How to Snorkeling for Beginners

A Travellers Guide: How to Snorkeling

Just imagine finding yourself on a beautiful white sandy beach. The warm wind blowing through your hair, you’re desperate to get into the water and stick your head under, however, you’ve never snorkeled before. People are doing it all around you, but you don’t even know where to start with all your questions in your head: How to do snorkeling? What is the best snorkel gear for beginners? Well, here is a Travellers Guide on how to snorkeling that will answer all your questions. These tips will help you to pick a good snorkeling spot, know what snorkeling gear to take with you, and help provide the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ whilst out in the open water.

Some people may not feel 100% comfortable swimming around in the sea and the idea of becoming ‘one with the fishes’ may be a little daunting, so this guide has been created to help eliminate these feelings and help you to enjoy and get the maximum out of your snorkeling experience whilst regarding all the possible dangers of snorkeling.

Snorkeling is so underrated and can, in fact, be a very rewarding experience. It’s all due to its simplicity, all you have to do is grabs a mask, fins, and snorkel and hey presto, you’re all ready to jump in and try out beginner snorkeling. It also means that there are no bubbles whilst under the surface, allowing you to get up close and personal with corals and marine life.


Before taking part in any kind or recreational past time, it is always good to prepare yourself.


If your swimming technique is not quite up to scratch, it is definitely worthwhile to take a few lessons down at your local swimming pool. If you’re a good swimmer, it is also a good idea to practice your kicking and freestyle movements as these are what you’ll focus on, once in the ocean. It is essential that you improve your strength and endurance as this means you’ll be less puffed out whilst swimming against the current. Once you have upped your strength and endurance, this will allow you to ditch any floatation jackets as these can often hinder your snorkeling experience.

Practice holding your breath

Some snorkelers like to stay on the surface and watch the marine world from a ‘birds-eye’ perspective, however, if you want a more one-on-one experience with the fish and reef critters, holding your breath and ducking under the surface is the best way to achieve this when you go snorkeling.

Beginner snorkeling

Snorkeling: Finding Nemo

Equipment for snorkeling

The gear for snorkeling you need is a lot less than the equipment you need for scuba diving, which means you can either buy or rent it when you get to your snorkeling destination, or you can buy one at home and take it with you. All you really need is a mask and snorkel, nevertheless, there is additional equipment you can use that is optional but can offer extra mobility and safety.


To find the best snorkeling masks you will want to look for one with wide eye sockets, which covers your nose. Some snorkels cover just the eyes and nose, whilst others offer a wider viewing range with full-face mask coverage. If you’re new to snorkeling, this might be the best option for you. Masks include head straps that provide easy attachment for your snorkel. All masks include a mild-suctioning silicon trim that allows it to sit comfortably against your face whilst keeping the mask airtight. The glass for viewing can come with all different qualities including, anti-reflection, anti-glare, anti-fog and UV protection, depending on what your preferences are.


A snorkel is a tube that allows you to breathe whilst keeping your head under the water. Snorkels that have valves are usually the easiest and safest option as they help you to remove the water from your snorkel without choking. When choosing a snorkel, you should look at ones with a soft mouthpiece, usually made of rubber as they allow you to bite down on them, which prevents them from falling out of your mouth. A wide tube for the snorkel is often preferable.

How to snorkeling: Best snorkeling masks and best snorkeling fins

The right equipment for snorkeling is important


Fins are not 100% necessary, though they do improve your snorkeling safety, mobility, and comfort. Short fins do work, still the longer the fin, the less effort you have to put in to move forward. The best fins for snorkeling are long and flexible as well as they fit perfectly to your feet.

Other safety equipment

As well as the essential equipment above, you may also like to invest in some other optional equipment that will only enhance your snorkeling experience. Sunscreen should always be worn when you’re snorkeling, even though you’re cool whilst in the water, you could be burning badly on your back, so it is always good to lather it on before entering the water. Remember to pick a Reef friendly sunscreen.

A rashguard or wetsuit is just another level of sun protection if you’re planning on spending extended amounts of time in the water. A wetsuit might be preferable if you’re planning on snorkeling in slightly colder water.

The whole point of snorkeling is to be able to see under the water, so preventing your mask from fogging up is probably a good idea. You can buy an anti-fog spray that helps, however, a quick and cheap tip is to wash your mask out with toothpaste before getting into the water, this usually does the trick. If you’re planning on snorkeling, on your own near the shore, then it is probably a good idea to wear a brightly coloured snorkeling vest as not only is this used as a slight floatation device, it also used to alert surrounding snorkelers or boat traffic of your whereabouts.

Go snorkeling

Komodo Reef, Snorkeling can be rewarding

How to pick the perfect spot

If you’re a beginner in snorkeling, then do not attempt to go snorkeling in an area known for its strong current. Snorkeling is all about gliding through still waters comfortably, not struggling to fight a current. Look for a place that has little to no waves, as waves are not a snorkeler’s friend. Additionally, opting for a beach entry instead of a boat entry is always a good idea when snorkeling as this means you can gradually swim out to a depth you feel comfortable with, other than jumping in and panicking. When choosing a good snorkeling spot, look out for locations that are home to fascinating marine life and healthy, thriving reefs. There’s nothing more boring than going to a barren reef.

Do’s and Don’ts of snorkeling – How to snorkel for beginners

Do get to know your surroundings before getting into the water, not only to get your baring so you know where to get out of the water but also to see if there are other snorkelers in the area as well as swimmers.  Also, speak to the locals to ask about any riptides or strong currents in the area.

Don’t snorkel alone if you’re a newbie or an experienced snorkeler. If there are others around you, who can see you then that should be safe, however snorkeling completely alone is a big no-no for obvious reasons.

Don’t touch ANYTHING. Even if it looks like the cutest, softest coral or animal you’ve ever seen, don’t even think about touching it. Some marine life can feel threatened, especially if you get too close.  

Do relax and enjoy the experience as there is nothing quite like snorkeling.

I hope that this little guide to snorkeling brought you some helpful information that made you want to start directly and answered all questions on how to snorkeling for beginners. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment with your specific question.

How to do snorkeling for beginners

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About the Author

Torben Lonne

I'm Torben and I'm an ocean lover, diver, traveler, travel writer, snorkeler & I love to explore new things. I hope to open the eyes of my fellow travelers on just how amazing snorkeling really can be. How easy it is, how it can be done almost anywhere and how beautiful it is.