Snorkeling FAQ's


Snorkeling Frequently Asked Questions?

This page provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about snorkeling in the Red Sea. We hope you find it useful.


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Table of Contents

  1. What is snorkeling?

  2. What is the difference between snorkeling and scuba diving?

  3. Why do people snorkel?

  4. Is snorkeling safe?

  5. But don't I need to be a good swimmer?

  6. What equipment do you need to snorkel?

  7. Hey! I have my equipment, what should I do now?

  8. Can you go underwater with a snorkel?

  9. What conditions are good for snorkeling?

  10. How do I take care of my equipment? How should I store it?

What is Snorkeling?

Snorkeling is swimming with fins, a mask, and a tube called a snorkel that allows you to have your face down in the water and still breathe.

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What is the difference between snorkeling and scuba diving?

Snorkeling doesn't require tanks and other expensive equipment like regulators. Scuba diving allows you to breathe underwater, while snorkeling allows you to breathe while you're on the surface with your face down. Snorkeling doesn't require any certification, while scuba diving requires certification.

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Why do people snorkel?

Because it's loads of fun. Fair enough?

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Is snorkeling safe?

One of the wonderful things about snorkeling is that people of all ages can participate. And one of the great things about Red Sea is that there are many great places for beginners to try it out.

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But don't I need to be a good swimmer?

Well it sure can't hurt, but it's not required. It is recommended that you do have some comfort and experience when you're in water though. A few things to consider is that your fins help you a great deal in terms of movement, and they float. : ) As well, the mask that you wear will have air trapped in it will helps you float as well. If you don't feel safe enough, you can also rent floatation devices, as well as boogie boards that you can lay on top of.


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What equipment do you need to snorkel?

Well, there are 3 main things that most snorkelers use.


A) Mask

This is what you put on your face. This allows you to see underwater without getting your eyes and nose wet. It's important that the mask is a good fit when renting or buying a mask. If the mask doesn't fit well, you'll experience some leakage of water in the mask.


We highly recommend using a mask that has a "silicon skirt". The skirt is the soft substance that is molded to fit your face, and prevents water from entering the mask. You can also rent or buy masks that use rubber ask the skirt, but the seal isn't nearly as good as the silicon, and is quite simply a dated technology. Ask your local snorkel or dive shop about choosing a mask that fits well. They'll know what to look for.


B) Snorkel

Well, this is what makes you a snorkeler. A snorkel is a hollow curved tube that is placed in the mouth that allows you to breathe while you're face down in the water. So basically, while you looking down into the water, the snorkel is sticking out of the water on one end while the other end is in your mouth. When looking for a snorkel, I would recommend asking for what is called a "purge" snorkel.


C) Fins

This is what makes life a lot of fun. Fins allow you to swim like a fish. Yeeeha! There are 2 kinds of fins, but for snorkeling in warm water, most people will do just fine with the close-heeled kind. The open heeled kind is more for scuba divers, which requires a special boot (bootie), or for colder waters. Any ways, make sure that the fins are a good fit, or else you'll either be cutting off circulation to your feet, or they'll easily come off. Make sure that they're a snug fit, but you should be able to wiggle your toes.


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Hey! I have my own equipment, what do I do now?

Well, it's a good idea to get comfortable with your equipment before you go out to the reef. Try out the equipment at your Hotel pool.


The first step is getting used to the mask. One thing about masks is that they have a tendency to fog up. You can either apply anti-fog goop (available at all snorkel shops) to the inside of the mask, or you can use your own spit. It sounds gross, but spit works quite well for preventing the fogging up of your mask. Make sure that the spit / anti-fog goop is spread across the full surface of the glass on the inside of the mask. Now wash it out in the water. This should prevent, or at least greatly reduce any fogging up of the mask.


When putting on the mask, make sure there's no hair stuck in between the silicon part of the mask. Hair will break the seal that keeps the water from entering the mask. Also, keep the strap in the middle of the back of your head, and don't have the strap too tight. Now, put on your mask and look under water while you're standing up. You're looking underwater. No fish yet, but soon...... Soon :)


Next, attach the snorkel to your mask strap with the clip that's on the snorkel. Put the snorkel in your mouth and breathe. Don't try to breathe with your nose or else the mask will quickly fog up. Breathe through your mouth in relaxed, normal breaths. Now try breathing with your face in the water. Nothing to it, right? Take as long as you want to get used to breathing underwater. That's the biggest mental hurdle for first time snorkelers. Are you comfortable yet?


If so, put on your flippers and give it a try. With your face down and body stretched out, start kicking with your fins. Remember to keep your legs straight while you lightly kick. You don't have to thrash around to swim well. Stay relaxed, and swim around the pool, getting used to breathing, kicking, and looking around.

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Can you go under water with a snorkel?

Although many snorkelers dive underwater, we have found that some people would rather not, or don't find the need to do so. If you see a fish several feet below you though, and you want to get a closer look, you'll have to dive down. By doing this, your snorkel will fill up with water, and you won't be able to breathe until you clear the passage of your snorkel of water once you've resurfaced. It sounds a bit iffy, but it's a common thing for more experienced snorkelers to dive down and fill their snorkel with water.


To clear the snorkel of water, you must resurface, give a good strong blow of the snorkel as your head reaches the surface once again, and the top of the snorkel has penetrated the surface of the water. This should clear most if not all of the water that has filled the snorkel, and allow you to breathe normally through the snorkel once again. If you use what is called a "purge" snorkel, (which we recommend), you'll rarely get water back in your mouth. We also recommend trying this technique first in a pool.


Once you get comfortable doing this as well as the other techniques mentioned, you'll feel more confident, and have a more positive relaxed experience out on the reef.


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What conditions are good for snorkeling?

The best times to go are when the waves are minimal, and it's sunny outside.


Not only do large waves make things more challenging to get around and potentially dangerous, but a disturbance such as big waves also make the water murky, greatly decreasing visibility. There're just some times when you should cancel a snorkeling trip if the waves are too high. A good rule of thumb is; if there are surfers in the area, it's probably a bad day or place to go snorkeling. Bays often offer more protection from a surge (big waves. The ideal snorkeling conditions are waves at 0-1 feet. Listen to the radio for a marine forecast, which should mention these kind of conditions.


It's also best to go snorkeling when the sun is out. Sunlight increases visibility, and brings out the true colors of fish and coral. It brings out the 'wow' factor for fish and overall experience. But the sun also brings out the 'sun burn' factor. If you're not wearing some sort of wet suit, shorty, or other coverings, make sure that you've got your back, neck, shoulders, butt, and thighs covered in sun block. To make things a bit easier, you can just wear an old junky shirt.


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How do I take care of my equipment? How should I store it?

Protect your equipment from light, heat and fumes. Sunlight is known to damage the silicon parts of the mask, making the seal brittle. Heat also degrades the mask, as well as snorkel.


After you finish snorkeling, make sure your equipment gets washed off with fresh water. Salt water that dries will start wearing away at your equipment. Many beaches will have a place to do this. If not on the beach, make sure you wash the equipment off back in your hotel room that day.


Don't place heavy objects on top of any of your equipment. Prolonged weight on top of a mask, snorkel, or fins can warp them.


To avoid bent fins, they should lie flat, and not on their tips. Keep walking in your fins on land to a minimum.

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