Improve Your Snorkeling Technique

7 Easy Tips

The key to successful snorkeling is relaxation in the water. It is as much a psychological as it is a physical skill. You will improve your skills and become comfortable in the water with practice. Here are some training tips.
1. Put all your equipment on and practice floating in the face down and horizontal positions. Don’t swim; just calmly float. You can do this in shallow water or a swimming pool.

2. Prepare for mask and/or snorkel floods. If a flood happens in open water, it can be distressing to someone who is not ready to handle the situation. Practice this skill by floating in shallow water and deliberately flooding and clearing your equipment. Here’s how:

a. To flood your mask, gently pull it away from your face and allow water to enter the mask.
To clear it out, lift your head out of the water and tilt the bottom of the mask away from your face and allow the water to drain out.
b. To flood your snorkel, immerse your head under the water until your snorkel fills up. Remember to hold your breath! To clear your snorkel, exhale a burst of air through your mouth to blast the water out. Then take a cautious first breath to make sure all the water is gone.

3. In the water, objects look 25% larger (or closer) than they really are. You can practice judging distance by floating in very shallow water and reaching down to touch the bottom. This will help you learn how far an “arm’s length” is underwater.

4. Walking with fins on can be uncertain on dry land or on a boat. If you are snorkeling from shore, try putting your fins on and removing them in waist deep water. If you are snorkeling from a boat, don’t put your fins on until it is time to enter the water and take them off at the boat ladder before getting back on the boat.

5. To use your fins correctly, you must use an efficient kick. You can do this by using a slow flutter kick motion. Try to keep your knees and ankles relaxed to prevent your leg muscles from cramping. Once you are proficient in this skill, you will notice that your fins propel you through the water. You will hardly need to use your arms and can let them rest easily at your side, or keep one arm floating in front of your head to act as a bumper.

6. Once you have mastered using your equipment, practice controlling your movements in the water. You will feel more comfortable and calm in the water as you improve your maneuvering abilities and you will minimize accidental bump-ins with objects in the water such as other snorkelers, reef elements, buoys, etc.

7. Knowing your personal limitations is a vital skill often overlooked. Recognize them and remain alert to them. There is no good reason to push your limits. They will change with each snorkeling opportunity presented. Factors to consider are water temperature, surge, currents, and visibility. Your personal limitations will also change when you gain experience, get older, or have a change in health.

A relaxed snorkeler gets more pleasure out of snorkeling and a greater appreciation of the environment. A calm snorkeler seems less threatening and when the aquatic wildlife realizes you are not a threat, they resume