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Dizzy After Snorkeling [ 4 Reasons Why & Prevention Tips ]

Feeling dizzy after a long day of snorkeling is not pleasant. Feeling sick and dizzy and wondering what caused these symptoms is not what you had in mind after a long enjoyable day spent on the water.

You could feel dizzy after snorkeling because of motion sickness, vertigo, postural hypertension, or hypoxia through using the incorrect snorkeling gear. Dizziness and nausea could be symptoms of inner ear infections, which can be exacerbated by snorkeling.

There are reasons why you feel like you do after snorkeling. Dizziness and nausea are often unexpected symptoms that happen to people who have never before suffered from them.

Others who do suffer from motion sickness may or may not be affected once they are in the water. So, why do you feel dizzy after snorkeling? Let’s have a look at some of the reasons.

Why Do I Feel Dizzy After Snorkeling?

There are many reasons for feeling dizzy after snorkeling. Some people can become violently ill as a result, while others can shake off the symptoms a few hours after leaving the water. Either way, always listen to your body and, if necessary, get medical help if you feel you need it.

These are some of the reasons that people experience dizziness after snorkeling.

Motion Sickness As A Problem While Snorkeling

Motion sickness or seasickness is not restricted to traveling in a car or boat and can happen while you are snorkeling too. Feeling motion sick might be a foreign concept to you as you don’t typically suffer from this condition while in a car or on a boat, so why does it happen to you while you are in the water?

Motion sickness is a result of your brain receiving mixed messages. The eye and the inner ear send conflicting messages to the brain, which causes confusion and results in you feeling ill.

While snorkeling, you are constantly looking around, trying to see as much as possible. This confuses the brain as the eyes see land as static and unmoving, while the inner ear, which controls your balance, is swaying and moving.

During your snorkeling session, you may occasionally hold your breath and dive under the water to investigate something interesting. The changing tides and currents at different depths can cause pressure changes that the inner ear detects, resulting in you feeling seasick.

Vertigo Causing Dizziness When Snorkeling

Vertigo causes you to feel off-balance like the world is spinning around you! Vertigo is associated with the inner ear and affects your balance and generally comes on suddenly. Some of the symptoms of vertigo could be:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness – this could last for one hour or a few days
  • Loss of balance – making it difficult to walk or stand after leaving the water

Vertigo often affects people while they are snorkeling for a few reasons, which could include:

  • Lack of food or water before heading into the water
  • Disorientation in the inner ear caused by tides and currents
  • Pressure changes while snorkeling
  • Undiagnosed inner ear infections

Postural Hypotension After Snorkeling

Postural hypotension is described as a sudden drop in blood pressure caused by a change in posture. When you stand to your feet very quickly after lying down or sitting, gravity causes your blood to pool in your legs.

You feel light-headed, dizzy, or nauseous as the pressure at your feet is high while the pressure in your head is low.

For snorkelers finning around on the water, this could be a problem. As your body is stretched out for the duration of your time in the water, when you return to the shore or the bank, your sudden change in position and standing upright could cause the blood in your body to rush to your feet.

Using The Wrong Gear For Snorkeling

When snorkeling in open water, always make sure that you use the correct equipment designed for snorkeling and not something homemade!

The snorkel is the most essential piece of equipment that you will need for snorkeling as it allows you to breathe air in and out while your face is under the water.

Some people could hyperventilate and suffer from hypoxia while snorkeling. Hypoxia is the result of low oxygen to the brain. Low oxygen to the brain could cause dizziness and shallow water blackout.

The size of the snorkel breathing tube could hamper the amount of oxygen that you are receiving. If the pipe is not wide enough, you could take quicker, shallower breaths to try and get what you need.

This could cause you to hyperventilate and prevent the oxygen from moving through to the brain, causing you to become dizzy.

How To Avoid Dizziness After Snorkeling

To get the best out of your adventure and enjoy your snorkeling experience, make sure that you are always prepared for anything that could happen while you are in the water.

Following a few safety rules and preparing beforehand can make your snorkeling experience an enjoyable trip rather than a disastrous one!

Here are some methods to avoid dizziness after snorkeling.

How To Deal With Motion Sickness While Snorkeling

If you experience nausea and dizziness while in the water, try these methods:

  • Stop moving. If you can stand up, fix your eyes on something solid like the land or anything that isn’t moving. Make sure that your ears are out of the water.
  • If you are in the water and cannot stand, stop and look at anything solid and unmoving above the water, ensuring that your ears are out of the water. Swim to where you can stand or leave the water.

The idea of looking at something unmoving is to allow your brain to re-orientate, which may cure nausea and dizziness.

Ways To Prevent Motion Sickness Before Snorkeling

Prevention when snorkeling is always better than cure, so before you head off into the water, make sure that you have an enjoyable snorkeling session by following these simple rules.

  • Avoid alcohol before snorkeling.
  • Allow your food to digest before hitting the water.
  • Drink ginger tea or eat ginger cookies. Ginger is known to aid with nausea.
  • Wear earplugs to assist with inner ear imbalances.
  • Avoid rough water. Always!
  • If all else fails, take seasickness tablets as a last resort.


If you are prone to motion sickness and vertigo, it’s best to take precautions before and during your snorkeling session. While snorkeling, the golden rule is always to tell someone where you are going, especially if you are not feeling well.

If you are looking for snorkeling gear we have a huge list of lists to help you find just the right snorkeling gear to get you up and moving, check it out here!

If the dizziness, nausea, or any other symptoms persist for more than a few days after snorkeling, consult your medical practitioner. Inner ear problems could be very serious and should not be left untreated.