A Beginners Guide to Snorkelling: Essential Tips & Equipment
Snorkelling offers a fantastic opportunity to connect with nature, experiencing firsthand the wonders of reefs and the shallow ocean. Our coastal waters are teeming with life, with an astonishing abundance and variety of colours and creatures. Once you start, it won’t take much time before you’re completely captivated by this amazing environment.
Snorkelling requires no formal training, making it accessible to almost anyone. While we suggest being skilled in swimming, even individuals less confident in the water can wear a life vest or use a flotation device. Before diving into snorkelling, ensure you have the right gear. Investing in high-quality equipment enhances your snorkelling experience, ensuring comfort and allowing you to maximize your time in the water.
Additionally, consider the location and ocean conditions. Choosing a spot abundant in marine life adds excitement, while selecting a day with excellent visibility is crucial for an optimal experience.
Essential Snorkelling Tips:
Consider taking swimming lessons at your local pool to improve your skills. Strengthening your swimming abilities not only benefits your overall water experience but also allows you to forgo bulky snorkelling vests. While these vests aid in flotation, they can restrict your movement and hinder diving to explore reefs or marine life.
Snorkelling requires energy, especially with fins. To conserve energy, let your fins do the work and avoid excessive arm movements. Relax, maintain a leisurely pace, and minimize splashing to avoid startling marine life. Beginners often opt for full-foot or adjustable fins. Ensure the right fit—avoid options that are too tight, loose, or uncomfortable.
Mastering how to clear water from your snorkelling mask is crucial. Learn the following techniques before entering the water.
- Partial Flood Clearing: Tilt the top of your mask slightly upward while pressing the top part to allow a small amount of water to enter. Then, with your head slightly tilted downward, exhale through your nose, forcing the water out through the bottom of the mask.
- Full Flood Clearing: If the mask is completely filled, place a hand over the top of the mask and press slightly, tilting your head slightly upward. Exhale through your nose, and the pressure will force the water out of the bottom of the mask.
Deep breathing is also key to a good snorkel. Breathing can be limited through a snorkelling tube, so it’s important to take deep focused breaths, which can help you relax. As your confidence grows you can focus on improving your breath holding. Developing this skill allows for closer observation of marine life and better exploration of reefs and underwater features.
For those interested in short breath-hold dives for a closer look at reefs or marine life, consider these steps:
- Relax and control your breathing on the surface. Take deep, controlled breaths to fill your lungs.
- Descend efficiently by bending at the waist while submerged and raising your legs, allowing your weight to guide your descent. Once submerged, utilise your fins to reach further depth.
- Underwater, maintain a relaxed pace and streamline your movements for efficient propulsion. Take a conservative approach, resurfacing before your air runs out, gradually extending dive times as you become more comfortable.
- This method conserves energy and increases bottom time, allowing you to explore underwater comfortably and safely.
What equipment do I need for snorkelling?
Selecting the right snorkelling gear is paramount for an unforgettable underwater experience. Quality equipment ensures comfort, safety, and enhanced enjoyment, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the mesmerizing world beneath the waves.
Essential for keeping water out of your eyes, allowing you to see the marine life below the surface.
Oceanpro’s new Avalon Mask pictured below and available in 5 different colours, is the perfect choice for snorkelling. This high-quality mask is made with a liquid silicone skirt and smooth-glide side adjust buckles for a comfortable and secure fit. The lenses are made with high-grade safety tempered glass, offering superior wide vision and low volume. The bright colour range pairs perfectly with our Typhoon SD snorkel range, creating a great combination for your underwater adventures.
Defogging your mask is also crucial for clear vision while snorkeling. Anti fog solutions like Gear Aid’s Seagold Gel creates a barrier between your breath’s moisture and the mask glass, ensuring optimal visibility. Sea Gold is a powerful formula that lasts longer than other anti-fog treatments. It’s highly concentrated, so underwater enthusiasts can enjoy multiple dives with just one treatment. Use in any water temperature and in all conditions.
Oceanpro’s Portsea Mask pictured below is also another great option. This diving mask is crafted from quality black silicone for a superior seal and comfort. Its tear drop twin lens design enhances diving vision, while the easy-adjust strap with quick-release buckles ensures convenience. With tempered safety glass lenses and a black silicone skirt reducing light refraction, it offers improved clarity. It’s also extremely versatile as it fits various face types perfectly.
Fins allow you to conserve more energy and cover more ground. They are particularly helpful when swimming against currents. Oceanpro’s Gnaraloo fin are great value which feature a long narrow blade, providing greater thrust with minimal effort. It also has a soft foot pocket with holes to reduce drag.
Another great option is Oceanpro’s Ceduna Fin, which feature a flexible and comfortable foot pocket, auto adjust heel strap to adjust to a range of foot sizes and innovative blade design to ensure ample power.
Alternatively you could also opt for the Oceanic Viper 2 full foot fin. The Viper 2 is available in 3 different colours and includes a precision blend of hydrodynamics for ultimate comfort, efficiency and performance.
A snorkel, functioning as a breathing tube, is essential to help you stay underwater long enough to enjoy the sights! A good snorkel will also have a well designed purge valve, to make it easier for water that enters the snorkel to drain back out.
Oceanpro’s new Typhoon SD snorkel is a great snorkel option. It has an effective splash guard to reduce water ingress, a large diameter smooth bore to ensures easy breathing, anda purge sump which makes clearing water quick and easy. The Soft orthodontic mouthpiece also reduces jaw fatigue.
You can also opt for a dry snorkel which prevents water from getting in. It is not intended however to allow you to breathe underwater. Oceanpro’s Typhoon ProDry snorkel is a full dry snorkel and features advanced technology to reduce water intake for quicker clearing and a large diameter smooth bore for easier breathing. The soft silicone corrected drop-away and effective purge sump design make clearing any water a breeze. To see the full range of Oceanpro snorkels click here.
Mask, snorkel, and fin sets are convenient and often great value for snorkeling enthusiasts. Its also worth remembering that the price often reflects the quality of the materials used.
Silicone vs. Silitex
Most high-quality masks, snorkels, and fins use silicone. Silicone is known for its durability, flexibility, and resistance to UV rays and harsh conditions. It provides a comfortable fit and a good seal against the face, reducing water leakage.
Silitex is a cheaper alternative to silicone. It’s often less flexible and durable than silicone, which can affect comfort and longevity. It might be more prone to wear and tear, potentially leading to a shorter lifespan. While budget-friendly sets might seem attractive, they often compromise on one or more components.
If you are looking for a great value ‘Mask Snorkel Fin’ set which is made from quality materials, any of the following sets will not disappoint.
Rashguard, Skin Top or Wetsuit.
Rash guards, skin tops, or wetsuits enhance your snorkeling experience by providing sun protection, warmth in cooler waters, slight buoyancy, added comfort, and safety against abrasions or stings.
Any of Enth Degree’s range of thermal watersports wear will be an asset to your snorkelling experience. Alternatively, Oceanpro’s new 2TF Thermal rashie pictured below is also excellent value and looks great.
If you are heading into Northern Australia Waters for a snorkel, you might want to consider investing in an Oceanpro Stinger suit for extra protection. Jelly fish are usually most prevalent from November to May, and most active during the day when the water is warm, the sun is shining, and the tide is favorable.
Dos and Don’ts for first time snorkelers
- Avoid touching coral or disturbing marine life to prevent harm; some species are poisonous or defensive.
- Opt for biodegradable sunscreen to minimize environmental impact; traditional sunscreen chemicals can harm coral.
- Refrain from feeding fish; they don’t require assistance.
- Don’t take anything from the ocean home; it’s illegal to acquire certain species and may lead to significant penalties if caught.
Stay safe while snorkeling:
- Buddy up: Never snorkel alone; having a partner, whether a beginner or advanced, enhances safety.
- Use flotation: Employ flotation devices like inflatable vests, not just for non-swimmers but as a safety measure when fatigued. Some vests offer mouth inflation and release valves for deeper dives.
- Practice and familiarise: Know your equipment well; practicing in a pool boosts confidence.
- Stay aware of surroundings: Understand your snorkeling spot thoroughly; surface frequently to monitor your location and surroundings, as tides can pose risks of drifting out to sea.
- Know your limits– If you feel fatigued while snorkeling with a buddy, communicate and return to the boat together.
Find a stockist:
If you would like to purchase any of the products mentioned in this article or have any more questions about snorkelling and where to go, head into your nearest Submerged Nation Retail Store to ask the experts. To find your nearest store click on the following link: https://www.submergednation.com/partners/