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Are you supposed to keep your snorkel in?

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give me gills!
Jun 18, 2003
When I see pictures of freedivers I sometimes see people keeping there snorkel in their mouth. Is that to reduce the annoying drag or just personal prefrence? Will you get more air if you spit out your snorkel at the last second?

Thanks in advance!:)
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I do the breath-up with the snorkel, and spit it just before the duck dive.

The snorkel out is a safety thing.
having a snorkel in your mouth means one less stop between the water out side and your lungs.
In theory, if you blackout having the snorkel inside more chance you'll get "flooded" quicker, especially if you start sinking and the water pressure rise. having the snorkel out might buy you some more precious seconds till your partner will get to you - when he can block your mouth while taking you up and releasing your weight belt.

Another thing is that if you have your snorkel in, you'll have to clear/blow it when getting to the surface if you want to breath again, and a hard exhale on ascent increases the chances of samba. i think you can read about it more in "delayed samba" thread.

there are many other fors and againsts (mostly against if you ask me), all of it must've been posted here more than a few times. you can use the search function for it.

for safety it's only one thing - snorkel out.
if you ask me, you get use to it pretty quick and it also feels better, more natural, hence more free.

about drag - nothing beats leaving the snorkel on the surface (tied to your bouy).
about air - in theory you have less "dead air" if you breath without a snorkel. i don't think that the volume is different.
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When spearfishing you dont really have the option to go without a snorkel cos of all the surface swimming but whe diving I still spit it out and let it drag along side the mask, dont even notice until it pulls the hair on your side burns :D

if your spearfishing you would take your snorkel out so it does not bubble and make noise, it does work well for spookey fish like stripers.
I was always told to leave to snorkel in when spearfishing if you are diving around rocks or on the coastline where you may be cought by a freak wave or just unexpectedly washed onto rocks from the swell, I has happened to me before, having the snorkelin in these situation is safer because it provides a simalar protection to your teeth as a mouthgaurd would when playing football, I know freediving is supposed to be peaceful but in my experience is can also be a rough contact sport with consequences far greather than even a hard footy game.

For me its a comfort and safety thing leaving the snorkel out. Though its not very Hydrodynamic

I've heard the same things Michael was explaining. If you blackout, your much better off NOT having the snorkel in your mouth. Also, I can't equalize worth a crap (BTV) with a snorkel in my mouth, so as soon as my head goes under, I spit it.

Now UW hockey......that's a different story :blackeye .
Another consideration is that; if you're diving deep, you need to be able to keep a volume of air in your mouth to save for deep equalisation. You can't do that with a snorkel in.
Erik Y.
I guess I'm yhe only one that leaves the snorkel in my mouth.
For me I always know that I need that extra bit of time to clear
the water. I surface like a whale clearing it's blowhole. That way
if I do have to take the snorkel out of my mouth I know I've pushed myself to far.
I breathe up w/ the snorkel detached from the mask and then take it out and tuck it in my belt as I descend. However, I think that this is not a workable solution in the ocean because of waves (most of our diving is done in quarries, where the waves are negligible).

In my view, breaking the surface and keeping your head out for the first few breaths is safe - it gives your buddies a much better way to ensure that you are recovering, it makes it easier to hook breathe and it eliminates the risk of gagging on water at a time when you can ill afford it.

I have seen guys have sambas w/ their snorkel in. You actualy have to dive under them and look at their face to see that they are in trouble. When someone has a samba "face out", the problem is a lot more apparent and attention is immediate and assured.

Most of the guys in our group break the surface. Those that don't get a "fly by" after any long dives to ensure that the are properly recovering (i.e. somone swims under them, makes eye contact and looks for an "ok" signal).

Yeah that is fairly important if you are pushing yourself to take your head out after the dive, I find that bl;owing the water out of the tube after pushing it almost makes me drown :duh

Personally I breath up w/ the snorkel then right when I leave the surface I take it out(it's attached to my mask). When I leave bottom I put the snorkel back in my mouth. Right before I reach the surface I expel a little air in the tube. As I rise the expanding air pushes the water out so as I hit the surface there's practically no water left to blow out. Just the way I do it.

having the snorkelin in these situation is safer because it provides a simalar protection to your teeth as a mouthgaurd would when playing football

...and i've always seen freediving as a no contact sport;)

for fundives i keep the snorkel in. it dangles less on my mask (which usually annoys me) and blast clearing it is easy cause i'm not having a bad urge to breathe.

for anything more serious i never dive with a snorkel. i use it only to breathe up.

it happened to me a few times that at the end of a max dynamic i didn't properly clear the snorkel cause i was so wasted and had quite an unpleasant/unsafe recovery. coughing and choking. avoiding water after breaking the surface is way easier without a snorkel with a lot less room for error. and i never dive in choppy water. preferably i leave the snorkel at the float/with the buddy.

plus i go along with the other mentioned safety arguments against using a snorkel during the dive.



A good trick is, i saw this by Gerald yesterday, to fix your snorkel with a line on a plastic bottle. The bottle floats and you can give your snorkel out of your mouth after the final breath, after surfacing you can get your snorkel back easily.

the bavarian

...and now you can see the frog jumping in the water and in doing so risking his live...
Snorkel out

Ever since I attended the WC '98 in Sardinia I leave my snorkel behind before I dive. We enjoyed the company of Umberto Pelizzari during our training dives. There we learned to leave it behind, letting a dive buddy catch it up. If you don't go for depth it is not neccessary to spit out your snorkel although it would be useful to do it habitually, i.e. under all circumstances. Most of the reasons why have been said before. Therefore I summarize:

1. Safety: to clear Your snorkel implies a forceful exhale which may incur an unnneccessery samba/B.O. An unconscious diver may have convulsions that may lock up his jaws, which makes it very difficult to remove the snorkel and may hinder immediate re-animation. At least you should compromise and take your snorkel out for the last 10mt of your ascent.

2. Equalization: With a snorkel I am still able to do a BTV (my personalized version of free hand equalization, see a detailed description at my homepage) but I am not able to do the Fattah mouthfill technique, the only technique that helps me to do maximum dives. Note, that according to efattah's frenzel.doc it is still possible to pack with a snorkel in your mouth, but it's definitely harder.

3. Hydrodynamics: You definitely cut down water resistance if you don't have that thing dangling at the side of your mask. Makes sense.

4. How to abandon it? Murky and choppy waters may make it hard for a buddy to retrieve it and may distract him/her to spot you with undivided attention. So the best thing would be to attach it to a 0,5l soda bottle that is connected close to the mouthpiece of your snorkel at a distance of 25cm/10 inch. If it's longer, you may get intagled with the line and drag the whole thing down to the bottom. Looks funny to watch that :cool: .
Even under hard conditions (wind, waves) I never had that thing drift away further than 10 metres during my dive. If the bottle has a bright color you'll always find it. This little system shouldn't encourage anybody to dive alone :naughty

@christoph: thanks for the good time we had together at the lake yesterday!

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