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How to Clear a Snorkel

   January 2nd, 2024   Posted In: How-To  

If you’ve ever marveled at the vibrant underwater world and dreamed of exploring it up close, snorkeling is the perfect gateway. However, nothing can deflate your excitement faster than a flooded snorkel. Fear not! In this guide, we’ll not only demystify the art of snorkeling but also equip you with the skills to handle unexpected water intrusions like the seasoned sea explorer that you are.

What is a Snorkel?

First things first, let’s unravel what a snorkel is. A snorkel is a simple tube, typically made of plastic or rubber, that allows you to breathe while floating face down on the water’s surface. It extends above the water, ensuring a continuous supply of fresh air while you observe the mesmerizing marine life below.

What is a Snorkel Used For?

Snorkels are the Swiss army knives of the underwater world. They are your ticket to experiencing the magic beneath the waves without the complexity of SCUBA diving gear. Whether you’re exploring coral reefs, spying on curious fish, or just floating effortlessly in the crystal-clear waters, a snorkel is your trusty companion.

Why is a Snorkel Important?

Imagine this: you’re snorkeling, surrounded by colorful fish and vibrant corals, and suddenly, water infiltrates your snorkel. Panic sets in. That’s where the importance of knowing how to clear a snorkel comes into play. A clear snorkel ensures a seamless breathing experience, allowing you to focus on the wonders around you rather than fumbling with equipment.

How to Clear a Snorkel

Oh no! Water in the snorkel – a common snorkeler’s woe. But fret not; it’s a hurdle easily overcome with the right technique. When water enters your snorkel, the key is to stay calm. Panicking can lead to inefficient actions and, worse, water inhalation.

Here’s what to do when water enters the snorkel:

  1. Stay Calm and Still: If water infiltrates your snorkel, resist the urge to gasp for breath. Stay calm, keep your head above the water, and maintain a steady position.
  2. Tilt Your Head Back: Gently tilt your head backward, bringing the snorkel’s open end above the water. This simple move prevents additional water from entering the tube.
  3. Exhale Vigorously: Now, take a deep breath and exhale forcefully through the snorkel. The exhalation should clear the water from the tube, restoring it to its dry, functional state.
  4. Repeat if Necessary: In some cases, a single attempt might not suffice. Repeat the process until your snorkel is free of water. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries.

How to Clear a Snorkel Underwater

While surface clearing is effective, mastering the art of clearing a snorkel underwater adds an advanced skill to your snorkeling repertoire.

  1. Practice in Shallow Waters: Begin by practicing in shallow waters where you can comfortably stand. Submerge your face, letting water enter the snorkel intentionally.
  2. Master the Blast: To clear the snorkel underwater, employ the “blast” technique. This involves forcefully exhaling a burst of air to expel water from the tube. Practice controlled blasts until you feel confident in your ability to clear the snorkel efficiently.
  3. Perfect the Purge Valve: Some snorkels come equipped with purge valves, designed to automatically expel water. If your snorkel has this feature, familiarize yourself with how it works and ensure it’s functioning correctly.
  4. Emergency Ascent: If, despite your efforts, you’re unable to clear the snorkel underwater, execute an emergency ascent. Swiftly rise to the surface, tilt your head back, and follow the surface clearing steps mentioned earlier.

Tips for an Uninterrupted Snorkeling Experience

Choose the Right Snorkel

Invest in a high-quality snorkel with a purge valve for added convenience. Selecting the right equipment significantly reduces the chances of water entering your snorkel. If you’re renting a snorkel, this doesn’t apply.

Check Your Seal

Ensure your mask is properly sealed to your face. A well-fitted mask prevents water from leaking into your snorkel during your aquatic exploits.

Stay Relaxed

Panic is the enemy of enjoyable snorkeling. Keep your movements slow and deliberate, and maintain a relaxed demeanor to enhance your overall experience.

Clear the Snorkel Regularly

Proactively clear your snorkel even if you don’t sense water inside. Regular clearing prevents the buildup of residual water, guaranteeing a smooth snorkeling experience.

Conclusion: Snorkel Deeper with Confidence

Armed with the knowledge of how to clear a snorkel, you’re ready to embark on a seamless underwater adventure. Remember, practice makes perfect, so hone your skills in calm waters before venturing into the open sea. With the right technique and a dash of confidence, you’ll be exploring the ocean’s wonders in no time. Happy snorkeling!

Lauren (LoLo) has been turning words into blog posts for Wetsuit Wearhouse since 2014. She learned to surf for the first time ever in Costa Rica but she gravitates more towards SUP. When she's not scouring the web for travel deals, you can find her either hiking, running, gardening, tending to her animals, or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.

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  • Al says:

    Hi LoLo / Team,
    I am 59 and overweight. I always snorkel on top of the water and never had a wetsuit. I will be going to the Big Island this Feb and according to what I can find water temp is between 73-78 F and thinking I may need one for this trip – not sure of thickness and suit size. What do you recommend? Is a two piece better for my size?
    Height 66″
    Weight 245 #
    Chest 51″
    Waist 51″
    Hips 47″
    Neck 16″
    Inseam 28.5″


  • Laura Lister says:

    Can you advise me? I am 78 years old and find my pool a bit too cold. I would like to purchase a wet suit jacket that is very flexible and easy to swim and do aerobics in. Since swimming helps arthritis, movement is very important. I do not do straight laps, but various exercises worked into a lap. Also – I am overweight so I do not want anything “sexy”.

    What do you think?

    • Crysta Goff says:

      I’m going to send you a private email, Laura. (:

    • John Gross says:

      Hi make sure it has a full zipper they can be hard to get off at your age,you dont want a full suit or a pull over that you may need helping getting on and off,i just checked ebay theres a xxxl camo jacket full zipper,25$bid 15 shipping.looks new.
      And you can use as out of water jacket if its super cold.they really hold heat in shockingly so.
      Because of how hard they are to remove you might want to start with hood gloves and feet.try searchs like neoprine gloves socks hood.jacket check ebay cheap.also thift stores often have wetsuits for like 20$

  • Marco says:


    I read your blog in a quick and non efficient way. I didn’t find the answer I was looking for. I found your views very interesting, points are great too, thank you for your post. It helped me understand a little into what I was looking for. I hope you carry on with your views and different ways of wording your initial subject/subjects. Enjoy reading your book in hot summer days, it’s when you’re most alive in the most ways you can be.


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