Snuba is a trade name (of Snuba International, Inc.) for a underwater breathing system. The word Snuba is a
portmanteauof "snorkel" and "scuba." The swimmer uses swimfins, a diving mask, weights, and breathing apparatus as in scuba diving. The air, however, instead of coming from tanks strapped to the diver's back, comes through a long hose from tanks on pontoon rafts on the surface. Snuba often serves as a form of introductory diving, in the presence of a professional, insured guide, and following a very short lesson, but not requiring SCUBA certification).
Snuba diving is a popular activity in tropical tourist locations such as
Hawaii, Thailand, Mexico, and the Carribean because of its relative ease and because one need not be SCUBA certified to participate. Its popularity as a first timer's experience can be attributed to several factors.
*The rafts are connected by airhose to the customers. This gives the customer the secure knowledge that he/she can't descend too deep and allows them to choose the depth that they feel most comfortable with. By utilizing the hose as a guide, combined with wearing soft weights to achieve neutral buoyancy, participants are able to descend anywhere from just under the surface to 7 meters (21 feet) deep.
*The beginner/customer is physically connected to a canoe-like rubber raft with a handle around its perimeter, giving a feeling of safety, and the option to hold onto the raft while staying with the group.
*The weight of the gear carried by the beginner/customer is only slightly more than the weight of the weightbelt. Compare this to full SCUBA gear which includes a buoyancy compensator, weights, cylinder and often more, and can weigh in excess of 60 pounds. Although the equipment is nearly weightless underwater, out of the water the weight becomes a significant factor for weaker individuals.
On the negative side, in strong current, wave action or breeze, the combination of underwater hose and surface raft can pull quite hard on a diver. Snuba is therefore best used in areas where wind, waves and current are negligible.
If the depth of a snuba dive is limited to 20 feet (7 metres),
decompression sicknessis not likely to be a problem. However, as the snuba diver is breathing compressed air, there is still a slight risk of injury or death due to air embolismwhich is a more severe hazard at shallow depths if a diver ascends as little as three feet without venting the expanding gas volume in the lungs. This is easily prevented by following the number one rule in diving - ALWAYS BREATHE - NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH. This point is thoroughly covered in Snuba pre-dive briefings and monitored by the dive guide throughout the dive by watching for the continual release of bubbles from each diver.
* [http://www.travelvi.com/stthomasUSVI/stthomasUSVI_snubaDiving.shtml SNUBA and SNUBA Doo for kids]
* [http://www.snuba.com/ Snuba.com]
* [http://www.phuket-diver.com/ Snuba diving in Thailand]
* [http://www.snuba.co.uk/ Snuba.co.uk]
* [http://www.powerdive.com Hookah Diving]
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