What Is Snorkeling? Learn the Basics

What is snorkeling? Snorkeling is a popular water sport that involves swimming with a facemask, breathing tube, and flippers. The snorkeler keeps his or her face in the water while floating on the surface and breathing through a snorkel.

In the United States, over 8 million people snorkel each year. If you are new to snorkeling, it’s helpful to understand the basics before you go out and try it for the first time.

We’re here to help! This article will cover the basics of snorkeling and equipment and answer some common beginner questions, too Let’s dive in!

Snorkeling Equipment

A person holding a Seaview Kraden mask and snorkel set in front of the ocean

As we mentioned before, snorkelers generally use three pieces of equipment:

  • A snorkeling mask
  • A snorkel (or the breathing tube)
  • Snorkeling fins

That’s it. Face masks allow you to open your eyes underwater so you can enjoy the beautiful coral, fish, and other sea life. Snorkeling masks also keep your nose protected so that you don’t have to worry about accidentally inhaling water.

The snorkel itself is the tube that lets you breathe while keeping your face submerged underwater for long periods. Newer models have special splash guards and dry valves to keep water from getting into the top of the snorkel.

Last but not least, snorkeling fins are flippers that make it easier to swim through the water faster. Like the fins on a fish, snorkeling fins maximize your movement and let you snorkel for longer without wasting energy.

How to Snorkel: Tips for Beginners

Practicing in shallow water before swimming out is the best way to feel comfortable with your equipment. Follow these three steps to get familiar:

  • Try your mask underwater. Adjust your mask until it feels comfortable and hold your breath while you dip your face in the water. Open your eyes and look around to ensure you have good visibility. If any water leaks in, adjust your mask until it is watertight.
  • Breathe through your snorkel. Now that your mask is tightened, try breathing in through the snorkel while keeping your head above the water. Once you feel comfortable with the snorkel, put your face in the water and take a few deep breaths. Beginners may want to hold the tip of the snorkel to make sure it doesn’t dip below the surface.
  • Breathe while floating. Look for an area where you can float on your stomach without bumping into anything. Practice breathing through the snorkel while relaxing in a floating position and keeping your face underwater. Try to do this for a few minutes before lifting your head.

    Getting used to breathing through the snorkel is the biggest adjustment for new snorkelers. Once you feel comfortable with your equipment, you can practice swimming into deeper water.

    Do You Need to Know How to Swim to Snorkel?

     A couple wearing inflatable snorkel vests swim on the surface of the ocean

    Surprisingly, no! While you will need to kick to move through the water, you don’t need to be an experienced swimmer to snorkel. With the right equipment, anyone can enjoy the beautiful sights of snorkeling, no matter their skill level.

    Non-swimmers will want to use safety vests to help them stay afloat. An inflatable vest will help you feel more comfortable in the water and keep you safe if you start to feel tired. Non-swimmers should stay with a group in an area with little to no waves to ensure their safety.

    Perks of Snorkeling

    People travel across the country to find the best places for snorkeling. Why is it such a big deal? We certainly believe there are more benefits to snorkeling than merely having a good time – though you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of taking a break and enjoying yourself.

    Here are a few of the benefits of snorkeling that we’ve found, backed by studies.

    Easy Exercise

    While snorkeling isn’t as intense as other water sports, you can still burn around 350 calories each hour just by casually kicking. That’s roughly the equivalent of walking for the same amount of time.

    The best part? The sights and experience of snorkeling are so immersing that it doesn’t even feel like exercise! Snorkeling is a great way to get outside, enjoy nature, and get some light exercise while on vacation.

    Relaxing Sunlight

    Snorkeling is a great way to expose yourself to sunlight. You can relax in the soft roll of the ocean, exploring the fish and coral while soaking up sun rays. Our bodies primarily produce vitamin D through sunlight exposure, which is associated with healthier levels of melatonin and serotonin. Higher levels of vitamin D are correlated with improvements in mood, energy, and sleep quality.

    Improved Mood

    A woman wearing a Seaview180° V2 Snorkel Mask raising her arms in the ocean

    As we said, sunlight exposure can lead to improvements in mood. Similarly, physical activity in an outdoor environment can have the same effects. Getting up and moving leads to greater satisfaction and enjoyment, rather than sitting or lying down.

    There’s nothing quite like being around the ocean. If the beach is your go-to getaway, add snorkeling to your next vacation for a more immersive, mood-boosting experience.

    Start Your Snorkeling Adventure with Seaview

    Let’s go back to our original question: What is snorkeling? The romantic in us says it’s an adventure unlike any other – with sights and a level of relaxation that you can’t replicate anywhere else. You have to experience it for yourself to truly understand.

    At Seaview, our goal is to educate, invite, and enable everyone to enjoy the deep, blue waters. That’s why we actively find ways to protect the environment and build long-lasting relationships with our customers. To learn more about our conservation efforts or to view our snorkeling equipment, click here!