Snorkelling & Non-Swimmers

by Catalin Andries on January 31, 2024

Snorkelling stands out as an enjoyable and fulfilling activity, distinguished from many other water sports by its simplicity. Unlike cumbersome sports that demand hefty equipment or mandatory certification courses, snorkelling lets you witness and appreciate the allure of the underwater world with minimal prerequisites.

All it takes to embark on a snorkelling adventure are some basic skills and a compact set of well-fitting gear, rendering it easily accessible to virtually anyone. However, a common query arises: Can individuals who cannot swim partake in snorkelling?

This article will delve into this frequently asked question, providing insights and tips to ensure a pleasant and comfortable snorkelling experience.

So, is it possible to snorkel without being proficient at swimming?

The concise response is yes. Fundamentally, snorkelling is a surface-oriented sport predominantly involving floating, with very little actual swimming required. Numerous non-swimmers engage in snorkelling regularly; nevertheless, it remains crucial to comprehend the correct techniques, ensuring adequate preparation beforehand.

Choosing the Appropriate Location

Taking extra precautions and conducting research are advisable when seeking a snorkelling spot suitable for non-swimmers. Consider three essential factors when deciding on your destination:

  • Opt for a location featuring calm waters. Venturing into the ocean during waves can pose challenges, making water entry and exit more problematic, increasing the risk of equipment issues (such as water entering your snorkel tube), and potentially inducing seasickness. Additionally, waves typically diminish underwater visibility.

  • Ensure there are no strong currents or underwater hazards. Avoid the risk of being carried away from your entry point or constantly contending with water flow. Steer clear of spots with entanglement hazards or dangerous marine animals.

  • Select a vibrant location with diverse marine life to observe. Opt for a place teeming with fish and corals, avoiding dull or lifeless spots. It's essential to note that the most popular destinations may not always be the best, as heavy traffic could adversely impact the reef.

 

Decide whether you will be snorkelling directly from the beach or via a boat, typically as part of an organised trip, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each for non-swimmers.

Opting for Snorkelling from the Shore is often recommended for non-swimmers and those trying snorkelling for the first time, as opposed to venturing on a boat trip in open waters. The primary advantage lies in the ability to control how far into the water you go, staying in the shallows where you can stand comfortably and practice using your snorkelling gear.

As you build confidence, you can gradually explore depths that align with your comfort level. Additionally, many beaches feature reefs right at the shore, offering plenty to observe in the shallow waters, providing an enjoyable experience even in depths of just a few metres.

However, snorkelling from the beach comes with potential drawbacks. It may give a false sense of security, leading to losing track of your location and time spent in the water. It is crucial to maintain awareness of your surroundings, keep track of fellow snorkelers, and monitor how far you've ventured from the shore. Another limitation is the absence of an experienced instructor, which is typically available during boat trips.

If you choose to snorkel from the beach, ensure the selected location has calm waters, lifeguards are present, and always have a snorkelling buddy for added safety.

On the other hand, Snorkeling from a Boat might appeal to some non-swimmers. This option not only guarantees access to great snorkelling spots but also often provides experienced instructors offering personalised guidance. Some operators even offer special trips tailored for non-swimmers and beginners, allowing time in shallow waters with an instructor to grasp the basics of using snorkelling gear and gaining comfort before embarking on a boat excursion.

Despite these advantages, snorkelling from a boat has its downsides. Most boat trips require entry into deep waters, eliminating the luxury of a gradual entry seen when snorkelling from the beach.

For those planning to snorkel with a tour operator, opt for a beginner-friendly trip, confirm the group's acceptance of non-swimmers, and during the excursion, communicate your non-swimmer status to the instructor or guide for extra attention and assistance.

 

Invest in High-Quality, Well-Fitting Gear

Snorkelling is renowned for being a light-on-equipment activity, with the essential gear comprising a mask, fins, and a snorkel (or alternatively, a full-face snorkel mask). For non-swimmers, incorporating a flotation device into their gear is crucial.

Gear can be either rented or purchased, and choosing high-quality equipment provides the flexibility to select options that suit individual preferences, allowing for practice before heading into the water.

Before venturing into the open waters, familiarise yourself with your gear in a controlled environment such as a swimming pool or a shallow area on the beach where you can stand comfortably. This practice helps acclimate you to breathing through the snorkel, determine the necessary pressure to keep it in your mouth, and ensure the proper fit of your mask and fins. Take the opportunity to learn basic skills like clearing your snorkel or removing water from your mask.

When selecting equipment, beginners are encouraged to consider our range of beginner full-face snorkelling masks, specifically designed for newcomers, offering an easier introduction compared to traditional snorkelling gear. Regarding fins, proper sizing is crucial, ensuring a snug fit around your feet without being overly tight. The choice between an open or full foot pocket depends on the snorkelling conditions and personal preference. Opt for fins with a flexible, light, and relatively short fin blade to prevent leg fatigue and facilitate ease of movement on the water's surface.

Many beginners find full-face masks appealing due to their comfort, natural breathing through both nose and mouth, elimination of jaw fatigue, and the inclusion of a built-in dry top snorkel system. However, concerns about carbon dioxide buildup are associated with this type of mask. Fortunately, our Ninja Shark masks are specifically designed to efficiently address this concern, boasting a 0% CO2 buildup!

Whether using a standard mask and snorkel setup or a full-face mask, it is essential to practise regularly. Familiarise yourself with the equipment by repeatedly putting on and taking off the mask, ensuring a quick and confident manoeuvre when needed.

 

Stay Calm and Relaxed

For individuals who are not confident swimmers, entering the water can evoke feelings of discomfort and apprehension. When embarking on snorkelling, the initial instinct often leans towards keeping as much of the body above water as possible.

However, this approach proves counterproductive. While it may require stepping outside your comfort zone, adopting a calm demeanour, aiming for a horizontal position, and allowing yourself to float lower in the water will ultimately yield better results.

The ability to relax enhances buoyancy and provides better control over movement. Swim slowly, take deep, steady breaths, and relish the experience. It's important to remember that when equipped with a flotation device, which is advisable for non-swimmers, sinking to the bottom of the sea is highly unlikely.

Avoid Snorkelling Alone

Despite snorkelling being a generally safe activity, being in the water, especially in open ocean conditions, exposes individuals to potential risks such as currents, sharp reefs, and wildlife. This risk is not exclusive to non-swimmers; even proficient swimmers should refrain from snorkelling alone. This precaution becomes particularly crucial for non-swimmers.

It is advisable to buddy up with a more experienced individual or, when snorkelling with a group, be under the supervision of a guide or instructor.

Having a reliable companion nearby provides peace of mind in case of unforeseen challenges, such as cramps, fatigue, or the need for assistance with equipment. Whether in need of support or just someone to hold your camera momentarily, your buddy can step in to help.

Stay Mindful of Your Environment

Maintaining awareness of your surroundings is crucial for both your safety and the well-being of the ecosystem you are exploring. Refrain from touching, stepping on, or using fins to kick any fish, corals, or anemones.

These actions not only pose a risk of injury, such as getting stung by a marine animal or scraped by coral, but collectively, they can also disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Additionally, avoid engaging in activities like chasing, feeding, or disturbing sea animals to ensure minimal impact on their natural behaviour and habitat.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, snorkelling presents an accessible and rewarding underwater adventure, even for non-swimmers. By carefully choosing the right location, whether from the beach or a boat, and investing in quality gear, individuals can embark on a journey to explore the wonders beneath the surface. It's essential to remain calm and relaxed in the water, adapting to a horizontal position and enjoying the experience with a flotation device for added confidence.

Moreover, fostering environmental responsibility is paramount. Being mindful of surroundings and refraining from actions that can harm marine life or disrupt ecosystems contributes to the preservation of these underwater wonders.

Always remember the importance of not snorkelling alone, regardless of swimming proficiency, and stay connected with a buddy or under the guidance of an experienced instructor for a safer and more enjoyable exploration.

With these considerations in mind, snorkelling becomes not only an enjoyable activity but also a responsible and sustainable way to appreciate the beauty of the underwater world. So, whether you're a seasoned swimmer or a non-swimmer eager to dip your toes into this aquatic adventure, take the plunge and savour the unique experiences that snorkelling has to offer.


Have you ever dreamed of snorkelling but felt uneasy about wearing a full face snorkel mask?

Just ask Phill, a true NINJA SHARK lover! He reached out to us after trying our masks, here’s what he had to say:

Our masks are equipped with advanced Anti-Fog technology, automatic drainage, and improved breathing chambers, ensuring there's no CO2 buildup. It's the ultimate gear for a worry-free and safe snorkelling adventure.


From total newbie to pro, Ninja Shark is the way to go!

The Ninja Shark full face snorkel masks makes your experiences the best they can be. They are exclusively sold on the Ninja Shark website.





“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 to bring the dreamlike full face snorkel mask to reality!"

What customers are saying about us…

"Amazing"

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.

Try our line of snorkelling and swimming gear
by Ninja Shark! You’ll love it.

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Based on 1500 reviews
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Lifetime Warranty
T.S.S (Melbourne, AU)
Recommended

Great product and even better customer service

J
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 🧜‍♀️

R
Package: Electra (Mask + Fins + Bag)
Rod M. (Brisbane, AU)
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.

Judge.me YouTube video placeholder
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Package : Air Adults (Mask + Fins + Bag)
Hattie (Urunga, AU)
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

j
(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.

N
Package: Longer Tube (Mask + Fins + Bag) 3-11 Years
Nat M. (Adelaide, AU)
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 :)

N
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!

B
Package: Equaliser PRO (Mask + Fins + Bag)
Barry D. (Brisbane, AU)
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.

G
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.

D
Package: Equaliser PRO (Mask + Fins + Bag)
Doreen S. (Sydney, AU)
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.

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

This is great! More stores should do it!