Table of Contents

Creating Dive Lots

This portion of the guide has been written exclusively for SimsVIP’s Island Paradise Game Guide by community member Weealbet. All images and text for the guide below are property of Weealbet, and are copyrighted by SimsVIP in this guide. Any unauthorized use of the guide or images will result in legal action.

Copyright ©2011-2014 SimsVIP – All rights reserved

Click here for The Sims 3 Island Paradise Game Guide

Creating Dive Lots

One of the new game features introduced in The Sims 3 Island Paradise expansion pack was the ability for Sims to go scuba diving, allowing them to interact with the world of Isla Paradiso. Unfortunately, this new feature was designed to be exclusive to the new world of Isla Paradiso. While Sims were able to go snorkeling in the sea of other Worlds, they were not permitted to go scuba diving due to the lack of the ability to place Diving Areas in other Worlds.

The following information is a step-by-step guide which will allow you to place fully functional Diving Areas in other Worlds besides Isla Paradiso. The world used in this guide is Sunset Valley, but it is possible to have Diving Areas in other Worlds too. One of the interesting aspects of Diving Areas in other Worlds is how the sea of each World has its own atmosphere, allowing you to fully unleash your creative pallet in order to seamlessly build Diving Areas in your favorite World.

Over the course of this tutorial, you will learn the basic steps required to include Diving Areas into your Worlds. Once you feel comfortable with setting up a Diving Area and have them functioning, you may want to see what else you can do with them. The Advanced Class section will provide some examples of other items you can use to really set up a unique look to your Diving Areas.

Basics

1) Go into ‘Edit Town’ from the Options menu in the lower left hand corner.

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2) Bring up the Cheat Console (by pressing Ctrl+Shift+C simultaneously). Enter the following three cheats separately:

a. testingCheatsEnabled True
b. buyDebug on
c. enableLotLocking on

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3) You next want to go into World Editor Mode. This is found in the lower left hand corner next to the Options button.

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4) Pick any size lot that you wish. Although it is suggested that you use at least a 40 x 40 lot.

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5) Try to place the lot. The grid will be green when you have found a valid location. Then place it.

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6) If you are seeing a red grid, move the lot around until you can find a valid location to place it.

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7) Once it has been placed, you will see something that looks like this:

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8) You want to hit the ‘Select’ button on your Control Panel (it looks like an arrow).

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9) Click on the Map Tag of the lot. This will bring up the Information Box above.

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10) Click on the Change Lot Type button. This will bring up the Change Lot Type box.

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11) You want to select ‘Community’ and then click on the ‘Change Lot Type’ bar below that.

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12) This will produce a pull down, scroll menu. Scroll down to the bottom and select ‘Diving Area’ Once you have clicked on that, you will see the following:

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13) Click OK. You will then receive a pop up saying:

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14) Click OK to make this box go away.

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15) You have now turned the lot into a Diving Area. Enter Build/Buy Mode from the Lot Window. It may take a few moments to load, this is completely normal.

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16) When you are in Build/Buy Mode, you will see that what should be the sea bed has turned into a square island

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17) To fix this, click on Terrain Tools, and then click Flatten Lot.

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18) Your screen should now look like this. Go down a floor and pan your camera around.

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19) There will be a couple of graphical abnormalities. This is normal for what we are doing and is easy to fix. Return to Edit Town and save your game and return to the Main Menu (where you load up a save or start a new game). Load up the save you have just come from.

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20) You will arrive back to Edit Town (if it loads your last played family, go to Edit Town now). Go back to the area you placed your Diving Area lot, select it and enter Build/Buy Mode again. Go down a level and pan your camera, you should see something similar to this:

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21) Open the cheat console, enter BuyDebug, go into Buy Mode, Sort by Function, then select Debug. If you have never used the Buy Debug cheat before, you will notice that a new tab has been added to your menu, which looks like this:

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22) Once you enter Debug, go to Filter Content By and scroll down until you reach the icon for The Sims 3 Island Paradise. This will make finding the items you need a lot simpler.

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23) You want to go to Misc. Objects (the final tab) and select the Scuba Buoy. Go up a level and place it on the surface of the sea.

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24) You should notice that it appears to be ‘sitting’ on the surface of the water (like placing a basket ball on the floor). For animations to look right, we need the ball section of the buoy to be half submerged in the sea. The easiest way to do this is to pan your camera over the Scuba Buoy so you have a bird’s eye view of it, like so:

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25) Go down a level and you will go almost directly below the Scuba Buoy. You want to go back to Build Mode and then Terrain Tools and select Lower Terrain.

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26) Perform a couple of clicks at the area you think is under the buoy. You want to create a relatively shallow ditch like so:

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27) You then want to use the Level Terrain tool and create a relatively large, flat ditch, like so:

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28) Click the Hand Tool and go to the surface of the sea. Grab the Scuba Buoy and move it slightly and release it.

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29) You may have noticed that the item ‘dropped’ slightly. To check that the ball section is half submerged, tilt your camera and have a look at the water line. You want your Scuba Buoy to be the same height as below. If it isn’t, go down a level and try lowering your terrain or making the area you lowered larger.

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30) If you wish to have some surface sharks swimming around your Diving Area, or even some fish spawners so your Sims can fish above the Diving Lot while they are in their boat. Go down a level and use the Level Terrain tool to bring the whole sea bed down a little. You should have something which looks similar to this:

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31) Go back up a level and go to Buy Mode, Debug and go to the Fish Spawners tab. You will notice some large white boxes. The boxes to the right of the highlighted one below are meant to be placed in Ocean water (like what you are building in now). The animations of the fish react the same way to the Scuba Buoy to the water level, which is why you lowered the entire lot. This will allow you to spread your desired fish around the lot without the animations playing higher than the sea level.

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32) If you want to have sharks spawn on the surface of the sea, go to Buy Mode, Debug and go to the Fish Spawners tab. Go to Filter Content and filter it by The Sims 3 Island Paradise. This box is the Surface Shark Spawner. Select this and place it next to the Scuber Buoy. There are two Shark Spawners, one is intended to go on the surface, the other is intended to go under the sea. Take care to read the name before you select it.

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33) With your desired spawners in place, you now want to go back down a level, go to Terrain Tools and select Flatten Lot. This will bring the lowered terrain to the same level as the edges of the lot.

Congratulations! You have made it past all the tricky parts! I would recommend at this point that you save your game. You may also wish to check that the animations are all at the correct height, i.e. Sims and boats sit on the surface of the water, as do any spawned fish/sharks and any ripples your Sims and boats make.

If you do check the animations now, it will save you having to mess around with the terrain again after you have decorated your lot. You may notice a slight ‘jump’ as your Sims and boats travel over the lot boarder. This is normal and does NOT have any effect on the game. Sims will function the same after it. As you continue to build your own custom Diving Area’s, you will find that you don’t have to send a Sim to check the height.

*Take care from this point forward! If you go to the surface and move the Scuba Buoy or any of your selected Spawners, you WILL have to change the terrain height again! This is quite troublesome once you have edited the terrain to your desired shape and started placing items. Simply pressing the Undo button will NOT fix the animations. A vague disclaimer is no one’s friend*

34) You will now have a blank canvas like this, with which you can now edit to your heart’s desire! You can sculpt and paint the terrain too! The Terrain Tools will function exactly as they do when you are building on land. All the terrain paints that you can normally use on land are also available to you here. You can be as adventurous as you like with these – hills and ditches will not cause problems for your Sims to move in. They appear to stay a set distance over the sea bed and will follow the contours of the land!

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35) So, you’ve sculpted the perfect dive spot? But now you want some fauna to include? You are in the right place! Back in Buy Mode, Debug, and Underwater Objects you will find a while host of maritime objects. At this stage, I would suggest you open your cheat bar and use the Move Objects On (MOO) cheat. This will help you to bunch up some items if you want. Or overlap some.

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36) With the exception of the Rocks and Caves, everything is fully customisable using the Create a Style tool! This can be useful if you are trying to obtain a specific look and feel to your lot. For example, if you are building in Bridgeport, you might not want the local fauna to be so bright and colourful.

You will also find more underwater items (such as the sunken boat and anchor) if you go into Build Mode, Community Objects, Misc. Objects and use the filter for The Sims 3 Island Paradise. Again, these are fully customizable too!

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37) The final item that you may wish to include is the Treasure Chest! There are two variations of the Treasure Chest. We want to grab the one called ‘Treasure Chest – Water’. Place it on your lot somewhere (be mindful that you leave enough space so your Sims can get to it and use it). If you want to place caves and treasure chests, we have to set them up. We will focus first on the Treasure Chests, then the caves.

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38) f you hold down the Ctrl + Shift keys (simultaneously) on your keyboard and then click on the chest, you will be presented with the following menu interactions. Only two of these interactions are of use to us, the Assign Treasure… and Set Required Skill Level… It doesn’t matter which of these you do first.

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39) If we select the Assign Treasure… interaction, the following box will appear. This will allow you to select which treasure is in the chest. By default, the chest is using the top choice. Feel free to change it to any of the others in the menu. A little note, while it is possible to get the Map Pieces, they will have no use outside of Isla Paradiso. ‘Raw RGM’ simply refers to as raw rocks, gems and metals.

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40) Next we want to set a Diving Skill level so your Sims can open it. Open the menu and select the Set Required Skill Level… option. Here we want to insert a value between 0 – 10. Here is where you can be as harsh or as kind to your Sims as possible. While it is completely possible for you to assign the highest value treasure with the lowest required Diving Skill, I would suggest that you make the higher value treasure have a higher requirement. This will keep it balanced and will help you to feel as if your Sims are accomplishing something.

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41) Next we are going to discuss the caves. Again, if you Ctrl + Shift + Click on them, you will see the following options. Like the Treasure Chest, we are only interested in a few interactions. These are the Set Travel Destination, Set Scuba Skill Requirement and Set Name. There are two variations of the cave, but they both function the same.

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42) First, select the Set Name interaction. This will allow you to set a name for the cave. You won’t see this name in the game, but is instead used for setting up a ‘cave system’ between other caves and Diving Areas. If you are going to be using more than one cave in your World and want to be able to go into other Diving Areas via a cave, give it a name, but make it unique to the others.

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43) After you have given it a name, you want to select the Set Scuba Skill Requirement… option. What this does is it sets a Scuba Skill level required for your Sim to be able to find the exit to another cave within your World. Enter a number between 0-10 and that will set this up. You will get messages in the game when you Sims explore that they found a cave entrance, but lack the required skill to go through. Once your Sim is at or over that skill level, they may find the entrance to a connected cave.

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44) Finally, to link the caves, you have to select Set Travel Destination from the menu. In here you want to type in the name of another cave you have in your game. This will then allow Sims to exit out of the linked cave. Easy!

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45) OK, so, we’ve created our Diving Area, now it’s time to bring it to life! If you have been scuba diving in Isla Paradiso, you may well have noticed the light rays dancing around, the sharks, schools of fish and collectable fish, shells and other items. This step is going to tell you how to add these little details to your lot too!

If you go to Buy Mode, Debug and filter the content by The Sims 3 Island Paradise, then go into Fish Spawners and Rock Spawners, you will see a few items in each section.

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46) There are several of these spawners, with varying degrees of height. Drop the ones you would like anywhere on your lot. You will see that they look like big boxes with rings. Don’t worry about this, they will not be visible while you are playing in Live Mode. There is also an Underwater Shark Spawner in this section. If you want sharks to swim about in your Diving Area, you can place it. Be mindful though, as there are two Shark Spawners. One is for the Surface, one is for underwater. You want the underwater one:

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47) With the fish spawners placed, you want to head into the Rock, Gems and Metal Spawners tab. In this section you will find the Bottle Spawner, Seashell and Bottle Spawner (of different rarities). Like the Treasure Chest, there are two variations of these spawners – some are intended for land, others for under water. You want the underwater ones. Place the ones you want.

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48) An exciting (and much requested) new feature of The Sims 3 Island Paradise is the introduction of the Mermaid/Merman Life State. They require a different diet to Human Sims, so it is only natural that there is a new harvestable available for Diving Lots.

If you go to the Gardening tab of you Buy Debug menu, and filter the content by The Sims 3 Island Paradise, you will find a single new item, the Harvestable Kelp. Place these about and your Sims can harvest them.

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49) The final thing that you want to add to you Diving Area is the Fog Emitter item. You can find this in Buy Mode, Debug, Misc. Items. You do NOT want to use the The Sims 3 Island Paradise filter this time. It isn’t there. The item itself just looks like a shiny green ball.

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50) Once you place the fog emitter on your lot and then Ctrl + Shift + Click on it. You will be presented with the following options:

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51) We are only interested in the Set Visual Effect… interaction. Click it to bring up the following box:

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You want to insert the following into this box, EXACTLY as I have typed it:

EP10OceanLightRays

Place another Fog Emitter on the lot and type in the following:

ep10FishOceanOuterFC

Place another Fog Emitter on the lot and type in the following:

ep10MinnowSchoolA

Place another Fog Emitter on the lot and type in the following:

ep10MinnowSchoolB

Place another Fog Emitter on the lot and type in the following:

ep10MinnowSchoolC

You should have a total of FIVE Fog Emitters dotted around your lot. You won’t see any of these effects until you are in Live Mode. It may take a few days for a few things to spawn, especially the rarer spawners.

52) You are almost there! Well done! Now we have just one quick and final step to complete and you can go play in your awesome new Diving Area! You want to go up a level to the surface and find your Scuba Buoy and Ctrl +Shift and Click on it, this will present to you the following interactions:

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53) Click on the Set Diving Level interaction and you will see the following options. While you can set the required Diving Skill level to 0, you won’t be able to visit it. Instead, select any of them from 1 – 10.

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54) Go into Edit Town, and click on the Map Tag. Select Edit Details:

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55) Give a name to your lot and a description if you wish! Click Save and you are done! Your Diving Area is now complete! Congratulations, you have done the ‘impossible’ and made a Diving Area outside of Isla Paradiso!

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The Advanced Class

1) If you want to give your diving area a truly unique look, you can also mix in items from the base game, expansion packs, stuff packs and The Sims 3 Store. You might be building a Diving Area in Lucky Palms and consider the rocks a bit too dark and out of place for that world. In which case, add in the rocks and boulders which came with that World!

These additional items can be found in Buy Mode, Debug, Misc. Objects. If you would like to place rocks in your Diving Area, you can do so by accessing them via the Rocks section in Build Mode. Even more items can be found in Build Mode, Community Objects, Misc. Objects. You can assess this section through here:

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2) To place these items, you will need to use the Move Objects On cheat. There are several items which can give a certain appearance to your Diving Area. While testing this method in different Worlds to find out which Worlds support Diving Area’s, it quickly became apparent that Bridgeport shouldn’t have pristine looking Diving Areas. Throw in a few loose toys, scrap heaps and broken wagons and you have the look of a trash filled river!

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A Word of Caution

As expected, there are a few limitations with having Diving Areas in other Worlds. These will be discussed below. While it is possible to place normal, everyday objects such as chairs and beds under the water, there is no way for your Sims to interact with them. But feel free to use them to further build on a particular theme or style.

It is not possible to build any structure on Diving Areas. This includes walls and fences. It is not advised that you save Diving Areas to the Lot Bin to share in other Worlds or with other players. There is a problem with the water level which causes Sims, boats, sharks, fish and the Scuba Buoy to float several stories from the sea.

When Sims and Boats transition over the edge of the Diving Lot, you will notice a ‘jump’ in their animation. They will come out of the water and float for a second or two. This is entirely normal and will not have any negative effects on your game.

Compatible Worlds

Here you will find a list of Worlds that this method has been tested in and where it is or isn’t possible to build Diving Areas.

Base Game and Expansion Pack Worlds

Sunset Valley – Yes

Twinbrook – No

Bridgeport – Yes

Appaloosa Plains – Yes

Starlight Shores – Yes

Moonlight Falls – Yes

Isla Paradiso – Yes

Sims University – Yes

Al Simhara – Yes

Shang Simla – No

Champs Les Sims – Yes

Store Worlds

Riverview – Yes

Barnacle Bay – Yes

Hidden Springs – Yes

Lunar Lakes – No

Lucky Palms – Yes

Sunlit Tides – Yes

Monte Vista – Yes

Aurora Skies – Yes

Dragon Valley – Yes

Midnight Hollow – Yes

Roaring Heights – Yes

Create a World (CAW)

It is fully possible to create Diving Areas in custom Worlds when using Create A World.

Snorkeling vs. scuba diving: How are they different?

Snorkeling and scuba diving each offer a unique experience of the underwater world. Find out what separates these activities and decide which is right for you.

Both snorkeling and scuba diving are recreational activities that allow you to explore under the sea and view marine life, but several key differences distinguish the two watersports.

Snorkelers float at the water’s surface and breathe through a snorkel tube, which must remain above the waterline to facilitate air exchange. In contrast, scuba divers use breathing equipment, including an air tank and regulator, to descend to greater depths and breathe underwater.

The main differences between snorkeling and scuba diving include depth, equipment used, objective, duration, cost, potential dangers, and required skills, training, and planning.

two scuba divers diving together

Two scuba divers diving together

Differences between snorkeling and scuba diving

SnorkelingScuba diving
Depth20-40 feet60-130 feet
EquipmentMinimalLots of gear
Skills & planningLittle to noneExtensive
ObjectiveRecreationalRecreational and professional
Underwater timeMinutes at a timeAround 60 minutes at a time
CostMinimalMore expensive
DangersRelatively safeRelatively safe but complex

For in-depth comparisons of each point of difference, keep reading below!

Depth

Snorkeling is, for the most part, a surface activity. Some snorkelers, particularly freedivers and spearfishers, will hold their breath and dive beneath the surface of the water. Most people will not reach depths of more than around 20 feet when snorkeling, although more experienced snorkelers may descend to about 40 feet.

Scuba (an acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) equipment allows divers to explore deeper areas. Elite divers can descend to over 1000 feet with scuba gear. 1 However, recreational divers don’t typically go deeper than about 130 feet, with beginners usually staying shallower than 60 feet. 2

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Equipment

Snorkeling requires significantly less equipment than scuba diving. All you need to go snorkeling is a mask and snorkel. In certain conditions, items like swim fins, a snorkel vest, rash guard, wetsuit, and snorkel booties may be necessary or recommended.

Diving, on the other hand, requires many additional pieces of equipment. Scuba diving gear typically consists of:

  • Diving mask allowing you to see underwater
  • Snorkel to breathe through when you’re at the surface. Divers should opt for a wet or semi-dry rather than a dry snorkel to reduce drag and unwanted buoyancy underwater.
  • Fins to help propel you through the water
  • Regulator and scuba tank with compressed air, allowing you to breathe underwater
  • Scuba gloves and wetsuit or drysuit to protect your skin and keep you warm
  • Buoyancy compensator device or buoyancy control device (BCD) to manage your buoyancy and control your depth
  • Depth gauge showing the current depth and maximum depth reached during your dive
  • Air gauge showing the amount of air remaining in your tank
  • Compass to help you navigate underwater
  • Dive computer to monitor information about your dive, including depth, duration, and how much time you can safely stay at a particular depth

Required skills, training, and planning

Snorkeling is a relatively accessible activity that most individuals can try with little to no training. Children as young as about five years old can safely go snorkeling with an adult.

While snorkeling requires minimal training, planning, and preparation, there are several steps you can take to ensure your snorkeling outing is safe and enjoyable. These include learning how to snorkel without swallowing water, knowing how to swim, practicing deep breathing techniques, learning to breath-hold dive, understanding the equipment, and wearing proper attire.

It’s also wise to check the weather conditions, water temperatures, tides, and currents ahead of time and ensure you’re using quality equipment.

In contrast, scuba diving involves extensive training and planning and strict adherence to safety procedures. As a result, there are more rigorous requirements for learning to dive compared to learning to snorkel.

According to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), prospective scuba divers in most areas must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum age of 10 years old
  • Basic water skills, including swimming 200 to 300 yards without stopping and treading water for 10 minutes
  • Medical questionnaire and, in certain cases, approval from a physician

If you meet all of these requirements, you can take a training course to get your open water certification. This process can take anywhere from a few days to an entire year, depending on your training schedule, and typically includes the following:

  • Knowledge development, including fundamental principles and concepts needed for safety
  • Confined water dives with an instructor to learn basic skills in a safe environment
  • Open water dives with an instructor to test your skills

Once you’ve obtained your open water certification, you’ll be able to go scuba diving without an instructor, rent gear at hotels, resorts, and dive shops, and plan your diving trips. Scuba diving requires careful planning, including:

  • Choosing a dive site and objective with your partner or group
  • Planning your time and depth using dive tables, a dive computer, or digital dive planner
  • Developing a contingency plan in the event of any unforeseen circumstances or emergencies
  • Conducting a pre-dive safety check and adhering to all safety procedures

Objective

Snorkeling is nearly always recreational in nature and can sometimes accompany other activities, such as spearfishing and freediving. Generally, people go snorkeling as a fun way to view sea creatures, coral reefs, and other marine life.

While scuba diving is often recreational, it can also have commercial, scientific, artistic, and military objectives. For example, some scuba divers specialize in underwater construction, including welding and civil engineering, while others have dedicated themselves to scientific expeditions and archaeological explorations.

There is also an underwater photography and filmmaking industry and numerous underwater military operations, including reconnaissance, ship repair, demolition, and search for missing persons.

Duration

A snorkeling outing can last anywhere from a few minutes to many hours, but the time a snorkeler spends underwater is constrained by the amount of time they can hold their breath. Studies suggest that most people can hold their breath for around 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, with the world record clocking in at 24 minutes and 3 seconds. 3

Scuba diving allows you to stay underwater for longer periods, with most recreational dives lasting up to an hour. The exact length of time depends on various factors, including the amount of air in your tank, depth, nitrogen absorption, water temperature, and weather conditions. The biggest limitation is the air tank, which will run out faster at greater depths due to increased water pressure.

scuba diver diving a plane wreck

Scuba diving has a wide range of applications and career paths

Snorkeling requires less equipment and expertise compared to scuba diving and is therefore cheaper. Whether you plan to purchase the equipment and go on your own or book a guided tour, snorkeling will end up costing you less.

Dangers associated with snorkeling

While snorkeling is safer than scuba diving, each activity comes with risks. However, with careful planning, proper training, and adherence to standard safety procedures, both snorkeling and scuba diving are relatively safe watersports.

Snorkeling is a very safe activity, but as with any sport, there are certain risks all snorkelers must be aware of.

Jellyfish stings, shark attacks, and other encounters with marine life

While aggressive animal encounters are rare while snorkeling and diving, it is a possibility. Respecting wildlife, avoiding getting too close or angering the animals, and avoiding areas known for shark attacks are all ways you can minimize your risk.

Drowning

With any watersport, there is always a risk of drowning. Strong current, large waves, and inability to swim can all increase this risk.

However, you can help protect yourself by avoiding going snorkeling in poor conditions, always snorkeling with a friend or group, knowing how to swim, and wearing a snorkel vest. It’s also important to head back to shore or to the boat as soon as you feel tired, since fatigue and cramping can increase your risk of drowning.

Sunburn and sunstroke

Since snorkeling involves spending long periods at the water’s surface, sunburn is a common problem. Fortunately, snorkelers can reduce their risk by avoiding snorkeling in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest and wearing adequate sun protection, including sunscreen, rashguards, and other garments with a UPF of at least 30.

Cuts, abrasions, rashes, or other irritation

Various objects in the water, including rocks, coral, or sea lice can cut or irritate your skin. To help prevent this, make sure to wear protective attire, such as a rash guard or wetsuit and snorkel booties or water shoes. For a full list of what you should wear snorkeling check out our in depth article here.

Diver down flag and buoy

Always check local regulations, some areas require a diver down flag

Passing boats and jet skis

In rare cases, motorized boats and jet skis can hit snorkelers in the water. To reduce your risk, increase your visibility by wearing a brightly colored snorkel vest and snorkeling in a group. You can also stick to a designated swimming area where boats aren’t allowed or stay close to shore. Also, a dive flag or diver down flag can alert passing boats that there are divers in the water nearby.

Buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood

The additional respiratory dead space in snorkels increases the carbon dioxide concentration in the air snorkelers inhale. 4 Every time you exhale while snorkeling, some of the exhaled air remains in the snorkel tube and is inhaled again. This can cause carbon dioxide to build up in the blood and lead to feeling dizzy or disoriented, or even losing consciousness.

Some experts have expressed concerns that full-face snorkel masks may increase this risk. 5 If you are using this type of snorkeling mask, make sure that it fits you correctly and purchase it from a reputable company with rigorous testing and quality control standards.

No matter what type of snorkel and mask you choose, remaining calm and practicing deep breathing techniques can help facilitate complete air exchange and protect you from carbon dioxide buildup.

Dangers associated with scuba diving

Like snorkelers, scuba divers face risks of drowning, cuts and scrapes, aggressive animals, jellyfish stings, and passing boats. Because scuba diving involves more specialized equipment and descending to greater depths compared to snorkeling, there are a variety of additional dangers that scuba divers must know how to deal with.

Despite these dangers, scuba diving mortality is relatively low, with 1.8 deaths per million recreational dives in the United States and Canada. 6

Equipment malfunction

While snorkelers most often only have to worry about leaky masks or ill-fitting equipment, there are many possible equipment malfunctions in scuba diving that can pose serious hazards.

From a broken depth gauge to a problem with your regulator, you should learn how to deal with all different types of equipment failures while scuba diving to prevent health risks and drowning.

If you have your own diving equipment, regularly maintain it and check to ensure everything is functioning as it should be. If you rent any scuba gear, always check it thoroughly to make sure there aren’t any issues. If something seems off, speak up and ask for a new piece of equipment.

Decompression sickness

Also known as the bends, decompression sickness refers to various symptoms caused by a rapid increase in the surrounding water pressure and the release of nitrogen bubbles as the diver returns to the surface.

The risk of decompression sickness is directly related to the time spent at certain depths. Divers can limit their risk by resurfacing slowly, adhering to dive tables, and making any necessary decompression stops. 6

Nitrogen narcosis

Nitrogen narcosis is a temporary and reversible alteration in consciousness that usually becomes noticeable at depths above 100 feet and therefore does not usually affect recreational divers. The effects are similar to alcohol intoxication and can impair a diver’s judgment and sensory perception.

The condition is rarely serious – as long as you are aware of the symptoms, you can quickly reverse nitrogen narcosis by ascending to shallower depths.

Oxygen toxicity

Oxygen toxicity occurs when divers breathe in oxygen at increased partial pressures for extended periods and can lead to seizures, nausea, unconsciousness, and death due to drowning.

Like nitrogen narcosis, the risk of oxygen toxicity increases with depth and does not often impact recreational divers. Divers can avoid oxygen toxicity by planning dives conservatively and adhering to training guidelines.

Conclusion

Scuba diving and snorkeling may appear relatively similar at first, but the two activities have many differences that make some people more attracted to one activity over the other.

Both snorkeling and scuba diving have a lot to offer and are exciting ways to discover aquatic environments. Which one you chose will depend on how much time you want to invest in training and preparation as well as your budget, accepted level of risk, and current health.

References

Toklu, A S et al. “Ventilatory and metabolic response to rebreathing the expired air in the snorkel.” International journal of sports medicine, vol. 24,3 (2003): 162-5, doi:10.1055/s-2003-39084. ↩

Buzzacott, P; Schiller, D; Crain, J; Denoble, PJ. “Epidemiology of morbidity and mortality in US and Canadian recreational scuba diving”. Public Health vol. 155: 62–68. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2017.11.011. ↩ ↩ 2

Last updated 29 June 2021

Table of contents

Rebecca Jambrovic

Rebecca Jambrovic

Rebecca Jambrovic

About the author

Rebecca Jambrovic

Rebecca lives next to the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, where she guides kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and snorkeling tours. She is passionate about outdoor activities and enjoys writing pieces that inspire others to get outside.

Snorkeling vs. scuba diving: How are they different?

Snorkeling and scuba diving each offer a unique experience of the underwater world. Find out what separates these activities and decide which is right for you.

Both snorkeling and scuba diving are recreational activities that allow you to explore under the sea and view marine life, but several key differences distinguish the two watersports.

Snorkelers float at the water’s surface and breathe through a snorkel tube, which must remain above the waterline to facilitate air exchange. In contrast, scuba divers use breathing equipment, including an air tank and regulator, to descend to greater depths and breathe underwater.

The main differences between snorkeling and scuba diving include depth, equipment used, objective, duration, cost, potential dangers, and required skills, training, and planning.

two scuba divers diving together

Two scuba divers diving together

Differences between snorkeling and scuba diving

SnorkelingScuba diving
Depth20-40 feet60-130 feet
EquipmentMinimalLots of gear
Skills & planningLittle to noneExtensive
ObjectiveRecreationalRecreational and professional
Underwater timeMinutes at a timeAround 60 minutes at a time
CostMinimalMore expensive
DangersRelatively safeRelatively safe but complex
Read Post  The 5 Best Scuba Diving Certification Programs of 2022

For in-depth comparisons of each point of difference, keep reading below!

Depth

Snorkeling is, for the most part, a surface activity. Some snorkelers, particularly freedivers and spearfishers, will hold their breath and dive beneath the surface of the water. Most people will not reach depths of more than around 20 feet when snorkeling, although more experienced snorkelers may descend to about 40 feet.

Scuba (an acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) equipment allows divers to explore deeper areas. Elite divers can descend to over 1000 feet with scuba gear. 1 However, recreational divers don’t typically go deeper than about 130 feet, with beginners usually staying shallower than 60 feet. 2

Equipment

Snorkeling requires significantly less equipment than scuba diving. All you need to go snorkeling is a mask and snorkel. In certain conditions, items like swim fins, a snorkel vest, rash guard, wetsuit, and snorkel booties may be necessary or recommended.

Diving, on the other hand, requires many additional pieces of equipment. Scuba diving gear typically consists of:

  • Diving mask allowing you to see underwater
  • Snorkel to breathe through when you’re at the surface. Divers should opt for a wet or semi-dry rather than a dry snorkel to reduce drag and unwanted buoyancy underwater.
  • Fins to help propel you through the water
  • Regulator and scuba tank with compressed air, allowing you to breathe underwater
  • Scuba gloves and wetsuit or drysuit to protect your skin and keep you warm
  • Buoyancy compensator device or buoyancy control device (BCD) to manage your buoyancy and control your depth
  • Depth gauge showing the current depth and maximum depth reached during your dive
  • Air gauge showing the amount of air remaining in your tank
  • Compass to help you navigate underwater
  • Dive computer to monitor information about your dive, including depth, duration, and how much time you can safely stay at a particular depth

Required skills, training, and planning

Snorkeling is a relatively accessible activity that most individuals can try with little to no training. Children as young as about five years old can safely go snorkeling with an adult.

While snorkeling requires minimal training, planning, and preparation, there are several steps you can take to ensure your snorkeling outing is safe and enjoyable. These include learning how to snorkel without swallowing water, knowing how to swim, practicing deep breathing techniques, learning to breath-hold dive, understanding the equipment, and wearing proper attire.

It’s also wise to check the weather conditions, water temperatures, tides, and currents ahead of time and ensure you’re using quality equipment.

In contrast, scuba diving involves extensive training and planning and strict adherence to safety procedures. As a result, there are more rigorous requirements for learning to dive compared to learning to snorkel.

According to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), prospective scuba divers in most areas must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum age of 10 years old
  • Basic water skills, including swimming 200 to 300 yards without stopping and treading water for 10 minutes
  • Medical questionnaire and, in certain cases, approval from a physician

If you meet all of these requirements, you can take a training course to get your open water certification. This process can take anywhere from a few days to an entire year, depending on your training schedule, and typically includes the following:

  • Knowledge development, including fundamental principles and concepts needed for safety
  • Confined water dives with an instructor to learn basic skills in a safe environment
  • Open water dives with an instructor to test your skills

Once you’ve obtained your open water certification, you’ll be able to go scuba diving without an instructor, rent gear at hotels, resorts, and dive shops, and plan your diving trips. Scuba diving requires careful planning, including:

  • Choosing a dive site and objective with your partner or group
  • Planning your time and depth using dive tables, a dive computer, or digital dive planner
  • Developing a contingency plan in the event of any unforeseen circumstances or emergencies
  • Conducting a pre-dive safety check and adhering to all safety procedures

Objective

Snorkeling is nearly always recreational in nature and can sometimes accompany other activities, such as spearfishing and freediving. Generally, people go snorkeling as a fun way to view sea creatures, coral reefs, and other marine life.

While scuba diving is often recreational, it can also have commercial, scientific, artistic, and military objectives. For example, some scuba divers specialize in underwater construction, including welding and civil engineering, while others have dedicated themselves to scientific expeditions and archaeological explorations.

There is also an underwater photography and filmmaking industry and numerous underwater military operations, including reconnaissance, ship repair, demolition, and search for missing persons.

Duration

A snorkeling outing can last anywhere from a few minutes to many hours, but the time a snorkeler spends underwater is constrained by the amount of time they can hold their breath. Studies suggest that most people can hold their breath for around 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, with the world record clocking in at 24 minutes and 3 seconds. 3

Scuba diving allows you to stay underwater for longer periods, with most recreational dives lasting up to an hour. The exact length of time depends on various factors, including the amount of air in your tank, depth, nitrogen absorption, water temperature, and weather conditions. The biggest limitation is the air tank, which will run out faster at greater depths due to increased water pressure.

scuba diver diving a plane wreck

Scuba diving has a wide range of applications and career paths

Snorkeling requires less equipment and expertise compared to scuba diving and is therefore cheaper. Whether you plan to purchase the equipment and go on your own or book a guided tour, snorkeling will end up costing you less.

Dangers associated with snorkeling

While snorkeling is safer than scuba diving, each activity comes with risks. However, with careful planning, proper training, and adherence to standard safety procedures, both snorkeling and scuba diving are relatively safe watersports.

Snorkeling is a very safe activity, but as with any sport, there are certain risks all snorkelers must be aware of.

Jellyfish stings, shark attacks, and other encounters with marine life

While aggressive animal encounters are rare while snorkeling and diving, it is a possibility. Respecting wildlife, avoiding getting too close or angering the animals, and avoiding areas known for shark attacks are all ways you can minimize your risk.

Drowning

With any watersport, there is always a risk of drowning. Strong current, large waves, and inability to swim can all increase this risk.

However, you can help protect yourself by avoiding going snorkeling in poor conditions, always snorkeling with a friend or group, knowing how to swim, and wearing a snorkel vest. It’s also important to head back to shore or to the boat as soon as you feel tired, since fatigue and cramping can increase your risk of drowning.

Sunburn and sunstroke

Since snorkeling involves spending long periods at the water’s surface, sunburn is a common problem. Fortunately, snorkelers can reduce their risk by avoiding snorkeling in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest and wearing adequate sun protection, including sunscreen, rashguards, and other garments with a UPF of at least 30.

Cuts, abrasions, rashes, or other irritation

Various objects in the water, including rocks, coral, or sea lice can cut or irritate your skin. To help prevent this, make sure to wear protective attire, such as a rash guard or wetsuit and snorkel booties or water shoes. For a full list of what you should wear snorkeling check out our in depth article here.

Diver down flag and buoy

Always check local regulations, some areas require a diver down flag

Passing boats and jet skis

In rare cases, motorized boats and jet skis can hit snorkelers in the water. To reduce your risk, increase your visibility by wearing a brightly colored snorkel vest and snorkeling in a group. You can also stick to a designated swimming area where boats aren’t allowed or stay close to shore. Also, a dive flag or diver down flag can alert passing boats that there are divers in the water nearby.

Buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood

The additional respiratory dead space in snorkels increases the carbon dioxide concentration in the air snorkelers inhale. 4 Every time you exhale while snorkeling, some of the exhaled air remains in the snorkel tube and is inhaled again. This can cause carbon dioxide to build up in the blood and lead to feeling dizzy or disoriented, or even losing consciousness.

Some experts have expressed concerns that full-face snorkel masks may increase this risk. 5 If you are using this type of snorkeling mask, make sure that it fits you correctly and purchase it from a reputable company with rigorous testing and quality control standards.

No matter what type of snorkel and mask you choose, remaining calm and practicing deep breathing techniques can help facilitate complete air exchange and protect you from carbon dioxide buildup.

Dangers associated with scuba diving

Like snorkelers, scuba divers face risks of drowning, cuts and scrapes, aggressive animals, jellyfish stings, and passing boats. Because scuba diving involves more specialized equipment and descending to greater depths compared to snorkeling, there are a variety of additional dangers that scuba divers must know how to deal with.

Despite these dangers, scuba diving mortality is relatively low, with 1.8 deaths per million recreational dives in the United States and Canada. 6

Equipment malfunction

While snorkelers most often only have to worry about leaky masks or ill-fitting equipment, there are many possible equipment malfunctions in scuba diving that can pose serious hazards.

From a broken depth gauge to a problem with your regulator, you should learn how to deal with all different types of equipment failures while scuba diving to prevent health risks and drowning.

If you have your own diving equipment, regularly maintain it and check to ensure everything is functioning as it should be. If you rent any scuba gear, always check it thoroughly to make sure there aren’t any issues. If something seems off, speak up and ask for a new piece of equipment.

Decompression sickness

Also known as the bends, decompression sickness refers to various symptoms caused by a rapid increase in the surrounding water pressure and the release of nitrogen bubbles as the diver returns to the surface.

The risk of decompression sickness is directly related to the time spent at certain depths. Divers can limit their risk by resurfacing slowly, adhering to dive tables, and making any necessary decompression stops. 6

Nitrogen narcosis

Nitrogen narcosis is a temporary and reversible alteration in consciousness that usually becomes noticeable at depths above 100 feet and therefore does not usually affect recreational divers. The effects are similar to alcohol intoxication and can impair a diver’s judgment and sensory perception.

The condition is rarely serious – as long as you are aware of the symptoms, you can quickly reverse nitrogen narcosis by ascending to shallower depths.

Oxygen toxicity

Oxygen toxicity occurs when divers breathe in oxygen at increased partial pressures for extended periods and can lead to seizures, nausea, unconsciousness, and death due to drowning.

Like nitrogen narcosis, the risk of oxygen toxicity increases with depth and does not often impact recreational divers. Divers can avoid oxygen toxicity by planning dives conservatively and adhering to training guidelines.

Conclusion

Scuba diving and snorkeling may appear relatively similar at first, but the two activities have many differences that make some people more attracted to one activity over the other.

Both snorkeling and scuba diving have a lot to offer and are exciting ways to discover aquatic environments. Which one you chose will depend on how much time you want to invest in training and preparation as well as your budget, accepted level of risk, and current health.

References

Toklu, A S et al. “Ventilatory and metabolic response to rebreathing the expired air in the snorkel.” International journal of sports medicine, vol. 24,3 (2003): 162-5, doi:10.1055/s-2003-39084. ↩

Buzzacott, P; Schiller, D; Crain, J; Denoble, PJ. “Epidemiology of morbidity and mortality in US and Canadian recreational scuba diving”. Public Health vol. 155: 62–68. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2017.11.011. ↩ ↩ 2

Last updated 29 June 2021

Table of contents

Rebecca Jambrovic

Rebecca Jambrovic

Rebecca Jambrovic

About the author

Rebecca Jambrovic

Rebecca lives next to the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, where she guides kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and snorkeling tours. She is passionate about outdoor activities and enjoys writing pieces that inspire others to get outside.

Source https://simsvip.com/sims-3-island-paradise-guide/creating-dive-lots/

Source https://outsiderview.com/snorkeling/scuba-diving/snorkeling-vs-scuba-diving/

Source https://outsiderview.com/snorkeling/scuba-diving/snorkeling-vs-scuba-diving/

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