How To Snorkel From A Kayak

Have you always wondered how to snorkel from a kayak? Kayak snorkeling is a great way to enjoy reefs that are too far to swim out to. It requires only a little extra equipment to enjoy kayak snorkeling, which shouldn't take up too much room in your kayak. The hard part is getting in and out of the water. Once you have those techniques down, the actual snorkeling is easy.

To snorkel from a kayak, you will need:

  • A  snorkel, mask and fins
  • A dry bag and towel
  • A kayak and paddle
  • A personal flotation device (PFD)
  • A kayak or snorkel buddy
  1. Gather your snorkel equipment together. Also pack a beach towel in a dry bag so that you can dry off later.
  2. Load your snorkel gear onto your kayak where you can easily reach it. Either place it in a hatch or secure it to your kayak using an elastic cord.
  3. Find a good spot to stop and snorkel. Look at where others are snorkeling or where the water appears particularly clear. If you're not familiar with these waters, check with the local kayak shop to see what suggestions they have for you.
  4. Don your snorkeling gear. You can put your snorkel and mask on while seated; however, it is often easier to swing your legs over the side to put your fins on.
  5. Have someone stabilize the kayak. Before jumping in the water, scoot to one side of the kayak and get your snorkel buddy to hold on to the other end so that the kayak won't capsize when you jump in the water.
  6. Jump in the water. Use your paddle, attached to the kayak with a leash, to tow your kayak around with you.
  7. To get back in the kayak, have your friend hold on to the opposite side of the kayak. Hold on to the side of the kayak for leverage and remove your fins.
  8. Heave your upper body onto the kayak, using your arms to press down on the kayak and throw yourself onto the deck of your kayak. Swing your legs over into the kayak, and get yourself back into your seat. 

Not comfortable swimming in open water? Keep your PFD on while snorkeling.


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