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Snorkeling Tips for Beginners

Learn how to stay safe and have fun in the water by following these essential tips about snorkeling. This concise list highlights the most important things to know about snorkeling and aimed especially for beginners, first time snorkelers, and non-swimmers.

Snorkeling novices will find information and expert instruction on all the key topics including how to avoid making the common beginner mistakes and how to buy the best snorkel gear for beginners.

We also cover the proper snorkeling technique for efficient snorkel swimming skills and the importance of using flotation equipment or buoyancy accessories to increase snorkel safety for non-swimmers.

Your first time snorkeling experience is going to be more enjoyable when you know how to use the correct gear and choose the right snorkel destination. Let's face it, there is no fun in a leaking mask or a flooded snorkel. You should never underestimate the dangers within the ocean and this section helps you master some snorkeling basics and learn the skills you need to snorkel safely.

Snorkeling Accessories and GadgetsAccessories for Snorkeling

Snorkeling accessories help to increase enjoyment, comfort, and your personal safety while you explore the water. Whether you need a basic snorkel keeper, anti-misting liquid for your mask, or a potentially life-saving snorkel vest, all these snorkeling accessory items have a real purpose with specific features and are available to buy from our online snorkel shop.

Books, Magazines, Videos

You can discover information on the top snorkeling destinations and planning a snorkeling excursion by researching books, magazines, and YouTube videos.

Snorkeling Tips About Aquatic LifeAquatic Life Snorkeling Tips

Pattaya - Snorkeling with TurtlesAquatic life ecosystems are environments containing marine or animal species - vertebrate or invertebrate - which live most or all of their lives in salt water or fresh water lakes and rivers.

Sea creatures you can expect to find at the snorkeling sites around the Gulf of Thailand are all listed in our common fish species guide - from angelfish to zooplankton.

Besides small tropical reef fishes, large predatory fish, and a relatively high number of invertebrates you can also find an abundance of coral formations. This section has some interesting facts about corals with pictures explaining the importance and role of these diverse underwater ecosystems which are held together by calcium carbonate structures and tiny polyps.

Perhaps one of the most important snorkeling tips for beginners is knowing how to protect the underwater environment. The United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP] shows you how to become a 'Green Fins Snorkeler' and follow their simple environmentally-friendly guidelines.

Snorkeling Equipment Tips for BeginnersSnorkeling Equipment Tips

Buoyancy Vest

Using a buoyancy vest for snorkeling aids your flotation and control while floating or swimming at the surface. They are often called life jackets or personal flotation device (PFD). They are not always required when snorkeling but extra buoyancy will function as a compensator so you float without wasting energy.

Wearing a snorkel vest is particularly advisable for non-swimmers and highly recommended swimming equipment for beginners. Snorkel life jackets are lightweight and usually luminous or brightly coloured to alert boat traffic of your position in the water.

Safety Vest vs. Life Jacket

Find out the striking and significant differences between a snorkeler's flotation vest and a life jacket.

Cameras and Video

Underwater Snorkel Action CamerasThe best waterproof camera for snorkeling may not mean paying a high price. The modern and affordable Intova digital sports cameras with underwater housing are amazing value for money.

Maybe a cheap reusable point and shoot sports utility camera is more practical for beginner snorkelers until you get comfortable in the water.

One of the best attractions of snorkeling is being able to combine a water based activity with a predominantly land based activity such as photography and our swimming photography tips is an informative section to pick up some handy hints.

PADI now have a snorkeling photography certification course which results in a recognised certification. Our snorkeling school is owned and managed by a PADI Master Instructor who can teach you about underwater photography video equipment and accessories.

Mask and Snorkel Set

Mask and Snorkel Set by Deep BlueThere is no substitute for having your own personal snorkeling mask and snorkel bag set combined in one as a package. Many novice snorkelers complain about getting a lot of water in the mask as well as inside the snorkel tube.

The secret to avoiding a leaking mask is to buy a personal snorkel set that is used only by yourself. The silicone mask skirt moulds itself to your face shape only and does not get distorted like rental masks do.

One of the lesser known swim tips for beginners is the technique of looking underwater nearer an angle of 45 degrees rather than a 90 degree angle. Looking directly downward instead of slightly forward often causes the snorkel to droop into the sea and fill with water. This improved technique will help to reduce the common problem of water entering your mouth through the snorkel tube.

Weight Systems

Most beginners and non-swimming snorkelers should not use a weight system. Advanced swimmers might wear a harness if they are wearing a buoyant wet suit or want to make skin dives. A diving weight system helps snorkelers submerge beneath the surface of the water.

The most common type of weights used by snorkelers are lead weights attached to a belt. There is a conversion calculator to help you achieve proper weighting but all weight systems should have a quick release mechanism.


Wetsuit shorties and full length garments are used to provide thermal protection while you are in the water. They are mostly made from neoprene ranging in thickness and thermal quality. Most snorkeling wetsuits are available in a myriad of styles and colours and available for purchase online at the snorkel shop.

Note: We are extremely lucky in Pattaya, Thailand. The temperature of the water ranges from 27 - 33° all year. There is rarely a need for a thermal protection or a wet suit. Most of our snorkeling guests don some swimming shorts or bikini and are very happy to splash around in the warm clear water. We do have some advice though, please remember to bring sunscreen and re-apply it after you have been in the water.

Breathing and Swimming Technique for BeginnersSnorkel Breathing for First Time Snorkeling

Snorkel Breathing and Swimming Technique for BeginnersSnorkel breathing techniques for beginners can seem overwhelming and create anxiety the first few times - as well as the fear factor. The mouthpiece can feel a little strange if you are not familiar with the proper technique of breathing through the barrel of a plastic snorkel tube.

Generally, you should try to breathe slowly and a little deeper than normal when you are snorkel breathing to ensure that carbon dioxide is exhaled from the lungs. Clearing dead air spaces inside the tube help you avoid the feeling of air starvation.

Another useful swimming technique for beginners is to use your tongue as a splash guard. While your face is under water, touching the roof of your mouth with your tongue as you cautiously breathe passed it allows snorkelers to breathe passed a small amount of water that may be settled in the bottom of the tube. Remember, you cannot breathe through your nose while wearing a snorkel mask.

Clearing Water out of Snorkels

The snorkel clearing blast method is the simplest and most common method of two different snorkeling techniques. As the name suggests, a snorkeler uses air from inside the lungs to force the air out of the tube. A strong blast of air is usually enough to clear the water out and allow the snorkeler to resume breathing through the snorkel.

The blast method is probably the easiest to learn for beginners who do not know how to use a snorkel because the other method, known as the displacement method, requires some practice to be comfortable with this technique.

Fin Kick Swimming Technique for Beginners

Beginners and non-swimmers often wonder; do you need fins to snorkel and why? Proper fin kicking techniques help you see more of the interesting sites as you move around the reef. Using a slow up and downward movement mainly from the powerful thigh muscles is the most efficient way to use diving fins. The two main types of flippers are open heeled (requiring booties) and full foot fins which are worn on bare feet - very popular in warm water regions.

Defogging a Snorkel Mask

One tip for defogging a snorkel mask - particularly a new mask - is to use white toothpaste cream. Scour the protective lacquer with toothpaste to remove the chemical used by manufacturers on mask lenses.

Using this technique initially will reduce fogging of the mask and using a commercial defog solution afterwards will also help to keep it fog free. One of the cheapest anti fog liquids that we also recommend is 'baby shampoo liquid' - e.g. no more tears. Nonetheless, maybe the cheapest method of all is to use spit and saliva - YUK!

Snorkel Safety Tips for BeginnersSnorkel Safety Tips for Beginners

Buddy System Tips for Snorkeling

The buddy system in snorkeling basically means having at least one companion. The snorkeling buddy system adds to the fun and enjoyment, it makes it safer, and it allows one buddy to stay at the surface while the other is skin diving - commonly known as the 'one up one down' method.

Muscle Cramps

Cramping in the legs or feet can be a painful debilitation and a potential danger when swimming in the water. Learn how to fix muscle and foot cramps while swimming or scuba diving in the water.

Rip Currents

Learn how to escape a rip current - Water current rips occur where fast-moving surf water funnels its way back out to sea from the beach.


Seasickness or vomiting at sea is caused by mental disarray. Boat rocking and rolling results in brain confusion and you may begin to feel seasick. Follow these three simple snorkel tips for boat travel and learn how to avoid seasickness.

Water Entries and Exits

Entering and exiting the water comfortably and safely requires the proper snorkeling technique and may be different depending on the situation and circumstances. Our general advice about gearing up is to delay donning and doffing your fins until you are very close to the water's edge because diving fins are extremely difficult to walk in. If you do need to walk with fins on your feet, the best technique is to walk backwards to avoid tripping over.

Disclaimer iconNote: This guide offers general snorkeling tips for beginners and non-swimmers who do not know how to snorkel. We are PADI® professionally trained but you should always get expert guidance as to the proper snorkeling technique and procedures for your local area before you enter the water.

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