How To Snorkel and everything you need to know before you try Snorkelling
Snorkelling is one of my all time favourite activities whenever I go on vacation. The people I travel with laugh at me for waking up super early when I am away, just to go snorkelling. I can’t help it, I’m in love or addicted….I’m not sure which. We have brain stormed the heck out of snorkelling to bring you the ultimate guide to snorkelling. After reading this and watching the attached video you will know how to snorkel, and even better you will know how to snorkel safely. Here are some great deals on travel gear fro Adventugo.
14 Snorkelling Tips for Beginners
Learn to inflate your lungs and deflate to control buoyancy
It’s very simple, a deep breath in helps you float better. This is one of the best thing to practice while you snorkel as it will help you relax in the water and allow you to stay out longer.
Breathe through your mouth only.
The mask you use should cover your nose so it will be impossible to breath from your nose. Before entering the water practice breathing with your mouth only.
Make sure your mask fits well
The mask should not be too tight, when you hit the water the rubber around the mask will form with your face. If it is too tight it will hurt and it will allow water in. If it is way too loose you will also be getting water in. The key here is comfort. Inhaling with your nose will also tighten the mask to your face.
Push your Hair back
If your hair is in the mask it will not seal properly. Its it good to tie your hair back if you have long hair or bangs.
What to do if water gets into the snorkel
If you get water in the snorkel sharply exhale from the upper chest and mouth out through the snorkel. Most snorkels have purge valves that will not allow more water in when you purge.
What should I do if water gets into my mask?
There are two main methods to remove water from your mask. If you are underwater, you can look up towards the sky. Gently push on the top front of your mask and exhale with your nose. If you are underwater this will force the water to exit the bottom of the mask. The second way is to pop your head out of the water and lift the bottom of your mask, thereby draining it.
Wear a life jacket if you can’t swim
This one is obvious, it will make you much more comfortable in the water and allow you to have the snorkelling experience.
Defog your mask before you head out
This is very important if you are learning how to snorkel. A foggy mask kills the experience. You can put soap in the mask and rinse to prevent fogging. There is also defog you can buy if you want, but I don’t find this necessary. You should rub toothpaste into a new mask lense interior and leave overnight, rinse it before you go snorkelling as this will help a lot. I choose to spit a gob on the inside of my lense and rinse. You mouth enzymes are the best fog prevention around!
Use water shoes or fins when you enter the water
I always use shoes or fins when I enter the water. This is a common mistake beginners make, thinking that the floor will be fine to step on. You are wrong, there is coral in the water that can sometimes be poisonous along with fish that sit on the bottom. There are also sharp rocks that can cut your feet.
Start in shallow water on your knees
If you are a beginner, always start in shallow water. Put your face in and make sure your mask and snorkel are working and not letting in water. Once you know everything is working then head out a little deeper.
Try snorkelling in a pool first
If you are learning how to snorkel, then a pool is the best place to start as you will not have to deal with waves, animals, coral or anything else. You will be able to take your time and get used to the mechanics of snorkelling.
Go at your own pace
Take it slow and you will get comfortable in the water. Don’t try to keep up with someone that has done this before as you may never want to do it again if you do.
Forget the camera
Beginner snorkelers always want to capture the memory by taking a camera with them. This is a mistake and will take you away from what you should be doing at the beginning. All of your focus should be on safety and enjoying the experience. Once you have mastered the technique and you are comfortable adding onto your snorkelling muscle memory then go for it!
Use underwater gloves
I choose to use underwater gloves just in case there is a need for me to touch something and to keep my hands warm. Your extremities get cold first and this is great prevention that can keep your snorkelling for longer periods of time.
Common Snorkelling questions:
What will I see when I snorkel?
What you see when you snorkel will depend on many factors including where your are snorkelling, what type of water you are snorkelling in, geographic location and water condition. Some people snorkel in lakes and stream, here you can find all types of freshwater fish. You will find snorkelling in this type of water is not the best for beginners as you do not float as well as in salt water. As a beginner you may struggle a bit here, you will also not see as beautiful backdrops and fish. This may cause you to never snorkel again so I would avoid doing this at first. There is also brackish water where the ocean meets freshwater, this can be very beautiful but can also be dangerous because crocs like to hang out in this type of water. You will often see mangroves in these locations. If you want to know how to snorkel you should learn in the ocean and even better a tropical location like Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, South Asia, Australia, South Africa or South America. If you snorkel in these destinations you can expect to see and array of large, beautiful fish. Coral landscapes, mostly clear water, turtles and a lot more. You will be amazed it is a world within a world that you have never been to.
Is snorkelling safe?
Snorkelling is very safe as long as you follow the precautions we outline for you. Some of the things I recommend when snorkelling to keep yourself safe is.
- Snorkel with a buddy
- Wear water shoes to protect your feet from rocks and coral
- Wear body protection like a wetsuit if you are snorkeling for a long time
- Never enter underwater caves
- Wear a life jacket if you can’t swim.
- Do not touch the coral or animals
- Do not feed the animals
- Stay hydrated prior to snorkelling
- Beware of the beach warning signs (do not enter red flagged water)
- If the water is pulling you out do not struggle. Try to swim low to the ground and flow with the waves.
- Know your limits
- Watch for boats.
- Never snorkel intoxicated
Do I need to know how to swim to go snorkelling?
You don’t have to know how to swim to learn how to snorkel but it does help and makes the overall experience a lot better. Knowing how to swim will help you be relaxed in the water and allow you to focus on your breathing and the experience around you. Depending on where you go, they may promote snorkelling to non swimmers. The caveat is you will have to wear a life jacket. If you don’t know how to swim you had better wear a life jacket.
Should I buy snorkel gear or rent it?
When you are first starting off you can rent the gear, be careful where you do this. Some countries do not sanitize this equipment well and this can lead to you getting really sick on your vacation. They could also use sub par snorkel sets that will cause water to get into the snorkel or the mask. If you first experience doing this activity is not a good one, you are unlikely to try again. Personally I chose to buy the snorkel gear for myself and my entire family so that we know that they are clean and have been well taken care of. Snorkel sets are cheap, we bought my sons at Costco for $25 and this included a good quality mask, fins and the snorkel itself. Owning your own snorkel set will be better for you in that if you need to make adjustments on the fly, you will know where and how to do this.
How long does it take to learn to snorkel?
Learning how to snorkel depends a lot on your overall comfort in the water and getting used to breathing out of your mouth. I have taught all of the kids in my family how to snorkel and they picked it up within an hour. Adults I find take a little bit more time to learn. Once I took a 21 year old man to a beach to try snorkelling. Prior to this, I taught him how to swim. He could not get used to the breathing, so I told him to head to shallow water and I kept going. Within an hour of him playing around in the shallows, he was out there with my right over a beautiful reef.
Which is better snorkelling or scuba diving?
Snorkelling and scuba diving are two very different things. When you snorkel you are in control of most aspect of your swimming and breathing. There is less risk, and you get to see a lot. There are snorkelling tour that are offered that let you see similar things to when you dive. Scuba diving can be expensive and practiced snorkelers have learned to free dive and hold their breaths for longer periods of time. This allows them to get the emersive scuba dive experience without the expense. Scuba diving allows you to go a lot deeper and fully experience the ocean. Neither is better, I love to snorkel and I love to dive.
What is the best snorkel mask to buy?
There is a major craze around these full faced masks. I really hate these things. Although they may make it easier the first time you snorkel. It gets you into bad habits long term. If you get used to this and you decide to transition to scuba diving, you will have a much harder time. Once I purchased a full face mask for my son and it let a lot of water in and did not help him to learn how to purge the water from the mask. When you are using a regular snorkel you can easily blow the water out of the snorkel or mask. If your mask fogs up with a regular snorkel you can let some water in and then remove it, thereby getting rid of the fog. You can do these things with the full faced mask and it becomes a safety concern. I also like having 2 separate things for safety reasons. Once I was snorkelling far out and I was taken by a huge wave. The wave knocked my snorkel off, but I still ad my mask. This made it a lot easier for me to get to shore.
Is snorkelling by myself safe?
As a beginner you should never snorkel by yourself. I would recommend doing this activity with someone that is a strong swimmer. If you can swim well and are experienced then by all means go for it. It is safe is if you follow the safety precaution above. I snorkel by myself often, I always make sure I am swimming in clear water with at least 20m of visibility. I also opt to take a dive knife with me in an easy clip.
Is snorkelling healthy?
Snorkelling is very healthy. While you snorkel not only are you swimming for large amounts of time, you are also taking in a ton of oxygen. This activity forces you to take deep breaths, this is a major stress reliever and great for detoxifying the cells in your body. A slow snorkel where you are really paying attention to the calm underwater world is also a major stress reliever.
What should I look for when I snorkel?
First look around and make sure you are entering a safe zone. Put your mask on and immerse your face in the water. If it is really murky, go a little deeper. If it clears a lot then it is safe to snorkel. Keep an eye out and your ears out for boats. When I snorkel I look for rocky areas with coral on it to snokel over. The best snorkelling is in 10m or less from ocean floor to air. If you are over all sand you will get bored fast. If you can’t find rocks or coral look for old anchors or anything on the ocean floor man made. Some of the best reefs in the world are man made wrecks. If you can’t find either of these, look for plant life. There are often tiny critters hidden in these plant fields in the ocean.
How will I breathe when I snorkel?
If you take my advice you will breath through your mouth only inhaling and exhaling. Obviously do not dive down and try to take a breath in. To remove water from your snorkel you will take a sharp exhale out from your mouth not your stomach. Practice this before you get into the water.
Where can I learn to Snorkel?
One of the best places to start learning to snorkel is in a pool, but you can learn to snorkel anywhere in the world. I don’t know why people wait to learn on their vacations, when I’m away I want to know what I’m doing without struggling. Isn’t the point to wind down? Learn to do this before you go so that you have an amazing experience when you are actually doing this in the ocean. It will help you set the stage for a love of the ocean and everything you can do there.
What is the best time to snorkel?
The best times of the day to snorkel is at 5-8am and then again at 630-10pm. In the early morning the fish and creatures that slept all night wake up and there is a surge of activity in the water. It is beautiful. You can also see the coral emerging as it also sleeps. At night a lot of the fish head to sleep and the night creatures come out. It is a whole different world. Snorkelling during the day is great for the beginner snorkelers as everything in the water excites you at first but the real action is in the morning or the evening.
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My name is Sean Rampersaud, my family and I are travelling the world writing and taking video of our experiences. My wife is Radika and my 2 kids are Rayden and Natasha. We want to help improve our readers lives in some way and have a large private group of travellers we like to work with. You can join our group by leaving your email. We are always looking for suggestions or questions you might have so that we can help our community. Please comment below if you have any questions and Join Us on our world Adventures. Our travel are partially funded by us providing our readers ads with travel related material that we get a small commission for. We only provide the highest quality companies and products. If you found this informative please share it. We provide our community free travel tools that will make your lives way easier when you travel including free travel plans, and a custom itinerary builder! We also bring you the latest travel deals including car rental and flights for your location. Join us today.
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