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Types of Water Sports

Updated on August 17, 2012

Are you interested in a fun filled vacation on the water? There are plenty of watersports to choose from, even if you're not a world class athlete. Consider these options when planning your next vacation.

  • Swimming – Go for a dip in some of the clearest, cleanest waters anywhere. In addition to being fun, swimming in the Caribbean and Mexico can be a great workout. Leisurely swimming burns between 350 and 550 calories per hour, depending upon your weight.
  • Personal Watercraft - Rent a personal watercraft (PWC) for an experience like no other. It’s like riding a motorcycle on the water while reaching speeds of up to 70 m.p.h. A personal watercraft is often referred to as a Jet Ski, but this is actually a trademarked term for the brand name of products manufactured by Kawasaki. Yamaha, Bombardier, and Polaris are the other major players in the PWC market.
  • Snorkeling – Look for tropical fish, turtles, and other sea life just below the surface. All it takes is a snorkel for breathing, goggles for seeing, and fins for swimming. You can add a waterproof disposable camera to take photos of what you find, but remember that you should never touch coral while snorkeling. Some corals can cut or sting you, and even a soft touch can undo years of growth in these fragile ecosystems.
  • Kayaking - Take a leisurely tour of the coastline at water surface level while you get a fun workout. Kayak is an Inuit word that means "hunter's boat" or "man's boat."
  • Scuba Diving - For a deeper dive, and the chance to explore the ocean floor and fascinating coral reefs in some of the world’s top diving spots, try scuba. Scuba divers can't speak underwater without the use of a full face mask, but they are able to communicate through the use of standardized hand signals to indicate directions and basic commands.
  • Sailing - Sunny skies and cool ocean breezes make for ideal conditions to ride the wind. Set sail for a quick trip or an all-day excursion. Dreaming of a longer trip? In 1971, Chay Blyth became the first man to sail around the world solo. In 1978, Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz became the first woman to sail around the world unaccompanied.
  • Waterskiing - Test your balance and ride the waves while being pulled by a speed boat. Waterskiing is considered to be safe for people with moderate swimming ability, but you should always wear a well-fitting personal flotation device whenever you're in the water.
  • Parasailing - Experience the ocean the way the birds do--from the air. Let a speed boat pull you along hundreds of feet above tropical waters. Fly solo or tandem. Parasailing is fun for people of all ages. The youngest recorded parasailer was a three-year-old boy, while the oldest parasailer on record is an 88-year-old man. Both were from India.


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