Snorkeling Tip: Duck Diving

A lot of snorkelers want to dive beneath the surface to get closer to the reef, fish, and to just enjoy the feeling of being completely immersed in this wonderful underwater world. Those of you just starting out with your snorkeling pursuits may find this whole diving down thing a bit tricker than you anticipated though. Here’s a few tips which has really helped a lot of our guests out in not only being able to dive down easier, but also stay down longer on a single breath. 

Snorkeler Surrounded by Manta Rays

The Duck Dive

  1.  1. The first step before we want to duck dive down is to take a few large slow breath. This will help relax us and fill our lungs with air. The more relaxed we are the longer we can stay down.
  2.  2. After you’ve relaxed yourself on the surface in one fluid motion we want to stick our bum up and angle our upper torso in a downward angle. As we do this we also want to bring at least one of our legs out of the water. If you can manage to bring both legs out of the water it will only help propel us downwards. It’s important to note that this should all be one smooth movement, there doesn’t need to be and flapping of the legs or arms. The angle of your body and the way the weight is distributed now will help you dive down a lot smoother and easier. As you practice these steps it will become more natural and you’ll find that you will find yourself being propelled underwater much easier. 
  3.  3. A lot of people have a tenancy to start kicking frantically as soon as they start the duck part. This only burns more oxygen with the rapid movement and shortens your dive, but also because your fins have not been submerged yet you are only kicking air and not water. A big thing here is to be patient and wait for your fins to become submerged before you start kicking. When you do start kicking, make sure they are long slow kicks rather than many short fast ones. This will also help you preserve your oxygen supply. 
  4.  4. Don’t use your arms. Using your ams will also only burn through your oxygen reserves while providing little in terms of propulsion. Let the strong muscles of your legs and fins do all the work. 
  5.  5. Don’t for get to equalize! I like to keep a rhythm of equalizing every time I kick with my right foot. 
  6.  6. If you do plan to do a lot of duck diving I would highly recommend wearing a weight belt. This extra weight will help you with the initial duck dive and also make it easier for you to stay under without overdoing it with the kicking. An extra six pounds or so will make a huge difference on your dive while not affecting your ability to float on the surface easy, unless you are particularly skinny then you might want to start with two pounds. 

Snorkeler taking photos of coral reef in Alor

Basically the big things to take away here are making your movements as smooth and efficient as possible to help maintain your body’s oxygen supply while also providing you maximum propulsion on your initial dive. Slow and easy is the best approach when it comes to duck diving. 

About Author

Alex Lindbloom
Alex is a Snorkel Venture guide as well as one of the video and photo pros for the company. Prior to joining Snorkel Venture in 2018 Alex lived and worked all over the world as an underwater cameraman, including five years on a boat in Indonesia. Alex's images and videos have garnered many international awards and can be seen on NatGeo, Disvocery Channel, the UN Building, and various magazines.