Snorkeling Techniques


Improve Your Techniques


If you never tried snorkeling before or have problems using snorkeling equipment this page may offer some useful techniques and tips, perhaps you'ren't aware of to help you improve your snorkeling or skin diving techniques.  Like any sport, sometimes there are better and easier ways to enjoy it if you know how to properly use the equipment.


7 Easy Tips to Improve Your Snorkeling Techniques

  1. Seven easy tips to improve your snorkeling.

  2. How to clear your snorkel.

  3. Choosing snorkel gear.

  4. How to clear your mask.

  5. Choosing the correct mask.

  6. How to teach small children to snorkel

  7. .

  8. Snorkel safely.

Seven Easy Tips to Improve Your Snorkeling


  1. Put all your equipment on and practice floating in the face down and horizontal positions. Don’t swim; just calmly float. You can do this in shallow water or a swimming pool.

  2. Then prepare for mask and/or snorkel floods. If a flood happens in open water, it can be distressing to someone who isn't ready to handle the situation. Practice this skill by floating in shallow water and deliberately flooding and clearing your equipment.

Here’s How:

a) To flood your mask, gently pull it away from your face and allow water to enter the mask. To clear it out, lift your head out of the water and tilt the bottom of the mask away from your face and allow the water to drain out.


b) To flood your snorkel, immerse your head under the water until your snorkel fills up. Remember to hold your breath! To clear your snorkel, exhale a burst of air through your mouth to blast the water out. Then take a cautious first breath to make sure all the water is gone.

  1. In the water, objects look 25% larger (or closer) than they really are. You can practice judging distance by floating in very shallow water and reaching down to touch the bottom. This will help you learn how far an 'arm’s length' is underwater.

  2. Walking with fins on can be uncertain on dry land or on a boat. If you're snorkeling from shore, try putting your fins on and removing them in waist deep water. If you're snorkeling from a boat, don’t put your fins on until it is time to enter the water and take them off at the boat ladder before getting back on the boat.

  3. To use your fins correctly, you must use an efficient kick. You can do this by using a slow flutter kick motion. Try to keep your knees and ankles relaxed to prevent your leg muscles from cramping. Once you're proficient in this skill, you'll notice that your fins propel you through the water. You'll hardly need to use your arms and can let them rest easily at your side, or keep one arm floating in front of your head to act as a bumper.

  4. Once you have mastered using your equipment, practice controlling your movements in the water. You'll feel more comfortable and calm in the water as you improve your maneuvering abilities and you'll minimize accidental bump-ins with objects in the water such as other snorkelers, reef elements, buoys, etc.

  5. Knowing your personal limitations is a vital skill often overlooked. Recognize them and remain alert to them. There is no good reason to push your limits. They will change with each snorkeling opportunity presented. Factors to consider are water temperature, surge, currents, and visibility. Your personal limitations will also change when you gain experience, get older, or have a change in health.

A relaxed snorkeler gets more pleasure out of snorkeling and a greater appreciation of the environment. A calm snorkeler seems less threatening and when the aquatic wildlife realizes you're not a threat, they resume their normal routine, allowing you to experience their world.


How to Clear Your Snorkel

There's no doubt about it. Water will get into your snorkel, whether you submerse yourself intentionally or a wave splashes water into it. It's an important scuba/snorkel skill you need to know.


Here's How:

  1. Allow yourself to sink below the water until you face is just under the water.

  2. Take a deep breath through your snorkel.

  3. Hold your breath.

  4. Completely submerse yourself and your snorkel in the water.

  5. Rise to your original position.

  6. Blow a sharp blast of air through your snorkel.

  7. Slowly inhale to see if there is still water in it. If there is still water in the snorkel, blow another short blast into it. When the snorkel is clear, continue to breath normally through it.

Tip: If you fail to be successful the first time, try it again. Perfect your skills in a swimming pool first.


Choosing Snorkel Gear

As a new skin diver, you'll usually rent the gear but eventually you'll want your own equipment. Choosing the right equipment is important. Start with the mask, fins, snorkel, and weight belt. These are the basics and usually the least expensive of the gear.


Your mask is important because you want to see what is going on under the water. Choose a mask that fits your face and forms a seal. You should have learned how to fit a mask in your basic scuba diving course. If you wear prescription eyeglasses, you may also want to get a prescription mask.


Your fins should fit your feet as well as a pair of shoes. don't settle on fins that are too small or too big. It will only hinder your swimming capabilities. If you plan to wear booties, try the fins on while wearing the booties.


The optimum length for a snorkel is 30 centimeters. Several varieties and designs are available, but the basic function of a snorkel is to enable you to breathe easily at the surface without raising your head from the water.


Weight belts are also important, especially in the Red Sea. They help you maintain buoyancy. Some people need them while snorkeling while others don't.


How to Clear Your Mask

Sometimes while scuba diving, water finds its way into your mask. If your mask fills with water, you can't see a thing. Not only that, it is a required skill for certification.


Here's How:

  1. Completely submerse yourself in the water.

  2. Pull your mask away from your face.

  3. Allow the water to flood your mask - don't panic!

  4. Continue breathing through your snorkel.

  5. Gently tilt your head backwards.

  6. Press the top of the mask against your forehead with one hand.

  7. Take a deep breath through the snorkel or regulator.

  8. Gently exhale the air through your nose - the air will force the water out.

  9. When the mask is completely clear of water, replace your mask so that it has a snug fit.

  10. Continue to breath normally through your snorkel.

Tip: If you fail to be successful the first time, try it again. If you continue to have trouble clearing your mask, check for interferences (twisted straps, hair, or a cracked seal). Perfect your skills in a swimming pool first.


Choosing the Correct Mask

Masks are simple pieces of equipment, yet they are fundamental to enhancing your diving pleasure. Without a mask, you would not be able to see very far. It is important for you to choose a mask wisely.


There are hundreds of masks to choose from. You need to find one that fits correctly and provides you with the features you want (including prescription lenses for those who need them). If your mask does not fit you properly, it could leak or hurt your nose and face. In order to choose a mask that is right for you, you should understand mask features.


Most masks are made of silicone. Silicone resists deterioration better than some synthetic rubber materials and it can be made transparent or opaque. Mask frames and buckles are usually made of light plastic.


Mask lenses are made of tempered glass. They come with a single front lens or two lenses separated at the nose. The two-lens mask is ideal for prescription lenses. Some masks have side lenses that enhance peripheral vision. Choose your style based on fit and your personal preferences.


The body of the mask is important. Masks come in different sizes to fit small, medium, and large faces. All masks have soft nosepieces so divers can equalize easily during descent. Many masks have a double-flanged seal to help keep the mask air and water tight.


Lastly, check the ease of adjusting the straps. Underwater, this can be difficult, especially with narrows straps and close fitting buckles. Some straps come split into two parallel straps at the back of the head, which seems to be the most comfortable for divers. Buckles should pivot at the point where they attach to the frame. The best mask is the mask that fits correctly.


How to Teach Small Children to Snorkel

In the open water . . . that's where some of the best fun is; especially when you travel to places with clear warm water with beautiful coral and fish. With a little effort, kids as young as five or six can have a great time snorkeling.


Here's How:

  1. Start in the bathtub, at least a week before your trip.

  2. Let him or her play with the snorkel, and get the hang of breathing through it.

  3. Now, try the face mask- without the snorkel. Make sure the face mask fits well - kids can't stand it when water leaks in! (see tips below.

  4. Have your child position just the front of the face-mask on his or her face.

  5. Be sure to smooth back all stray hair!  Water will leak into the face-mask via any strands of hair.

  6. Now, pull the strap section of the mask over his or her head, and into position. This is the hard part! Kids hate to feel the rubber strap pull against their hair. Pull the strap far from the head, to minimize contact.

  7. Be patient. If the child is frustrated, stop for now, and try another time.

  8. Once a child is comfortable with the mask, try adding the snorkel.

  9. The snorkel doesn't need to be attached properly, i.e. threaded through the loop on the face-mask. You can just tuck it between the face-mask and your child's face.

  10. Once you arrive at your holiday destination practice in a pool if one is available.

  11. When you finally try real-life snorkeling in the sea, try to find a calm place, like a lagoon. Wave action can un-nerve a child, at first.

  12. Bring along water-wings, so that your child's energy isn't used up just staying afloat.

Tip: You don't need to buy expensive snorkels - in fact it may be better to buy cheaper ones and get a few extra to increase your chances of getting a good fit on little faces. Don't worry too much if your child doesn't catch on, during practice sessions in the bathtub snorkeling in real-life is far more motivating! Make sure you're comfortable with your own equipment and stay very near your child as she or he explores this exciting new world.


Snorkel Safely

  1. Practice in shallow water.

  2. Check the equipment carefully and know how it functions.

  3. Learn how to clear water from the snorkel when treading water.

  4. Learn how to put your mask back on when you tread water.

  5. Be careful not to swim or be carried by a current too far from shore or the boat.

  6. Never snorkel alone!

Learn to swim. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim. This includes anyone participating in any water sport. The American Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability. To enroll in a swim course, contact your local Red Cross chapter or equivalent agency.


Know local weather conditions. Make sure the water and weather conditions are safe. Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming, boating or any activities on the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Also, heavy rains can make certain areas dangerous.