How to Snorkel

Step by Step Snorkeling Instructions

Easy instructions that adults and kids can use to quickly learn how to snorkel. Once you learn these techniques you'll never forget.

Snorkeling is probably the easiest water-sport to learn and requires little in the way of gear. It provides a low to moderate level of activity that works for every age group. It's fun, educational and enlightening and if that's not enough, it's FREE.

Follow these easy steps and amaze yourself by learning how to snorkel and see what the buzz is all about.


  • Mask - The mask should fit snugly around your face creating a watertight seal. Traditional snorkeling masks always cover your nostrils so that you only breathe through your mouth. Full face masks are the new kid on the block and allow you to breathe through both of your airways (mouth and nose).
  • Snorkel - In traditional units the snorkel attaches to the mask at the band that goes around your head. Make sure that it is situated so that the mouthpiece fits into your mouth and the top of the snorkel points straight up in the air when your face is in the water. In full face designs the snorkel and mask are a single unit and no adjustments should be necessary.
  • Fins - Adjustable fins work best to start with. They fit a wide range of foot sizes and give you an idea of how you want them to fit.

In The Water

    Foggy Mask?

    Spit on the inside of the glass and smear it around with your fingers. Give it a quick rinse and that should fix any fog issues.

    You can buy JAWS Quick Spit Anti-fog Spray if you'd rather not use spit.

  • Get Garbed Up - Put on the fins and mask with the snorkel in your mouth. A traditional mask will block your nostrils so that you only breathe through your mouth. The new full face masks allow you to breathe through both your mouth and nose as well as offering a wider view spectrum.
  • Face in The Water - Lower your face into the water and practice breathing through the snorkel. Open your eyes, relax and breathe.
  • Remember the Tube - Sometimes, when you get really interested in something down there, you start moving your head deeper into the water, looking intently, until ... cough, gag, sputter - water fills the tube because the top of the snorkel was submerged. Remember the tube allows limited motion of your head.
  • You're Snorkeling - Float, face down, keeping your eyes open and check out the underwater scenery. Reefs and coral beds are teeming with colorful fishes and corals and the occasional turtle, ray or dolphin.
  • Snorkel in the Sun - The brilliance of the fishes colors will show best in the sun.
  • Clearing the Snorkel - If you hear a gurgling from the snorkel after a while, take a deep breath and exhale explosively through the tube - that should clear any water out.

Diving Under

  • Take a deep breath and hold it.
  • Bend at the waist - Arms over your head in a diving position except the palms of your hands face out. Your hands and the tips of your fins point downward - your butt is in the air.
  • Push Down - Simultaneously bring your legs up out of the water 'til your toes are pointed in the air (this motion pushes your upper body down into the water) and bring your hands to your sides scooping the water in your cupped hands and pulling yourself deeper into the water. Kick your feet and use your arms to keep pulling you down to whatever you want to inspect more closely.
  • Expel - When you need air simply swim to the top and exhale forcefully through the snorkel to expel the water from it. You can then resume surface snorkeling or take another deep breath and dive again.
  • Sometimes it's Noisy - Often you'll hear a crackling noise - It's shrimp and other tiny critters going about their business. We've even heard whale song while snorkeling.

Tips For Teaching Kids How to Snorkel

  • Start Shallow - A bathtub or kiddie pool is a perfect place for the kids to practice breathing through the tube.
  • Practice Floating - Graduate to deeper water where they can practice floating while using the mask and snorkel.
  • Increase Confidence - Kids who aren't super confident swimmers will have a lot more fun if they can focus more on the snorkeling than on staying afloat. There are some great flotation devices designed especially for snorkeling.
  • Diving Under - Place Dive Sticks on the bottom of a swimming pool for the kids to pick up. It's a great way to perfect the dive technique.

Identifying Sea Creatures

You'll see things you've never seen before and having a book for identifying fishes is such an educational resource and it satisfies that burning curiosity.

Depending on where in the world you're doing your snorkeling there will be completely different species from one place to the next.

A fish identification book for your area Reef Fish and another to help you determine the identity of Reef Creatures are worthwhile resources in which serious snorkelers invest.


  • Never Snorkel Alone! - The same rules apply as for swimming - always snorkel with a buddy.
  • Wear a Life Preserver - If you're not a confident swimmer or you tire easily, use a flotation device.
  • Slather Sunscreen on Your Back - Your back and the backs of your legs and ears will be exposed to the sun and the reflection from the water magnifies it's effect.
  • Check Our Beach Safety Page - Check here for tips to keep you safe on the beach.

While You're at the Beach

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