Do I Need to Know How to Swim to Go Snorkelling?

by Mihai Pinzariu on September 17, 2019

While snorkelling is enjoyed by so many people around the world, there are others who'd love the chance to marvel at underwater coral life but are too afraid. Some people don't feel confident in the water, others find it uncomfortable to breathe with a snorkel, and some still are just afraid of the unknown.

That said, snorkelling is not as scary or uncomfortable as it may seem from a distance, and there's plenty you can do to make the experience more pleasant. 

If you're not the most confident swimmer, you might be pleased to know that you don't necessarily need to know how to swim in order to enjoy snorkelling. It may sound silly considering the fact that snorkelling takes place in the ocean, but unlike swimming, snorkelling is a surface sport that doesn't require the same skill and movement as swimming.

If you're tired of missing out on all the fun just cos you don't know how to swim, keep reading for tips and advice on how to snorkel if you don't know how to swim.

1. Get confident in the water

While you don't need to know how to swim in order to enjoy snorkelling, you do need to be confident in the water. If you're not accustomed to being in water, make sure you visit your local pool a few times before heading out into the open ocean. There's no better way to gain confidence in water than by practice, and just being in water a few times will give you the confidence you need to master snorkelling.

2. Go with a group

You might be able to enjoy a snorkel session on your own, but if you're not a swimmer then we wouldn't advise going out into the open ocean by yourself. Rips, waves, and currents are unpredictable when you're far from shore, and the last thing you want to get caught in if you're not a strong swimmer.

Snorkelling with a group not only ensures your safety, but also makes snorkelling more fun! You get to point out and share all the awesome things you see, and others can point you in the direction of sea and coral life that you wouldn't have otherwise noticed yourself.

3. Get the right equipment

Equipment is essential when it comes to snorkelling, and not only do you want a correctly fitting snorkel and mask, but fins as well.


will keep you confident in the water and help you to swim better - even if you don't know how to swim! Your kicks will be stronger and you'll be able to move in the water faster, something essential for non-swimmers who might otherwise slowly float around.

People who can't swim might naturally feel uncomfortable in the water, and breathing through a snorkel with a tube in your mouth might not be the most pleasant experience. Wearing a full face mask will keep your breathing easy and natural, making you more comfortable out at sea and less likely to succumb to stress and fears. 

Another essential piece of equipment - particularly for people who don't know how to float - is a flotation device or lifejacket. This will give you 100% confidence and protection in the water, as it's impossible to sink while wearing one, and you'll be free to enjoy snorkelling with no worries. Time after time, you'll get used to the action of floating and be able to do it on your own without a flotation device.

4. Practice out in the shore

So you've arrived at your destination, you have your gear and you've accustomed yourself to being in water. Your group is hanging out before going into the water, and you've got some free time. Put your snorkelling gear on, and head out in the shallows and have a practice dipping your head underwater to get a feel for what snorkelling will be like.

Doing this while your feet are still touching the ground will keep you confident as you grow accustomed to using the snorkel. You can also have a go with the fins if you'd like to get a feel for what they're like before going out into the deep. 

So there you go - four ways that non swimmers can get out there and enjoy the awesome sport that is snorkelling. No matter your age or level of fitness, snorkelling is a beautiful and relaxing activity that will show you a hidden and mysterious part of the world. Now you've got no excuse! Get out in the water and discover a world that's just waiting to be explored.

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1 comment
by Leanne Chalkley on February 16, 2022

I have always wanted to go snorkelling but I’m a poor swimmer and this always scared me.


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