What is the First Colour to Disappear Underwater & Other Science-y Questions

by Mihai Pinzariu on September 23, 2019

Did you know that some colours disappear the further you go underwater? You might have already noticed, the avid little snorkellers and divers you are, that the further you go underwater, the less colours your eyes seem to pick up. Everything just looks blue or green, and that’s not just cos ‘water is blue’, it’s because the other colours on the spectrum disappear. That’s right, they disappear.

Maybe we sound like a bunch of mad men – how can colours disappear?! It’s time for a fun little science lesson my friends, from the ‘real’ colour of water, to which colours disappear when, and what colours fish can see the best. You know, so they can all see you and come out to say hi, giving you awesome snaps for your GoPro.

Which colour disappears underwater first?

We’ve already posed the question so we’ll answer this one first. Basically, colours are wavelengths of light. Take this in as a fact, no need to process it or ask why. These wavelengths have different, well, lengths according to how much energy they carry. The visible light spectrum (colours you can see with your eyes) is ordered from least to highest energy: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The colours lowest in energy are the first to be absorbed by water.

At what depths do the different colours disappear?

Going from the information above, red is the first colour to be absorbed by water as it’s the lowest in energy. Here’s a rough breakdown of which depth each colour will disappear:

  • Red – 4.5 metres,
  • Orange – 7.5 metres,
  • Yellow – 10.5 – 13.5 metres,
  • Green – 21 – 23 metres

By the way, this depth also takes into consideration horizontal distance. So if you’re 5 metres underwater and looking at a pretty piece of coral 5 metres away, then the light has actually travelled 10 metres, filtering out all reds! Go in for a closer look

What is absorbing the light underwater?

Good question. Basically, water is about 800 times more dense than air. You may have noticed that it’s more difficult for your body to move underwater, and same goes for light. In water there are tonnes of microscopic particles that both reflect and absorb light.

When light hits those particles it is either scattered or absorbed, and the remaining light presents itself as whatever colour you’re seeing. The further light travels, the less colours are visible, with eventually no colours at all with all the light absorbed (in the deep, dark sea!) Of course, if you introduce white light via flash from your camera or a torch, then all the colours are made visible again.

What colour of light travels the farthest underwater?

Blue is the colour that travels the furthest underwater, hence why during those deep dives everything seems to be tinted blue. If you were to shine a light at those depths, you’d make visible all the other colors of the spectrum and illuminate a wonderful rainbow of colours.

If you’re looking to take some stunning underwater photography, it’s a good idea to keep all this information in mind – unless you do want to end up with a bunch of photos of blue corals.

What is the real colour of water?

You’ve always been told that water has no taste, smell, colour, or gender. But there’s a difference between perceived colour (colour as we see it) and actual colour (the real colour of an object). As we mentioned before, there are plenty of things that can affect the way we perceive colour, from the particles contained within it (like algae) to the depth at which we’re looking (due to light absorption). For that reason, water can appear all kinds of colours.

Maybe you’ve heard that the oceans appear blue because they’re reflecting the sky. While that might be valid to a certain extent, it’s also been revealed that water might in fact actually have a bluish tinge to it after all. While small amounts of water always appear clear, water can pick up a bluish tint as its density increases (piling on more and more of the bluish tint until it becomes visibly blue).

There’s a complicated explanation behind all this which might be a bit much for a humble little blog article, but we’ll give you a quick rundown. Basically, the absorbed light causes the water molecules to vibrate rapidly, and that’s what causes the blue tint. Apparently, water is the only known substance that gets its colours from vibrations rather than interaction of light and electrons. It’s also a necessary substance for all life. Crazy stuff, water is. That’s why we love being in it!

What colour do fish see the best?

Whether you’re looking to attract fish to take a great photo or to keep yourself hidden, you’ll hear different things from different people. Some say certain colours are picked upmore easily by fish, others say it doesn’t matter. While snorkellers and divers are relatively chill on the matter, fishermen get into a heated debate over it.

There are all sorts of arguments online about which colour is best to use to lure fish to your line, but there seems to be one general consensus: nobody knows what a fish sees. We haven’t been able to get into the head of a fish just yet, and we already know that other animals can’t see certain colours. That said, you’re best off following the above information on underwater colour absorption if you want to get the attention of a fish while snorkelling. So since red is first to be absorbed, if you’re diving deep underwater then blue will be the easiest for fish to spot (assuming that their eyes work the same as ours do!)

The universe is a beautiful and tricky place, and there’s an incredible amount of information to be learned about everything. There are processes constantly at work, light being flung about and scattering and absorbing and reflecting, and that’s what allows us to witness the vast diverse beauty of the world around us!

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

The Influencer @lud.around is a NINJASHARK lover!

NINJASHARK is the sound of a revolution in snorkeling. Whereas other water equipments companies are constantly adding poor quality products, we listen to your feedback and constantly improve our products to fit for all of your needs.

"I'm not leaving my room without the mask. The full face snorkeling mask from Australia is comfortable and fit me perfectly! Love how easy it is to breath out your nose and mouth when you snorkeling and even has earplugs!"

“The mask include GOPRO mounts, so you can easily film and photograph underwater scenery! I highly recommend especially to people who have a fear of snorkeling! This mask is really easy to use and is safe!” said @lud.around. “I can’t wait for my next trip with my new mask!”

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

The Ninja Shark full face snorkel masks comes equipped with advanced Anti-Fog technology, automatic drainage, no CO2 Buildup with improved uni-directional valves, and a revolutionary breathe flow system so you can breathe through both your nose and mouth.

“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!”

What customers are saying about us…

“Awesome set.

Loved the complete set. I even used the waterproof phone pouch to take photos and videos underwater. It made my Fiji experience so much better than using the free snorkel set that hurt your face after 2hours and leaving a sun/mask mark. The ninja leaves no marks and gives great vision under water in comparison. It did take some getting used to but it definitely paid off! Only frustration is that the tightening straps are quite basic; they should be much simpler to loosen and tighten both in and out of water.” – Jock

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

All Ninja Shark Products are tailor-made
with medical silicone.

We care about making our products safe and healthy for you—and our planet.
That’s why the Ninja Shark Full Face Snorkelling Masks are made from a non-toxic and environmentally friendly anti-allergic medical grade silicone, that’s not only safer for your kids but safer for you too.

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Based on 1490 reviews
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 🤿🤿🤿

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.

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

(DRAFT) 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.

Judge.me YouTube video placeholder
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

(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 :)

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

(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.

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!