7 Difference between Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

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Image of a girl underwater


The depth of the water you enter depends on which activity
you choose. While floating near the surface, snorkelers enjoy the underwater
topography while scuba divers spend more time underneath. They may move around
while looking at marine life and coral reefs.

Snorkeling may become your new favorite activity if you’ve
always wanted to explore the undersea world. Additionally, before learning to
scuba dive, snorkeling is a terrific activity for the whole family and a good
place to start.

But how can you tell which sport is right for you? What
distinguishes them from one another? Does one or the other need prior
experience? Find out by reading on.


Both snorkeling and scuba diving are thrilling activities
for discovering the underwater world. They are likewise extremely dissimilar.
Let’s look at the fundamentals.

  • Snorkeling is the act of swimming near the
    water’s surface w
    hile wearing a mask and a snorkel, which is a breathing
    apparatus. Snorkelers don’t go far into the water; instead, they delight in the
    expansive undersea sights from above.
  • Scuba diving is diving while using a scuba, a
    self-contained underwater breathing device. Divers can easily breathe
    underwater thanks to scuba gear, fully submerging them in the aquatic world.



Difference between Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving Under Water

The depth of the water you enter depends on
which activity you choose. While floating near the surface, snorkelers enjoy
the underwater topography while scuba divers spend more time underneath. They
may move around while looking at marine life and coral reefs.


Level of experience needed for each activity
is the second key distinction between snorkeling and scuba diving. Snorkeling
may be learned in a matter of minutes without any prior expertise. You must
still be able to swim, and you must be at ease in the water. But you need to be
trained and certified to go scuba diving.


Scuba divers use a mouthpiece attached to a sturdy hose to
breathe air from tanks they carry on their backs (or beside their bodies).
Conversely, those who use a snorkel get air from the surface through a tube.

Read Also: Top 10 Best Tips on How To Clean Snorkel Gear

In case you didn’t know, the term “scuba” is an acronym. Self-contained
underwater breathing apparatus, or SCUBA, is an abbreviation.


Snorkeling Fins and masks
Snorkeling Fins and Masks

Scuba divers use more equipment than snorkelers do. The
breathing apparatus stated above is known as a regulator. Fun fact: The Star
Wars production team used a diving regulator to replicate Darth Vader’s
ominous, scary breathing.

A buoyancy control device, or BCD, is also required for
divers. Although an inflatable vest is the most popular form of BCD, there are
alternative ways to change your buoyancy. For buoyancy control, divers who use
dry suits can inflate and deflate their suits.

What’s the deal with all this buoyancy stuff? Simply said,
divers don’t want to be excessively bulky or buoyant. Finding the ideal balance
between your load and the amount of air in your buoyancy control device is a
necessary part of learning to scuba dive.

To monitor their depth and remaining oxygen, scuba divers
also carry tiny, submersible computers and/or gauges.

The computers/gauges can be strapped to the “octopus” of
hoses or worn on the wrist like a watch.

Mask, snorkel, and fins are worn by both scuba divers and
snorkelers. The majority of snorkel fins are too fragile, yet the majority of
high-quality snorkel masks can be used for scuba diving.

Scuba fins are made to
move divers and their gear through the water with the least amount of effort.
Before your first in-water session, bring your snorkel mask and fins to the
diving shop if you have a snorkel set and wish to learn to scuba dive.

Both divers and snorkelers often wear some sort of exposure
protection in addition to their equipment. In tropical waters, some divers
could choose to forego their traditional wetsuit in favor of a diving skin,
rashguard, trunks, or even just a bikini.


The typical snorkeler can descend 3–4 meters (12–15 ft)
underwater. Scuba divers with experience can dive 7 meters (25 feet) deep.
Comparatively, skilled divers may descend to a depth of 40 meters (130 feet).

Don’t worry, diving trainees aren’t required to go that deep or even permitted
to. It’s doubtful that you will make dives deeper than 12 meters (40 feet)
throughout your PADI® scuba certification course.


Image of a man underwater
Fine Underwater Creatures

The fact that you get to view so much more of the underwater
environment is one of the main benefits of scuba diving. You are not
constrained by how long you can hold your breath, unlike snorkeling. You can go
further and stay longer, allowing you to.

  • Hold out until an octopus emerges from its hole.
  • Watch a display by a cuttlefish that changes colors.
  • Go to a manta ray ballet.
  • Witness a turtle having its shell cleaned.
  • At the cleaning station, a sea turtle
  • A diver may also enjoy the underwater environment at night,
    ride underwater scooters, and investigate shipwrecks.

Additionally, snorkelers are less likely to bump heads with
other snorkelers or be finned in the face while attempting to view anything
intriguing because there are fewer divers than snorkelers.


Snorkeling is pretty simple to learn if you can swim
already. Basic snorkeling abilities may be learned in little more than 30
minutes by people of all ages.

It takes at least three (usually four) days of in-water
instruction to learn to scuba dive. Additionally, there is a home study
component that goes through buoyancy, scuba diving terms, and other
fundamentals. PADI’s interactive online training program PADI eLearning® is
used by the overwhelming majority of diving students.

Read Also: 10 Best Places For Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

You need to dedicate a minimum of four days to the home
study and in-water training before you can get your lifetime-valid Open Water
Diver certification.

Scuba certification is comparable in price to:

  • Lessons for surfing all-day
  • A weekend of instruction in kayaking, fly-fishing, or
  • An instructional kayaking weekend
  • Three hours of private golf instruction
  • Three hours of personalized instruction in water skiing
  • A fantastic time at the bar!

Learn more about obtaining a scuba certification or sign up
for a free, no-obligation intro to Open Water course. Try a half-day Discover
Scuba Diving Experience before enrolling in a multi-day scuba diving school if
you’re not sure.


Very little planning or preparation is necessary for
snorkeling. All you need to do to get started is toss your snorkeling gear into
a bag along with a rashguard or some reef-safe sunscreen. You are free to enter
and exit the water as frequently as you desire.

The additional equipment needed for scuba diving
necessitates a little extra planning. Additionally, you must wait 18 to 24
hours after scuba diving before flying on an airplane, and you must surface
between each dive.

Last but not least, even though individuals of all ages and
capacities love scuba diving, some medical issues may require a doctor’s clearance
before a person may dive.


Despite their basic differences, scuba diving and snorkeling
have the following characteristics:

  • One can see fish, algae, and coral reefs, in both
    scuba diving and snorkeling as a hobby.
  • Time flies in the ocean whether you are snorkeling or scuba
  • You may hire equipment for both pastimes. While any holiday
    resort will lend snorkeling equipment, you will need to travel around a little
    to find a scuba gear rental shop.
  • Masks and fins are used in both pastimes.


Compared to snorkeling, scuba diving takes more preparation.
To engage in diving activities, you must complete official training.

Learning to scuba dive is simpler than you would imagine,
even though it initially seems difficult. In a matter of weeks, you may obtain
your diving certification.


The gear needed differs between snorkeling and scuba diving
in three important ways. Compared to snorkeling, scuba diving requires more
gear. An explanation of snorkeling equipment should come first.


  1. Swim fins
  2. A mask
  3. A snorkel
  4. wetsuit or dry suit are
    the essential snorkeling gear.

You can see well underwater tanks to the snorkel mask,
which goes over your nose and eyes. Be aware that the mask prohibits the use of
spectacles. But contact lenses are effective. A prescription mask can also be
purchased if you so want.

Your mask is connected to the breathing apparatus, known as
a snorkel, which extends above the water. While your face is submerged, you can
still breathe.

To move through the water fast and effortlessly, you can use
swim fins, which are attached to your feet.

Wetsuits are used by snorkelers in all except tropical seas
to keep their bodies warm. You must put on a dry suit and an undersuit when
swimming in cooler waters. In chilly water, you should also wear a hood and


More advanced gear is used by scuba divers than by

The basic diving equipment consists of

  1. A mask
  2. Dry suit or wetsuit
  3. Buoyancy compensator (BC)
  4. Scuba tank
  5. Regulators
  6. weights, and fins.

Underwater vision is not good in our eyes. A diving mask is
therefore one of the most important parts of diving gear. Remember that if you
want to dive in Silfra, full face masks won’t fit with a dry suit.

You must wear either a wetsuit or a dry suit when diving to
remain warm. If you plan to scuba dive in water that is cooler than 50°F
(10°C), you will need both a dry suit and an undersuit. The majority of diving
suits are made of thick, form-fitting neoprene. Along with a suit, you might
also need to put on gloves and a hood.

A buoyancy compensator is a jacket, whether it is airtight
or not. You may stay submerged and float effortlessly above the water with
little difficulty.

Read Also: 19 Best Smartwatches For Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

You get the air you need via a diving tank and regulators.
Air under pressure is kept in the tank. Regulators provide you with air from
your tank at the right pressure so you may breathe underwater in the meantime.

People naturally prefer to float when they are in the water.
Divers who use weights can balance out the buoyancy of their bodies and diving
gear. Divers may fine-tune their buoyancy with properly set weights. There are
many weight systems, including weight-integrated BC, weight belts, and weight

Divers who use fins can move through the water more easily
and swim more effectively.

Am I a diver or a snorkeler then?

Whether you prefer diving or snorkeling largely depends on
your particular preferences and ability level.

Although you’re comfortable in the water, do you like
viewing the undersea environment from the surface? Let’s go scuba diving!

Do you want to explore the ocean’s depths more? Take that
course on open water! The undersea world is waiting for you to discover its
secret beauty.



Concerns regarding diving safety are common among novice
divers. But nowadays, scuba diving is seen to be a low-risk pastime. There is
almost little possibility that anything will go wrong if you receive the proper
instruction and follow the suggested safety measures.


Yes! Scuba divers may be almost anyone. You must be somewhat
healthy and fit, though. If you have any medical conditions, good health
indicates that you don’t have any severe heart or lung disorders. Verify the
health certificate and, if necessary, seek a doctor’s consent. Additionally, it
is not advised to dive when expecting.

You must be able to swim to go snorkeling, but more
significantly, you must feel comfortable in the water. The minimum age for
scuba diving ranges from 12 to 18 years old, depending on the dive site.
Younger kids have a range of specialized course options to select from. This
implies that the entire family may enjoy scuba diving.

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