The most important thing for a first time snorkeler is to get comfortable wearing the mask and breathing through the snorkel. Some people get anxious and have difficulty breathing through a snorkel while wearing a mask, so it is important to test things out in shallow water first. Many first timers have jumped into the water on a snorkeling charter only to realize they aren’t comfortable wearing a mask and breathing through a tube – this often takes a few minutes to get used to. While standing in shallow water, practice putting your face below the surface and looking through the mask. You can breathe through the snorkel while looking around at the aquatic life. In shallow waters this can be a fantastic way to see many things without expending the energy of swimming.
Snorkeling in shallow water is also a good time to learn to use the equipment effectively. Although relatively simple, beginning snorkelers should know their way around their mask and snorkel, including how to clear both of water. This is an essential skill, as open waves or splashes can send water into the open end of a snorkel, and masks can develop tiny leaks during a dive. Having a mask or snorkel fill with water can be a scary experience the first time, so snorkelers should be comfortable with the process of clearing their equipment.