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Snorkeling Vs Swimming [ What Is Easier to Learn ]

Snorkeling is an activity that is popular as a recreational activity, but also in swimming for exercise and for use in scuba diving. So what are the benefits of using a snorkel when you are in the water, and is snorkeling actually easier than swimming? 

Snorkeling is easier than swimming because you have additional equipment that allows you to breathe without taking your face out of the water. Snorkeling is also generally done with fins on your feet which makes it unnecessary to use your arms to help propel you through the water.

People who have not tried snorkeling before may assume that you need to be a strong swimmer before they try snorkeling. This perception may prevent them from having the confidence to even try snorkeling for themselves.

What Is Snorkeling, And How Does It Differ From Swimming?

There are different forms of snorkeling and different snorkels made for different applications. Snorkeling can be viewed as a form of swimming, but it has some differences that set it apart from most people’s concept of what swimming is.

Snorkeling is swimming with a mask, snorkel, and fins and allows you to breathe with your face in the water. Snorkeling differs from swimming in that mostly only your legs are used to move you through the water, and you do not need to constantly turn or lift your head out of the water to breathe.

The act of snorkeling can be considered as a type of swimming, but it has some differences in comparison to traditional swimming.

  • Snorkeling requires more equipment. Snorkeling requires the use of a snorkel as the first piece of equipment, but it is normally used in conjunction with a mask or goggles so that you can see under the water clearly.
  • Snorkeling uses mostly leg power. Another way that snorkeling differs from swimming is that it uses mostly leg power to propel you through the water, especially if you are using fins on your feet. As a result, you don’t have to use your arms much; using your arms when snorkeling can be problematic, as the snorkel can get in the way.
  • In shallow water, you only need to float. In shallow rock pools or in limited areas, you don’t even need to perform any type of swimming action when snorkeling. You can just float face down in the water to view the underwater scenery and wildlife.
  • Snorkeling is for recreation. Snorkeling is normally done for recreation rather than for exercise or competition. It is normally an activity that is done for the purpose of enjoying the underwater world and its plants and animals.

Why Is Snorkeling Easier Than Swimming?

We have discussed the differences between swimming and snorkeling, but we still need to cover the topic of whether snorkeling is easier than swimming and what makes it easier than swimming. Snorkeling is an activity that people with many varying levels of swimming skills can participate in with ease.

Snorkeling is easier than swimming because you do not need to learn multiple strokes, your arms are free to do other things, you can breathe with your face in the water, and it requires less effort, especially if you use fins. Snorkeling also requires less skill, so more people can participate.

Snorkeling is most definitely easier than swimming, which makes it a favorite holiday activity, and many people with limited swimming skills can join in the activity.

  • No strokes to learn. Snorkeling has no complicated strokes to learn with the coordination of arms, legs, and body movements. If you can kick your legs up and down, you can snorkel.
  • No arm movements are required. Your arms are free to give you direction, hold an underwater camera, or can just drift by your side in the water.
  • Breathing is easier. Snorkeling simplifies the breathing part of swimming. You can breathe with your face in the water without the need to periodically lift your face or turn your head to be able to breathe. This allows you to concentrate on life below the water level and not have to worry about catching a breath!
  • Snorkeling requires less effort. Because there is less movement of the body, less energy is expended when snorkeling, making it less tiring. This means you can snorkel for longer than you would be able to swim, especially if you are not a strong swimmer. Most people also use fins on their feet to snorkel, which reduces the effort involved even more.
  • Less skill is required for snorkeling. Snorkeling has fewer skills that you need to master to become proficient at the activity. If you are not a strong swimmer, snorkeling will actually help improve your swimming skills and teach you how to become comfortable in the water.

Snorkeling may be easier than swimming, but in order to enjoy your snorkeling, you are going to need some gear. The main item that you would need is the snorkel itself, but there are different types of snorkels to choose from, each with different functions and intentions.

What Type Of Snorkel Do You Need?

If you are planning on doing some snorkeling on your next tropical island holiday or even enjoying the rock pools at your local beach, you are going to need the right snorkel for the job.

There are some new innovations in snorkel design that make a wide variety of types available so you can find one that is suitable for you, but there are some that are designed for a specific purpose.

  • Standard snorkels. Standard snorkels are of the design that most people think about when they think of a snorkel; a tube with a mouthpiece and the tube sticks out the water on the side of your head. However, there are a variety of designs even within this category.
    • Classic snorkels. This is the classic rigid tube, a J-shaped snorkel with a mouthpiece.
    • Flexible snorkel. This snorkel is similar to the classic snorkel but with a flexible tube from the mouthpiece to the main tube.
    • Semi-dry snorkel. This snorkel has guards at the top of the open end of the snorkel to limit the amount of water that enters the tube.
    • Dry snorkel. This is a snorkel with a valve at the top of the tube that does not allow any water into the tube.
  • Full-face snorkel. This is a snorkel that is built into a mask that encompasses your entire face, and the snorkel comes out the top of the mask. This is the easiest snorkel for beginners to use, but it does have some drawbacks.
  • A swim snorkel. This is a snorkel that is designed specifically for use by swimmers. The snorkel has a mouthpiece, but the tube curves up in front of the nose and up the center of the forehead, where it is supported by a band that fits around your forehead. The tube then goes up and curves backward over your head. The design of this snorkel is so that it does not get in the way of any swimming strokes that you are performing with your arms.

The most common snorkel is the standard design snorkel, but each of the variations in that category has pros and cons. You would have to do your research on these snorkels to find one that suits your requirements.


Snorkeling is easier than swimming, and what makes it easier than swimming is the additional gear that you use. The snorkel allows you to breathe easier without having you remove your face from the water, and the movements needed while snorkeling are easier and less taxing than swimming.

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!

Snorkeling is mostly an activity that is done for recreation and is often mastered by people who do spearfishing, but it is a fun activity that most members of the family can participate in and enjoy a new experience!