World Snorkeling Day is celebrated on June 30 of every year. Snorkeling is the practice of swimming through the water while equipped with a diving mask, a shaped breathing tube called a snorkel, and usually swimfins. It requires little effort as long as one knows how to swim, as you don’t need training or any complicated equipment — like in the case of scuba diving — so it remains a very popular activity for people of all ages, especially tourists in tropical resorts that wish to see aquatic life from up close. It is also used by scuba divers when on the surface, in underwater sports like underwater hockey and underwater rugby, and as part of water-based searches conducted by search and rescue teams.
History of World Snorkeling Day
The origins of the snorkel aren’t clear — and it’s likely older than we think. Aristotle referred to divers using ‘instruments for respiration’ resembling the elephant’s trunk in his text “Parts of Animals.” Evidence suggests that sea sponge farmers in Crete used hollowed-out reeds to submerge and retrieve natural sponges for use in trade and commerce 5,000 years ago, too, and even Leonardo da Vinci drew designs for a very similar underwater breathing device.
Jacques O’Marchal used a swimmer’s breathing tube and mask for the first time in 1922 on the beach of La Croix-Valmer, and he exhibited them at the International Nautical Show in 1931. Barney B. Garden filed the first patent application for a swimming breathing tube on December 9, 1929. Joseph L. Belcher submits a patent application for another one on July 30, 1932, and despite being the second person to do so, World Snorkeling Day is commemorated on that date. In the years that followed, many other patents for comparable devices were filed all around the world.
The first use of ‘snorkel’ was in November 1950, when the Honolulu Sporting Goods Co. introduced a ‘swim-pipe,’ urging children and adults to ‘try the human version of the submarine snorkel and be like a fish,’ likely referring to the German word ‘schnorchel’ that originally referred to an air intake that was used to supply air to the diesel engines of U-boats. In the first issue of the “Skin Diver” magazine in December 1951, every advertisement uses the word ‘snorkelers’ to refer to swimmers’ breathing tubes.
In December 1969, the British Standards Institution published a British standard BS 4532 entitled “Specification for snorkels and face masks,’ this was the first national standard on snorkels. This British standard sets different maximum and minimum snorkel dimensions for adult and child users’ specific materials and design features for tubes and mouthpieces and requires a warning label and a set of instructions to be enclosed with each snorkel.
World Snorkeling Day timeline
Sea sponge farmers in Crete use hollowed-out reeds to submerge and retrieve natural sponges for use in trade and commerce.
Jacques O'Marchal uses a breathing tube and a mask on the beach of La Croix-Valmer, and he exhibits them at the International Nautical Show.
In December, Barney B. Garden files the first breathing tube patent application.
In an advertisement for a breathing tube, the Honolulu Sporting Goods Co. urges children and adults to ‘try the human version of the submarine snorkel and be like a fish,’ likely referring to the German word ‘schnorchel.’
The British Standards Institution publishes British standard BS 4532 entitled ‘Specification for snorkels and face masks.’
World Snorkeling Day FAQs
What is the maximum length of a snorkel?
Without compromising safety, the maximum length for a snorkel is 16 inches.
How many calories does snorkeling burn?
This exercise uses approximately 250 to 350 calories per hour depending upon the level of intensity, and the usual snorkeling session might be 90 minutes of moderate exercise and burn 400 to 500 calories.
Can snorkels go underwater?
Yes, but you’d have to hold your breath. If the snorkel is submerged beneath the waterline, you won’t be able to breathe through the tube.
World Snorkeling Day Activities
Go see the aquatic life
Find out what the closest resort where you can snorkel is. They’ll give you the equipment you need and guide you, and if you have a waterproof camera or smartphone, you’ll be able to take some stunning photos!
Practice an underwater sport
The most popular ones are underwater hockey and underwater rugby. You can play these in a pool that’s big enough — just ask the owner for permission. Gather some friends and make sure you have all the equipment and have read up on the rules since they’re different from normal hockey and rugby rules.
Learn how to spearfish
If you enjoy fishing, you've considered doing this at some point. Find out if there is a spearfishing group in your local fishing organization. This is usually done in groups using a speargun, and spearfishers are quite picky about which fishes to target because they don't want to harm endangered species. Don't be discouraged if you can't get the hang of spearfishing the first time.
5 Surprising Facts About Snorkeling
You can snorkel when it rains
Many breathing tubes come with splash guards on them that angle and channel the water away from the tube.
You can fly immediately after snorkeling
This isn’t the case with scuba divers, who need to wait 24 hours after diving.
It’s a great cardio exercise
Your heart will beat faster thanks to the exertion against the water resistance and the slightly restricted breathing.
Freestyle swimming will help you learn snorkeling
The reason for this is that the leg kick used in freestyle closely resembles that used for snorkelers with fins.
It’s a perfect stress relief activity
The calming effect of the endorphins produced by the exercise, coupled with mesmerizing underwater scenery and a specific breathing pattern you need to focus on, will make you extremely relaxed and take your mind off daily life.
Why We Love World Snorkeling Day
It allows us to glimpse at the world below us
The aquatic life remains largely unexplored, and for the common man, impossible to see in person unless we do this or go to an aquarium. The strangest and most beautiful beings live down there, and it’s always a sight to behold.
It’s great for our health
We’ve mentioned what it does for your cardiovascular fitness and mental health, but it also improves breathing and joint mobility and works every muscle. All of this, without being as tough on your body as other types of exercise.
Everyone can do it
Snorkeling is an activity you can share with anyone in your family, including your kids and your grandma. Not only is it easy to learn and requires minimal effort and equipment, but even if you aren’t good at swimming, they usually give you vests at these tourist spots, so it’s easier for you to float.
World Snorkeling Day dates