Skip to Content

Dry Snorkel: Does it Allow You to Breathe Underwater?

The thought to swim among fish and corals in clean water is what many people want to achieve in their lifetime. Snorkel arguably or unarguably is the sport that will make this dream come true.

Experienced snorkelers have a dream that has advanced past that of just snorkeling. What they want to achieve is staying longer under the water. The second dream’s limitation is that you can stay underwater only for as long as your breath can permit you. 

We have known that this duration can be increased with time and technique. Technology has tried to solve this problem and make snorkeling more meaningful. Snorkelers wait so desperately, hoping that they will ever be a technology to answer this prayer.

Many versions of snorkels have come up solving one problem at a time, the reason why when the dry snorkeler hit the market, many believed it was a device that would help them breathe underwater.

However, their hopes were shattered when they found out the new design had nothing to offer regarding the duration of a snorkeler underwater. We don’t intend to break your heart regarding whether you can breathe with a dry snorkel underwater, but no, you can’t breathe underwater with a dry snorkeler.

If this is your present worry or has been your worry for some time now, we will give you all you need to know about dry snorkel. Read on to learn more.

In this article, you should expect to find:

  • What is a dry snorkel?
  • How does a dry snorkel work?
  • Can you breathe underwater with a dry snorkel?
  • Pros and cons of a dry snorkel.

What is a dry snorkel?

Before we dive into the main subject of this article, we would like to explain what a dry snorkel is. Or, in other words, what makes it called a dry snorkel. As the name implies, it is a snorkel designed to keep you dry.

Unlike the other splash guard designs, the dry snorkel has a float valve at the top. This design helps seal the snorkel’s top whenever it is buried in water. 

How does a dry snorkel work?

Although snorkels work based on almost the same principle, an addition comes with the dry snorkel design. As you dive and the dry snorkel submerges in water, the valve closes the tube and stops water from entering it.

This also retains the air in the tube. The purpose, however, is not to trap air. Rather it is to exclude water. A snorkeler can remain face down while at the surface with this design. 

While still maintaining this position, the snorkeler can gently exhale and flush the water into the ocean through the stop valve before normal breathing can start all over. This design can be amazing, especially for those who won’t like swallowing seawater.

However, the ability of a dry snorkel to perform this function depends entirely and, first of all, on the brand. With this knowledge now obtained, let us get to our main worry.

Can you breathe underwater with a dry snorkel?

A dry snorkel is not an oxygen bank. It doesn’t permit a snorkeler to breathe underwater. The additional function provided by the float valve is to seal the tube when submerging. The air in the tube cannot be used to breathe, which leads us to repeat that a snorkeler’s duration under the water’s surface depends on how much they can hold their breath without the help of compressed air technology.

The dry snorkel design sounds great, but there is this main issue with them;

  • Where the sea is rough, or you get to a busy location, large water disturbances can trigger them to close while still on the surface. This action cuts off air supply just when it is needed. However, if you ever experience this, the simple thing to do without panic is to give the snorkel a shake, and the seal will open. 

But they can be pretty good in calm areas, a good choice for amateur snorkelers who won’t like clearing a snorkel of water with a large exhale. Yes, because a reservoir will serve that purpose and clear out the water without it reaching your mouth.

Dry snorkels are recommended for users to have the best snorkeling experience with little or no interruptions.

So, even if you submerge the snorkel by accident or if a huge wave splashes water on your snorkel, the experience of choking with seawater full in your mouth will never be heard of because the dry snorkel keeps the water out.

The dry snorkel is the most talked-about. But from all that we have gathered already, we realize that the dry snorkel has some advantages and disadvantages.


  • The one main problem with other snorkels is that snorkelers will always have a mouthful of water. This feature seems to be the main feature of a dry snorkel and will improve your snorkeling experience.
  • With a dry snorkel, you have less water in the tube, and this will extend your snorkeling experience since you won’t be resurfacing from time to time to exhale water or having to adjust, clear, or choke on saltwater.
  • As the dry snorkel prevents water from entering the tube, the trapped air causes the snorkel to be buoyant. This is especially beneficial to those who don’t cherish deep dives.


  •  Although the seal plays a pretty good function; sometimes, it closes when you most need air, which can be so annoying.
  • The dry snorkel can be bulkier. The added function to trap air can be undesirable for those who want to dive deep since it tries to make the snorkel buoyant. But the advantage of staying longer submerged outweighs the disadvantage of buoyancy.


The popularity of the dry snorkel makes many think that you can breathe underwater with it. But this is a dangerous misconception about this device.

The main feature that makes it popular is that it has a tube that can trap air in it and prevent water from accumulating and getting to your mouth.

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!

However, just like any artificial machine, it has advantages and disadvantages. The choice to go for it or not depends on what you want as it can be incredibly convenient for beginners.