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If you need a vacation plan while being in Key Largo, Florida, then John Pennekamp State Park snorkeling is an option that’s worth to try. All you need to go is just being good at swimming, bathing suit, some sunscreen, and a towel.
Have never tried snorkeling before? Then don’t worry because you will be able to try out the gear first on the beaches before getting off on a boat to see beautiful reefs. While it’s true that there’s no coral growth in the Keys’ swimming area distance, but the park is the home to certain fish and sponge types. It is a good environment to get you used to the snorkeling gear. After you feel ready to head off, it online takes a short boat ride from the offshore. The main boats for snorkel sessions in the park are operated three times a day, but additional times might be available during slow season.
There is a snorkeling at John Pennekamp State Park class given after you’ve arrived at the reef, to provide information about the technique and the basics by certified Rescue Divers and PADI Divemasters. The class is optional, but it is highly recommended if you haven’t tried ocean snorkeling before, or if you haven’t been snorkeling for such a long time and need to relax your muscle memory for a bit. As snorkeler, you will be required to wear the provided snorkeling vest anytime you’re going into the water. The vest works as buoyancy aids if you haven’t used to the snorkeling gear yet. It comes with safety feature which is the emergency inflate valves.
The snorkeling vest is still required for experienced snorkelers as a safety measure. However, if you want to do free-diving on the reef’s side, you vest won’t be required to be filled with air into. It is also possible if you want to bring your own gear while trying John Pennekamp State Park snorkeling, with some exceptions.
You aren’t allowed to bring weight belts or dive knives while on board for safety reason. Any spearguns, pole spears, or lobster gear are not allowed as well because John Pennekamp’s reefs are protected sanctuaries. Dive gloves are not allowed to be used inside water due to ‘No Touch’ rule on the entire Sanctuary Preservation Areas. You are welcomed to bring cameras, though, so good luck! You may ask John Pennekamp State Park snorkeling boat crew for recommendation of the best spots to take your shots.