Snorkel use infographic

Clearing your snorkel

Admittedly, there isn’t much to actually using your snorkel, other than placing the mouthpiece in your mouth and breathing slowly and deeply. The one skill that seems to stymie most snorkelers, however, is what to do when you get water inside your snorkel, either by accident or by diving below the surface. This is why we want to focus on snorkel clearing.

The keys to snorkel clearing can be summed up in three steps:

  • Blast forcefully
  • Inhale cautiously
  • Displace when freediving

Let’s take a look at each.

1. Blast forcefully

The key to clearing water from your snorkel is to exhale forcefully. One quick, sharp exhalation should do it.

2. Inhale cautiously

  • Before inhaling, remember that there may still be some water remaining. You don’t want
    to risk choking on it.
  • By making that first inhalation a cautious one, you may be able to “breathe past” any remaining water. This almost always works.
  • If need be, a second blast will generally remove any remaining water. You will still want to make the following inhalation a cautious one; however, you will most likely be able to breathe dry after this.

3. Displace when freediving

Most freedivers avoid using the blast method to clear, and instead favor something called displacement clearing. This can be both efficient and effective; however, it only works if your snorkel does not have a self-draining mouthpiece (something most freedivers avoid anyway).

  • As you ascend, look up. You also want to have a hand up.
  • When your hand touches the surface, blow a puff of air into your snorkel. The suction of water passing over the tip of the snorkel, coupled with the expansion of air in the snorkel, will force any water out.
  • When your head touches the surface, look down and inhale cautiously. You will most likely find your snorkel completely clear.

What to remember

To effectively clear your snorkel, keep these three things in mind:

  • The key to clearing water from your snorkel is to exhale forcefully.
  • After exhaling to clear, make your first inhalation a cautious one, in case you need to “breathe past” any remaining water.
  • If freediving, learn to use the displacement clear. It’s significantly easier than blast clearing.

Have additional questions about snorkels or snorkeling? Talk to the experienced professionals at your local SDI Dive Center. They will be able to help you.

For more tips on your snorkel
Check out our post – Everything you need to know about your snorkel »

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