How to Overcome Fear of Snorkeling in Open Water

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Expert: Cameron – I have been snorkeling for over two decades through salt and fresh water. I have had close friends that I have helped concur their fear of the open water and most recently my youngest daughter. By incorporating my overall knowledge and experience on these fears I was able, over time, to get even my 4 year old to overcome her open water fears and start snorkeling.

Are you curious about snorkeling but find yourself hesitant to take the plunge into open water?

Thalassophobia is the label given to the fear of open water.

Many people experience fear when faced with the idea of snorkeling in unfamiliar environments.

How can you concur or overcome your fear of snorkeling in open water?

To conquer the fear of snorkeling in open water, individuals can employ various techniques such as starting off in shallow water (like a pool or bay), practicing breathing exercises, using personal flotation devices (PFDs), receiving guidance from experienced snorkelers, and gradually building confidence through positive visualization.

Below we explore the reasons behind this fear and provide practical tips on how to overcome it.

How to Overcome Fear of Snorkeling in Open Water?

Thalassophobia is an intense phobia or fear of large or deep water. If you have thalassophobia, you may be afraid of the ocean, sea, and large lakes.


From starting in shallow waters to visualizing success, we guide you through the steps to conquer your anxieties and reap the many benefits of snorkeling in open water. Let’s dive in!

Steps to Overcoming Open Water Snorkeling Fear

  • Deep breathing exercises play a crucial role in preparing your mind and body for the underwater adventure.
    • By focusing on slow, deep breaths, you can calm your nerves and improve your lung capacity, which can boost your overall confidence in the water.
  • Seeking guidance from seasoned snorkeling experts can provide valuable tips and insights on how to navigate through different underwater environments.
  • Positive visualization techniques, like imagining yourself floating effortlessly among colorful marine life, can help alleviate any anxiety or apprehension before diving in.

Start in Shallow Water

Begin your snorkeling journey in shallow waters to ensure safety, allow for a gradual progression into deeper areas, and familiarize yourself with the equipment and surroundings.

Starting off in shallow waters is essential as it provides a controlled environment for beginners to get comfortable with the snorkeling gear and techniques.

Shallow waters offer increased visibility, allowing you to build confidence and adjust to breathing through the snorkel.

Staying close to the shore in shallow areas ensures quick access to safety in case of any unforeseen challenges.

By acclimating to the equipment and environment in shallow waters first, you set a strong foundation for a more enjoyable and safe snorkeling experience as you gradually explore deeper regions.

Practice Breathing Techniques

Beach Waves on Open Water Sunset

Mastering breathing techniques is essential for relaxation, maintaining focus, and enhancing your overall snorkeling experience in open water.

  • By incorporating specific breathing exercises while snorkeling, such as deep diaphragmatic breathing and rhythmic breathing patterns, you can find inner calmness amidst the vast underwater world.
    • These exercises not only help in regulating oxygen flow efficiently but also promote mental clarity and reduce stress levels.
  • Relaxation methods like progressive muscle relaxation and visualization techniques can further enhance your connection with the marine environment, making your snorkeling adventure a truly rejuvenating and immersive experience.
  • Maintaining focus through mindful breathing can heighten your sensory perception of the marine life surrounding you, allowing for a more enriching and memorable exploration underwater.

Use Flotation Devices

Utilize flotation devices to enhance safety, increase comfort levels, and boost confidence while snorkeling in open water.

  • By using flotation devices, snorkelers can minimize the risk of exhaustion and stay afloat effortlessly, allowing them to focus on exploring the underwater world without worrying about fatigue.
    • These devices provide a sense of security, especially for beginners, enabling them to feel more at ease and enjoy their snorkeling experience to the fullest.
  • The buoyancy provided by flotation devices helps maintain proper body positioning in the water, reducing strain on muscles and enhancing overall comfort.
    • With the added support, snorkelers can navigate through the water with ease and grace, feeling more confident in their abilities.

Go with a Guide or Experienced Snorkeler

Snorkeler Swimming in Open Water Top Down

Opting for the guidance of a professional or an experienced snorkeler can offer valuable assistance, enhance safety, and provide support during your snorkeling expeditions in open water.

By joining guided tours led by experienced snorkelers, individuals can benefit from expert knowledge and insights that can significantly enhance their overall snorkeling experience.

These professionals are well-versed in the best practices of snorkeling, including safety measures and proper techniques, ensuring that participants feel secure and well-supported throughout their underwater adventures.

Being part of a guided tour creates a supportive environment where individuals can learn from each other, share experiences, and enjoy the beauty of the marine life together.

This collaborative atmosphere not only fosters a sense of community but also boosts confidence and comfort levels for those exploring the open waters.”

Visualize Success and Positive Outcomes

Sunset on Open Ocean

Visualizing success and positive outcomes can help cultivate a positive mindset, provide encouragement, and boost confidence in overcoming the fear of snorkeling in open water.

By picturing oneself peacefully floating amidst colorful marine life, one can mentally prepare for the adventure and build a sense of familiarity with the underwater environment.

This form of mental rehearsal primes the mind to react calmly and confidently when faced with the actual experience of snorkeling in the open sea.

Incorporating visualization techniques such as envisioning a serene ocean setting, feeling the gentle waves, and encountering friendly sea creatures can gradually ease apprehensions and instill a sense of excitement and anticipation about the upcoming snorkeling expedition.

Take a Snorkeling Course

Enroll in a snorkeling course to receive proper training, gain valuable education about marine environments, and enhance your skills for a more enjoyable and confident snorkeling experience in open water.

Learning from experienced instructors is key in a snorkeling course, where you can acquire important safety techniques and underwater navigation skills that are essential for exploring the wonders of the ocean.

By understanding marine life behaviors and conservation principles, you develop a deeper appreciation for the delicate ecosystems that you encounter while snorkeling.

The course also provides hands-on practice sessions to refine your snorkeling techniques, such as proper breathing, fin kicks, and buoyancy control, ensuring you become a proficient and responsible snorkeler.

Understand the Safety Measures in Place

Prioritize understanding the safety measures in place, practicing effective risk management, and familiarizing yourself with the necessary equipment to ensure a secure and enjoyable snorkeling experience in open water.

  • Safety precautions play a pivotal role in safeguarding snorkelers from potential risks and hazards prevalent in open water environments.
  • By conducting a thorough risk assessment before embarking on a snorkeling session, individuals can proactively identify and mitigate potential dangers.
  • The proper use and maintenance of snorkeling equipment are crucial for a seamless and fulfilling experience. From ensuring the snug fit of masks to verifying the functionality of breathing apparatus, each gear component contributes significantly to the overall safety and comfort of the snorkeler.
  • Investing time in mastering equipment usage enhances not only safety but also the overall enjoyment of exploring the mesmerizing underwater world.

What is the Fear of Snorkeling in Open Water?

Snorkeler Swimming in Open Water Top Down View

The fear of snorkeling in open water stems from various factors such as anxiety related to water, challenges associated with unfamiliar environments, and the need for effective coping strategies to manage this fear.

Many individuals experience trepidation when faced with the vastness of open water, as it can evoke feelings of vulnerability and the unknown.

The thought of not being able to touch the ground or having clear sight of the bottom can trigger anxiety in even the most seasoned snorkelers.

Navigating through new underwater landscapes can present its own set of challenges, from unpredictable currents to encountering marine life up close.

Developing coping mechanisms, such as controlled breathing techniques and positive visualization, is crucial for building confidence and reducing anxiety levels while snorkeling in open waters.

Why Are Some People Afraid of Snorkeling in Open Water?

Some individuals experience fear when snorkeling in open water due to a discomfort with water, a reluctance to step out of their comfort zone, the lack of support, or the need for gradual exposure to build confidence.

The fear of snorkeling in open water can often be linked to a general discomfort when faced with large bodies of water, which can amplify feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty.

It’s natural for people to feel apprehensive about trying new activities that challenge their familiar settings, but in this case, overcoming the fear is not only about conquering the water but also about pushing past personal boundaries and embracing the unknown.

Having a strong support system, whether it’s from experienced snorkelers or encouraging companions, can make a significant difference in easing anxieties and providing a sense of reassurance.

Gradually exposing oneself to water activities, starting from shallow and calm waters before venturing into the open sea, allows for a progressive desensitization to the fear and nurtures a growing sense of confidence in the water.

What are the Benefits of Overcoming Fear of Snorkeling in Open Water?

Snorkeling Benefits Guide

Conquering the fear of snorkeling in open water unlocks a world of adventure, fosters personal development, connects individuals with nature, and leads to a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

As individuals push past their hesitations and dive into the underwater realm, they open themselves up to a plethora of exciting opportunities for exploration and discovery.

The act of snorkeling in open waters not only tests one’s physical capabilities but also challenges mental barriers, instilling a newfound sense of courage and confidence.

Engaging with the vibrant marine life and stunning underwater landscapes provides a deep connection with nature, fostering a sense of tranquility and appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us.

This immersive experience transcends mere recreation, becoming a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

Experience the Beauty of Marine Life

Overcoming the fear of snorkeling in open water allows individuals to experience the captivating beauty of marine life, encounter fascinating underwater creatures, and engage in thrilling explorations.

It’s truly awe-inspiring to witness the colorful coral reefs teeming with vibrant fish species darting in and out of the intricate formations.

Exploring the depths of the ocean unveils a mesmerizing world where graceful sea turtles glide effortlessly, and playful dolphins gracefully dance through the shimmering waters.

The sense of wonder that arises from spotting a majestic manta ray gracefully gliding by or a curious octopus changing colors and shapes right before your eyes is simply unmatched.

These encounters not only provide a deeper appreciation for the delicate balance of marine ecosystems but also create lasting memories that fuel a passion for underwater exploration.

Enjoy a Fun and Relaxing Activity

Embracing snorkeling as a fun and relaxing activity post overcoming the fear in open water leads to moments of enjoyment, relaxation, and genuine fun amidst the beauty of the aquatic environment.

Once the initial hesitation fades away and you start exploring the underwater wonders, a sense of tranquility washes over you.

The gentle movement of the water as you float effortlessly, observing colorful fish darting around coral reefs, creates a surreal experience.

The peaceful feeling of weightlessness and the soothing sound of your breath through the snorkel mask add to the overall calming ambiance.

With each new discovery beneath the surface, the excitement builds, and the worries of the day drift away, leaving you fully immersed in the present moment.

Overcome Personal Fears and Limitations

Snorkeler in Open Water

Conquering the fear of snorkeling in open water enables individuals to surpass personal fears and limitations, fostering growth, empowerment, and a sense of achievement in their personal development journey.

By embracing the unknown depths of the ocean and confronting the uncertainties that once held them back, individuals embark on a transformative journey towards self-discovery.

The act of snorkeling not only pushes one beyond their comfort zone but also instills a profound sense of confidence and resilience.

As they glide through the vibrant underwater world, each stroke propels them closer to a heightened sense of empowerment, proving that by conquering fears, one can unlock a reservoir of strength and capacity within themselves.

Overcoming the challenges of snorkeling serves as a tangible demonstration of how facing fears head-on can lead to immense personal growth and a newfound appreciation for life’s adventures.

Improve Physical Fitness

Engaging in snorkeling and overcoming the fear of open water not only enhances physical fitness but also introduces individuals to a realm of water activities and outdoor recreation that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Taking the plunge into snorkeling can be a transformative experience, as the physical demands of swimming through crystal-clear waters strengthen muscles, improve cardiovascular health, and boost overall endurance.

By immersing oneself in the vibrant underwater world, snorkelers engage muscles not commonly used, promoting a full-body workout.

The mental benefits of connecting with nature in such an exhilarating way can reduce stress levels and enhance mental clarity.

Embracing snorkeling opens the door to a plethora of aquatic adventures, making it a fantastic gateway activity to ignite a passion for outdoor pursuits.

Create Lasting Memories

Overcoming the fear of snorkeling in open water allows individuals to create cherished memories, forge deeper bonds with others, and engage in meaningful social interactions during shared snorkeling experiences.

Experiencing the beauty and wonder of the underwater world while snorkeling not only offers a thrilling adventure but also provides an opportunity for shared joy and connection with fellow snorkelers.

When individuals conquer their apprehensions and venture into the sea together, they often find themselves in unforgettable situations that strengthen their relationships and create lasting memories.

Whether it’s pointing out a colorful array of fish, exploring hidden underwater caves, or watching the sunlight dance on the ocean floor, these shared moments become cherished memories that bind the snorkeling group together in a unique and special way.

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman on a Beach Asking About Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to overcome my fear of snorkeling in open water?

The best way to overcome your fear of snorkeling in open water is to start by practicing in a pool or calm, shallow waters.

This will help you get comfortable with the equipment and breathing techniques before heading out to the open ocean.

What can I do if I feel anxious or panicky while snorkeling in open water?

If you start feeling anxious or panicky while snorkeling in open water, take a moment to calm yourself down.

Focus on your breathing and remind yourself that you have the necessary skills and equipment to enjoy this experience.

Are there any techniques I can use to help overcome my fear of snorkeling in open water?

Yes, there are a few techniques that can help you overcome your fear of snorkeling in open water.

These include deep breathing, positive self-talk, and visualization.

Practice these techniques before your snorkeling trip to help build your confidence.

What should I do if I encounter a fear-inducing situation while snorkeling in open water?

If you encounter a fear-inducing situation while snorkeling in open water, try to remain calm and assess the situation.

If necessary, signal to your diving buddy or guide for help.

Remember to always follow safety protocols and stay within your comfort level.

How can I prepare myself mentally before snorkeling in open water?

Mental preparation is key to overcoming your fear of snorkeling in open water.

Visualize yourself having a successful and enjoyable experience, and focus on positive thoughts.

You can also talk to experienced snorkelers and get tips and advice to help ease your fears.

Is it common to experience fear when snorkeling in open water?

Yes, it is normal to feel fear when trying new things, especially in open water.

However, with proper preparation, practice, and positive mindset, you can overcome this fear and have an amazing snorkeling experience in open water.


Within this guide you learned everything you need to know to get over your fear and anxiety of open water snorkeling.

To tackle the fear of snorkeling in open waters, start in shallow areas like a pool or bay.

Practice breathing exercises to get comfortable.

Use personal flotation devices for added safety.

Seek advice and tips from experienced snorkelers.

Gradually increase your confidence with positive visualization techniques.

With each small step, you’re not just learning to snorkel; you’re unlocking a whole new world of adventure and beauty beneath the waves.

Keep going, the ocean’s wonders await!

[Sources and References]

Gepp, Karin. “Understanding Thalassophobia: The Fear of the Ocean.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 1 Jan. 2021,