Snorkeling in deep water is one of the most unique experiences you can go through. Diving into the water and joining the fish to watch them enjoy their habitat can be mesmerizing.
You see all the different sizes and colors of fish swimming all around, and then suddenly, you’re out of breath.
That’s the major issue with snorkeling is you never seem to have enough air. The goal is to stay in the water as long as possible without hurting yourself. So, how long can you stay underwater with a snorkel?
The average person can hold their breath for about one minute. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that affect snorkeling time and what you can do to increase it.
Snorkeling involves you covering your face with a mask and using a tube to breathe. There are a couple of methods you can go about snorkeling.
The first, and most common method is to stay at the water’s surface. You place your face flat on the surface of the water and stick the tube above the water level. About half of your face should be under the water.
This method allows you to stay underwater for as long as you like. Since the tube isn’t in the water, you can breathe normally.
Sometimes, taking a look from the surface isn’t enough. You want to dive straight into the water to get a better look at a fish. To do this, you use the second method of snorkeling, which is submerging yourself in the water.
There are a few different options you have when it comes to snorkeling gear. Moreover, the choice of gear can affect how long you stay underwater.
A traditional snorkeling mask covers your eyes and nose and you use a tube to breathe through your mouth.
With this mask, you need to hold your breath underwater. Generally, the average adult can hold their breath under water from 45 seconds to about a minute.
A full-face snorkeling mask covers your entire face and has a seal that goes all the way around. This seal stops water from getting into the mask and stops air from escaping.
That means that you have a pocket of air inside the mask that you can use. So, while wearing this mask, you can breathe normally for about 2 minutes. Then you have to release the seal to get fresh air.
However, this isn’t the case for everyone. There are a few factors that can affect your time underwater.
Depending on your age and physical condition, you should be able to hold your breath for about one minute.
Expert divers can generally hold their breath for a little longer. They can snorkel for over two minutes with enough training.
Taking into account training and relative weather conditions, the normal range for snorkeling is one to two minutes.
Since snorkeling depends on your ability to hold your breath, there are a few factors that come into play. Some of these factors include:
Before diving into the water, usually, we try to take in as much air as we possibly can. So, it should come as no surprise that your lungs play a major role in holding your breath.
The average adult has a lung capacity of about 6 liters. However, this will depend on the maturity of your lungs.
Your lungs mature around the ages of 20-25. This means that before and after that range, your lung capacity will be smaller, so you can’t hold as much air.
Your body needs a constant supply of oxygen to be able to function. When you hold your breath, you can’t get any more oxygen, but your body doesn’t stop performing its normal functions.
This means your body will run on whatever residual oxygen it has left, but once it’s gone, you need to come up for a breath. So, how long you stay in the water will depend on how efficient your body is at using oxygen.
Your circulatory system is responsible for delivering oxygen all around your body. That means the stronger your heart muscle, the better your body will be able to use oxygen.
Even with high lung capacity, your body doesn’t always perform the same underwater. Your activity level will impact how those factors come into play.
When you’re resting, your heart rate is stable, and your breathing is normal. This provides the best conditions for your body to use oxygen.
However, as you start moving, your need for oxygen increases. Your heart rate will speed up and your breaths get shorter. This is your body’s way of moving oxygen around faster to keep up with the demand.
When this happens, your lung capacity will decrease. So, the more active you are before you go in for a dive, the shorter your time underwater will be.
Another factor that affects how long you can snorkel is water temperature.
Your body has a temperature regulation system that keeps your body running at 98.6℉. This is why you sweat in warm weather and shiver in the cold.
The same applies when you’re in the water. If the water temperature is too cold, your body will start to shiver to create heat. This will raise your heart rate and use up more oxygen.
For this reason, the colder the water, the less snorkeling you’ll be able to do.
How you snorkel will also have an impact on how long you stay underwater. It may seem like snorkeling is quite simple. All you have to do is wear your snorkeling gear and dive straight into the water.
However, there’s a little more to it. How much you move or the position you lay in while you snorkel will affect how fast you go through your oxygen.
For this reason, you have to be aware of every movement you make when you’re underwater.
There are a few ways you can go about increasing your snorkeling time. These methods include:
The best way to increase your snorkeling time is to increase your lung capacity. There are a couple of exercises you can try to improve your lung capacity.
When you’re breathing normally, you’re not filling out your lungs. Your body just takes in enough oxygen to stay running. So, when it comes to taking in a deep breath right before you snorkel, your body isn’t used to having full lungs.
This can lead to your chest feeling a little tight, which means you can’t stay underwater for long. To get around that, practice filling up your lungs all the way with air.
- Take a deep breath and hold it in for as long as you can
- Release the breath slowly
If you do this a couple of times throughout your day, your lung capacity should increase in no time.
Another issue we face when holding our breath is how fast to let it out. Underwater, we hold all the air in our lungs for as long as we can to make sure we can stay longer.
Still, that can have the opposite effect. When you’re underwater, you want to slowly let out the air from your lungs. This can be tricky because the water pressure will want to force all the air out of your lungs at once.
For this reason, you need to train your body to hold on to air. To do that, you need strong core muscles.
Doing crunches or planks to work on your core muscles can extend your snorkeling time.
For many people, the allure of the water is too great to resist. As soon as you get close to the water, all you want to do is jump straight in.
While this may be the most fun way, it’s not the best for snorkeling. If you prepare your body for a deep dive, you’re much more likely to spend a long time underwater.
To begin your journey, make sure that your heart rate is at rest. Take a moment to breathe and relax and let the excitement of a beach day calm down. This can be a great opportunity for you to do the deep breathing exercise.
Then, you can start by dipping your toes into the water. Remember that water temperature is important. So, instead of diving straight in, give your body a minute to adjust to the temperature.
Once your body adjusts, you can slowly walk into the water, take a deep breath, and dive.
There’s no specific way you should go about snorkeling. How you do it will depend on the location and the amount of fish around you.
The key to great snorkeling is to stay as still as possible. This will keep your heart rate down and avoid scaring the fish.
Staying still underwater is difficult, especially with the water current moving you. The only way to get around this issue is to practice. Eventually, you’ll learn how to move to minimize water resistance.
Snorkeling is an incredibly fun activity that you can enjoy with the entire family. The only annoying part is having to keep coming back up for air.
How long you can stay underwater with a snorkel depends on a few factors. These factors include your lung capacity, physical condition, and temperature of the water.
The average person can snorkel for about one minute before they have to go back up for air.