Left or Right: On which side should you wear the snorkel?
If you want to learn how to snorkel, you also have to learn about the equipment. Compared to other water sports enthusiasts, snorkelers do not need much equipment, but a basic knowledge of mask, snorkel and fins is required.
Before the first trip, beginners ask a lot of questions – and rightly so. The following question is often asked: On which side is the snorkel worn?
Most snorkels are asymmetrically shaped and worn on the left. Some models are not curved from the start. However, divers always wear the snorkel on the left side so that it does not come into conflict with the regulator on the right. For snorkelers it is common, but not mandatory, to carry the snorkel on the left side.
Basically there are two different types of snorkels. Those that are carried on the left side and those that can be carried on both sides. Especially for the attachment on the right side curved snorkels are rare. But what happens if you put a left-sided snorkel on the wrong side?
Can I wear a snorkel on the right side?
A few snorkels are models worn on the right side. However, snorkels bought in specialist shops and online shops are mostly snorkels worn on the left side.
If you put a left side model on the right side, it seems as if it would work. The problem, however, is that the mouthpiece has to be twisted a lot in order to reach it with the mouth. You can’t speak of easy breathing anymore – it feels more like sucking on a straw.
On which side do divers carry the snorkel?
Divers carry the snorkel on the left side. This is because the regulator is on the right side. The snorkel should not come into contact with this regulator and is therefore attached on the left side. For scuba diving or freediving designed (professional) snorkels, have a curvature that allows carrying on the left side.
If you want to dive with the snorkel, you should pay attention to the curvature when ordering a model. Snorkels worn on the left side are curved to the right and models worn on the right side look exactly the other way round.
On which side is the snorkel worn with a snorkel mask?
Snorkel masks are a new development which have a decisive influence on industry and snorkeling in general. The so-called full masks cover the entire face.
They do not require a mouthpiece and allow free breathing through nose and mouth. Due to their construction, however, the full face masks are only conditionally suitable for diving.
With a snorkel mask you can dive to a maximum depth of a few meters. Those who want to go deeper down should deal with scuba diving or freediving. The snorkel masks only serve snorkelers who want to explore the underwater worlds from the water surface.
Diving is only a small part of snorkeling. However, it cannot be ruled out that the manufacturers of snorkel masks will continue to improve their products, so that it may soon be possible to dive deeper with the masks. This would be a great benefit for both snorkelers and divers. The wide visor of the masks finally allows a much better view than classic diving goggles ever could.
The snorkel is already integrated into the snorkel mask. It is therefore impossible to say whether the snorkel is left or right because it is mounted in the middle of the top of the mask. Instead of attaching the snorkel to the mask itself, a snorkel mask combines both elements in one piece.
With such a mask, the snorkel’s tube leads backwards away from the head, so that its upper end is always above water.
Aligning the snorkel correctly
When attaching the snorkel, the orientation must also be taken into account. If the snorkel is almost vertical from the mask to the top, the snorkel’s opening is only a few centimetres above the surface of the water when you face down.
For this reason, the snorkel should protrude almost vertically backwards from the mask to be clearly above the water when swimming. If you move the snorkel unfavourably, it will dive in and the water will flow directly into your mouth. This leads to a spontaneous coughing attack and leaves a salty taste in the case of sea water.
With a so-called dry snorkel the correct assembly is less important, because these snorkels prevent the penetration of water anyway. A splash guard on the upper side prevents splashing water and a float valve closes when the snorkel gets under water. The problem is that the spherical float valves do not close in time if the snorkel pipe sinks into a too horizontal position.
The blow-out valve allows water to be flushed out of the snorkel by exhaling vigorously, but it is still important to align the pipe correctly when snorkeling dry.
Free Diving a snorkel
Diving with a snorkel that does not have dry snorkel technology should be avoided. The sea water would flow directly into the mouth.
When diving with a dry snorkel, however, safety must also be taken into account. As a general rule, you should never dive alone. A partner is obligatory for diving trips. Always dive alternately. One of each stays above the water while the other explores the underwater world.
After the appearance of your partner, you should not dive immediately. Instead, observe your snorkel buddy for another 30 seconds. Health problems can also occur shortly after the dive (e.g. if you ascend too quickly).
Too much additional equipment should be avoided during free diving. In the end, every additional kilogram pulls you into the depth, which makes the ascent especially difficult. A practical help, however, can be snorkel fins, which are attached to the feet and provide much more propulsion through rowing movements of the legs.
Snorkeling is a beginner-friendly sport. It doesn’t take days of training to start your first adventure. However, beginners often have questions before they can really get started.
The question of whether the snorkel is left or right is one of the most frequently asked questions. With our explanation you should now be assured that you are doing everything right with a left attached snorkel. Only in rare cases can a snorkel be used on both sides or is curved to the left and designed to be worn on the right side.