Swimming and snorkelling in Fiji’s waters is pretty safe but there are a few precautions to be aware of. Wave action on the beaches is generally very sedate – the only places you may face danger are around river passages on the larger islands where rip tides can pull you out to sea. In the event of this happening, never fight it – go with the rip and try swimming sidewards to get out of the current, then swim parallel with the beach for 100m before trying to swim back to land.
When snorkelling, avoid contact with coral – apart from killing the delicate polyps you’re likely to cut or graze yourself, which can cause painful infection. If you can, avoid snorkelling at low tide – with less water between you and the reef, collisions can be common. If you do get a coral cut, clean it immediately, preferably using iodine, and apply an anti-bacterial cream regularly.
Reef sharks are present in the lagoons – if you’re lucky enough to see one it’s very unlikely to stir unless you aggravate it persistently when it might swipe a bite in protest. Stinging jellyfish and crocodiles, which often spoil waters in other tropical countries, are not present in Fiji. Perhaps the greatest danger is the sun and without the protection of a UV swimming vest, or at the very least a high-factor sunscreen, sunburn is inevitable, even on a gloomy overcast day.