What is a Dry Snorkel | How Does it Work? Experience in 2024

If you’re thinking, what is a dry snorkel, and whether it suits you? In the following sections, we will delve into the workings of dry snorkels and differentiate them from other snorkel types. We will also discuss their advantages and disadvantages, along with a recommended top product for those purchasing a dry snorkel.

What is a Dry Snorkel? 

This also known as a dry-top snorkel, is specifically designed to prevent water from entering the breathing tube while submerged, making it an ideal choice for beginners. Dry snorkels incorporate a float valve mechanism near the tube’s opening to achieve this functionality.

Snorkels may appear similar to the untrained observer, but they come in different types, including dry, semi-dry, and wet snorkels. Each type offers distinct features that cater to specific individuals and activities.

What is a Dry Snorkel | How Does it Work?

This valve automatically seals when the snorkel is submerged in water, which can occur in rough waves or when a snorkeler dives beneath the surface. This feature is particularly beneficial for novice snorkelers as it helps prevent water from being swallowed.

Parts Of a Dry Snorkel

There are the following parts of a snorkel:

  1. Float Valve

The float valve is the distinguishing feature of dry snorkels. Positioned at the top of the tube, it utilizes a buoyant material attached to a hinged valve. When the snorkel is completely submerged in water, the float rises and efficiently seals the valve, preventing water from entering the tube and ensuring a dry breathing experience. 

Snorkelers can still enjoy the capability to exhale through the tube if they wish to clear their lungs while underwater.

  1. Splash Guard

Dry snorkels are thoughtfully equipped with a protective plastic splash guard at the top of the tube. This intelligently designed guard is a barrier against water intrusion at the surface. 

It effectively shields the snorkeler from potential water ingress caused by waves, splashes generated by nearby swimmers, or even one’s movements in the water. With the splash guard, users can confidently enjoy snorkeling without worrying about water entering the tube.

  1. Tube

The tube constitutes the core component of the snorkel, facilitating the crucial exchange of air during snorkeling activities. It provides a direct pathway for breathing, ensuring a constant flow of fresh air from above the water’s surface to the snorkeler’s mouth. 

The tube is carefully designed to be of optimal length, allowing for comfortable and efficient respiration while exploring the underwater world.

  1. Flex Tube

Many dry snorkels incorporate a flexible section at the bottom of the tube, typically constructed from soft silicone material. This flexible component enhances the snorkeler’s experience by providing an adjustable and comfortable fit. 

It effectively reduces the strain on the jaw muscles, minimizing fatigue during prolonged use. Moreover, this feature allows the mouthpiece to effortlessly fall away when not in use, preventing any obstruction or inconvenience when taking breaks from snorkeling adventures.

  1. Mask Clip

Nearly all snorkels feature a small clip on the tube, attaching the snorkel securely to the mask strap. This clip ensures the snorkel remains in place and readily accessible throughout underwater explorations. Some advanced models are equipped with a quick-release clip, incorporating a mechanism that allows for effortless detachment of the mask from the snorkel. 

Additionally, certain snorkels possess a swivel attachment, further enhancing mounting versatility and accommodating individual preferences.

  1. Mouthpiece

The best dry snorkels prioritize user comfort and thus are equipped with a soft and pliable silicone mouthpiece. This high-quality material ensures a comfortable and secure fit, even after hours of continuous use. 

The softness of the mouthpiece enhances the overall snorkeling experience, providing a pleasant sensation against the mouth and reducing any potential discomfort that may arise from extended periods of wearing the snorkel.

  1. Reservoir

Situated below the mouthpiece, the snorkel features a small dedicated area known as the reservoir. This specialized section serves as a collection point for water entering the snorkel. 

Trapping the water in the reservoir prevents it from reaching the snorkeler’s mouth, thereby maintaining a dry and comfortable breathing environment throughout the snorkeling session.

  1. One-Way Purge Valve

Positioned at the bottom of the snorkel, the one-way purge valve offers convenient functionality for snorkelers. If water enters the breathing tube, this valve enables easy and efficient purging. 

By simply exhaling forcefully through the snorkel, the one-way purge valve allows water to be expelled from the tube without snorkelers relying solely on clearing water through the top of the snorkel. This user-friendly feature saves effort and ensures a more enjoyable and hassle-free snorkeling experience.

How Does a Dry Snorkel Work?

A dry snorkel utilizes a float valve mechanism to prevent water from entering the tube when submerged. The design of the snorkel includes a buoyant float attached to a hinged valve at the top.

When the snorkel is underwater, the float rises and seals the valve at the top of the tube, effectively blocking water from entering. This mechanism ensures the snorkeler can breathe freely through the tube without worrying about seepage. 

If the snorkeler needs to clear their lungs while underwater, they can exhale through the dry snorkel tube. Once the top of the snorkel resurfaces above the water, the float mechanism sinks, opening the valve and allowing the user to breathe normally through the snorkel.

What is a Dry Snorkel | How Does it Work?

Also, Read Is It Bad to Plugging Your Nose and Blow?

How is a Dry Snorkel Different From Other Types of Snorkels?

Dry snorkels differ from other snorkels primarily because they can prevent water entry when submerged. In addition to the float valve, dry-top, and semi-dry snorkels offer additional features that enhance comfort and convenience, making them particularly suitable for beginners. Conversely, wet snorkels have a simpler design and are more commonly used by experienced snorkelers.

Dry-Top Snorkels

Dry-top snorkels are the preferred choice for beginners as they effectively prevent water from entering the tube when submerged. If any water manages to enter, it can be easily cleared through the purge valve. Dry snorkels are available in both traditional tube designs and full-face snorkel masks.

Semi-Dry Snorkels

Semi-dry snorkels share several features with dry snorkels, such as a splash guard and purge valve. However, they differ because they lack a float valve, allowing water to enter the tube when completely submerged. 

Due to this design, semi-dry snorkels are not recommended for beginners but are more suitable for snorkelers who intend to dive underwater to observe marine life up close. The top-quality semi-dry snorkels balance comfort and functionality, making them versatile options among all types of snorkels.

Wet Snorkels 

On the other hand, wet snorkels are the most basic type and lack mechanisms to prevent water from entering the snorkel tube. They typically consist of a soft silicone mouthpiece, a small reservoir, a J-shaped tube, and a mask clip. The minimalist design of wet snorkels makes them popular among freed divers and spearfishers.

Although some wet snorkels may include features like a purge valve and flexible tube, these additions are more commonly found in semi-dry and dry-top snorkels.


The primary advantage of using a dry snorkel is its ability to minimize water ingress into the breathing tube. This feature proves particularly beneficial for beginners who are not yet adept at snorkeling techniques, as it helps them avoid swallowing water and ensures a more comfortable experience.

Even experienced snorkelers may encounter difficulties clearing water from the tube, making using a dry snorkel an attractive option. It simplifies snorkeling and promotes relaxation, especially for those who prefer to remain near the water’s surface and seek a more leisurely snorkeling experience.

By utilizing a dry snorkel, individuals can enjoy snorkeling without the constant concern of water entering the breathing tube, enhancing their overall enjoyment and safety in the water.


Using a dry snorkel has several disadvantages, particularly for activities that involve spending a significant amount of time underwater, such as freediving, spearfishing, and scuba diving. Some of the drawbacks of using a dry snorkel include:

  • Buoyancy and drag

Dry snorkels have a float valve that seals when the snorkel is submerged, trapping air inside the tube. This trapped air creates unwanted buoyancy, making diving and maintaining proper depth more challenging. It also increases drag, which can impede movement through the water.

  • Mask pull

The increased buoyancy caused by the trapped air inside the snorkel can exert an upward force on the mask, leading to a sensation of pulling on the face. This can be bothersome and uncomfortable for some users.

  • Bulkiness

Dry snorkels are wider and bulkier than other snorkels. This bulkiness can make them more cumbersome to use, especially for prolonged periods, and may affect the overall hydrodynamics of the snorkeler.

  • Air Exchange Challenges

The wider design of dry snorkels can make air exchange more difficult than classic snorkels. This means the snorkeler may need more effort to breathe comfortably and effectively, potentially causing fatigue over time.


Dry snorkels typically feature a floating valve or a splash guard at the top of the breathing tube. When you dive underwater, the valve or guard closes, sealing off the tube and preventing water from entering. When you resurface, the valve or guard opens, allowing air back into the tube for easy breathing.

Using a dry snorkel provides a more comfortable and enjoyable snorkeling experience. It eliminates the need to clear water from the tube, allowing you to breathe freely without interruption. This can also enhance safety by reducing the risk of inhaling water.

No, there are different variations of dry snorkels available on the market. Some may have additional features like purge valves at the bottom of the tube to facilitate easy clearing of water or flexible mouthpieces for added comfort.

Final Verdict

Dry snorkels offer distinct benefits for individuals new to snorkeling, providing an easier and more convenient experience by preventing water from entering the breathing tube. However, there may be better choices than dry snorkels for those planning to dive underwater. 

The suitability of a dry snorkel depends on factors such as the snorkeler’s level of experience, intended use, and comfort level with clearing water from the tube. It is crucial to consider these aspects when determining whether a dry snorkel is the right option for you.

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