Snorkeling Tips and Safety for Beginners and Experienced

Here we share many snorkeling tips from our years of experience. These will help beginners get started, and help those with experience learn more about etiquette and how to read, understand, and plan for ocean conditions.

Snorkeling Tips

Snorkeling is great fun, and learning how to do it in a relaxed and effortless way, with the right equipment, can enhance your enjoyment.

Be aware as you read our tips that we are not certified snorkeling instructors, just normal everyday folks, so enter the water at your own risk. Always try to get local knowledge about your snorkeling destination, and evaluate the weather and ocean conditions carefully yourself before entering the water; see links to pages below with details.

Snorkeling Tips

Click on the links below for detailed snorkeling tips, and read down the page for some cautions and basic snorkeling tips.

Snorkelers entering water at a beach, with words over, "First Time Snorkeling Tips, ways to make your first time a great experience"

First Time and Beginner Snorkeling Tips

If you have never snorkeled, read this page first to avoid common mistakes that may lead to a less than fun experience. Beginners will learn about equipment selection, suggestions about skills to learn, and hazards to avoid.

Snorkelers entering the water from a beach, with words over, "Learn How to Snorkel, basic skills and equipment tips"

Learn How to Snorkel

Learn basic snorkeling skills like how to relax in the water and snorkel effortlessly, as well as some more tips on snorkel equipment choice and fitting. There is also a video about how to snorkel.

Snorkeler in a school of fish, with words over "Snorkeling Etiquette Tips, the things you should not do or touch"

Snorkeling Etiquette

You are not alone in the water. This page helps you understand how to avoid harming the sea life you find, and yourself in the process. Sure we are going to tell you not to touch coral, but go a step further to explain techniques for how to avoid doing it.

Learn How to Read Ocean Snorkeling Conditions

Waves crashing on a beach, with words over, "Ocean Snorkeling Conditions, learn to read wave sets, currents, surge & wind"

Knowing if you are in a current, and how fast it is moving you, is essential for safety. Here we share our snorkeling tips about how to read a variety of ocean conditions, including waves sets, surge, and other important conditions. This is a must read for all snorkelers.

Snorkeler with camera in hazy water, with words over, "Water Visibility Problems, how come I can't see through the water?"

Water Visibility Problems When Snorkeling

Low visibility can be dangerous at times, just annoying, or even downright weird, depending on what conditions you are experiencing. Learn about the types and causes, so you can snorkel in nice clear water.

Island with rough water on one side and calm water on the other, with words over, "Snorkeling Weather Research Tips, use weather websites for picking snorkeling spots"

Research Snorkeling Weather for Fun, Safe Experiences

Learn how to use weather websites to plan your trip for good snorkeling weather, and your daily adventures for the calmest waters.

Snorkeling at Night

Orange Cup Coral feeding at night, with words over, "Snorkeling at Night, what to expect and safety tips"

If you plan ahead, you can have a safe experience seeing new and different creatures.

Bleached coral reef with words over, "Live vs. Dead Coral Pictures, learn to tell the difference with 25 pictures"

Learn How to Tell Live Coral From Dead Coral

It is important for you to recognize the health of the reef where you snorkel because many species of fish and creatures rely on coral for food and shelter. See pictures comparing healthy live corals to dead or dying ones.

Have Fun, but Be Alert

As much as we don’t like to focus on it, snorkeling accidents happen. We see a news story from around the world about a snorkeling related death once or twice a week. That is probably not a big percentage, given how many people are in the water snorkeling. But most of those incidents are avoidable with a bit of caution and knowledge.

It may be useful to know that as experienced as we are, we are still very cautious and wary of the ocean, and will often choose not to get the in the water if we judge the conditions to be risky.

Got Hurt Snorkeling and Travel Insurance Won’t Cover It?

Yes, many travel insurance policies exclude snorkeling accidents, leaving you in the lurch. See our recommended travel insurance that does cover snorkeling.

Basic Snorkeling Tips

You will learn a lot at the pages above, but here are some important but basic snorkeling tips to help you keep safe and having fun while snorkeling:

  1. Swim with a friend. Many accidents occur when people are alone. But swimming with a friend won’t help if you don’t stick together and watch out for each other.
  2. Make sure your equipment is good and that you are familiar with it. A correctly fitting mask, fins, and snorkel make ocean enjoyment and survival much easier.
  3. Take care of yourself. Make sure you are well hydrated when you enter the water, use sunscreen, and don’t push yourself beyond your comfort or skill zones. That means you should not push your partner beyond their comfort and skill level.
  4. Be aware of the ocean and yourself within it. Know what currents are present, the size of waves and swell, and wind speeds, and any other potential hazards. And continue to be aware of these things throughout your snorkel, because they will change. This also means being aware of boat traffic, as it is a real hazard.
  5. Don’t touch marine life. This is for your own good and the good of the sea life.

If you have found these tips helpful, you will love our free monthly snorkeling newsletter.

More Snorkeling Tips