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I’ve been teaching freediving since 2009, and I’ve seen some changes in the knowledge that the typical student comes into the classroom with. When I started in 2009, I would ask the students do you dive with the snorkel in your mouth or out when underwater? Almost 100% would say snorkel in. Now when I ask the students, about 40% say snorkel in, and 60% say snorkel out. I then ask the people who say snorkel out, why do you have the snorkel out, and they say I don’t know, someone just  told me to keep it out.

In my opinion, there are bits and pieces of information that have drifted out from the thousands of freediving classes taught in the past 10 years into the freediving and spearfishing public. Notice I say pieces of information, not knowledge. They might have heard some of the rules but have no understanding of “why” the rule exists. In my opinion, without such context means the “rule” will not be followed.

In this article, I will explain the exact reasoning I give my students during my courses.

Who is Ted Harty?

My name is Ted Harty. I’m the founder of Immersion Freediving, and my pride and joy, which provides a free online course covering all of the freediving safety topics I cover in my in-person courses.I’m a past USA Freediving record hold and former captain USA freediving team at the world championships. My deepest dive is 279ft, and my longest breath-hold is 7:00 minutes. You can find out more about my background and how I went from wearing a suit and tie to a professional freediver here.

I teach my students to take the biggest breath they can at the surface face down using their snorkel, then spit the snorkel out of the mouth and do thier dive. If you are interested in how I teach my students to take a 20-30% bigger breath, I have a free course here that teaches my exact step by step method.

Why I want that snorkel out.

Most people dive with the snorkel in the mouth. If you are one of those people, let me ask you a question. What is stopping the water from the ocean from rushing into your lungs when your snorkel is in your mouth while underwater? Obviously, this doesn’t happen, but why doesn’t it? The most common answer my students give is saying thier throat is shut. This definitely is not the reason for most people. If that was true, that would mean your entire mouth would be full of water all the way up to the back of the throat while your diving. I doubt you are doing that.

The actual reason the water does not go into your lungs is your tongue. Your tongue is actively plugging the hole in the snorkel, and that’s what stops the water from going in

So know your wondering why the heck are we talking about our tongue. Now we get to the main reason we don’t want your snorkel in your mouth.

What happens if snorkel is in during a blackout?

Let’s consider what would happen to a freediver who blackouts out underwater and has his snorkel in his mouth. If you are interested in learning in-depth about shallow water blackout, how to avoid it and save your buddy if they have a blackout, visit to sign up for your free course that covers everything, you need to know regarding freediving safety.

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If you are blacked out, the question is, will your tongue actively remain plugging that hole in the snorkel. No! When you are unconscious from a blackout, everything goes loose and limp. You can not count on the snorkel staying in the position. Once that tongue is no longer blocking the hole in the snorkel, the snorkel becomes a funnel and funnels the entire ocean directly into your lungs. It’s not the blackout that kills the freediver. It’s the water in the lungs that kills them every time. We, as humans, don’t do well with water funneling into our lungs.

We have seen situations where freedivers are diving in teams and being very safe, rescue someone from a blackout, but the person almost dies and ends up in the hospital for 3 weeks. Why? Because the snorkel was in their mouth, and when the freediver blacked out underwater, even though there was an attentive buddy nearby, the water went into their lungs, which makes the situation more dangerous.

Diving with the snorkel in the mouth is a drowning hazard and is why myself and most freediving instructors teach their students to remove the snorkel once they take their big breath at the surface.

There are other reasons to remove the snorkel, but the above is undoubtedly the main reason.

Be removing the snorkel, especially if it’s attached properly, hint’s it’s probably not, it will increase your streamlining. Check the article I wrote for Scuba Diving Life on the tips for the lowly snorkel, and see if you have attached it correctly.

If you are a spearfisherman, here is another good reason to remove the snorkel. When you keep your snorkel in your mouth, when you descend, bubbles come out of the snorkel, which creates sound and can be seen. I’ve heard spearfisherman advocate for removing the snorkel to be silent and stealthy, and I agree!

If you enjoyed this article and learned something from it, please do share the article with your freediving friends and consdiering telling them about my free safety cousre @

You can view all of my online courses, which includes courses on equalizing secrets, freediving training secrets, and much more @

DIve safe out there, it’s not even that hard.

Ted Harty – your trusted online freediving resource.