How Does A Snorkel Work? Understanding The Equipment

How Does A Snorkel Work

There are many ways to visit the underwater world; you can do it through scuba diving, free diving, and snorkeling. However, you will need a snorkel for a safe underwater visit. 

The snorkel will be your best friend whiles under there. Snorkel has been around for centuries and ensures the underwater activity is uninterrupted. 

Snorkel’s basic idea is intuitive, and most people do not give them extra thought. You should know that there is more to how snorkels work than meets the eye. 

Most modern snorkels look isn’t that simple, as a hollow reed. It’s a valuable piece of equipment, and many people tend to wonder how the snorkel works. Let’s find out more.  

How Does a Snorkel Work?

To understand how the snorkel works, you need to understand its basic components. 

The snorkel’s main components are a mouthpiece, main tube, and mechanism that attach the dive mask to the snorkel. Classic snorkels are the simplest and only have three parts.


The snorkel mouthpiece is high quality and soft silicone. Silicone is more comfortable and durable than natural rubber, plus it is hypoallergenic and easy to clean. 

In addition, the mouthpieces are easily replaceable and detachable. The mouthpiece designs are similar in all snorkels. They usually have two bite tabs for teeth resting and a flap that makes a seal inside your lips. 

The different brands make mouthpieces with slightly different shapes for better ergonomics or comfort. For example, there are high-end and fancy mouthpieces with special bite tabs made from soft or moldable silicone. 

They allow for a better and more customizable fit with your teeth. Ideally, it would be best if you did not clamp down on the mouthpiece hard or strain, closing your lips when using it. 

Your jaw and lips need to relax. If your mouthpiece is uncomfortable, it means that it’s big for you. 

The size of most mouthpieces is one-size-fits-all. However, some snorkels come with a smaller mouthpiece option.

Main Tube  

Most brands had straight snorkel tubes during the olden days, and the mouthpiece had J-curve. The modern snorkels have contoured tubes that make them fit comfortably around your face. 

Snorkel tubes usually have different shapes, but their main role is allowing gas exchange between the surface air and your mouth. 

Your lungs ensure you have enough gaseous exchange, which ensures you are perfectly oxygenated at all times. The snorkel adds some extra air volume ideal for breathing. 

It means your lungs have to work extra hard to account for the dead space. To fully exchange the air in the snorkel on each breath, you have to breathe deeply. 

The Mask 

The mask frame covers your eyes. The frame is a hard plastic that gives it the shape. The skirt that surrounds the frame helps keep water from the mask. 

It’s the strap that holds the mask at your head back or in place. Straps are usually rubber and are adjustable on both sides. 

The straps need to be high quality to offer a tight seal. Tight seals prevent lenses from fogging up and water from getting into the eyes. Too much fog will ruin the underwater view.

How Does The Snorkel Work Underwater?

In the modern-day, snorkels are more advanced technologically. They are usually effective and light. Snorkel’s tube has a plastic cover on its top that prevents water from entering it. 

A simple mechanism seals the tube each time a diver goes below water. There are purge valves that expel any water that enters the tube unexpectedly. 

It does this with one deep exhalation, and you will be able to breathe normally again. The snorkel masks have closed nose and mouth sections and separate breathing areas. 

Exhaled air goes through the side channels and not the valve. Therefore you can breathe your air again since the air gets out through the glass. 

Silicone frame offers a watertight seal over the entire seal; no water will enter the mask when you go underwater.

Can You Breathe With A Snorkel Underwater?

Yes, it’s so possible, the snorkel tube stays in your mouth, and it remains above the waterline. You will breathe using the tube and have reefs view through shallow waters. 

The mask covers the entire face, allowing you to breathe through both your mouth and nose. Plus, a tube connects to the top of the mask and not the mouth. 

The anti-leak seal on the try-top protects the mask against water entry.

How To Use A Snorkel

First, you should ensure the snorkel and mask are comfortable. If the mask has an adjustable strap, it’ll offer a perfect fit without leaking. It needs to seal around your nose and eyes. 

It would help if you then lay flat on the water face down. Bite the snorkel mouthpiece gently; your lips should gently seal around it, plus hold it in place. 

Do not panic while taking slow, deep breaths. It’s possible to hear your breath through the snorkel barrel; therefore, you can get into the rhythm. 

If water enters your snorkel, you should hold, breathe, and submerge the snorkel’s end by placing your head below water. 

The water that enters the snorkel can easily be blasted clear. You need to surface and then exhale through your mouth quickly. 

You can expel any excess water with the second forceful exhalation. If the water is too much, you won’t have enough airlifts. You will have to head out of the water and breathe through the mouthpiece.

Factors That Affect Snorkelers Time Underwater

Most people believe that you can hold your stay underwater as long as you can hold your breath. 

However, you should note that several things affect one’s time underwater. However, all of them relate to oxygen consumption.


Cardiovascular exercises improve someone’s cardiorespiratory fitness. If you are fit, then your body consumes oxygen better. 

Being in great shape strengthens your heart muscles, and therefore they get oxygen around your body better.


Water is 830 times denser than air, which offers it natural resistance. Therefore to move in any direction, you’ll need more exertion. 

Plus, there’s a difference between profuse fin kicking against current and gliding across the water surface. You will need more oxygen if you exert yourself more.

Lung Capacity

Your lung capacity is another crucial factor. You need to gulp diving into the water; however, you only take in fixed oxygen amount here. 

Therefore people with low lung capacities usually have disadvantages.


Someone becomes better at snorkeling with time, and therefore the more you dive and snorkel, the better you become. With practice, you’ll become better at it and will be able to stay underwater longer.

Water Temperature

If you are in cold water, your heart will work harder to generate extra heat to ensure your core body temperature is okay. In the process, it will naturally use up your body temperature when you dive. Therefore your ability to hold breath reduces.

Snorkeling Technique

More experience means better techniques, and you’ll be more naturally at one with water. Your techniques advance and become more symmetrical. 

Plus, your movements become less aggressive, plus the exertion to perform tasks decreases.

Snorkeling Equipment

You need to prepare your snorkeling material earlier and ensure that they fit perfectly. You also have to be mentally prepared. 

There are two important things to consider if you want to have an amazing snorkeling experience. 

You can add other personal materials to enrich your snorkeling experience, and remember, they can surely weigh you down. 

Only take the essentials on the trip and not all valuables because of theft. Here are some of the most important equipment you’ll need for snorkeling.

Goggles/Diving Mask

These are the essential snorkeling equipment. However, you’ll need some time to master using them fully. 

The diving masks prevent water from entering your eyes, ensuring you have a better view of wonderful wildlife underwater.

Swim Fins

The fins allow you to conserve energy and increase your swimming pace. 

Plus, they are more important when you are swimming against the current. Therefore you should invest in them or rather rent them out.


They will perfectly offer protection to your feet when you’re on underwater expeditions such as snorkeling and scuba diving.

Dive Skin/ Wet Suit

It offers better protection and warmth, more so when you’re snorkeling in cooler waters. They do come in various sizes, such as full length or short.

Flotation Device

The device is ideal since it offers more safety. Purchase one that’s easier to inflate and deflate.


Snorkeling is a great activity that you need to try regularly and not only during holidays. There are several tropical locations you can visit, and you will surely experience the sights of the amazing natural world. 

Different regions have crystal clear water that will offer you life-changing experiences. Snorkeling isn’t hard, and if you are new to the activity and have normal health, you need to hold your breath and take a dive. 

The article has comprehensive information on how a snorkel works. Plus, it would be best to have all the basic and right equipment for safe snorkeling.