Does Snorkeling Require Swimming?


Good question. Believe it or not, but according to this article over 4 billion people don’t know how to swim. Unfortunately this results in most of them avoiding any snorkel activities, even though they have the interest. That’s why we decided to write this article. Not only to help, but also to make people aware to look out for one another in the ocean.

You don’t necessarily need to be able to swim in order to enjoy snorkeling. Swimming facilitates moving through the water and usually adds to the excitement. Let’s take a closer look at how to get started if you have no swimming skills.

Ways To Enjoy Snorkeling

In this article we assume you have no problems to enter the water and that you’re not scared to snorkel in the first place. It’s just that swimming is no option for you.

Tip: Maybe some of you find help in reading our post called “Is snorkeling easy?“.

Floating Accessories

Even if you’re not able to swim, you probably want to just snorkel like everybody else, right? We mean, floating in a horizontal position with your snorkel mask facing the bottom of the ocean. It’s the most common way to go about it anyways.

If breathing through a snorkel is no problem for you, make sure you find a way to float. This could be holding on to a mattress, a friend, a boat, anything really.

Probably it’s more fun to get one of those inflatable snorkel vests. Did you know that a lot of experienced snorkelers use one as well? We often wear one ourselves. Nothing to be ashamed of and they look pretty nice too.

A snorkel vest will make sure you float on the ocean surface. However, try to avoid strong currents. The vest we personally use is only around 15 bucks. If you’re interested, you can find it’s latest price at Amazon here.

More than 4 billion people worldwide don’t know how to swim

Shallow Water

Make sure to stay in shallow water. Being able to stand up in case of any emergency is important at all times. Maybe you start to panic, or maybe there’s any kind of danger to escape from as soon as possible.

Some snorkel locations offer some entertaining marine life in shallow waters. You could do some research about that before heading out to a bay. If you know there’s lots to discover right next to the beach, your day could be just great.

We once wrote an article about snorkeling in Waikiki. We’re not saying you should go there, but it’s a great example of how to get started. They built a lagoon adjacent to the beach that’s perfect for practicing. If you’re more the “cruise type” of person, check out snorkeling in Coco Cay. Head on over to “South Beach” and watch the video. You’ll be amazed by how fascinating shallow water can be.

Wherever you live or wherever you’re going, you can make things more easier by checking out some possible beaches. Knowing you can always run out of the water is definitely a nice thought to have.

Snorkeling in shallow water can be big fun


Snorkel fins have a lot of advantages. Not only do they save your energy, they also facilitate quick and flexible movements when swimming. Maybe it’s something to consider in order to “move” along the coastline a little. At least, if that’s what you’d like.

Maybe fins are just not for you, or maybe you feel like it’s just too overwhelming to try them on. That’s perfectly normal and understandable. Just remember that if you manage to practice a little, even on the shore, who knows you’ll feel like a fish in the water.

Fins also allow you to reach the shore much faster. Off course, if you stay in shallow water that’s no issue, but let’s say a current takes you away from the beach or you don’t pay attention for a second. Having fins can help you out. However, we totally understand that maybe that’s just not what you’re looking for right now.

You don’t need to get big ones. Small models are much easier to handle and to take with you. The fins we sometimes bring are somewhere around 25 dollars, they fit in our backpack and can be worn barefoot or with water shoes. If you’re interested, here they are at Amazon.

Sea Scooters

We once dedicated an entire article about underwater scooters and how they can help people on a snorkel excursion. If you’re interested, you can find it here.

The main advantage of these gadgets is their assistance in moving you forward. You can set your speed to “slow” and simply hang on to the device. Whatever direction you turn to, that’s where you’ll be heading.

One disadvantage is their price. They’re not cheap. But well, everyone’s budget is different. We rarely come across them when we go snorkeling, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting one. If it helps you out, why not?

They also add to your safety. You’ll be able to reach the shore much faster, just like you would with fins. Not being able to swim can be extremely scary. Since any helpful accessory could do the trick, we though let’s add it to this list.

Snorkel Walkie Talkie

As crazy as it sounds, did you know there is a snorkel walkie talkie? Feel free to read our full review here.

It allows you to either communicate with fellow snorkelers or anyone on the beach. You’d need to get a “special” snorkel mask for it all to work, but hey, it’s a cool invention.

Being able to talk to someone when snorkeling can give people a relaxed feeling. If you can’t swim, how about being able to tell someone to check on you in a matter of seconds? Even though these new gadgets seem like a luxury item to have, in some cases they might just do the trick.

You could have your snorkeling friend right next to you, or who knows your partner is standing on the shore. Anyone can get you out of the water in case of an emergency. Who knows this will boost your confidence.

Final Thoughts

If you would like to go snorkeling but you’re unable to swim, don’t panic. You can go snorkeling if that’s what you really want.

In our opinion it’s best to at least get an inflatable snorkel vest. Make sure to inflate it and try it out in shallow water. Have someone next to you in order to be totally safe. If this works, try some “steering” with your hands and who knows how much fun you could have.

Since snorkeling comes with a lot of risks, especially if you’re unable to swim, there are a few accessories to consider. We listed a few to give you an idea of what’s out there. But there’s more to discover, like the full face snorkel masks for example.

Even though snorkeling should be possible, never forget that you are actually entering a dangerous environment. Oceans can be wild, their currents can suddenly change or who knows a shark comes around the corner. Are you prepared for these situations? Something to take into consideration. Thinking about exit points could be helpful.

Make sure to do a little research about shallow waters. Maybe there’s a great shallow snorkel location nearby. A shallow bay can be extremely interesting and could contain some entertaining marine life.

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