Snorkeling in the Rain – Is it Ever a Good Idea?

Last Updated: February 24, 2023

Is it ok to snorkel in the rain? After all, you are bound to get wet from either of the two events. So, why not take a dip when the heavens open?

Well, it depends. Snorkeling, though exciting, is an exploit to venture in with caution. In the ocean, you are in the mercy of Mother Nature. A once calm and serene environment can turn tumultuous at the drop of hat.

Before you gear up to snorkel in the rain, read on to learn what to expect.

Can You Snorkel in the Rain?

snorkeling in the rain

What comes to your mind when you think of snorkeling? A beautiful, sunny day perhaps? We all crave the perfect weather so we can venture out and enjoy the outdoors but unfortunately, rain can get in the way of such plans.

You know, rainy days in the waters are usually windy and cloudy. Plus, the tides can be particularly strong. The rain can also cause poor visibility.

So, is it possible to snorkel in such weather? You might wonder.

Sure, it is possible to snorkel in the rain so long as it is light or moderate. You are good to go in such weather as there is adequate visibility and minimal risks.

However, it is dangerous to engage in water activities, especially in heavy rain unless you are highly skilled (meaning you know what you are doing). It bring about run-off from rivers and strong winds all of which can turn even the cleanest ocean water into something else.

Though it is possible to snorkel when the rains are light or moderate, you should consider your ability to breathe if the raindrops enter your breathing tube.

If you can protect the tube from the rain and can cope with the poor visibility while keeping safe, you can proceed.

How Does Rain Affect Visibility When Snorkeling?

With the rain pounding, a lot of things can go wrong, especially for those engaging in water sports, snorkeling included. Visibility in particular is likely to be a concern, especially as it gets foggy and the water gets dirty due to surface run-offs and currents.

Things that can hinder your visibility in the rain when snorkeling include:


Rain is usually accompanied by windy conditions and significantly affect the water surface. Wind causes waves which can affect visibility further.

Strong winds and waves also churn out loose particles from the shorelines and shallow edges. The dirt and debris can reduce the ability to see the underwater marine life and even pose danger to you.

Increases nutrients in freshwater oceans

The runoffs from rivers carry into freshwater lakes nutrients that stimulate the growth of sea algae. A rainfall effect can be evident the day after, since algae bloom can fast turn the water green.

The algae bloom can last for a week hampering the ability to snorkel due to poor visibility. Fortunately, this challenge does not affect lagoons or enclosed bays.

Runoff Particles

When it rains in a freshwater lake, the water is stirred by the runoff from the shores, streams, or rivers. The incoming water can make it cloudy leading to reduced visibility.

If the rain is heavy, the water can be muddy for the following few days. It is, therefore, prudent to wait for several days for the ocean to clear.

Cloudy Weather

Naturally, rains come from dark and heavy clouds which obstruct the sunshine. The lack of adequate light can make it difficult to see in the water, especially during late evening hours.

Snorkeling is only enjoyable when there is adequate light which provides clear visibility. In such weather, you are able to see well, and even take pictures or videos.

Is it Safe to Be in the Ocean During Rain?

If it starts to rain when you are snorkeling, you may not notice it. Life may be as usual underwater especially if the rain is light.

In case you notice the weather is cloudy and it is about to rain before you start your adventure, it is good to wait. If the weather seems stormy, you can opt to postpone the activity; better safe, than sorry.

So, it all boils down to the severity of the rain and your ability to take risks. Light showers may not have much effect, but when it is a heavy downpour, it is dangerous to be in the ocean.

Related: Can You Scuba Dive When It’s Raining?

With heavy downpours, you can expect fast winds, big waves, rough waters, and strong currents. It is always wise to keep away from such conditions.

Which Type of Snorkel to Use When it’s Raining

An open-top snorkel is rarely comfortable whether in the rain or not. It is advisable to use a dry-top snorkel or semi-dry in rainy conditions. The two snorkel types have a splash guard that covers the top opening to ensure water doesn’t enter inside the tube.

A dry snorkel has a float valve that detects when the snorkel is submerged in the water. The valve automatically floats up and pushes the seal to close the opening. The sealing mechanism prevents water from getting into the tube.

Therefore, the dry snorkel variant is the best bet whenever you’re unsure about your safety and comfort in the waters.

When You Shouldn’t Snorkel in the Rain

There are certain times when you should never snorkel in the rain.

Do not snorkel

  • If the rain is too heavy – The main goal of your adventure is to enjoy the marine life under the water. A successful snorkeling experience is when you can see everything clearly and take idyllic photos to boot. If the downpour is heavy, winds fast and the currents strong, you will definitely not enjoy the experience. Visibility will be poor, the water cold, and your safety may also be at risk.
  • When there is a cyclone or a storm – Storms generate crazy waves and unforgiving undercurrents. Plus, they are usually accompanied by strong winds. It is dangerous to snorkel under such circumstances.
  • If the ocean is too rough for a beginner – If you are a beginner and unsure of your ability, some tides can be too strong for you.  Wait for the rain to let up or cancel the activity.

Is it Worth Snorkeling in the Rain?

In case of light showers, it is perfectly fine to go ahead and snorkel. Who knows, the underwater may still be warm, visibility good, and the current safe!

That said, do not ever snorkel in heavy rain, cyclones, or storms. Always prioritize your safety.

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