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What is Snorkeling?

Information About Snorkeling - A simple guide all about snorkel safety and fun for novices searching for basic facts of how to snorkel, where to go snorkeling, why you should, and what is snorkelling?

If this will be your first time at snorkeling or you are curious to learn what is the big difference between snorkeling and scuba diving, then we have a simple guide full of help and advice for all newcomers.

We begin with some plain sailing and basic facts about the snorkeling spelling variations. The English (British and Commonwealth) spell it - snorkelling - and a few 'misguided snorkelers' say snorkling.

The recreational sport or pastime of snorkeling is not the same as scuba diving because snorkelers do not normally have an air supply attached to their gear. Instead they breathe through a plastic tube erected vertically above sea level.

Scuba Diving vs. Snorkeling

Pattaya Island Hopping Snorkelling Tours near BangkokSnorkeling masks are often the same quality as dive masks, but the starter gear tends to be less expensive, lightweight, with a lot less fewer items than the equipment needed for scuba diving.

A mask allows us to look underwater, watch fishes in their natural habitat, and admire corals. Masks are part of basic snorkeling sets.

Novices will enjoy this hobby more by relaxing at the surface in calm shallow water and we always recommend wearing a snorkel vest.

What is Snorkeling Safety?

Learning how to snorkel safely will increase your confidence and capabilities during the trip. Knowing the basics for beginners and how the gear functions will save you anxiety and embarrassment at the site.

Most of your common and popular questions about snorkeling are answered in the instructions below, such as how to breathe efficiently through the plastic snorkel tube and how to swim effectively around the reefs.

Other advanced topics covered in the full snorkeling blog archives or you can find specialist information about breathhold free diving in the section below with explanations about snorkelling underwater (duck diving), making skin dives, and ascending to the surface.

Snorkel Breathing

Snorkel tubes are made from plastic. They have a rubber or silicon mouth-piece that is designed to be held securely inside your mouth. This might feel awkward at first but once you have it secure and sealed, then it usually sits comfortably between your teeth and lips.

The snorkel is meant to be attached in a vertical position to your dive mask which allows you to look down through the lens and breathe through the tube while your face is in the water.

Pattaya Snorkeler breathing through plastic tubeThe correct technique for snorkel breathing is slow and slightly deeper than normal. This helps to remove carbon dioxide from the dead air space inside the tube. Excessive CO2 inside the snorkel and your airways can cause a feeling of air starvation.

If sea water enters the mouth-piece you should breathe cautiously to avoid swallowing it. You can use your tongue against the roof of your mouth to create a splash guard.

Handy tips about snorkeling like this, help you continue breathing through the snorkel until you can expel the water through the purge valve. Blowing forcefully through the mouthpiece will push water through the valve and also through the top opening of the snorkel if it is above water.

PADI Skin Diver

Learning how to skin dive with a snorkel will allow you to get closer to the fish and colorful corals. Diving down to the reef offers you an opportunity to get better quality photographs and experience the feeling of floating weightless beneath the surface.

The PADI Skin Diver Course teaches you how to use breath-hold techniques to duck-dive and explore fish life while swimming underwater. You take a single breath of air at the surface and hold that breath until you safely swim back up to sea level. Follow our three simple steps to improve your skin diving skills and dive safely.

1. Preparing Snorkeling Gear

Prepare your snorkeller's equipment ensuring that your mask and exposure suit are a comfortable fit. If you need weights to offset your buoyancy, wear a weight belt that can easily be removed via a quick release buckle if you have a problem underwater. Around five percent of your body weight in lead threaded on to your belt will help you become neutrally buoyant depending on the thickness of your wet suit.

2. How do you Snorkel Underwater?

PADI Skin Diver taking underwater photosYou should attempt to dive down headfirst similar to the pike. Using minimal effort, float on the surface looking downwards and bend your body at the waist.

Force your head down and lift your legs high above to create a downward motion similar to making a handstand.

When your fins sink into the water, kick yourself lower using a smooth 'finning' action. It is important to equalize the pressure in your air spaces. Your ears and sinuses can be equalized by pinching your nose closed through the mask and then attempting to blow gently through your nose. You can equalize your dive mask by blowing some additional air into the air space.

3. Fin Kicking

Underwater swimming should be relaxing and energy efficient. Kick slowly and deliberate with your fins and avoid too much hand and arm movement to avoid damaging the coral reef and your snorkeling flippers. This improves your bottom time as your body needs less oxygen to supply your arm and hand muscles.

Keep your knees slightly flexed and use your strong thigh muscles to develop an up-and-down scissor kick fin movement. Look and listen for hazards above before you slowly kick your way back to the surface while gently exhaling through your snorkel.

How to Snorkel in Thailand

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