When visiting an island or beach that's blessed with beautiful and lively coral reefs, you're guaranteed to find snorkeling listed under the area's top tourist activities. While it's considered a "safe sport," there are still several dangers you'll have to look out for. Here's a guide to the basic things you'll have to know before snorkeling.

Places such as The Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, The Bahamas, and the beautiful beaches of Southeast Asia all share a common denominator: gorgeous coral reefs teaming with life. As such, these places offer truly remarkable snorkeling experiences that attract tourists from all over the world.

However, the massive influx of uninformed tourists has caused several scandals over the years. To avoid mishaps such as accidents, infections, destroyed marine ecosystems, and the loss of endangered fish species, the world has found the need to emphasize true snorkeling etiquette.

First, keep in mind that the safety precautions taken by your snorkeling guide or instructor are not just for show. Life vests, breathing apparatuses, goggles, and connector cords are usually found among the basic snorkeling gear. Do not attempt to remove or disregard any of these things as they are essential to safety and security.

According to Scuba Snorkeling Adventures, several accidents happen because of diver/snorkeler misjudgment of the environment. It is crucial to obtain as much information about the area before attempting a dive. Various elements such as water composition, underwater terrain, and the like may be the cause of diving hazards.

While snorkeling is a relatively tame sport, it still takes place in open waters and comes with various risks. As such, you're going to want to go with guides that you can rely on. Make sure that the school or agency you've hired is certified in that area. Not only will it guarantee the legitimacy of their advice, but also the reliability of their gear and knowledge.

Another very important thing to remember is to look, but don't touch. This rule stands for everything from delicate coral that may be destroyed upon human touch, to aquatic creatures that are potentially poisonous upon contact. According to Snorkel Store, human contact may impose harmful stress on marine life, so it's best to maintain a level of distance.

Finally, it's very important to remember that the joy of snorkeling is all about the view. It is a sport that is dedicated to the viewing of the vibrant marine life. This means you shouldn't be on the lookout for things you can take with you, nor is this about swimming with the fishes.

Most guides will set parameters that will guarantee a safe distance from the fragile ecosystems while still allowing for a memorable experience. Be sure to stick to these rules. Even the smallest mistake or extra unsupervised step could be harmful to either you or the fish.