A Guide to Safe Snorkelling: 10 Things to Avoid

by Catalin Andries on August 24, 2023

Diving into the mesmerising world beneath the ocean's surface, snorkelling unveils a breathtaking tapestry of marine life and vibrant coral reefs.

It's an experience that offers unforgettable moments of wonder and awe. However, amidst the enchanting allure of the underwater world, it's crucial to be aware of potential risks and exercise caution. In this article, we'll delve into the essential things you should be mindful of while snorkelling to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure.

From understanding currents and respecting marine life to proper equipment usage, we'll equip you with the knowledge and tips needed to make the most of your snorkelling escapades while preserving the delicate ecosystem. So, grab your gear and dive in with us as we embark on a journey of underwater exploration while prioritising safety above all else.

Sun Exposure

© (WT-shared) Queensland at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Engaging in outdoor activities exposes us to the risks associated with the sun. Despite this fact, when we're frolicking in cool waters, we often overlook the potential harm caused by excessive sun exposure. The damaging effects of the sun apply to people of all ages and skin colours; the duration of exposure is a key factor in determining the risk. Nevertheless, individuals with fair skin are particularly vulnerable and should exercise great caution.

Sunburn is never a pleasant experience, but prolonged exposure can escalate to sun poisoning, leading to skin blistering, headaches, fever, swelling, and even nausea and dizziness. The aftermath of sun poisoning can last anywhere from ten days to two weeks, effectively spoiling anyone's beach trip.

To safeguard against sun-related issues, it is highly recommended to use sunscreen, preferably one that is water-resistant, and to reapply it regularly as per the product's instructions. Wearing wet suits or rash guards can provide additional protection against the harmful effects of excessive sun exposure.

Furthermore, eye injuries are a genuine concern when discussing sun damage. The cornea and vision can be adversely affected by overexposure to UV rays. Therefore, it's essential to wear sunglasses with good UV protective lenses whenever you are not in the water.


When considering sun exposure, it's crucial to address the risk of overheating, a factor that may not immediately come to mind during water sports but is very real.

As you venture further south, the water temperature tends to rise, increasing the likelihood of overheating. Even if you opt for a wet suit as protection against other dangers, it may cause your body to heat up faster.

Overheating prompts a surge in blood flow to the skin, forcing the heart to work harder, which can lead to dizziness and nausea—symptoms you definitely don't want to experience while trying to stay afloat. Heatstroke is another potential consequence of overheating, already perilous on dry land but even more hazardous in an aquatic environment.

To mitigate these risks, it's vital to take frequent breaks when diving in warmer waters and be mindful of any signs of excessive heat buildup in your body. Staying aware and proactive can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience during water activities.


©Photo Credits : Daniel Foster via Flickr

Staying properly hydrated can often be overlooked when engaging in water activities.

Snorkelling, in particular, demands a significant amount of effort as it involves using numerous muscles in the body, making it a rigorous exercise.

Hence, it's essential to keep the body hydrated, and you certainly don't want to be drinking seawater.

Make sure to carry an ample supply of freshwater with you during your outing, and don't underestimate the importance of staying hydrated, even if you don't feel thirsty. Alternatively, sports drinks can be a suitable option to replenish electrolytes and keep yourself well-hydrated throughout your water adventure.


© Photo Credits : Triathlete.com

Experiencing exhaustion can catch you off guard, and it's particularly undesirable when you're far from shore out on the water. To avoid this, be sure to take frequent breaks while swimming and conserve enough energy for your return journey.

Getting an adequate amount of sleep before embarking on a snorkelling holiday is of utmost importance.

Being well-rested ensures optimal physical and mental performance during the activity. Additionally, it's essential to be in reasonably good physical condition before taking on an activity like snorkelling.


© Photo Credits : Swimmerssolutionswim.com

In the water, particularly in the ocean, muscle cramps can pose a significant danger. The resistance of the waves makes it harder to move, and painful cramps can leave you struggling.

To reduce the likelihood of cramps, it's essential to avoid muscle fatigue. Taking measures to prevent exhaustion will be beneficial in this regard. Additionally, staying well-hydrated is crucial as cramps are more likely to occur when the body is not getting enough fluids.

While the body needs salt to ward off cramps, it's important to avoid consuming mouthfuls of seawater. Instead, opt for sports drinks available in the market, which are infused with an appropriate amount of salt to help prevent cramps.

If you’ve been paying attention so far, you will have noticed that if you’ve taken care to not be Dehydrated or Exhausted, your chances of getting cramps will also have decreased!

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Coral & Sharp Rocks

© Photo Credits : Qeensland.com

The ocean floor can be riddled with various geographic hazards, including sharp rocks. Carelessly brushing against these surfaces can result in severe gashes, so it's crucial to remain cautious and vigilant of rocks on the seafloor while snorkelling.

Coral reefs are among the ocean's most breathtaking sights, attracting many snorkelers. However, it's essential to show respect to these beautiful formations as they come with their own dangers.

Coral is delicate and easily damaged, so any contact can lead to its breakage and even death since it's a living organism. Certain types of coral, like fire coral, can cause significant stings.

Furthermore, coral may appear softer than it is, causing abrasions to the skin upon contact. Some types of coral even possess poisonous properties, leading to severe pain, fever, or irritating rashes if they come in contact with the skin or cause abrasions.

Additionally, coral reefs serve as habitats for various species of fish and other sea creatures, some of which are toxic to humans and can deliver stinging attacks. These stings can have similar effects as those caused by coral, resulting in an unpleasant experience that might cut short your vacation.

To fully enjoy the beauty of coral reefs while snorkelling, it's essential to treat them with care and be mindful of the potential hazards they present. By doing so, you can have a safe and memorable underwater adventure.

Marine Life

© Photo Credits : Alexander Vasenin  via Wikipedia

The seas are abundant with mesmerising marine life, which is a primary reason why snorkelling is such a gratifying experience. However, it's crucial to exercise extreme care as some marine creatures can pose dangers in their natural environment.

Sharks are often the first concern that comes to mind when discussing hazardous marine life, but it's essential to know that shark attacks on humans are exceedingly rare. Generally, if you avoid actions that might provoke a shark, they will likely steer clear of you.

Avoid wearing flashy jewellery or any shiny materials that could resemble fish scales to a shark, as they might mistake it for prey. Additionally, some accidental shark bites have occurred due to people feeding other fish in the presence of sharks. If you spot a shark, the safest course of action is to exit the water.

Other marine life that may present potential threats include:

  • - Jellyfish/Portuguese Man o' War: Their long tentacles have stinging cells that can cause intense pain if they come into contact with your skin. Wearing a wetsuit can provide some protection.

  • - Stingrays: Though not aggressive, they may sting when cornered or accidentally stepped on. Their barbed tails contain painful venom.

  • - Sea Urchins: Unintentional contact with their spines can lead to painful stings, and some species inject venom through the spines.

  • - Barracuda: These predatory fish might mistake shiny materials for prey and could attack. They possess sharp teeth that can cause serious injuries.

  • - Lionfish: Their colourful, featherlike quills contain a potent neurotoxin that can cause severe pain and allergic reactions if touched.

  • - Triggerfish: While some species are skittish, others, like the Titan Triggerfish, can be aggressive and defend their territory with bites and butting.

  • - Lobsters/Crabs: Generally, not a concern, but their strong pinchers can cause pain if accidentally touched or cornered.

  • - Remoras: These hitch-hiking creatures might try to cling to anything moving, which can be annoying and might cause scrapes with their sucker-like mouths.


When encountering marine life, always be mindful of your surroundings, refrain from touching the creatures, and avoid feeding the fish. Practising these precautions will help ensure a safe and enjoyable snorkelling experience amidst the wonders of the ocean's biodiversity.

Boats & Buoys

© Photo Credits :World-Diving.Com

Objects on the water's surface can pose a significant threat to snorkelers. While much of the enjoyment in snorkelling comes from observing the underwater world while floating on the surface, it's crucial to remain vigilant about boats and buoys in the vicinity.

Buoys are common fixtures near the coast, and though they may seem hard to miss, they are often anchored on the seafloor with the buoy floating on the surface. The chains and buoys are typically made of steel, making them easy to accidentally hit with your head when flipping on the water's surface. When swimming at a rapid pace, these objects might become visible too late to avoid a collision, underscoring the importance of being constantly aware of your surroundings.

Boats also present a considerable threat. Swimmers just under the surface can be challenging for boaters to spot, potentially leading to dangerous situations. To enhance visibility to boats in the area, it's advisable to swim with a dive flag.

Additionally, snorkelling only in areas explicitly designated for the sport is a wise decision, as it ensures a safer environment for both snorkelers and boaters.

By being mindful of boats and buoys and adhering to safety guidelines, you can have a secure and delightful snorkelling experience while appreciating the wonders of the underwater world..


© Photo Credits : Jeremy Bishop tidesinourveins, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The ocean contains currents unlike any other body of water, and being prepared for these changes is vital for a safe swim.

One of the challenges with ocean currents is that they aren't always visible from the surface. When waves crash onto the beach, they create an undertow or a flow on the ocean floor that moves back out to sea.

Understanding how ocean currents function can significantly contribute to your safety while snorkelling. Seeking knowledge from locals can be helpful in learning about the behaviour of water currents in the area. However, the most crucial aspect is to be ready and vigilant for any shifts in water direction as you swim. Staying aware and prepared will ensure a safer and more enjoyable snorkelling experience in the presence of ocean currents.

Equipment Failure

© Photo Credits : Jeremy Bishop tidesinourveins, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Like any equipment, snorkelling gear is not exempt from the potential for errors, which can have serious consequences when you're in the water.

While many charter snorkelling businesses provide rental equipment that is generally safe, it's still a wise idea to have your own gear. Having your equipment ensures that you know its exact condition, that it fits you properly, and you are aware of its previous usage history.

It’s also crucial that you steer clear of cheap gear, especially when it comes to full-face snorkelling masks.

We’re not here to brag, but if you’re on the lookout for some of the best snorkelling gear on the market, you’re definitely on the right website.

Final Thoughts

Snorkelling, like most any activity, can be harmful if not done properly.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pick up snorkelling as a hobby, though. It just means that you should do it the right way!

That’s exactly why we’ve written this article, to help people understand and be conscious of the potential risks of snorkelling, and to help avoid them.

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We bought the equalizer mask and fins package for lake and river snorkeling and it’s amazing. As soon as I submerged my head I was in a whole new world. I have never experienced such an immersion into the underwater world before (with normal snorkel gear). The equalizer mask is crystal clear, no water ever gets in (even when I dive, do summer saults, jump in off a rock) and being able to equalize my pressure by plugging my nose is awesome. I love breathing freely through my mouth and nose. I’m just really impressed and love my mask. The flippers are really nice to. They fit great.

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Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Based on 1357 reviews
Lifetime Warranty
Robyn H. (Adelaide, AU)

The best snorkel and mask combination. No going back now! I could snorkel for over an hour easily. So glad I made this purchase

Package: Dry Snorkel (Set + Fins + Bag)
Mermaid M. (Townsville, AU)

While travelling in Timor leste l met a fellow snorkeller. We snorkelled for 10 days together the food was shit but the water was stunning. The friend was using Ninja Shark fins and mask mine were steaming up, letting in water and heavy. On arriving back in Australia l ordered straight away.
I was a little bit anxious on receiving my order as the mask was quite different to my old one and the fins were short and adjustable ( l wanted them to be my size ! ) well to my luck the weather was beautiful ( yes mid winter in Mackay ) and perfect for boating so off we scooted to Cockermouth ( don't laugh it's a real place ) jumping in and WOW I'm now a mermaid 🧜‍♀️ the mask and fins felt like part of me. I actually cried as not only was the equipment allowing me to explore as l wanted but the reef was STUNNING. So lm indepted to Ninja Shark for making me the mermaid l always aspired to be 🧜‍♀️

Took it to Tahiti

I wasn’t quite sure about getting a full face mask but bought mine (Electra package) before a trip to Tahiti which we got home from yesterday - absolutely LOVED it!!! I’ll be getting one for my wife before our next trip to a similar destination. BTW I make LOTS of crazy videos with lots of toys.

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Life changing

I do love my full face snorkel.. the freedom of nose breathing under the water.. the meditative and relaxative effect of this snorkeling is unexpected and great. Fits so well.. comfy to wear for long time.. highly recommend

Super quality & fit

So happy we got Ninja shark, perfect for Great barrier reef snorkel day.
Flippers, mask, dry wallet, carry bag (good quality bag), anti fog spray, happy days.

Ninja Shark Kids Mask

We recently brought the Ninja Shark Kids 3-11 Mask + Fins + Bag package for our 7 year old who absolutely loves it! Will be buying three more for the rest of the family. 😊

Even better than expected!

I saw the kids full face snorkel masks online, and thought they looked pretty cool. I ordered two for Christmas, for my 3 and 6 year olds. Wow, did they have a great time with them!

I wasn't sure how the 3 year old would go with it, but he was comfortable in it almost immediately, and spent hours swimming around and seeing a whole new world of underwater scenery.

They were easy to fit, zero issues with them staying on. No leaks or fog.

They can't wait to get back to the water!

Highly recommend this product :)

Electra - Full Face Snorkel Mask
Nick J. (Brisbane, AU)
mask swimming

The mask did exactly what was stated. I was very happy and will get another mask for my daughter.

Electra - Full Face Snorkel Mask
Sheara R. (Perth, AU)
Great way to swim

I have NEVER been able to snorkel but love swimming. These full face snorkels are an absolute game changer in my life. Now I try to swim around 5 kms a week in the local pool. The Ninja mask makes it easy to do laps. I’ve been using the Ninja Shark for a quite few years and find the new Electra the best full face mask ever. No leaks, no fog and really easy to use and great quality. I’ve noticed my regular chats with other swimmers at the pool have encouraged many of them to purchase one of their own. I’ve given my older models to my grandkids and they love them too.


I got one for the 3 year old and one for the 5 year old, I thought maybe the 3 year old would get the hang of it eventually but they both loved it and mastered it pretty quickly. We’ve only used in the swimming pool, excited to go snorkeling in the ocean soon. Great product.

Lifetime Warranty
Sarah B. (Surfers Paradise, AU)
Love it!

Amazing product ! Have the electra package, kids love it. So easy to use. Highly recommend

Diving Dry Snorkel Set with GoPro mount
Jennifer M. (Brisbane, AU)
Love it

Bought these for myself and my husband after getting the full face masks for the kids, and they were so good we’re getting them for the rest of the extended family for Xmas. The fact u can dive down and not get water down ur snorkel is a brilliant bonus! Makes our family holidays much easier and better without snorkel dramas!

This made our holiday

The product itself was amazing, but the service we received allowed us to get our 2 sets of masks for our cruise. We took them with us and used them multiple times for snorkelling on our cruise to Nouméa and New Caledonia. It was amazing snorkelling and being able to breathe easily, and the fins were the most comfortable I've ever used. I've got size 13 feet, and not only were they completely adjustable, but they were THE most comfortable fins ever invented. A massive shoutout to Colleen Zamora from your support staff who helped me out and made it possible to take our gear on holidays! Thanks Colleen!
The photo is us snorkelling off Amadee Island looking for turtles!

<3 em

So, I had the old type standard snorkle set I saw the add on tiktok thought I would give it a go. ONG I love them!!! They are so comfortable easy to get on and off and very very good to snorkle with I can see perfect clear thru them and doesn’t fill up with water! A very happy camper

My kids love them

I’ve got three of these masks for my younger kids, however the oldest wants one too as the young ones rave about how good the are.

Summer Family Fun

Our Ninja masks have made snorkelling as a whole family very easy and enjoyable. The kids (and parents) find them super easy to use and have allowed us as a family of five to snorkel for longer than we ever could using traditional snorkel gear. I would highly recommend these masks.

Lifetime Warranty
Geri D. (Sydney, AU)
Lifetime warranty

Glad I have but haven’t needed to use .. yet

Great Mask

Love this mask. Kids find it so much easier snorkelling with the Ninja Shark. The snorkel mask is super clear and doesn’t fog up. The adjustable straps are great and easy to loosen and tighten. Very happy that we made the decision to get these for the kids.

A must for snorkelers!

Recently purchased the Equaliser Pro Mask, Finns and bag. 🤿 🐠🐡🐟🦈 Had an amazing time snorkeling off Fitzroy Island, the Pro mask allowed me to explore for over 7 hours. Higly recommend! Planning must next snorkeling trip! 🤿💦🌴☀️


we used our new masks over the weekend. they were amazing, my daughter barely had her head out of the water all day.

Lifetime Warranty
Lina J. (Gold Coast, AU)
life warranty

This is great! More stores should do it!

Lifetime Warranty
Olivia (Perth, AU)
Fantastic snorkel!

Our 5 year old has never snorkelled. Put it on and was snorkelling no problem straight away! Easy for him to put on and off by himself. We bought the full package with flippers (also amazing and he can put them on by himself) and the two wet bags. The foldable snorkel is so handy for storing while we are travelling. And the lifetime warranty gives us great comfort that we can use it for future trips! We are so impressed with this product I’m going to get mum and dad one too!

Kids snorkel

It is a lot easier for the younger children to have fun and snorkel without worrying about their nose breathing. My 6 year old swims confidently and happily.

Good clear vision

The first time I tried the mask, I felt I’d made a mistake to buy one!
But with a bit more trial and error and a few more readjustments, I managed to settle into using it.
Each time I went for a snorkel, there was always the need to readjust because you don’t necessarily get the mask on in exactly the same position as it was in the last use. The mask always kept water from entering the eye area, but at times I couldn’t completely seal the mouth area and small amounts of water would seep in, but not stop me from breathing! I never managed to breath with my nose, only with my mouth.
On a big plus, I never had issues with fogging up and you get good clear area of vision. I also wear multi focal glasses, so to solve the problem of poor vision in a snorkel mask, I bought very cheap and ugly pair of glasses with large lenses! I then took the arms off the glasses and carefully placed them inside the eye area of the mask and kept them in place with a piece of blu tac!! 😆 It worked beautifully for my distance vision which is is used the most when snorkelling! I might try an old pair of prescription lenses next time, and then I might be able to read the underwater camera settings as well!
The mask can be a bit fiddly at times, and awkward to get into the right place, but with some patience it did really well, and I never resorted to going back to use my ‘normal’ mask and snorkel. We snorkelled in both calm and choppy water successfully. 🤓🐠🐟🐡🦀🐙
Thanks Ninja Shark!

Kids loved them!

We bought two long tube masks for the girls as a Xmas present, they first tested them in the bath!! The next trip was the beach, they spent hours in the water, my 3yr old son wanted to use the masks too. He loved it as well, he'll be getting one for his birthday. 😊