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How do Snorkels work (Easy Explanation)

wie funktionieren schnorchel wird von Mädchen unter Wasser gezeigt

Anyone who comes into contact with underwater sports is almost certainly dependent on a snorkel. Scuba Divers to snorkelers cannot do without it. So the questions arise, how do snorkels actually work?

In fact, a basic understanding is enormously important. Snorkelling and diving are, with the right preparation, largely harmless sports, but if you don’t understand how your snorkel works, the next snorkelling trip is quickly over. In the following, we will go into more detail on all the important knowledge about snorkeling.

The questions about how snorkeling works are quite general. In fact, there are different types of snorkels. In principle, all models are similar, but there are some subtle differences. All types of snorkels allow you to breathe even when your head is underwater, but certain types offer additional functionality and are more suitable for certain uses than other snorkels.

Understanding the different functions will help you choose a particular snorkel or show you what your already purchased model can do. Knowing how snorkels work will give you more confidence and can be helpful if there is a problem with the snorkel under or above water.

Dry snorkel

Dry snorkels are a relatively new development that offers a significant advantage over classic snorkeling: Water cannot get into the tube. At the tip of the snorkel there is a special valve that turns the tube into a one-way street.

If the tip of the snorkel is surrounded by water, the stale air can escape, but water cannot enter. When it emerges, the ball valve opens again and air can flow in both directions.

The first dry snorkels

Initially dry snorkels were built with two tubes. In the course of time, however, the technology was further developed and only requires one tube. Externally, modern dry snorkels resemble a classic snorkel.

The main reason for the popularity of the dry snorkel is that the accidental inhalation of salt water is no longer part of a snorkeling trip. In the past, every wave of water was washed directly into the snorkel and washed directly into the mouth.

Diving with a dry snorkel

Modern dry snorkels are technically mature and are built from modern materials. This circumstance and the innovative functionality in itself, improve the snorkeling and diving experience tremendously. Diving experience? Yes, that’s right. Dry snorkels can also be used for diving.

If you would like to get a beautiful shell from the bottom of the sea, you can do so with a dry snorkel. The snorkel no longer has to be removed. Simply hold your breath, submerge and swim back to the surface. This would not have been possible with a classic snorkel.

Today’s models

The best dry snorkels are also lighter than classic snorkels and often come in a more modern design. While classic snorkels are often reminiscent of children’s toys, dry snorkels are high quality and available in endless colour variations.

The exact implementation of the technology and the materials used vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Simple plastic, however, is largely sufficient. Modern plastics are stable, stiff and durable. Even if the exact procedure is different, preventing water from flowing into the snorkel, the basic principle remains the same.

Above water, a plastic cover prevents water from entering the snorkel. If the tip of the snorkel is below the water surface, a valve seals the snorkel and prevents water from entering. When you reappear, the valve opens and normal breathing is possible again.

Dry snorkel with blow-out valve

Dry snorkels are not completely dry. Water can still enter the tube if your mouthpiece does not fit properly. As a countermeasure, many manufacturers have equipped their snorkels with a blow-out valve. We are often asked how snorkels work with a blow-out valve. The way it works is very simple.

A simple powerful exhalation opens the valve and pushes the water out of the tube. The valve closes automatically and normal breathing is possible again.

On the latest models, the blow-off valve opens every time you exhale. This reduces the distance the exhaled air has to travel to escape from the snorkel. As a result, you will breathe less CO₂ the next time you breathe.

Cheap snorkels often do not have an exhaust valve . When you exhale, the used air mixes with the fresh air. In addition, there is no way to get the water out of the tube. For people who are just learning to snorkel, and children, this is a safety problem that needs to be addressed. In addition, you cannot dive with these cheap snorkels.

Anyone who has just wondered what a dry snorkel is should now be well informed. Let’s go straight to the next trend, which has massively changed the industry in recent years. Of course we are talking about snorkel masks.

Snorkel masks

Snorkel masks combine snorkel and diving goggles in one. This new development now accounts for a considerable proportion of the diving goggles available. Instead of equipping themselves with a classic snorkel and goggles, many snorkelers opt for the new full face masks. But how do snorkel masks work?

The big advantage of full face masks is that they do not require a mouthpiece. A snorkel mask lies above the eyebrows, on the cheeks and on the chin on the face. The edge of the full masks is made of silicone. The flexible material is waterproof and airtight to the face.

The masks are divided into two parts, one for the air circulation and the other for the visor. The nose and mouth are separated from the main visor. In this way it is possible to breathe freely without the moist breathing air fogging up the snorkel mask. However, the mask must be cleaned thoroughly (just like normal diving goggles) in order not to fog up.

Snorkel for apnea diving

Apnoea divers (free diving) use different snorkels than normal snorkelers. Free diving is all about overcoming your limits and reaching new depths. But the sport is also very dangerous, which you can see at the Blue Hole.

In contrast to normal dry snorkeling, snorkels for the apnoea diver do not have a blow-out valve to flush the water out of the tube. The special construction of the free diving snorkel ensures that it does not need this extra time.

If you dive from a depth of dozens of meters, you won’t have the air to exhale. With a snorkel for apnea diving, you can breathe immediately after ascending.


Snorkeling enjoys great popularity. Many people travel to places known as the best snorkeling spots in the world. They do this to explore new underwater worlds. The fantastic landscapes, the unique vegetation and wildlife make you forget all about time and worry.

But if you want to start your first adventures soon, you have to learn the basics about sports and equipment. The knowledge of how the snorkel works and which snorkel equipment is important is definitely part of it. A successful snorkelling trip and some great hours on the water are now a thing of the past!

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