Wheelchair Accessible Snorkeling: An Awesome View

Aah yes snorkeling, the diving replacement. As a quadriplegic, the entire idea of snorkeling has always been enticing. Diving is so serious. You have to worry about the water pressure, the air tank, how in the heck you’re going to get a wet suit on. All that can ruin the fun.

But with snorkeling, you just lay there on the surface of the water and enjoy the view below. It’s lot more peaceful and a lot less stressful than diving; no wonder so many with disabilities have fallen in love with it. Did I mention it costs a lot less? It’s got winner winner chicken dinner written all over it that’s for sure.

Check out three of our favorite videos showing people of all ability levels going snorkeling, including one of the coolest contraptions you’ll ever see made just for snorkeling.

Video #1: Paraplegic jumps off boat to go snorkeling

Our first video is short and sweet, but it shows how a paraplegic, John Sage in this case, gets the water from a boat when snorkeling; the most common way to get to good snorkeling spots. Is really not that complicated – he just readies himself with his gear and life jacket before jumping in – but it’s definitely a matter of having the guts.

He literally has to fling himself from the back of the boat into the water since he can’t use his legs for the actual “jumping” motion. It’s all in the forward motion and going with gravity, but he manages like a rockstar and gently plops himself into the ocean (and starts buoying right away face down). Watch John go snorkeling in the Cayman Islands

Video #2: The EZ Snorkel Chair

The second video we uncovered is of a fabulous device dreamt up by a Mexican engineer to help people with disabilities go snorkeling independently. Called the EZ Snorkel Chair, this world-opening device is comprised of an recycled plastic chair (for the user to sit in) and has life-jacket cushions on the arm rests to help the entire chair stay afloat.

One of the coolest aspects of the EZ Snorkel Chair however is the whimsical viewer that you peer into while floating to get an up-close view of the fish. Designed initially for a C5 quadriplegic, the device is perfect for people with upper-body mobility issues. Check out the snorkel chair

Video #3: Adapted snorkeling face mask

While snorkeling is a lot easier than diving, it still requires a steady breath, which can be hard if you have cerebral palsy  In this video of a family at their cabin, it shows some slick troubleshooting of a snorkeling mask made for their teenage son who has cerebral palsy. They end up using a diving mask to help him breathe easier and it works just like that. Talk about a great idea for anyone with a similar disability who wants to try snorkeling. Watch the troubleshooting session

Remember, snorkeling can be done in any body of water, not just in the fancy waters off a Caribbean resort. As long as you’re safe, know your limits and have a spotter nearby, try it at wherever you may be next. It remains one of the easiest and most get out of your box opportunities for people with spinal cord injuries.

What adaptations do you use when going snorkeling?

Check out the videos!

John Sage, a paraplegic, jumps off a boat to go snorkeling in the Caymans

The EZ Snorkel chair made for wheelchair-users

Adapted snorkeling mask for a teen with cerebral palsy

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