Where Do I Put My Keys When Snorkeling?

By Sara – (Portland, OR)
Where do I put my keys and other valuables when I am snorkeling? I’ll be on Oahu and you mentioned that there are some not so safe areas/beaches. Hanauma Bay has lockers, which I’ll rent, but what about where there aren’t any lockers provided? Is it safe to lock things in my rental car’s trunk or glove compartment?


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Galen & Nicole – May 11, 2011 – Take Your Valuables With You Snorkeling

Hi Sara, it is a good question, and one we have dealt with ourselves on every snorkeling trip.

First, no, putting your car keys, wallet, and other valuables in your rental car’s glove box or trunk is not a good idea. Those are the first places someone would look for valuables.

We take our valuables with us on the water in a waterproof box. Our box is big enough to hold our cell phone, room and car keys, and small wallets. The page at the link above describes your options in detail.

Another alternative is to hide the keys on shore somewhere, so long as you are sure no one is watching. Just be sure you remember where you hid them!

Have fun!

Al – Feb 3, 2013 – Where I Place My Valuables

This was great question. One which I asked myself one day as I got to my favorite snorkel spot in Aruba.

When I go snorkeling, the only thing I take valuable is my camera, my gear, my car keys, driver’s license, and a few bucks in case I want to get a drink or something.

Of course, I have my gear on, camera attached to my hand, etc. I place my driver’s license and money in a small zip lock FREEZER bag that I brought with me from home and put in a pocket of my swim suit or if my swim suit doesn’t have a pocket, I put it down the front of my suit.

That leaves my car keys. Since I most likely will have a rental car, I will only have ONE key. IF the key does NOT have an electric opening key fob I place it in the freezer bag as well. But if I have an electric key fob I will very discretely hide the key in the sand and place a distinguishing rock over my “buried treasure”. So far this has worked very well for me in the past…

Hope this helps.

Kathye – May 16, 2013 – Get an Otterbox!

We took Galen and Nicole’s advice and purchased an OtterBox on Amazon before our recent Big Island visit. It was a lifesaver and kept our car keys and cellphone safe and dry while snorkeling for a week. Although it’s sometimes hard to get into with wet hands – there’s a reason why the tightly fitting top is waterproof – it worked like a charm and kept us from worrying about our valuables lying on the beach while we were in the water.

Geekgirl – Oct 27, 2013 – Keeping Keys Safe

We also use an Otterbox for our keys, etc. while snorkeling and it works great. I used to just put my hand through the strap and it would be looped around my arm, but on our most recent trip I used a carabiner to connect it to the webbing used for the belt on my board shorts. Then it just floated behind me, often resting on my lower back and did not get in the way when I needed to use my hands for something.

Sue – Feb 17, 2017 – Where to Put Cards When Snorkeling

When snorkeling at Queens Beach Oahu alone, I decided in advance to sew a zipped pocket into my swimsuit. This held my cruise card, driving license (photo ID in lieu of passport) and visa card, which worked perfectly after immersion in sea water.

As it was hot I just wore a sarong around my swimsuit and changed from flip flops to reef shoes to swim. I wore a cotton sunhat in the water and left my towel and flip flops on the beach.

I had fun snorkeling there and my cards were safe with me at all times. You could put keys in such a pocket if you had thicker pocket material so they wouldn’t be uncomfortable.

Nicole & Galen – Feb 17, 2017 – Keys in Pocket Not a Good Idea

Hi Sue, thanks for your idea. It definitely works for plastic cards like you had, but not for most keys these days. Rental car keys are almost always electronic now and will be ruined instantly when they get wet. They cost a lot of money to replace, so please do not try the pocket in your swimsuit idea with electronic keys.

Tangata Whenua (NZ) – May 6, 2018 – Two Ways for Your Keys

When we go snorkeling we wrap our keys in a paper towel (more about that later) then put them into a ziplock bag, forcing the air out. We then put that bag into another ziplock bag, again forcing the air out, then into one more bag.

I have a weight belt with pouches so I put my keys into one of those.

My son puts the keys into a small soft dry bag and forces the air out. He has a belt without any buckles, but two rings instead. He puts the dry bag around the belt and then fastens it. There is a carabiner also that is attached to one of the rings that he also attaches to the dry bag.

Both methods keep our electronic keys completely dry.

As for the paper towel, when we get out and open the bags with our keys, we have a paper towel to dry our hands before touching the keys. 🙂


  1. We were recently made aware of a nice new option for protecting electronic key fobs while snorkeling. DRYFOB is an aluminum tube with rubber o-rings and a well fitting lid that is rated to 100m (330ft) waterproof. We tried it and think it is a great product and it is waterproofing you can trust. They sell a couple different sizes on Amazon, so be sure you know which one you are getting.

  2. My car has a key fob that has a regular key that pulls out of it. When I park at the beach, and am ready to leave the car, I take the fob apart, then put the fob inside one of those small faraday bags that block the car from sensing the remote. I stash the bag inside the car and lock all the doors with the interior switch. Then I exit and lock the driver’s door manually with the key.

    Then I use the loop string in my swimsuit (or wetsuit) to attach my key to my person.

    The alarm won’t be on, but the car will be more secure than if I left my key fob on the beach.


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