Snorkeling: Everything You Need to Know Before Going

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  08.02.2023
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Ok, you know what it is because you can’t NOT have heard of it. But how exactly does it work and is it for everyone?

Snorkeling involves swimming on the water’s surface while equipped with a diving mask, a shaped tube called a snorkel, and usually fins. This allows the snorkeler to observe underwater marine life for extended periods of time with relatively little effort, without the complicated equipment and training required for scuba diving.

It’s a great way to get up close and personal with marine life and it’s EASY to learn, as we’ll see later in this guide.

What is snorkeling

Exploring the Underwater World with Snorkeling

What is Snorkeling?

Snorkeling is the perfect way to explore the underwater world without having to be a professional diver. All you need is a mask (or some cool underwater goggles), a snorkel (a tube-like thingy for breathing underwater) and some swim fins (or flippers) and you’re ready to go! With the mask, you can get a clear view of the underwater world, the snorkel lets you breathe while your face is submerged in water, and the swim fins help you move around with ease.

What Can You See?

Snorkeling is a great way to get up close and personal with some of the most amazing creatures in the sea. You can spot colorful fish, majestic sea turtles, and even some friendly dolphins. You might even be lucky enough to spot some sunken treasure!

Where Can You Go Snorkeling?

Snorkeling can be done almost anywhere with a body of water. Popular spots include coral reefs, tropical islands, and even some lakes. Wherever you decide to go, make sure to check the water conditions and take all the necessary safety precautions.

Getting Ready to Take the Plunge: What You Need to Know Before Snorkeling

Learn How to Swim

If you’re planning to take the plunge and go snorkeling, you’ll want to make sure you know how to swim first! Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an Olympic swimmer, but mastering the art of freestyle will come in handy. Plus, it’s a great way to stay safe while in the water. You can practice your swimming skills at your local swimming pool and get used to kicking around with fins.

Breathing Techniques

Breathing through a tube is a bit different than normal breathing, so it’s important to practice. Find a quiet spot and take a deep breath, imagining your lungs filling up with air. Make sure you fill up your diaphragm, chest, and the top of your torso. This will help train your lungs to expand with air properly.

Conserve Your Energy

Snorkeling can be a bit of a workout, so it’s important to conserve your energy. Make sure you stay relaxed and keep your body and breath steady. The slower you go, the more fun you’ll have and the better experience you’ll have overall. Plus, it’s important to stay eco-friendly and not kick around too hard, as you don’t want to damage the underwater nature.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to make your snorkeling experience even better:

  • If you get water in your tube, just blow it out.
  • If you get air in your mask, press it against your face and blow it out through your nose.
  • If you feel pressure in your ears, pinch your nose and blow out.

Exploring the Ancient Origins of Snorkeling

Sponge Farmers in Crete

Way back in 3000 B.C., some of the earliest known snorkelers were sponge farmers in Crete. They used hollow reeds to breathe underwater, which was pretty advanced for the time.

Aristotle’s Mention of Snorkeling

Even Aristotle got in on the snorkeling action! In his famous work Parts of the Animals, he talks about divers using “instruments for respiration” that look a lot like an elephant’s trunk.

Snorkeling Today

These days, snorkeling is a popular recreational activity for people of all ages. It’s a great way to explore the underwater world without having to be a certified diver. Here are some of the benefits of snorkeling:

  • Get up close and personal with marine life
  • Enjoy the beauty of the underwater world without getting wet
  • Learn more about the ocean and its inhabitants
  • Get a great workout without having to be a strong swimmer

Everything You Need to Know About Snorkeling Equipment

Snorkeling is an exciting and fun way to explore the underwater world, but it’s important to have the right gear to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Here’s a quick guide to the essential equipment you need for snorkeling.

Essential Gear

When it comes to snorkeling, there are a few pieces of gear that you’ll need to have:

  • Snorkel: This is the tube that you use to breathe underwater. It should fit comfortably in your mouth and be made of a durable material.
  • Diving Mask or Swimming Goggles: This will help you see clearly underwater. Make sure to get a mask or goggles that fit your face comfortably and securely.
  • Swimfins: These will help you move more efficiently in the water.
  • Environmental Protection: Depending on the region you’re snorkeling in, you may need to wear a wetsuit, diving skins, or rash vest to protect you from cold, sunburn, and marine stings and scratches.
  • Sunscreen: To protect your skin from the sun, you’ll need to use a waterproof sunscreen lotion. Just make sure to choose one that is environmentally friendly.
  • Weightbelt or Inflatable Snorkeling Vest: These are optional pieces of gear that can help you stay safe in the water. The weightbelt can help you with freediving, while the inflatable snorkeling vest is a form of buoyancy aid.

Types of Snorkels

There are two main types of snorkels: front-mounted and side-mounted. The front-mounted snorkel is the most common type and is worn with the tube over the front of the face. It is usually secured with a bracket to the diving mask. The side-mounted snorkel is more popular in Europe and is worn with the tube on the side of the face.

Snorkels come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are usually made of plastic, light metal, or rubber. They also come with a mouthpiece at the lower end and may have a rubber loop or plastic clip to attach it to the outside of the head strap of the diving mask.

Breathing with a Snorkel

When you breathe through a snorkel, some of the previously exhaled air remains in the tube, which can lead to a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. To reduce the risk of this happening, you should take deep and slow breaths. You can also reduce the buildup of carbon dioxide by occasionally exhaling through your nose.

Snorkeling can be a great way to explore the underwater world and have fun at the same time. Just make sure you have all the right gear and know how to use it properly to stay safe and have a great time.

What’s the Deal with Snorkels?

The Basics

Ever wondered how people can breathe underwater without a scuba tank? Well, it’s all thanks to the magical snorkel! A snorkel is a tube-like device that allows you to breathe through your mouth while your face is submerged in the water near the surface. The equipment is designed to provide a comfortable experience and effective gas exchange between your lungs and the air above the waterline.

The Fancy Stuff

Snorkels come in all shapes and sizes, from the classic tube-and-mouthpiece combo to the modern-day bells-and-whistles version. Here’s what you can expect to find on the more advanced models:

  • A flex tube at the bottom for a more comfortable fit and less jaw fatigue.
  • A splash guard at the top to keep out any rogue waves or splashing swimmers.
  • A purge valve at the bottom to make it easier to drain any water that might sneak in.
  • A float valve to prevent the tube from filling up when submerged.

The Fun Stuff

So, you’ve got your snorkel, you’ve got your fins, and you’re ready to hit the water! But before you go, don’t forget to practice your best fish impression. After all, you don’t want to be the only one not joining in on the underwater fun!

Snorkeling 101: How to Use a Mask and Snorkel

Finding the Perfect Fit

Finding the perfect mask and snorkel combo can be a real challenge. It’s like finding the perfect pair of jeans – you have to try on a few before you find the right one. To make sure your mask fits snugly and won’t fog up, you’ll want to make sure it seals properly.

Attaching the Snorkel

Once you’ve found the perfect fit, it’s time to attach the snorkel. You can use a snorkel keeper, mask clip, or other attachment to secure it in place. Make sure it’s comfortable and won’t move around when you’re in the water.

Ready, Set, Snorkel!

Now that you’re all set up, it’s time to hit the water! Place the mouthpiece in your mouth and bite it gently. Your lips should hold it in place and seal around it. Then, put your face in the water and make sure the top of the tube is above the waterline. Now, take some slow, deep breaths and get used to the feeling of breathing through the snorkel.

Don’t Panic if You Get Water in the Tube

It’s totally normal to end up with a mouth full of water when you’re first starting out. Don’t panic if it happens – just exhale sharply to force the water out, or remove the mouthpiece and spit out the water. Then, allow any remaining water in the tube to drain out.

Practice Makes Perfect

Snorkeling can take some getting used to, so it’s best to practice in shallow water near shore or in a swimming pool before heading into deeper areas. With a little practice, you’ll be snorkeling like a pro in no time!

Snorkeling: A Fun and Easy Activity for Everyone!

What You Need to Know

Snorkeling is a piece of cake! All you need is the ability to swim and breathe through a snorkel. Now, if you’re a newbie, it might be a good idea to get a few tips from an experienced snorkeler, tour guide, dive shop, or equipment-rental shop. They can tell you all about the equipment, safety, what to look for, and what to look out for. Plus, they can give you the lowdown on conservation (because coral is super fragile and can be easily damaged by snorkelers).

Clearing a Snorkel

Learning to clear a snorkel can be a bit tricky. But don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it! You can either do a sharp exhale when you come back up to the surface (blast clearing) or tilt your head back before you reach the surface and exhale until you break the surface (displacement method). The displacement method is a bit more difficult, but it expels the water with less effort. And if you’re already at the surface, you’ll need to do a blast clearing.

Ready to Go?

If you’re ready to take the plunge and explore the underwater world, here’s what you need to know:

  • Swimming and breathing through a snorkel? Check!
  • Safety tips from an experienced snorkeler? Check!
  • Knowing how to clear a snorkel? Check!

Then you’re all set to go! So grab your gear and dive in!

Essential Skills for a Fun Snorkeling Adventure


If you’re planning a snorkeling trip, you don’t need to be an Olympic swimmer, but it’s a good idea to know the basics. Swimming lessons can help you feel more confident in the water and make sure you don’t get into any sticky situations.


Kicking is key when it comes to snorkeling. It’s important to use your legs and fins to propel yourself through the water, while keeping your arms relaxed at your sides. This will help you conserve energy and keep the fish from getting scared away.


When you breathe through a snorkel, your lungs have to work harder than usual. To prevent dizziness, it’s important to practice deep breathing exercises before you get in the water. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply to make sure you’re exchanging the air in the snorkel tube efficiently.

Breath-Hold Diving

If you want to take your snorkeling to the next level, you can learn breath-hold diving. This is a skill where you hold your breath as you swim and explore underwater. It’ll allow you to get closer to the coral reefs and marine life, but make sure to avoid hyperventilating before diving, as it can have harmful effects.

What Can You See Under the Sea?

A World of Colorful Wonders

Snorkeling is the perfect way to explore the underwater world without having to take a scuba diving course. There’s a whole host of amazing creatures you can spot while snorkeling, from the ever-popular tropical fish like angelfish, clownfish, and butterflyfish, to the more elusive whale sharks, sea horses, sea turtles, reef sharks, rays, octopuses, starfish, giant clams, and moray eels. If you’re lucky, you may even get to snorkel with monk seals, sea lions, penguins, and schools of stingless jellyfish!

A Fun and Exciting Adventure

Snorkeling is a great way to get up close and personal with the creatures of the sea. You can explore the vibrant coral reefs, marvel at the majestic whales, and even get a glimpse of the elusive sea turtles. Plus, you can take pictures of your underwater adventures to share with your friends and family. So, if you’re looking for a fun and exciting way to explore the wonders of the ocean, snorkeling is the perfect activity for you!

Staying Safe While Snorkeling

Dangers to Look Out For

Snorkeling can be a great way to explore the underwater world, but there are a few things to be aware of to stay safe. Here are some of the most common dangers to look out for:

  • Inshore and leisure crafts such as jet skis, speed boats, sailboats, and windsurfers. These can be hard to spot in the water, so be extra vigilant.
  • Rip currents. If you get caught in one, don’t panic and try to swim out of it. If you can’t, float or tread water until you can.
  • Sunburn. Since snorkeling is close to the surface, you can be exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Make sure to wear sunscreen and hydrate well.

Tips for Staying Safe

  • Never snorkel alone.
  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
  • Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard protected beach.
  • Wear bright or reflective colors/outfits and/or use dive flags.
  • Wear sunscreen and hydrate well.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the potential for contact with coral and other dangerous creatures.
  • Wear protective gloves and/or booties and surf shoes.


Snorkeling Vs Scuba Diving

Snorkeling is the perfect way to get a taste of the underwater world without having to dive too deep. All you need is a mask and snorkel, and you’re ready to go! You can take in the sights of the sea floor from the surface, admiring the coral reefs and marine life without having to worry about running out of air. On the other hand, scuba diving lets you explore the depths of the ocean. With a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, you can stay underwater for longer, discovering the mysteries of the deep blue sea. It’s a great way to get up close and personal with the underwater world, and you can even take a course to get certified!

Snorkeling Vs Swimming

Snorkeling and swimming are two totally different activities. Snorkeling is all about exploring the underwater world, while swimming is all about getting from point A to point B. When it comes to snorkeling, you’re looking for a calm, warm body of water with plenty of sea life. On the other hand, swimming is all about technique and body position in the water. With snorkeling, you just need to relax and enjoy the view. With swimming, you need to focus on your stroke and body position to get the most out of your workout. So if you’re looking for a leisurely activity, snorkeling is the way to go. But if you’re looking to improve your swimming technique, you need to hit the pool.


Snorkeling is a great way to explore the underwater world and it’s something most of us can do. Just make sure you never snorkel alone and to always stay safe.

The gear you need is minimal and you only have to have some basic swimming skills. So, GRAB your fins and mask and head to the water!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Kauai Surf Report is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new sports with everything surfing at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2019 to help loyal readers with surfing and water sporting tips.