Families visiting the Florida Keys have the perfect multi-generational introduction to the destination’s pristine marine environment, with three separate locations along the 125-mile island chain now offering SNUBA experiences suitable for anyone aged eight or older.
Featuring vivid coral reefs teeming with exotic sea creatures, the Florida Keys are a ready-made holiday paradise that attracts almost 800,000 snorkel and scuba enthusiasts each year who cannot wait to get into the water and explore — even as first-timers.
SNUBA, a cross between snorkelling and scuba diving, is a guided experience that offers a safe, comfortable and easy way to do that. SNUBA is now available at professional dive centres in three Florida Keys regions: Islamorada, Marathon and Key West.
SNUBA enables outdoor adventurers and ocean lovers to breathe easily underwater on a regulator without first earning a scuba diving certification. “Divers” breathe by means of a 20-foot hose attached to an air supply that sits on a 5-foot-long rubber pontoon raft at the water’s surface. No prior diving or snorkelling experience is required, although participants need to know how to swim.
Experiences include training and about 30 minutes of SNUBA at a shallow reef site with a professionally trained instructor.
The sport is particularly suited to multi-generational family adventurers — children eight years and older, couples, active seniors and people interested in an underwater experience who may go on to learn more and become certified in the sport of scuba diving.
SNUBA is a fun family activity for visitors to the Keys for close, calm observation of the inhabitants of one of the world’s most diverse, complex and beautiful ecosystems. The Florida Keys island chain is home to the continental United States’ only living-coral barrier reef, running the length of the Keys about five miles offshore. Its coral formations are notable for their abundance of fish, from impressive schools of blue-striped grunts to toothy green moray eels. The 2,900 nautical miles of waters surrounding the entirety of the island chain were protected in 1990 as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
In Islamorada, Sundance Watersports (www.sundancewatersports.org) offers SNUBA from the popular Robbie’s Marina seven days a week, priced at $142 per person. In Marathon, Tildens Scuba Center (www.tildensscubacenter.com) offers daily trips with SNUBA priced at $165 per person for one “dive” or $250 for two “dives” at separate sites. In Key West, SNUBA Key West (www.snubakeywest.com) offers “dives” priced at $109 per adult and $89 for children aged 8-12 years.
Florida Keys Diving & Snorkelling information: fla-keys.com/diving