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Snorkeling Underwater: How Long Can You Stay Submerged?

Many people have assumed the sport of snorkeling to be simple. Just put on your snorkel and dive, and that’s all; they imagine. But to be less harsh, it is fairly less than that. You might have seen this only in pictures and drawn your conclusion.

First and foremost, the sport requires some basic training and some skills in swimming before you can enjoy it. 

Worst still, you might think that snorkelers can stay underwater for as long as possible; this is yet another misconception.

This might not be your only misconception about snorkeling, but we are here to clear one most important misconception before you become a victim of ignorance. 

How long can you stay submerged?

This is one of the frequently asked questions in snorkeling, so we have decided to take this question of the question bank.

The first thing to note is that it is much more difficult to stay submerged in water with a snorkel than without it. That is to say; a snorkel does not make it easier to breathe while submerged. You might be wondering what’s difficult in just sticking a tube in your mouth and going underwater. 

Try it, and you will appreciate what we are saying here. If this has been one of your doubts about snorkeling, your ignorance will be cleared here. Don’t feel bad because you are not the only one in this category.

Keep reading as we provide you with a clear answer to the subject. With the snorkel above the surface, a snorkeler can stay on the water face down for an unlimited period. 

Because a snorkeler does not possess any breathing advantage when diving, an apprentice snorkeler can stay underwater for about 45seconds.

But a more experienced snorkeler can extend this time to between 1-and 2 minutes. This time can increase with practice and experience. If you know how long an individual can stay underwater without any aids, that’s the same duration they will stay, even with a snorkel.

So, in general, you can stay underwater only for as long as you can hold your breath during diving. Note this statement well “a snorkel is an aid to breathing, not a breathing aid.”

It only helps you get air from above the surface but doesn’t extend your length of time underwater.

With this preamble in mind, let us know what affects a snorkeler’s time underwater.

What are the factors that affect a snorkeler’s time underwater?

We mentioned that your time underwater depends on how long you can hold back your breath. The answer is this simple, yet a few things contribute to either increase or decrease this time, and we are looking at them below.

Your lung capacity

We mean how much oxygen your lung can take in with each breath by lung capacity. People with higher lung capacities will have a longer time than those with lower lung capacities. This is because more air means more resistance and longer stay underwater.


You might have heard that water is the most powerful natural phenomenon. And that’s an undisputed fact.

Water is denser than air, and so if you can imagine how air resists motions, then water does so 830 times because that is how much denser water is to air.

Therefore, whatever direction you take in water, you will be resisted. Also, calm water and current prune areas have different stories to tell.

Body fitness

You can train your cardiovascular muscles to consume more energy than usual. This will improve your cardiorespiratory fitness.

The more fit you become, the higher and better your body consumes oxygen, and the longer you can stay submerged underwater than your counterparts.

Fitness trains your heart muscles to better supply oxygen to the rest of your body sufficiently, even under vigorous exercise.

Water temperature

This is yet another factor that can act as a catalyst for your duration underwater. When diving in cold water, your heart beats faster to generate heat and supply it to the rest of the body.

This activity uses up much oxygen hence limiting your length of stay underwater.

On the other hand, if the water temperature is warm, the heart beats less rapidly and uses p less oxygen as a consequence, which will prolong your time underwater.


This would have been the first factor to be discussed or not discussed at all. In everything, experience has always been the best teacher.

Regular snorkelers will have a longer time submerged underwater than snorkelers who snorkel once in a while.

The longer and more regular you snorkel, the easier and faster your muscles adapt. More experience entails more time underwater.

Snorkeling technique

Finally, the snorkeling technique is like a brother factor to experience. As you mature in snorkeling, you develop techniques that will improve your water duration, which comes with experience.

It is common to find snorkeling buddies discussing new techniques and strategies and testing each other’s own.

What are the strategies to maximize your time underwater?

We hope not to get you confused here. Strategies are not the same as techniques. Let’s disclose some strategies that one can use to increase their time underwater.

  1. The first strategy we will disclose here is to train yourself to hold your breath longer. This might even be the best way. Consider holding your breath once or twice a day. After a few months, you realize that you might have increased your underwater time by about half.

 This is not a difficult task to perform. After some months of practice, you may be surprised to see that your time increases from 50 seconds to 100 seconds or from 120 seconds to 240 seconds.

  1. Snorkeling is not a competition. While snorkeling, do not breathe shallow and fast but rather practice breathing deep and slow. Doing this helps you use less oxygen. Slow and deep breathing helps calm the body while lowering the heartbeat rate. 

Consequently, your heart efficiently uses up all of the oxygen in your body. You will finally master your breathing pace and enlarge your lung capacity as you do this.

With 90% assurance, this exercise will result in more time underwater.


We hope not to have misused your time. Spending more time underwater with the fish can improve your snorkeling experience.

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!

And it is our wish this article provides you with the knowledge you need to achieve this result. This is not the gospel truth neither do we claim that we have provided you with all the knowledge on this subject.