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Silly ? about body fat % and ease of snorkeling

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Hi all,


I've been snorkeling twice and LOVED it. Growing up I was always afraid of deep water and the ocean, but I took to snorkeling very quickly. I was amazed how *easy* it was.


Anyway, now I've lost 30 pounds and a ton of body fat (the old fashioned way, diet & exercise). I was wondering if it's going to be more difficult the next time I go snorkeling since I'm a lot leaner? Or will it be easier since I have better muscle control?


I apologize for the silliness of my question, but I really am curious about this. Thanks!

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I guess it depends on where you are. I'm a lean person and went snorkeling in bahamas. It was IMPOSSIBLE to swim down to the bottom. I'm a good swimmer and I tried going down, but it didn't work. I'm no expert, but it seems to me the salt water accounts for the bouyancy, not your weight.

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Old Archimedes put it best when he theorized that any object, wholly or partially imersed in water will be pushed up by a force equal to the weight of the water it displaces. In other words, a larger object (you before you lost 30 lbs----congrat's) would displace more water than you now do, 30 lbs lighter. Therefore in theory, you would be less bouyant. There is also the fact that fat tissue, is generally more bouyant than muscle tissue, hence you should find diving somewhat easier, the silmmer you are. :)

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Well... if you're talking about snorkeling on the surface and not free diving, you'll be buoyant despite losing the weight. I could find a chart with the relative buoyancy of fat, muscle, saltwater, etc., but it's frankly not that exciting.


Ok, I tracked it down anyway...

Saltwater has a comparable density of 1.03

Fat has a density of approximately 0.8 gm/ml and floats on water.

Muscle has a density of ~1.1 and your bones ~ 1.9.


So I suppose if you are fat free you'll sink... but odds are you (like the rest of us) have enough fat to average yourself somewhere below 1.03 allowing yourself to float!

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Hi Michele, I think you might was to consider a small amout of weights so you can achieve neutral buoyancy. After you gear up, to include your BC (Buoyancy Compensator/Inflatable Vest), add weights to your weight belt until you can float in an upright position with your face out of the water, you should be pretty close to neutral and will be able to dive to the bottom and swim around. Add air to your BC to relax on the surface as needed.

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I noticed you were talking about Snorkeling not diving. Your boyancy will depend on what you wear. If you wear a light wet suit you will want weight if you plan to swim down and look at stuff. I know most snorkel operations discourage weights while snorkeling because they don't want you to have any contact with wild life. If you appear to know what your doing they may not question your use of them. I still use weights when I snorkel in my skin. It just makes everything easier. You can hang down and take pics of stuff without fighting your boyancy. I suggest you go to your local dive shop and set yourself up with a weight belt with stainless buckle (it will last forever) buy weights and learn what weight gives you "nuetral boyancy" with and without a wet suit. Become familiar with adding/removing weights on your belt. This way you can bring your belt and use their lead. Or you could just bring your own already set up with weight on it. This may have more advantages than disadvantages. Advantages; 1.If a dive op discourages weights they will not offer you any. 2.Your belt will be set up for you with your weights on your hips. 3.Some of the weight belts offered are pretty tattered from all of the use. 4. You will be familliar with your belt and how to dump it in a hurry if you need to do so. Disadvantages; 1. You have to pack it and carry the extra weight in your suitcase. Congrats on the weight loss. Happy bubbles!;) P.S. No dive\snorkel question is a silly or stupid question.

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