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Differences Between a Dry Snorkel Tube and Semi Dry Snorkels

Did you know that the breathing tube on your snorkeling mask is actually made in different styles? Two popular styles include the dry snorkel and a semi dry snorkel. Both are fantastic for keeping water out of your mask, but they are both used quite differently. Depending on how you want to snorkel, you’ll want to pick a snorkel tube suited for your preference. We’ll make this process easy for you by explaining the differences in the rest of this article!

What is a Snorkel?

You probably know what snorkeling entails, but do you know what a snorkel actually is? To understand a snorkel, this requires knowing what snorkeling equipment looks like. Necessary snorkeling equipment includes a mask to cover your eyes and plug your nose. Another piece you’ll need goes inside your mouth and curves upwards through a plastic tube. This funny looking tube is called the snorkel and is the actual piece that allows you to breathe!

Depending on how you want to approach the water will ultimately decide what kind of snorkel you will use. There are three main types of snorkel tubes, a traditional snorkel, a dry snorkel, and a semi dry snorkel. We’ll cover dry snorkel tubes and semi dry snorkel tubes because they are the most popular varieties used by most snorkelers. Traditional snorkels also tend to get a lot of water in them, making them fairly unpleasant to use.

Dry Snorkels

When you think of snorkeling, the word dry is not probably what comes to mind. However, a dry snorkel tube definitely does not stay dry, at least not entirely. The most prominent feature of a dry snorkel is that it has a floating object in the tube that creates a seal to keep the inside of the snorkel dry. This is perfect for taking short dives underwater because the object will float up and prevent any water from seeping in.

Once you return to the surface of the water, the object will fall down the dry snorkel tube, removing the seal and allowing you to breathe through it. One problem with this is that the snorkel tube must stay perfectly straight. If not, water can enter the snorkel tube because there isn’t actually anything stopping it from getting in.

Dry snorkel tubes are great for letting you actually get underwater, perfect for seeing some beautiful fish while snorkeling. On the other hand, a dry snorkel does create a tube full of air when the floating object creates a seal. This will make your dry snorkel buoyant, which can make it very difficult for anyone wanting to take deeper dives. 

Semi-Dry Snorkels

Another popular snorkel tube is the semi dry snorkel. Like the name might suggest, this is actually a combination of a traditional snorkel and a dry snorkel. This tube does not have a floating object inside to create a seal. Instead, it has a splash guard on the top that will help filter out any water. Because there isn’t a dedicated seal, this is not a snorkel tube that works very well underwater. Instead, semi dry snorkels are much better for staying at the water’s surface. 

Which Should You Use?

If you are trying to decide between a dry snorkel tube and a semi dry snorkel, you’ll need to know what both snorkels are really intended for. The design of the plastic tube will ultimately affect how it performs. Using your snorkel properly means that you’re comfortably able to breathe with your preferred snorkeling method (floating or going underwater). At the same time, there should be minimal (if any) water entering your snorkel tube. If your snorkel tube is filling up with water, then there is a good possibility that you may be using the wrong style.

Here’s what you should use each snorkel tube for:

  • Dry Snorkel – Because of the way the floating seal works on a dry snorkel tube, this mechanism is only effective if the snorkel is actually submerged. This means that the best time to use it is when you do want to stay underwater. It can be used if you just want to float, but this requires a concentrated effort to keep it aligned. However, dry snorkels are actually very ineffective if you want to dive to deeper depths. Beyond 15 or so feet, the pressure inside your dry snorkel tube can cause it to burst.
  • Semi Dry Snorkel – With that in mind, a semi dry snorkel is better at doing the opposite of that. It works best when you mainly just want to float. If you want to go underwater, the semi dry snorkel tube will inevitably fill up with water. As a side note, if you are interested in diving deeper (for scuba diving), then this is actually a positive effect because there won’t be any resistance trying to pull you up. 

Enjoy Blissful Snorkeling in Maui!

The plastic tube you use to breathe while snorkeling is called a snorkel. This comes in a few different styles, but dry snorkels and semi dry snorkels are the most user-friendly variants. Dry snorkel tubes have a floating seal inside and work best underwater in shallow depths, while a semi dry snorkel is better for staying above the surface due to its splash guard. However you wish to enjoy snorkeling, make sure to pick the right type of snorkel tube to make your life easier.

Regardless of what type of snorkel you want to use, your main goal is still to have fun! If you’ve never been on a snorkeling tour before, then now is the time to try one. Kai Kanani’s luxury snorkeling tours give you great access to snorkeling spots, while giving you a safe place to rest and enjoy some refreshments. Snorkeling is an incredible excursion in itself, but you can make it a little better with the accommodations of a guided snorkeling tour. Upgrade your next Maui vacation by booking your snorkeling tour day!

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