How to Snorkel

A Guide on snorkeling basics and tips on how to develop your snorkeling skills.

The importance for knowing the snorkeling basics is essential before venturing out into open water. Read our Snorkeling Tips and Techniques on how to snorkel and improve your snorkeling experience so that you may develop the necessary snorkeling basics to ensure your safety.

One of the main reasons why people choose to snorkel, is that it can be so relaxing. Just floating and being immersed within the underwater scenery is enough to escape the hurdles we encountered in every day life.

So what is the secret in how to snorkel the right way? Well it is very simple. The most important thing is to just relax. There is no need to hurry up. Learning on how to snorkel about without feeling breathless, fatigue or cramps is the key to maximizing the enjoyment of your snorkeling adventure.

Gain experience using the snorkel – The right technique on how to breath from the snorkel

If you are a beginner, it may be slightly unnerving to breath underwater through a tube but don’t worry it will quickly become second nature just after a few tries. If you are still learning on how to snorkel, then it is advisable to test out using the snorkel in still shallow waters preferably in a pool or on a sandy beach.Begin by laying flat on your stomach, just floating and placing your face in the water at about a 45 degree angle. Bite gently on the mouthpiece, allowing your lips to seal around it and hold the snorkel in place.

A rule of thumb is that whenever you put the snorkel in your mouth, be sure to exhale before inhaling though the snorkel tube, in case there’s any water in it.

Test the snorkel by taking regular slow breaths through the tube. Breath slowly, deeply and cautiously through your snorkel. No need to panic you can always lift your head above water if you want. Just relax and become aware of your breaths. The sound of your breathing through the snorkel barrel should become quite noticeable.

Learn on how to snorkel the right way by conserving your energy

On learning how to snorkel, you soon will get to experience for yourself that keeping you head above the water can get very tiring.

So what is the next step? Well the great thing about the snorkel is that while breathing through it, the snorkel will enable you to lie face down in the water while you are completely motionless at surface.

Your next task is to develop this simple basic snorkeling skill. This is a great way to start. The importance of this resting position is that it will assist you to conserve energy during your long snorkeling outings.

Snorkel Clearing technique

Before venturing out into open water, it is necessary to test your skills in how to use the snorkel. Place your head below the water so that your snorkel is immersed below the surface. You should feel that water is entering the snorkel barrel. At this point, it is important that you hold your breath. I know that holding your breath with an open mouth may seems unnatural but it is easy. Just keep this in mind never inhale when you feel that water has entered the snorkel.

The next step is to clear the water from the snorkel. This can only be performed once you have raised the snorkel above the surface of the water. For now, until you develop the necessary skill in how to snorkel, never exhale when your snorkel is underwater as once you run out of air, your instinct is to inhale, and what you get is water.

So surface your head without lifting it out of the water and quickly exhale forcefully and sharply into the snorkel.

This will blast up the water out of the snorkel barrel. This blast method of snorkel clearing will remove nearly all the water from your snorkel. Any small amount of water left can be removed by a second forceful blast.

You should also keep in mind that water can also enter the snorkel even if you don’t immerse you head underwater. Sometimes either due to surf conditions or excessive splashing, some water may enter. So one thing to keep in mind is to breath cautiously. By repeating the blast method you should clear any water that enters into the snorkel.

Sometimes, although you may have some water left in the snorkel, if you inhale slowly and use airway control, you can breath the air past the water until you have enough air for another blast.

This skill ability to breath past the little amount of water left in your snorkel, shows that you have mastered airway control and proper snorkel clearing technique.

That’s it, all you have to do is practice the above mentioned snorkeling techniques and snorkel clearing will become automatic with experience.

How to Snorkel like a pro – Get streamlined. Think of a barracuda!

If you have ever tried run in the water at tigh level, you will find out that the resistance to movement in water is much greater than in air. Try running at this depth and you will soon find yourself totally exhausted. This same principal is applied to any underwater activity. So what can you do to overcome this increased resistance whilst snorkeling? It’;s simple, conserve your energy…just take your time and avoid excessive movements that waste your energy. The next thing to consider is to become one with the environment and get streamlined.

When snorkeling, the resistance on the amount of surface area that you expose yourself in the water, affects the amount of energy you use. Streamline yourself as you move through the water will minimize the amount of energy needed to move at a given speed because you have less water resistance.

Think of a barracuda, this fish is amazing. This fish is so streamlined that it wastes little if no energy. During my scuba dives, I have seen this fish in extreme current conditions and yet it looked motionless like the current had no effect on it whatsoever whilst I found it extremely hard just to move a few paces.

So how is the best way to get streamlined? To maximize your streamlining, keep your arms to the side of the body. Arm movements underwater actually reduces the momentum underwater when you’re snorkeling, so try to avoid excessive use of your arms. Try to snorkel through the water in a horizontal position as much as possible. Swimming faster will only make you more tired so take it easy and learn to pace yourself.

Fin technique – Use your fins the proper way for maximum propulsion when snorkeling

I have on many occasions watched some people attempting to propel themselves in the water by kicking their fins out of the water up and down. It’s a great way to scare the fish away if that’s your aim, otherwise splashing your feet around is not going to get you anywhere. The truth of it is that not many people know that there are techniques involved in how to snorkel.

When snorkeling, keep in mind to blend in with your surroundings. Go with the environment and not against it. Your fins only provide the necessary propulsion once they are submerged under the surface. Using you fins to break the water’s surface will result in inefficient fin strokes and you will end up wasting more energy than needed. The idea is to keep your fin stroke movements smooth, slow and relaxed. Remember that speed is not the objective when snorkeling so don’t attempt to fin rapidly. Always keep in mind to conserve your energy.

When using fins, try to keep your arms at your sides in order to reduce drag, slow your kick and lengthen the stroke. Your legs should be extended so that the fins are pointed behind you. With your knees slightly bend, kick slowly and powerfully from the hip to make use of your thigh muscles. Avoid kicking with your knees, as this will only waste your energy.
Woman snorkeling gracefully

The right snorkeling technique is for the power portion of the stroke to be downwards. Kick farther down and less upwards whilst arching your back upward to force your legs downward.

There you have it. Use this proper fin technique to get you going underwater.

  • Here are some pointers to keep into consideration when learning on how to snorkel:
  • Swim at a steady comfortable pace to conserve your energy
  • Streamline yourself as much as possible. Keep your arms at your side
  • Breathing cautiously through your snorkel, to avoid choking on water that may enter.
  • Keep your fins below the surface when kicking.
  • Kick slowly and powerfully from the hip. Avoid kicking with your knees.
  • Use the downward kick stroke more than upward.

Keep in mind that when you are still learning on how to snorkel, the more you test and use your snorkeling gear, the more experience you will gain. So be patient, the right snorkeling technique for breathing through the snorkel and using your fins will become second nature. The aim is to relax and have fun so that you blend with the marine environment.

After your snorkeling adventure is over, remember to take care of the equipment. So check out our snorkeling gear guides on information for how to maintain your snorkeling equipment after each and every snorkeling outing.

Visit www.riverventures.com

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