Below the surface of the water are entire worlds full of incredible animals and impressive sights, and there are several things down there that will blow your mind. It is not a surprise that many people travel long distances to explore underwater areas.
Scuba gear and other equipment facilitate aquatic exploration, allowing you to spend long periods of time beneath the surface without having to come up for air.
Today we’ll discuss how to dive with a snorkel, as well as several other snorkel-related subjects.
What is a Snorkel?
Before diving with your snorkel, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with what a snorkel is and how it works.
A snorkel is a piece of equipment worn over the face that allows you to breathe underwater. However, the snorkel is more than a long tube that helps you breathe under water. It also allows you to see more clearly under water.
We will show you the different parts of a snorkel, how they work, as well as the various kinds of snorkels out there.
Components of a Snorkel
A complete snorkel consists of several different parts. Let’s look at each of them and how they contribute to the operation of the device.
The snorkel is itself the most essential component. It refers to a long tube that runs from the mouth to the top of the mask and above the surface of the water.
The snorkel is the most important part of the mask because it allows you to breathe when you’re underwater.
The Purge Valve
The purge valve is located at the bottom of the snorkel and is there to expel water. The purge valve is not available in every mask and is specific to certain brands.
The purge valve helps prevent water from building up behind your mask and flooding the snorkel. You can easily get rid of excess water by blowing air out of your mouth, forcing the water out through the valve.
When using a snorkel, you breathe through your mouth, not through your nose. The mouthpiece is an important part of your snorkel because it is impossible for you to breathe underwater without it.
The mouthpiece is the part of the snorkel that goes into your mouth and allows you to exchange fresh air through the snorkel’s tube.
The mask skirt is another important part of your snorkel mask, and is the part that goes over your face. The skirt is usually made from a soft, air-tight material like silicone or plastic, which prevents water from getting into your mask.
The mask skirt is also designed to rest comfortably against your face, allowing you to use it for extended periods.
The Mask Lens
The lens fits over your eyes and is central to the structure of the mask . It consists of glass or plastic and is shaped to fit snugly over your eyes, allowing you to keep your eyes open when underwater.
The mask lens also prevents water from getting into your eyes.
The Mask Frame
The mask frame is not common to all snorkeling masks, and those without it are called frameless masks. For masks with frames, the frame is the foundation around which the rest of the mask is built. The mask lens is affixed directly to the frame, and the mask skirt is also attached to the frame.
The frame helps hold the mask together, increasing the mask’s resistance to water pressure.
The Snorkel Splash Guard
The snorkel splash guard refers to a plastic cover at the top of the snorkel. As the name indicates, the splash guard is there to prevent water from entering your snorkel.
The splash guard is carefully designed with small openings called slits, and these slits are made at an angle that makes it difficult for water to pass through them.
How Does A Snorkel Work Underwater?
Having described the different parts of a snorkel to you, it is only fair that we also explain how it works. Understanding how the snorkel works will make it easier for you to use it, and will provide you with background information for our discussion of different snorkeling methods.
The working principle of the snorkel is very simple, with the long tube being the main functional component.
Air comes in through the top of the snorkel opening or snorkel splash guard, entering your lungs through the mouthpiece. Exhaling also works the same way, with the air being expelled through the top of the snorkel.
Components of a snorkel may differ between models, with some parts being absent in some models. Next, we want to show you the types of snorkels available and their distinguishing features.
Types Of Snorkels
Wet snorkels are the most basic form of snorkel. They are also the first type ever created, and they have been used for thousands of years.
The wet snorkel is a breathing straw. It consists of one long tube that goes into your mouth and features no other component. In other words, a wet snorkel is a J-shaped tube with an opening at the top and a mouthpiece at the other end.
The wet snorkel is not advised for beginners because it is unable to block water from flooding into your mouth.
However, some professional divers may prefer this type because of its minimal design and simple construction. But if you’re just learning to snorkel, you will have problems regulating your breathing and are more likely to swallow water.
Semi-dry snorkels are an improvement on the wet snorkel and are great for beginners, since they prevent water from flooding the mouthpiece.
The end of the snorkel has a splash guard to prevent water from getting in, as well as a purge valve at the other end to expel water droplets that do get in. It is called a semi-dry snorkel because water can still get into it, albeit a small amount. If you dive too far below the surface, your snorkel will flood with water.
The semi-dry snorkel is great for beginners and shallow diving. However, we don’t advise you to fully submerge it in water if you’re not very experienced at snorkeling.
Dry snorkels are the ultimate snorkels for deep dives. Dry snorkels are essentially the same as semi-dry snorkels in terms of structure, but they have a valve at the top that prevents water from getting into the tube. Likewise, they feature a valve at the bottom for expelling water.
The difference between a dry and semi-dry snorkel is the valve at the tube’s opening. If you submerge a semi-dry snorkel in water, the valve will allow some water to enter the tube. However, if you submerge a dry snorkel in water, the valve will shut close and prevent water from getting into the tube.
The dry snorkel is perfect for beginners who may dive deeper than they plan to. However, professional snorkelers often avoid these because they become buoyant when underwater, making it difficult to descend far below the surface.
A Beginner’s Guide on How to Dive with a Snorkel
Snorkel diving is an exciting exercise when you finally get the hang of it. However, don’t rush yourself if you don’t have the right amount of experience and knowledge.
We will show you some of the basic things you need to master as a beginner before going over the right way to dive with a snorkel.
Get the Right Gear
We understand that your aim may be to snorkel like a professional. However, you are not yet a professional, and you need to keep this in mind when getting started. Above all, take things slowly.
The first thing you should pay attention to is your snorkeling gear. As we’ve shown you already, there are different kinds of snorkels, and you need to pick one that will suit your needs best. Don’t just rush off to the nearest scuba gear shop to purchase the first one that catches your eye.
Also, from our description of the types of snorkels, you’ll see that some are more suitable for beginners than others. As a beginner, we advise you to go for a dry snorkel.
One of the issues that beginners face is how to deal with water that gets into your snorkel. Until you’ve fully mastered breathing with your snorkel, we advise that you stick to a dry snorkel. The dry snorkel prevents water from entering the snorkel when you’re submerged.
Additional gear such as fins and a comfortable dive suit are helpful, but not mandatory.
Before you set off to the Maldives or wherever you plan to go snorkeling, make sure you’re a proficient swimmer. The fact that you have diving gear won’t make up for poor swimming.
If you don’t know how to swim, you can start learning today, whether in a pool, a lake, or pond. Even if you know how to swim, you can never be too good at something, so keep practicing.
Sharpening your swimming skills makes you a better swimmer, builds your body, and improves muscles. You’ll realize that you can swim longer, faster, and spend more time underwater.
You’ll also notice that most professional divers don’t use a snorkeling vest. Although it will keep you buoyant, snorkeling vests prevent you from diving deep. If you’ve mastered swimming, you can forgo the snorkeling vest and enjoy the freedom of deep waters.
Simulate Actual Snorkel Diving Scenarios
The first thing you can do is accustom yourself to the diving gear. The first point we mentioned is purchasing the right gear. Using this gear beforehand will make it easier for you once you head out to open water.
You might think you’ll look funny diving into a local pool with fins on–even so, the practice is worth it. After getting the snorkel and fin, don’t just keep them in your house. Bring the gear to your swimming center and try them out as often as possible.
If you’re never used fins before, you’ll realize that the experience differs greatly from swimming barefoot. Next, try on your snorkel and get used to wearing it underwater. It can take some time to adjust to breathing through the mouthpiece.
If you want to dive deeper and see the aquatic life around you, you will need to improve your breathing and your ability to hold your breath. The deeper you go below sea level, the more pressure there will be against your lungs, which will make it more challenging to hold your breath. Try to swim in the deeper ends of the pool for longer while holding your breath for sustained periods. This will make it easy to do when you finally hit open waters.
How to Snorkel Without Swallowing Water
So far, we’ve shown you things you need to know as a beginner when snorkeling and how you can prepare yourself for your first snorkeling experience. We want to address the major issue most people encounter when using a snorkel for the first time: using it without swallowing water.
The first step is to get the right type of snorkel. For beginners, it’s best to get a dry or semi-dry snorkel.
Despite being called a dry snorkel, a dry snorkel is not entirely dry. Water can still enter through the mouthpiece, so don’t panic if some gets in.
When you do get water in your snorkel, use your tongue to block the water from entering your mouth. You can do this by placing your tongue over the opening of the mouthpiece when inhaling.
Another reason why we recommend the dry and semi-dry snorkel is because they often come with purge valves. If you have a purge valve, exhale sharply. The water in your mask will then be forced out through the valve, making it easier for you to breathe normally.
Practice breathing through your snorkel and inhaling and exhaling when water is present. Practice makes perfect, and you will be ready for open water exploration with your snorkel in no time.
How to Dive With A snorkel?
When visiting the beach, you may want to explore the shallows or even venture out over deeper waters to check out the wildlife below.
Here we’ll show you the best way to dive with snorkel. By following these instructions, you should be able to hold in more air and stay underwater for longer.
Gently submerge yourself in the water. Next, get into a face-down, horizontal position with your body stretched out and your arms flat beside you.
Lower your arms until they’re hanging perpendicular to your body.
Tilt your upper body into the water so you’re parallel with your outstretched arms. You will know you’re in the right position when your upper body is perpendicular to your legs.
Next, lift your legs, using them to propel you forward. Don’t worry about using your arms–let your legs push you through the water.
Diving with this method will conserve the air you’ve inhaled in preparation for the dive. Also, use your legs more when underwater because the fins will make it easier to propel yourself.
Can You Breathe Fully Underwater With A Snorkel?
Whether or not you can breathe underwater with a snorkel will depend if the tip of the snorkel is above the surface of the water. If the opening of your snorkel is above water, you should be able to breathe easily. However, if the top of the snorkel is below the surface, you will not be able to draw in fresh air.
Should You Dive with a Snorkel in Your Mouth?
It is not advisable to dive underwater with a snorkel in your mouth. If you plan on going far below the surface, your snorkel will not help you breathe. Water will enter the tube and flood your mouth if you are in too deep. The only exception to this rule comes with a dry snorkel, which, as we’ve mentioned, will prevent water from flooding your mask.
How Long Can You Stay Underwater with a Snorkel?
This will depend on your comfort level and if you can keep the top of your snorkel above the surface at all times. Once below the surface, there is no fixed time for staying underwater, and the time you spend underwater will depend on your lung capacity and endurance. On average, you can stay up to a minute while holding your breath.
Fun Places You Can Go Snorkeling
After showing you all you need to know about snorkeling, we thought it would be fun to give you a list of places that are ideal for snorkeling.
- Tulamben, Bali
- Silfra, Thingvellir, Iceland
- Jellyfish Lake, Palau, Micronesia
- Ras Mohammed National Marine Park, Egypt
- The Maldives
- The Great Barrier Reef
- Caymans Islands
- Galapagos Islands
- Belize’s Lighthouse Reef Atoll and Great Blue Hole
Snorkeling is a fun and practical recreational pastime. Learning how to dive with a snorkel will give you unlimited access to underwater worlds, giving you a firsthand view of aquatic life.
Before you hit open waters and start exploring, you must learn how to dive with a snorkel. We’ve given you a complete guide on snorkels and snorkel diving. You can learn more about marine life and scuba diving activities here.