How to Overcome Your Fear of Water, Swimming, and Snorkelling

by Mihai Pinzariu on September 23, 2019

Sure, we live in a country where 85% of us live within 50km of the coastline, but does that mean we’re all splashing around in the sea, sparkling with confidence and enthusiasm? Nope. There are heaps of us out there with a fear of water, swimming, and snorkelling who would love to be joining the others out on the beach, but are too afraid to do so.

Fear is a normal part of life, and everyone in the world is scared of something. If you’re afraid of the water, swimming, or snorkelling, there’s a reason behind that fear and a number of ways you can work to overcome it. The most important thing is to realise that fear is just an opportunity for strength; fear exists to help us grow as humans; and fear is completely distinguishable. Yep, just like a flame, you can put fear out.

In this article we’re gonna talk about the reasons why people might be afraid of water, swimming, or snorkelling, and then we’ll tell you some easy ways to beat your fear so you can conquer the water and be the mermaid/man you’ve always wanted to be.

Remember: you’re in total control, and you’re totally capable.

Why are you afraid?

If you want to overcome a fear, you’ve gotta think about why it exists and what it is exactly that you’re afraid of. You’re clearly not afraid of water itself, since you’re able to shower and walk in the rain without going into fits of panic. There are also reasons behind fear of snorkelling and swimming, and knowing what those are is important.

So we’ll tell you the most common reasons why people are afraid of water. If you recognise your fear here, know that you’re not alone and there are others out there who feel the same. Even better, others who have overcome that fear and now live stronger and happier.

  • Fear of drowning – You may be afraid that you will drown while trying to swim out in the ocean. Know that you can always go out in a life jacket, stay near the shore in plain view of lifeguards, and go with a buddy who can ensure you stay safe.
  • Fear of the unknown – You’ve never been snorkelling before, or you’re not sure what’s lurking beneath these waters. What if you stumble into a shark or a dangerous fish? Banish this fear of the unknown by making sure to read up on the area where you’ll be swimming, what kind of fish exist in the waters, and if there’s nothing to be afraid of – there’s nothing to be afraid of.
  • Bad childhood experiences – Many people have had bad experiences in water as a child. Know that these experiences are common, and as a child you were not as knowledgeable and strong as you are now. Know that this was an isolated event which occurred to you as a child, and is unlikely to repeat again.
  • Parents afraid of water – A lot of people pick up a fear of water and swimming from their parents, who themselves never learned to swim or be in water. If you feel like this may be driving your fear, remind yourself that you’re an individual person with your own experiences and sets of beliefs and fears. You are not your parents.
  • Fear of snorkelling itself – If you’ve never been snorkelling, it can be easy to feel afraid of the activity. You are, after all, breathing underwater, which is pretty unnatural. If this is driving your fear, properly acquaint yourself with your equipment and how it works. Practice makes perfect, and with enough use of your snorkelling mask in the shower or a shallow pool, it’ll come like a second nature to you.

Tips & exercises to help you own it

OK, now you know why you’re afraid, let’s take that fear and put it to rest for good. It’s time you lived your life free of fear, and got to enjoy all the water activities you’ve been dying to do on those hot summer days. Consider these tips and practice these exercises. Nobody said overcoming a fear is easy, but it sure is possible, and the rewards are worth it in more ways than we can list. So let’s get to it. You’ve got this, you’re ready.

  • Water theory

Alright, let’s get you acquainted with water. Yes, you shower and bathe, but let’s do a little more than that. There’s something about water that’s making you scared, so maybe it’s time to read up a bit on how water actually works. What makes us drown, what makes water enter our ears, how to get it out, what’s all this stuff about floating and buoyancy, and all that. Knowing how water works will make you more confident when you’re in it. Here’s a great page to get you started – The Science of Swimming

  • Water acclimation exercises

Read that article? Feeling a bit more better now (and a bit more scientific maybe, too?) Great, let’s actually get you in the water now and doing stuff. You’re ready for Step 2: Water Acclimation Exercises. Basically, exercises to get you used to the feeling of being in and around water.

Depending on what you’re afraid of, you’ll have to practice walking in water, floating in water, dunking your head underwater, and breathing underwater. This page includes several exercises on each of the above, with plenty of instructions and helpful information. Read the guide, and head to your local pool to practice these. Remember: every time you finish an exercise, you’re one step closer to killing that fear.

  • Know your equipment

We mentioned it before, but we’ll mention it again. While snorkelling, a lot of people can be afraid because they’re not actually sure how their equipment works – therefore not sure when it will fail them, or how. That leaves them in a constant state of anxiety, waiting for the instrument to fail or throw them off.

Being confident in water is all about knowledge and practice, and knowing how snorkelling equipment works and how to best use it is vital for overcoming this fear. Learn how your dry-top snorkel system works, what happens if you dunk it underwater, and make sure you’re ready for anything and everything. When you know your equipment like the back of your hand, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

  • Breathing exercises

If you’re afraid of breathing underwater itself, practice breathing with your mouth open in the shower. Many people have been told to keep their mouths closed while underwater, and this freaks them out when it comes to swimming and snorkelling. Get your mouth used to the feeling, and the fact that you can continue to breathe even with water in your mouth.

In a pool or even in a bucket a home, practice opening your mouth and exhaling underwater (blowing bubbles, essentially). This is a technique they use while teaching kids how to swim, and it can really help you gain confidence while breathing underwater. Picture every bursting bubble to be one of your fears, exploding away.

Another important breathing exercise is simply awareness of the breath. Paying attention to your breath as you inhale and exhale, the expansion and contraction of your chest, stomach, and rib cage. Breathing with awareness brings on a state of relaxation, helps you control the breath, and even helps you to breathe more slowly and deeply.


How many people dream of snorkelling but don't feel comfortable wearing a snorkel mask?

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“If you thought we’re just here to sell you products, think again. You’re part of the Ninja Shark family, and your feedback matters! We’re constantly working to improve our products and deliver the full face snorkel mask that exists only in our dreams!”

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Based on 1494 reviews
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Package : Air Adults (Mask + Fins + Bag)
JEANNIE O. (Piara Waters, AU)
Bloody love this!

Never snorkelled in my life. Petrified of putting my head under water. But now my neck is bad - if I don't alter the way I swim - then no more swimming for me. This has opened 'a whole new world' - (haha -that songs stuck in your head now) - to me. I'm just using my ninja gear in my gym outdoor pool atm. My legs are getting so strong - and my lungs too - as I'm doing some great breathing. I have huge surgery coming up soon - and i believe this is allowing me to get to a great level of fitness - in preparation. Honestly - i can't go on enough about this product enough. My friend bought a cheaper version. She's given it away already... say no more 🤿🤿🤿

B
Electra - Full Face Snorkel Mask
Bolang C. (Perth, AU)
Great design

This is the best snorkel mask I’ve ever had. Very comfortable on face, easy to breathe. I am not a good swimmer, it makes me feel safe and enjoy snorkelling without distraction. Thank you ninjiashark.

Best snorkel ever!!

Got one of these for me and my 7 year old daughter for Xmas. We’ve used them twice already and love them!! So much easier to breathe, can see so much and just makes the whole snorkelling experience better! Would highly recommend!

Clear as day

Clear to see and easy to breathe,
Whole family loves the NinjaShark Snorkel mask.

R
Lifetime Warranty
Robyn H. (Adelaide, AU)
Amazing

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

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

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

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(DRAFT) Diving Dry Snorkel Set with GoPro mount
jomm11 (Brisbane, AU)
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 :)

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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.

S
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.

Fabulous

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.

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

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

J
(DRAFT) 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!

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.

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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! 🤿💦🌴☀️

awsome

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

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

This is great! More stores should do it!

O
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!