Difference Between Snorkeling, Skin Diving And Free Diving

Difference Between Snorkeling, Skin Diving And Free Diving : There are numerous ways to dive and take in the breathtaking marine life and underwater scenery. The prospect of spending a lot of time underwater is appealing to scuba divers. Some people might prefer not to carry an oxygen tank on their back, though. There are several diving activities that can be suitable for you if you fall into this category. They include skin diving, free diving, and snorkeling. The usage of these three words seemingly interchangeably is what makes things confused. There are distinctions between them, though. The length of time divers spend submerged essentially distinguishes between snorkeling, skin diving, freediving, and scuba diving.

What are the differences between snorkeling, free diving, and skin diving? Scuba diving can be simply defined as breathing underwater without assistance from the surface while wearing a tank of breathable air strapped to your back. It becomes more challenging to pinpoint the situation once the tank is removed. Frequently, phrases like “snorkeling,” “free diving,” and “skin diving” are used synonymously, characterizing one activity when the other is actually being done.

There are distinctions, though, and each has benefits. Whether you’re a skin diver, free diver, snorkeler, or scuba diver, you can benefit from what the others have to teach you and transfer some of your knowledge. Below are the information of how to differentiate between snorkeling, skin diving and free diving:


Compared to the three diving sports we previously discussed, snorkeling is the most popular. Face masks, snorkels, fins, and occasionally buoyancy vests are used. The diver can effortlessly float and stay on the surface thanks to the vest.

Then, as they enjoy the stunning underwater environment below, snorkelers stare down into the ocean. They favor areas near coral reefs where the sea floor is closer to the surface. Snorkeling is a basic technique that anyone can master with a little time and effort.


As old as swimming is skin diving. Even if it’s an outdated phrase that isn’t often used these days, it’s still beneficial. When masks or goggles made it possible to see more clearly underwater, divers would hold their breath as they dove to look for flashing fish or shiny treasure.

In essence, skin diving resembles snorkeling, with the exception that when you want to have a closer look at anything interesting, you dive below the surface. Who hasn’t attempted to dive down while wearing a mask while swimming to look into a crab or coral garden? But anyone who has done this knows from personal experience how the abrupt pressure constricts the nasal passages and makes the head hurt.

Hydrostatic pressure starts to compress the body’s organs and air as soon as it descends more than a few feet. The pressure increases by 14.5 psi for every 33 feet (10 meters) of depth. Any skin diver after that will have mastered the equalization technique utilized by scuba divers and free divers alike. At the surface, skin divers use snorkels, and standard diving gear such as a mask and fins is also used.

Difference Between Snorkeling, Skin Diving And Free Diving
Skin Diving


When it comes to free diving, things are different. The goal of this sports activity is to see who can stay underwater for the longest period of time. The action entails breathing in as much oxygen while exhaling as little oxygen as possible, and it calls for far more rigorous training.

 You can swim horizontally or drop vertically when free diving. The masks are a little bit smaller than snorkeling masks because you won’t be using a snorkel. Moreover, the free diver frequently wears a single, longer-than-normal fin on both feet. In order to re-oxygenate the body before continuing the dive, the free diver ascends to the ocean’s surface.

The approach and depth of these three activities can be used to analyze the main distinctions between them. Skin diving is typically done at intermediate depths, while snorkeling is typically done on the surface. Free diving is all about going deep and staying submerged for an extended period of time.

Overall difference: In very simple terms, you could say that whereas freediving aims to spend the most time underwater, skin diving combines the two. Snorkeling is surface-only. This definition may not sit well with participants in any of the three activities, but it can aid others in telling them apart.