How is Snorkelling Done: A Step-by-Step Guide (How to Snorkel)

Snorkelling is a fun and exciting way to explore the underwater world. With a little and guidance, snorkelling can be an enjoyable experience for people of all ages and skill levels. This step-by-step guide will teach you how to choose the right snorkelling gear, prepare for your snorkelling adventure, master basic techniques, and snorkel responsibly and safely.

Choosing the Right Snorkelling Gear

Having the right gear is crucial for a successful snorkelling experience. Properly fitting equipment will ensure your comfort and safety while in the water.

Snorkel Mask

A good snorkel mask will fit comfortably on your face and provide a clear view of the underwater environment. Look for a mask with a silicone skirt, as this material creates a better seal around your face and prevents water from leaking in. Adjust the mask strap so that it is tight enough to keep the mask in place but not so tight that it causes discomfort.

Snorkel Tube

Choose a snorkel tube with a comfortable mouthpiece, as well as a purge valve to help you easily blow out any water that may enter the tube. Some snorkel tubes also feature a dry top, which helps prevent water from entering the tube when you dive below the surface.


Snorkelling fins will help increase your propulsion in the water, making it easier to follow fish or explore larger areas. Look for fins that fit comfortably on your feet, and consider adjustable or full-foot fins based on your preferences.

Wetsuit or Rash Guard

A wetsuit or rash guard will offer additional protection from the sun and keep you warm in cool water. Choose a wetsuit or rash guard that fits snugly but allows for freedom of movement.

Preparing for Your Snorkelling Adventure

Proper preparation will help ensure a safe and enjoyable snorkelling experience. Research your chosen location and familiarize yourself with any potential hazards, marine life, and snorkelling conditions.

Researching Snorkelling Locations

Choosing the right snorkelling spot can make all the difference in your underwater experience. Look for clear, calm waters with a variety of marine life and a good mix of shallow and deeper areas. Popular snorkelling destinations often provide detailed information, such as the best spots to see certain fish or coral formations.

Checking Weather and Water Conditions

Before heading out, check the local weather, tides, and currents to ensure safe snorkelling conditions. Keep in mind that the water may be calm and clear in the morning, but become choppy and murky later in the day. Choose a time when the weather and water conditions are most favourable for snorkelling.

Understanding Local Marine Life

Get to know the marine life in your chosen snorkelling location. Familiarize yourself with any potentially dangerous species, such as venomous fish or jellyfish, and learn how to avoid disturbing or harming them. Be aware of any protected or endangered species to avoid accidentally causing damage to their environment or populations.

Snorkelling Safety Tips

Always snorkel with a buddy and communicate with one another while in the water. Use a snorkelling float or buoy to help you stay visible to boats and other watercraft. Stay within your limits and know when to call it quits if the conditions become difficult or you tire easily.

Basic Snorkelling Techniques

Mastering basic snorkelling techniques will help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the water.

Proper Breathing Techniques

Breathe slowly and deeply through your snorkel to conserve energy and avoid carbon dioxide buildup in your snorkel tube. Focus on keeping a steady rhythm of breathing, and remember to exhale fully before inhaling.

Clearing Your Snorkel

If water enters your snorkel, use a forceful exhale to clear it through the purge valve. You can also tilt your head back slightly to allow the water to drain out of the top of the snorkel. Practice these techniques before entering the water to ensure you are comfortable clearing your snorkel while swimming.

Equalizing Ear Pressure

To prevent discomfort or injury due to changes in water pressure, equalize your ear pressure by pinching your nose and gently blowing. This should be done every few feet as you descend.

Efficient Fin Kicking

Practice a smooth, relaxed fin kicking motion, keeping your legs straight and kicking from the hips. This style of kicking will help you conserve energy and move through the water more efficiently. Avoid excessive splashing or crawling movements, as these can tire you out quickly and scare away marine life.

Snorkelling Etiquette and Conservation

Respecting the underwater environment and practising good snorkelling etiquette will help preserve these unique ecosystems for future generations.

Respecting Marine Life

Observe and appreciate the marine life without touching, feeding, or harassing them. Maintain a safe distance and avoid disrupting their natural behaviour. Remember that you are a visitor in their home, so treat them with respect.

Avoiding Damage to Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are fragile ecosystems that can be easily damaged by careless snorkelers. Avoid touching or standing on coral, as even the slightest contact can harm these delicate organisms. If you need to adjust your gear or take a break, do so in a sandy or rocky area away from the coral.

Minimizing Your Environmental Impact

Practising eco-conscious snorkelling will ensure the health of the ocean for years to come. Don’t litter or leave any trash in the water, and consider utilizing reef-safe sunscreen to protect both your skin and the underwater environment.

Troubleshooting Common Snorkelling Issues

Even experienced snorkelers can encounter issues from time to time. Knowing how to deal with common snorkelling problems will help you regain your composure and continue enjoying your dive.

Dealing with Foggy Masks

A foggy snorkel mask can be annoying and hinder your ability to see clearly underwater. To prevent fogging, apply a defogging solution, or use a homemade solution like mild dish soap, and rinse your mask before your dive. If your mask fogs up during your snorkel, briefly surface and rinse your mask with water to clear the fog.

Preventing Leg Cramps

Leg cramps can occur during snorkelling, particularly if you are kicking inefficiently or strain your muscles. Stay hydrated, stretch before entering the water, and use a relaxed fin kicking technique to help prevent cramps. If you do experience a cramp, stop swimming, stretch the affected muscle, and consider swimming at a slower pace until the cramp subsides.

Overcoming Fear or Anxiety

It’s not uncommon to feel nervous or anxious when snorkelling, especially if you are a beginner or in a new environment. To help manage your fears, start by practising snorkelling techniques in shallow, controlled environments like a pool or a beach with easy access to the shore. Breathing slowly and steadily, focusing on the beauty of the underwater world, and having a competent buddy nearby can also help alleviate anxiety.

By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying snorkelling adventures and exploring the wonders that the underwater world has to offer. Remember to always practice safe and responsible snorkelling habits to protect both yourself and marine life.