What are the Best Conditions for Snorkeling?


Last Updated on July 4, 2023 by Snorkel Ken

how-to-clear-a-snorkelNot all conditions are great for snorkeling.  Believe me, I know that no matter the weather or surf conditions on the day that you’re going to go surfing, you shouldn’t always go.  The snorkeling experience may be poor at best, and it can be downright dangerous in bad conditions which could lead to injury or worse.

Try to Find These PERFECT Conditions for Snorkeling:

  • Warm, sunny weather.
  • Small waves (small surf)

Let’s take a closer look at these two seemingly obvious criteria.

Warm and Sunny Snorkeling Weather

Sun and warm weather not only make the snorkeling experience more comfortable, but the presence of bright sun means that you’ll get more light coming into the ocean for better visibility.  If it is cloudy that means less visibility and less color.  Those are not ideal snorkeling conditions.

Bonus Tip:  The best snorkeling visibility and picture taken is done with the sun at your back.  It will act as a natural portrait and viewing studio as the sun shines down and in on exactly where you’re looking.

Small Waves are Best for Snorkeling

The smaller the surf, in most cases, the better the snorkeling.  Large waves will churn up too much of the sand and sediment that is setting on the coral and on the ocean floor.  This causes poor visibility.  Also, rough seas usually tend to make reef fish head for the holes and crevices where they usually hide out.  Lastly, rough surf means danger to you.  It can knock you around and push you into the rocks and coral…not to mention dangerous rip tides that are dangerous.

Bonus Tip:  As a good rule of thumb, if you’re in a typically good snorkel spot or trying to find a new favorite location and you see surfers…then chances are it’s too rough to snorkel.  However, if you people doing stand up paddleboard go ahead and give it a try.  Always keep your personal abilities when gauging snorkeling locations and not just the water conditions.

In summary:  Only snorkel in the kind of conditions that you envisioned yourself doing so when you were planning the adventure.  Don’t push the envelope. If you don’t see the perfect conditions reschedule for your own safety. The best conditions for snorkeling are the ones where you have the best time and stay safe.


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