Looking for some Maui snorkeling tips? Maui is one of the best and most beautiful places in the world to snorkel. You not only have a unique ecology and host of marine life that populates the reefs surrounding the island but the warm waters and accessibility makes it fun for the whole family.

What Not to do on Your Snorkel Trip

While snorkeling in Maui is very safe for those that want to embark on this adventure there are a few precautions you should keep in mind to protect both yourself and the marine life.

The most important thing is making sure that you are wearing reef-safe sunscreen and keeping a safe distance from the sea creatures that you encounter on your snorkeling adventure. A lot of mainstream and generic sunscreens have harmful chemicals that kill the reefs of the coastal shores of Maui. Not only that- but those chemicals can also be harmful to the life that inhabit those areas.

Luckily, due to mandates in Hawaii it is against legislation to wear sunscreens that contain these harmful chemicals making sanctioned reef-safe sunscreens easily accessible. However, there are still some wholesalers that carry those brands and label themselves as reef friendly. The best thing you can do is ask employees of the store, your accommodations, or your tour what are reef safe sunscreens and make sure that you purchase and/or apply those products. Look for sunscreen with ingredients made from Zinc or minerals only. If there are any chemicals with long names, don’t buy it and always avoid spray sunscreen.

Another thing you need to keep in mind when going on a snorkel tour in Maui is making sure that you are respecting everything in that environment. Beyond making sure that your sunscreen is not a threat to the coral reef you should be aware on how to protect the wildlife that inhabits it.

The biggest thing that you will be taught when embarking on your snorkel tour is not to approach too closely or touch any sea life that you may encounter.  Most of us would assume that it would be a bad idea to touch a reef shark that is cruising on by– but many think it is ok to closely approach a turtle or a dolphin. There are federal regulations that protect both turtles and dolphins and you can be fined or go to jail if you approach too closely. Snorkeling with a guide will help ensure you know the proper distance to stay from marine wildlife. 

It is super important that you keep proper distance from all marine life and keep your hands off them and their habitats. A lot of people use their snorkel trips to collect memorabilia like shells and coral but we encourage you to keep everything in its place and preserve the beauty and life for future generations.

What to Look for When Snorkeling in Maui

Main island Maui is home to a lot of amazing snorkeling spots along its shores and off the neighboring islands within Maui County.

When looking to book a guided tour make sure you are going to someone who is recommended, with a good amount of positive reviews and experience, as well as has proper booking guidelines that makes you feel at ease with booking yourself and possibly your family on this excursion.

If you and your party are looking to snorkel off of one of Maui’s coasts there are a few elements to consider. The greatest amount of sea life gathers around the reefs– so adhere to what we mentioned about keeping hands off and your curiosity as a view-only level. The other thing to consider is the weather and swells of the ocean.

The island of Maui has different wave or ocean swells at different times of the year. The winter we usually categorized as a North Shore swell– this is when you will see a lot of footage of big wave surfers with double or triple overhead waves as their backdrop. This usually means avoiding any snorkeling off of the North Shore of Maui. 

The summer we encounter a south swell– although a little less severe than the big waves as Jaws it could mean that the snorkeling spots along Kihei and Makena are cloudy due to high winds and a large amount of churn in the ocean.

What to Wear on Your Maui Snorkel Trip

The gear is almost as important as the trip itself. Making sure that you have snorkeling gear that will keep you safe both on a guided tour and on your own is vital to the success and enjoyment of your excursion.

The two most important pieces of equipment are the fins and the snorkel mask. Make sure that your mask is adjusted before you enter the water by brushing all the hair out of your face and gently inhaling so the mask adheres to your face properly. Avoid full-face mask as they do not properly circulated air and can lead to shallow water blackouts. The traditional separate mask and snorkel sets are the safest to snorkel with.

If you are snorkeling on your own make sure that you have a proper snorkel mask that you rent or buy which is endorsed and fitted by dive shops in the area of your stay.

You do not have to snorkel with fins, however if you do there are a few guidelines to ensure your safety and good-time on and off board. It is easier to put your fins on seated by the place you wish to enter the water from. If you are entering from shore, do not put your fins on until you have entered the water, walking in them can lead to falling and also looking silly in front of locals. If you are entering from a boat use diligence and upon wanting to reboard the boat take your fins off before using the ladder. 

The Best Snorkeling in Maui

All-in-all, when it comes to snorkeling in Maui make sure that you have the proper equipment, are working to keep both yourself and the marine life safe, and keep calm.

In general, if you are breathing naturally and enjoying the experience you are all but guaranteed a great time!

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