How to Snorkel Underwater and Have the Best Experience Possible!

Learning how to snorkel underwater is an important and fun skill to learn while vacationing on Maui!

Here are a few tips that can make your journey much more enjoyable!

 

The Right Snorkel Gear is a Must

The first tip for learning to snorkel underwater is purchasing or renting the best snorkel equipment. The best snorkel equipment does not have to be expensive, but it does have to fit correctly.

Snorkel Mask

For a snorkel mask, you want it to suction on your face without a tight strap behind your head. This ensures the mask will not leak when underwater. If your mask leaks while you are snorkeling, water will fill your goggles and interfere with your visibility. You also want to make sure there isn’t any uncomfortable pressure on your nose, mouth or forehead.

Don’t be afraid to try on a few mask, you might look silly but you’ll be happy you did when you are snorkeling with tropical fish and not worried about your mask fitting correctly! Before using your mask in the water, use a defogger (a mixture of baby shampoo and water works well), apply a small amount to the inside of the mask glass and then rinse to prevent fogging. 

Stay away from full-faced mask and they pose many safety concerns due to the build up of carbon dioxide and inability to equalize. 

Snorkel Fins

For your fin, choose short blade for snorkeling, and make sure they are snug but not too tight that they pinch in the water. Your feet will shrink a bit in the cooler water so make sure you don’t select fins that are loose on dry land. 

Wetsuits and Rashguards

Wetsuits and rashguards are important parts of your snorkel equipment for a few reasons. Wetsuits not only keep you warmer so you can snorkel longer, but they also create buoyancy and make it easier to float on the surface. The sun protection that both the wetsuits and rashguards provide ensure you don’t have a sunburned backside after snorkeling for a few hours in the warm Hawaiian sun. 

Flotations Devices (but not Life Jackets)

Flotation devices can make your snorkeling even more relaxing, grab a boogie board, pool noodle or float belt for some assisted floatation. Avoid snorkeling in life jackets as they are designed to float your head above the water and when we are snorkeling our goal is to have our head in the water and our body at the surface. 

 

Learn to Breathe Comfortably Underwater

Next tip for learning how to snorkel underwater is learning to breathe comfortably using a snorkel mask.  When using a snorkel mask, you breath in and out of your mouth through a snorkel. First practice on land, by placing the mask on your face and breathing using the snorkel. Feel the rhythm of the breath and focus on relaxing and breathing slowly.

Next find a calm place in the ocean or in a pool where you can stand up. Put your face in the water wearing the mask and practice the same breathing techniques.  Ensure the top of your snorkel tube is always above water, if it goes below the water, you will suck in water as you breath, causing you to choke. When you feel confident breathing while standing, attempt to snorkel while swimming, keeping your breathes slow and calm. 

 

Learn About the Ocean

The last tip for how to snorkel underwater is to learn about the ocean. Unlike a lake or pool, the oceans conditions change often, have currents, tide, wind, waves and marine life that we need to know about. Because there is so much to learn about the ocean, to ensure your safety ask a local expert where to snorkel or join a snorkel boat tour where the crew can guide you to a safe and fun snorkel location. And always snorkel with a buddy. It’s important for your safety to have another snorkeler with you at all time. 

Feeling comfortable? Then it’s time to explore the amazing underwater world of Hawaii! Find a snorkel tour that can take you to remote locations with unique reef systems and lots of tropical marine life! Their crew can also guide you and give you additional tips for snorkeling! Happy snorkeling!

 

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