How Does a Snorkel Work?

Snorkeling is a popular activity for beach vacations or cruises. So, how does a snorkel work? Short answer: Snorkels allow you to breathe while keeping your face underwater. They include a rubber mouthpiece attached to a tube, which sticks out above the surface while the swimmer’s face is submerged. The valve at the top of the tube also draws in air to the mouthpiece while preventing water from entering the tube.

Exploring the deep, underwater world is what makes snorkeling appealing to so many. Who doesn’t want to discover the unknown in beautiful, blue waters? This article will go into more detail about how snorkels work, as well as the different types of equipment, so that you can find the perfect gear for your next excursion.

What Do You Need to Snorkel?

A couple snorkeling in blue ocean water

Snorkeling is an exciting way to discover new habitats and animals that you wouldn’t otherwise see. If you are new to snorkeling, or if you are looking to buy equipment for the first time, it’s helpful to understand how snorkeling gear works before you purchase.

Masks are the primary pieces used for snorkeling. Regular snorkel masks and full-face snorkel masks are the most common mask types you’ll find, and there are advantages to both. Before we look at the differences, though, let’s examine the snorkel tube itself and how it works.

How Snorkels Work

When you are in the water, you might experience some waves splashing over the top of your snorkel – the ocean has a mind of its own. Plus, some people like to dive and swim with their snorkel completely submerged. When waves wash over you, or if you decide to dive below the surface, snorkels are designed to keep the water out.

Specially designed snorkels, known as dry snorkels, feature a splash guard at the top of the tube that prevents splashing water from sneaking inside. The guard is a plastic cover with small slits allowing air to come in and out while limiting water entry.

So, what if you want to dive down to check out some coral? Dry snorkels also have a buoy inside the tube that rests while you are breathing. If the tube is submerged, the buoy rises to the top of the tube and plugs the valve which prevents water from flooding the snorkel. With a dry snorkel, you can dive completely underwater without flooding your snorkel!

If water does get inside the tube, the purge valve easily removes the water from the snorkel. Located at the bottom of the mouthpiece, the valve collects water that sneaks into the tube and expels it when you exhale.

There’s no need to panic on your underwater excursion. Snorkels are designed to let you breathe easily while limiting the amount of water that can get inside the tube. This gives you the freedom to dive beneath the surface and swim without worry while taking in the beautiful underwater sights.

Regular Snorkel Masks

A Seaview snorkeling mask in a standard style held in front of the ocean

Regular snorkel masks are designed for easy transportation, taking up as little space as possible in your luggage. Standard masks seal tightly around your eyes and include a clip for the snorkel on the side.

Standard masks also have a rubber cover that keeps water from getting into your nostrils without restricting you from grabbing your nose. This makes it easier to equalize the pressure in your ears as you dive down, making standard masks the preferred choice for freediving.

While you can find simple snorkels with an open-tube top, we prefer snorkels with dry-top technology to keep the water out when you dive. Dry snorkels allow you to swim freely without worrying about water filling your tube and restricting your breathing.

Full-Face Masks

A full-face Seaview snorkeling mask sitting on coiled ropes on a beach

Full-face snorkeling masks combine the mask and the snorkel into one easy-to-use piece of equipment. The opening of the snorkel leads directly to the inside of the mask so you don’t have to hold a mouthpiece to breathe.

These masks are ideal for beginners because they allow you to breathe through your mouth and nose, meaning you won’t need to learn new breathing techniques. The hands-free design is also perfect for photographers hoping to snap some underwater photos. Just sayin’.

If you want to see more pros and cons of each mask type, click here!

Make the Most of Your Snorkeling Experience with Seaview

At Seaview, we know that having the right gear makes a big difference in your snorkeling experience. That’s why we offer our unique gear at an affordable price.

We hope to provide you with the equipment for an eye-opening adventure in the water, no matter your snorkeling experience. To see how we express our gratitude to the ocean, or to view our snorkeling gear, check out our website!