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10 Helpful Tips For First Time Snorkelers

There’s nothing quite like seeing the beauty and wonders of the nature around us. Gigantic mountains, lush of greeneries, and the breathtaking golden sunset dripping down the blue horizon – they all leave us in awe. Yet, the elegance and splendor of nature are not only on land. There’s so much beauty under the deep blue ocean as well. And as humans are driven by curiosity and thirst for adventure, our wanderlust tells us to explore the palace of the aquatic kingdom.

Snorkeling is an interesting and relaxing way to venture and sight-see the underwater world. With snorkeling, you’ll be able to enjoy the underwater scenery without the need to come up above the water to catch more air or to go through the training necessary for scuba diving. You just simply let your body float, paddle here and there, all while enjoying the aquatic view.

But the idea of snorkeling can be daunting, especially for those who haven’t tried it yet. The good news is, learning how to snorkel is not difficult. Yes, I repeat, it’s not difficult. Below we have listed some simple steps on how to snorkel and some snorkel tips to help you with your snorkeling experience!

Here’s how to snorkel

  • Use a mask and snorkel that fits properly
    Try your mask on and check if the straps fit on you. If not, then adjust the strap but don’t overtighten it. You might want to immerse your head underwater to ensure there are no leaks. If you have bad eyesight or perhaps you’re using corrective lenses or contact lenses, you can use a prescription-adjusted mask if it is available to you. Here’s a trick to test if your mask fits properly: Hold your mask onto your face without using the straps and simply breathe in through your nose. If the mask stays in place, that means you have a mask that properly fits to your face.
  • Seal the snorkel mouthpiece
    Before emerging in the water, place your lips around the mouthpiece of the snorkel and make sure that your leaps seal around it.  This will help ensure that water does not leak into the snorkel.
  • Now float!
    Slowly, submerge in the water, float, and let your stomach lay flat on the surface of the water. Place your head in the water at about a 45-degree angle. Make sure the end of the snorkel tube will not immerse in the water while you snorkel.  We highly recommend a dry snorkel with a purge valve to help keep water out of your snorkel.  With the purge valve, if water does get inside the snorkel, it can easily be cleared out without even taking your head out of the water.
  • Breathe in, breath out, relax
    Using your mouth, breathe in and out through the tube. And remember, just relax. Feel your breathing and be mindful of it. No need to panic at all. Float and let your feet direct you. Enjoy your snorkeling experience!

No doubt, snorkeling is a fun, relaxing activity. And learning how to snorkel is pretty simple. But you might come to some trouble while snorkeling. For example, your mask might get fogged up, or water might have gotten into the snorkel tube. These things can cause you to panic which can then lead to other serious problems. Hence, we want to avoid these experiences and to know what to do if they do happen. Below we listed 10 helpful tips for first time snorkelers:

Prevent your mask from fogging up

Fogging can occur in your mask due to condensation. So, before emerging to the water, there are some things you can do to try to minimize fogging. The most common method is spit and rub. Yes, for some it may be disgusting, but it is one of the effective ways to prevent fog from forming in your mask plus it's FREE and always available. Simply spit onto the lens on the inside of your mask and rub the saliva all over the lens. Make sure the mask is dry before applying the saliva. Once you have rubbed it all over, give it a real quick rinse with the ocean water.  If you find this disgusting, then you can use some anti-fog solution.  These are only temporary solutions and are done each time you go snorkeling.

If you are purchasing a brand new mask, we highly recommend pre-treating your mask to remove any residue that can be left behind during manufacturing.  Check out our blog post "How to pre-treat a new snorkel mask" to learn the steps for doing that. 

Know how to clear the water out of the snorkel tube

Water can enter the tube especially if there are strong waves or if you have dipped your head a bit deeper into the water. Having water in the tube where you breathe in and out can be really annoying and perhaps can cause hysteria. If this happens, blow a forceful exhale to blast the water out of the tube. Do this twice to be sure that all the water has been removed.  As we mentioned earlier, we highly recommend a dry snorkel with a purge valve to help keep water out of your snorkel in the first place.

Learn how to clear your mask

Snorkeling is an activity that lets you enjoy the water world. With your mask, your eyes are kept dry making your sightseeing experience clear and crisp. But what if your mask accidentally gets water in? Do you need to lift your head above the surface to remove it? Not necessarily. You can clear your mask even when your head’s underwater. Simply press the top of your mask to allow space in the bottom part of the mask. Then, exhale firmly through your nose to push the water out of your mask. This is a must-learned skill regardless if you snorkel or scuba dive.

Use a floatation device

If you’re a first-time snorkeler or if you’re not a very good swimmer, it might be best if you use some sort of a floatation device – especially in your first snorkel experience. A very common floatation device for snorkeling is a snorkeling vest.  Having a snorkeling vest can help you focus on your breathing while enjoying the beauty of the underwater world. Also, if you’re someone who fears the depth of the water, then it is really a great idea to use a snorkeling vest. It will help you overcome your fear and perhaps slowly overpower it.

Glide, not swim

Snorkeling is an activity that should relax you. Hence, it is more of floating than swimming. Use only your feet to navigate and move through the water. It’s always better to use fins as they can help you glide through the water more efficiently and also help you to use much less energy.

Snorkel with friends

If you’re snorkeling for the first time, then we suggest you do it with some company; much better, snorkel with someone who’s an experienced snorkeler. Snorkeling is a safe activity, but we’re talking about the vulnerability of being in the open ocean.

Study the marine life

To fully enjoy your snorkeling experience (and for your safety), study the marine life before you snorkel. That’s right. Do a quick Google search or visit your local library and study the different fishes and corals that you might see where you will be snorkeling. Say, you saw two clownfish and they’re small and cute and you saw them being playful with each other. Curiosity kicks in and you dive down to get a closer look at them. Oops, stop. You remembered what you learned from your pre-snorkeling research that these cute clownfish are actually territorial and they are known to attack divers that get too close to their territory.  So just be careful around marine life and please don't touch them, for your safety and theirs.

Wear the right swimwear

Wear comfortable swimwear that won't cause you any issues in the water. Use lightweight swimsuits or trunks. Regardless of how enthusiastic you are about fashion, wear the beachwear that you feel comfortable with when underwater.  One of the last things you want is to be messing with your swimwear instead of enjoying your snorkeling experience.

Always consider the weather

Before heading to the reef, make sure to check the weather forecast first. Let the weatherman tell you how the day would go. Windy? Then expect strong waves. A storm coming? There might be a strong surge at the beach. Rainy? Might not be the perfect time for snorkeling. Also consider the tide, the season, and the time of the day. The best time of the day, for many, is to go snorkeling is the morning, when it’s sunny and warm. But that depends on several variables that can affect the condition of the ocean.

Snorkel in calm water

Snorkel in the parts of the ocean where the water is calm or if it only has small waves. You are more likely to enjoy your snorkeling experience in calm water because you are less likely to get water in your snorkel tube which can ruin your experience. Also, if the waves are too big, you might not be able to control your body in the water very well.

Snorkeling is an activity that can help you escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Enjoy your time with the fishes, colorful corals, and the dancing waves. Indulge the serenity the ocean world offers you. Remember, if you run into any issues while snorkeling, just relax. Calmly ask for some help from your snorkeling buddy. Breathe in, breathe out. We hope these tips and advice help you enjoy your next snorkeling experience!

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