Sunday, September 20, 2020
  • Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 43,000+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 510,000+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,450+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

Question Snorkel in or out of mouth

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,842
1,525
418
Sunny Britain

It all depends on the situation. Understand the advantages and dangers of either method. Practice them properly so they become ingrained in your muscle memory and adapt to your situation.
Very interesting link. I like it, as it kind of supports what I already do, which is nice, although I question how easy it is to reliably release a small amount air just 30/20/10cm from the surface. I find that I am often a little early or a little late. So, in that case, end up having to either blow my snorkel to clear it at the surface, which is considered somewhat dangerous, or remove my snorkel from my mouth if my breath is short (not as risk-free as some might have you believe).

However, I don't push my breathhold to extremes. So probably not as problematic as it might seem. Now that I know there is an actual named technique and process, it is something I can work on I suppose. :)
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,842
1,525
418
Sunny Britain
...
If you clear too early or too late you end up with a tube filled with water.

Can a purge valve snorkel clear with a passive exhale when on the surface? If so that could even be better?

Also in a rough or choppy sea a freak wave can fill the snorkel without warning. If this happens on the first inhale the you have a serious problem.
Yup, that's what I was talking about in my post above.

I tried a purge snorkel but found it didn't clear fully enough reliably for my needs but I started with simple J so probably biased that way. I think Daniel Man and some American members prefer them. Perhaps better for choppy conditions, especially as the are often paired up with a dry or semi-dry top.


For rough conditions a dry or semi-dry top helps. But I wonder if that is partly because most modern snorkels are very short, too short IMHO. An extra inch and a half of snorkel length improves things (I extended one of my snorkels). A purge valve may or may not.
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,842
1,525
418
Sunny Britain
I don't know others. I feel more comfortable without it in my mouth.
I feel quite the opposite. I feel much safer with my snorkel in. I can just rest face down in the sea and relax. But I've dived snorkel in since the 1970s, so it is all quite subconscious to do that for me now.

Do SCUBA divers still wear/carry snorkels? It used to be standard practice, to help them, I think, survive at the surface in difficult/emergency conditions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Andrew the fish

DiveHacker

Member
Jun 17, 2020
79
40
23
47
Bangkok
What I thought is if you have it in, you lose your air during a black out, it of course goes through the snorkel. Once exited, all that is left is some space for water to rush in and fill, and now you are essentially hastening the drowning process (with snorkel in). I have no idea if that is actually how it would go down in a real bo scenario.
 

Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
271
143
58
37
Between here and nowhere
So far our scenarios were about solo dives, or at least that's the image created. Now how about you're diving together. You see your buddy black out and you bring him to the surface. What would happen if he has the snorkel in? I remember reading that laryngospasm can cause the jaw to lock up, preventing you from removing the snorkel?
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,842
1,525
418
Sunny Britain
What I thought is if you have it in, you lose your air during a black out, it of course goes through the snorkel. Once exited, all that is left is some space for water to rush in and fill, and now you are essentially hastening the drowning process (with snorkel in). I have no idea if that is actually how it would go down in a real bo scenario.
See the link posted above. It makes a very detailed case, which addresses this very point specifically from the perspective of the spearfisher rather than competitive freediver.
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,842
1,525
418
Sunny Britain
So far our scenarios were about solo dives, or at least that's the image created. Now how about you're diving together. You see your buddy black out and you bring him to the surface. What would happen if he has the snorkel in? I remember reading that laryngospasm can cause the jaw to lock up, preventing you from removing the snorkel?
Wouldn't that be a problem with snorkel out as well? And wouldn't pulling the mask off overcome the problem - and expose the sensitive areas around the eyes, which can stimulate breathing.
 

Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
271
143
58
37
Between here and nowhere
I was thinking in the direction that if you can't remove the snorkel, then when you get the diver breathing again his first breath would be water. But as they said in the linked article above (which I only just read, I must have missed it), the volume of the snorkel isn't great, so while the dive day might be over, the diver will live.

That article made all the sense in the world. So now part 3 of this topic: how to retrain my habbits? :)
 

DiveHacker

Member
Jun 17, 2020
79
40
23
47
Bangkok
See the link posted above. It makes a very detailed case, which addresses this very point specifically from the perspective of the spearfisher rather than competitive freediver.
That is just amazing. I have always kept snorkel in but never had any training. I have recently begun learning to spit it out on the surface, and have not enjoyed it much. It sounds like I can forget taking it out!

Do you guys recommend keeping it in the entire time? I saw one of the champions said he did, but was curious what you guys do.

It is amazing to think spearos you see with them out may in fact be doing it wrong.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mr. X

Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
271
143
58
37
Between here and nowhere
Do you guys recommend keeping it in the entire time? I saw one of the champions said he did, but was curious what you guys do.
I still have to start experimenting with this, so I can't recommend anything.
Looking at it from a theoretical POV, if you would start and end the dive with the snorkel in, then I don't see a reason to take it out during the dive. Perhaps streamlining can be a reason. But taking it out and putting it back in would be two extra moves, meaning extra need for air and concentration and two moments where your posture isn't as streamlined as possible, probably negating any gains. Also, would you still manage to put it back in if your hands are occupied with holding a fighty fish? The way I see it, whatever you do in the water, make sure routines are true 100% of the time. Any deviation leads to confusion if the muscle memory and opens a window for error.

It is amazing to think spearos you see with them out may in fact be doing it wrong.
Indeed. And also amazing that the freedive courses might have it wrong. But it's a young sport, so things are still finding its place. This is a good example of 'always question what you're being told'.
 
Last edited:

DiveHacker

Member
Jun 17, 2020
79
40
23
47
Bangkok
I still have to start experimenting with this, so I can't recommend anything.
Looking at it from a theoretical POV, if you would start and end the dive with the snorkel in, then I don't see a reason to take it out during the dive. Perhaps streamlining can be a reason. But taking it out and putting it back in would be two extra moves, meaning extra need for air and concentration and two moments where your posture isn't as streamlined as possible, probably negating any gains. Also, would you still manage to put it back in if your hands are occupied with holding a fighty fish? The way I see it, whatever you do in the water, make sure routines are true 100% of the time. Any deviation leads to confusion if the muscle memory and opens a window for error.


Indeed. And also amazing that the freedive courses might have it wrong. But it's a young sport, so things are still finding its place. This is a good example of 'always question what you're being told'.
Well, that was a great article. They deserve a lot of credit for putting that forth in such a thorough and compelling manner. Such an important topic too. I mean someone could die today because of information they are being taught in an expensive course.

I might read through the diver's recommendations again, but at this point I am gonna proceed with keeping the snorkel in, slight inhales through nose and release air just before the surface. This really makes every bit of sense.

Yet another advantage that the article I feel might have failed to mention (it was translated right? The English seemed a bit off at times), is you are keeping your air on the way up. The means you are more buoyant! Losing that air out if your mask means you will have a tougher time getting to the surface.
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,842
1,525
418
Sunny Britain
...And also amazing that the freedive courses might have it wrong. But it's a young sport, so things are still finding its place. This is a good example of 'always question what you're being told'.
Not wrong for competitive freediving. It's just that spearfishing has slightly different needs, constraints, objectives, context, etc. It seems this hasn't been given adequate consideration when it comes to training.

Yes looks like a translation, I would guess from Italian. I don't think we spearos have reached any clear concensus, other than that, perhaps, current dogma is up for debate and that personal preferences vary.

I expect both approaches have merits, perhaps a hybrid approach will develop? E.g. snorkel in for shallow and normal dives, perhaps when diving alone? but out for very deep and/or very long dives.

I was planning to work on snorkel out this year but may now look at refining my snorkel in Global Ascent Maneuver” or GAM technique, in line with the article. I add the link here to reduce need to scroll:
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DivingNomad

Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
271
143
58
37
Between here and nowhere
Not wrong for competitive freediving. It's just that spearfishing has slightly different needs, constraints, objectives, context, etc. It seems this hasn't been given adequate consideration when it comes to training.
Well, if it is safer from the viewpoint of self-recovery and at just as safe from the buddy-perspective, then the whole "snorkel out!!" would only be about performance. But you wouldn't even keep the snorkel attached to the mask if performance in that case. So I think we can put this in the drawer with the other things people take as the truth because someone with more status said it and then parrot it without thinking.

I learned so much on this forum, thanks to discussion, questioning of standards and people taking theories to the test. I wonder how many lives DB already saved without knowing or bragging about it. :)
 

HLanger1955

Well-Known Member
May 17, 2013
102
15
58
Italy
For me snorkel out is not a problem. I just keep in my hands in front of my head. However, diving no fins becomes a bit messy when I take the snorkel out.. I get confused where to put it :unsure:
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,842
1,525
418
Sunny Britain
For me snorkel out is not a problem. I just keep in my hands in front of my head. However, diving no fins becomes a bit messy when I take the snorkel out.. I get confused where to put it :unsure:
I generally have a speargun in one hand and some slack in my floatline in the other hand, so keeping the snorkel in (as was normal practice when I started snorkelling) works for me.

I often dive in poor visibility, choppy conditions and/or significant currents. Dropping my snorkel or having it dragged off my mask-strap would be very bad, quite dangerous really.
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
3,332
1,089
368
81
San Clemente, CA
In Southern California, snorkel out is standard so that its not emitting bubbles and scaring with sea bass as we descend. We also do a pre hunting dive before we start to get the bubbles out of our wet suits for the same reason. Some "experts" do leave the snorkel in, but as they start the dive they take it out of their mouths to release the bubbles, and then put it back in their mouths for the dive.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Leander and Mr. X

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,842
1,525
418
Sunny Britain
Any of the "snorkel out" inclination decided not to use or carry a snorkel? It seems some folk find the snorkel an inconvenience rather than an essential tool. I think somebody above mentioned breathing up on their back, but perhaps a competition freediver rather than a spear.
 

kwebste95

New Member
Sep 17, 2020
2
2
3
25
Phuket, Thailand
Im a very novice diver so I'm ready for the appeal to authority from those more experienced advocating for snorkel in.

Take your snorkel out of your mouth. It acts as a funnel for water to enter your airways upon black out and if consciousness should be regained during rescue as somebody else has already stated. Additionally, upon surfacing with snorkel in you will first have to remove or clear it before you commence recovery breathing. In the event of a samba your safety will first have to remove it before beginning to sort you out.

Put your snorkel under your mask strap. It streamlines it to your head much more than having it attached via the keeper and it doesnt move around near as much. If you're just fun diving around a reef or something you can just hold your snorkel in your hand. I've never heard anyone worth taking advice from advocating for diving snorkel in. There are no upsides to it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DiveHacker

DiveHacker

Member
Jun 17, 2020
79
40
23
47
Bangkok
Im a very novice diver so I'm ready for the appeal to authority from those more experienced advocating for snorkel in.

Take your snorkel out of your mouth. It acts as a funnel for water to enter your airways upon black out and if consciousness should be regained during rescue as somebody else has already stated. Additionally, upon surfacing with snorkel in you will first have to remove or clear it before you commence recovery breathing. In the event of a samba your safety will first have to remove it before beginning to sort you out.

Put your snorkel under your mask strap. It streamlines it to your head much more than having it attached via the keeper and it doesnt move around near as much. If you're just fun diving around a reef or something you can just hold your snorkel in your hand. I've never heard anyone worth taking advice from advocating for diving snorkel in. There are no upsides to it.
I appreciate all points of view, but you should read that article. Some of the best spearfisherman in the world keep the snorkel in. They also indicate there are notable differences between freediving and spearfishing that perhaps make snorkel in a much better choice for spearfisherman.

Another thing that comes in to play here is it is very easy to say "dive with a buddy". But we need to get real. Many people, most probably, dive without a buddy all the time. And I think there is a good argument to be made that buddies are what cause most blackouts. Lone divers normally dive in a much more prudent manner, and do not take nearly as many risks or push their limits.

I am going 100% what I read in the article, but what exactly is the mechanism by which a lone freediver would possibly survive if they blacked out snorkel out? They do provide very compelling cases where divers with snorkel in woke up far away from their floats (perhaps ten or more minutes after blackout), and woke up breathing through their snorkel with belly facing down on the surface. This was only possible because their snorkel was in as I understood it.

They clear their snorkel just before surfacing, and this makes a ton of sense to me in every way, although I am no expert in any way please realize.

This is serious stuff so I am more than happy to be corrected on any of that. But, this is a very common theme with me... it seems humans get stuff wrong all the time. We think we know a lot and we think we are advanced and all that, but we are really just fish out of water taking our best guesses.
 
Last edited:
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing

ABOUT US

ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2020 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Spearfishing and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.

ADVERT