Tour the shallow-water treasures throughout the area with Siesta Key Snorkel
By Jane Bartnett
Siesta Key’s coastline offers a magical setting for snorkeling. It’s a chance to see the many fish, grasses, artificial reefs and aquatic wildlife that make their home close to our shores.
When it’s time to put on that snorkel mask, don a pair of fins and jump in the water, Siesta Key Snorkel, at 946 Siesta Drive on Siesta Key, is one welcoming place to begin your adventure. The company offers daily private snorkeling charter trips. For first-time snorkelers and for veterans too, it’s a fun way to discover the sport.
Unlike scuba diving, snorkeling does not require certification or training. Even people who are not at ease in deep water and waves find that it’s easy and fun. Beginners can start in clear shallow waters near the shoreline. Many first-time snorkelers become veteran snorkel fans after their first try.
Matt Fueyo is the business owner, launching it in 2021 at the suggestion of his Reel Tight Fishing charter clients.
“I grew up on Siesta Key fishing and was snorkeling almost every day. I’m fortunate to have some of the most beautiful places in the country in my back yard,” he said.
In addition to the snorkeling and fishing charters, Fueyo also offers eco-tours, sand-bar trips and private sunset trips.
Siesta Key Snorkel’s trips begin at 1 p.m. each day, with a four-hour minimum for six people or less. Adults and children age 4 and above are welcome. The fee for the trip is $500. Additional hours on the water can be added on at an additional $100 per hour.
When it’s time to head out, groups meet their crew at Nora Patterson Park, on the Siesta Key side of the north bridge. Depending on water and wind conditions, the captain determines the best location for the group’s trip that day.
All Siesta Key Snorkel captains hold U.S. Coast Guard certification. Popular locations within 30 minutes from base include: Siesta Key’s Point of Rocks and the area just north of Turtle Beach; the Big Pass sand bar between Lido and Siesta Key; artificial reefs located throughout the bay and the sunken barge on Otter Key, near the west end of Lido beach; and the Mote Marine docks, along the mangroves and the New Pass sandbar.
First-time snorkelers will feel right at ease as their captain brings the group into shallow water. On every snorkel trip there are always two captains on the boat or a captain and a staff member keeping a watchful eye on those in the water. During the voyage, the captain also gives a safety briefing to his passengers. When it’s time to drop anchor, the captain explains how to wear the mask, fins and snorkel.
It’s “entry-level easy,” said Siesta Key Snorkel’s team member Jessica Euliano. She noted that all boats are equipped with life vests for adults and children.
All snorkel gear is provided for the trip but snorkelers are urged to bring their own drinks and snacks. For lounging on the sandbar, Siesta Key Snorkel will also bring along beach chairs and bean bag chairs if requested at the time of booking.
“Don’t forget the sunscreen and a long sleeve shirt may be a good idea too,” Euliano advises.
When not snorkeling in the shallow waters, many people also enjoy shelling and just plain relaxing and sunbathing on the sand bars. Catching a glimpse of playful dolphins and birds nesting in mangroves is also a treat that people enjoy on their snorkel trips.
“When our guests come to experience our paradise,” Fueyo said, “I want to make sure it’s an experience they will never forget.”
Find Siesta Key Snorkel online at siestakeysnorkel.com, visit on Facebook at Siesta Key Snorkel or call (941) 444-9749.