period – especially if you are diving in a new area. Even better, join a club where you can meet up with like-minded people.

Key Winter Diving & Snorkeling Safety Messages

1. Tell others where you are going and when you intend to
return.
2. Dive as a buddy pair; plan the dive and dive the plan; dive
within the limits of your skill sets.
3. Do not attach anything to equipment that may change your
buoyancy during ascent, leave it on the sea bed and pull it
up later.
4. Monitor your air supply during the dive, and always do a buddy check pre-dive. Never hold your breath when using scuba. These simple tips may well reduce chances of unforeseen problems.
5. Always fly the dive flag when diving – at night the flag is replaced with lights that blink red white red. Some local councils are imposing instant fines of $200 for failing to display a dive flag. Respect the Dive flag. For further information on this visit www.maritimenz.govt.nz
6. Always ascend slowly and perform safety stops.
7. Look after your equipment – it’s a life saver.