The underwater world is one of endless adventure and discovery – after all, 80% of our global oceans remain unexplored. Diving and snorkelling are two popular ways to experience said adventure. Their major difference? Snorkelling involves observing the marine environment from above, while diving allows you to explore deeper and immerse yourself in the underwater world.

To help you better understand which option is right for you, here are the key differences associated with diving vs snorkelling.

Gear requirements for diving vs snorkelling

Gear Requirements

While diving requires a wide range of gear, snorkelling has minimal gear requirements.

Diving essentials include:

For more advanced divers, a range of additional equipment can be used to enhance the diving experience. This includes technical equipment such as rebreathers, exposure gear such as drysuits, and accessories such as dive lights.

Snorkelling essentials simply include a mask, snorkel, and fins. For this reason, snorkelling tends to be far cheaper than diving. It is also ideal for those unable to carry heavy loads and those seeking the freedom to explore at their own pace, unrestricted by the time limits associated with scuba diving.

Training requirements for diving vs snorkelling

Training Requirements

While diving requires formal training, there are no such requirements for snorkelling; if you can swim, you can snorkel!

For children and for those feeling apprehensive about exploring a new environment, snorkelling provides a gentle introduction to the underwater world. For those seeking adventure through a more immersive experience, the PADI Open Water Diver Course will equip them with the knowledge and skills required to dive safely. The course consists of three key elements:

  1. Knowledge Development: learn scuba diving principles and terminology, either online through PADI eLearning or offline at your local dive shop.
  2. Confined Water Dives: learn basic scuba skills in a pool (or pool-like environment) with a highly trained PADI Instructor.
  3. Open Water Dives: undertake four dives in an open water environment with instructor support.

Adventures when diving vs snorkelling


While both are popular ways to experience the underwater world, there is quite a difference in the adventures associated with diving vs snorkelling.

Diving allows you to immerse yourself underwater for long periods. Hence, it provides a unique opportunity to explore otherwise inaccessible marine environments. For those seeking a more extreme adventure, there are several specialty training available that can equip you with the skills and knowledge required to safely explore even more.

In comparison, snorkelling involves observing the marine environment from above, making it ideal for those with a more low-key adventure style.

Ready to immerse yourself in the water? Find out which destinations we recommend for your next diving and family adventures.

Written by Louise Hosking.

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