Without a doubt, my favorite thing to do while snorkeling is to use my GoPro.
Snorkeling on its own is incredible and I’ve been super lucky to glide among whale sharks, humpback whales, dolphins, sea turtles, masses of tropical fish, rays, sharks and plenty else in breathtaking coral forests and even the open ocean. It’s been awesome.
But, when I bring my GoPro (along with a few of the best GoPro accessories for snorkeling), not only do I get to have those experiences, but I also get to capture those memories and hold onto them forever in a very real way.
Instead of only just remembering what those trips were like, I get to relive them any time I want and see myself and my family and friends with those incredible animals and in those incredible places. I can cover my walls at home, Instagram, YouTube and anywhere else with them.
Needless to say, I’m big on GoPro for snorkeling.
And, with the newest GoPro Hero11 Black (Amazon), GoPro has really upped its Hero line and for sure reestablished itself as the best action camera maker for snorkeling after weathering some stiff competition over the last few years. Not only are the 8:7 5.3K videos and 27-megapixel photos impressive, but features first introduced with the Hero9 like Hindsight and Horizon Lock are game-changers for snorkelers in particular. I’m pumped!
(Read our article on the GoPro Hero11 Black with more on the new features and how they’ll work for snorkeling, Is the GoPro HERO11 Black Good for Snorkeling & Scuba? How The New Version Stacks Up.)
But, impressive specs and cool new features can only take you so far. You need to make sure that you understand how to use your GoPro underwater, and also pick up a few of the key best GoPro accessories for snorkeling along the way to really take your snorkeling photos and video from okay to good to great. So, let’s get after it.
Before we get to the best GoPro accessories for snorkeling, we need to make sure we know how to use our GoPro underwater. Even a great camera with solid accessories won’t save us if we have our settings wrong.
You’ll need to make sure that your framerate, video resolution, color balance and other settings are at the right values, not only to make sure that your GoPro works best underwater, but also so that the photo and video that you end up with is manageable to edit later.
There’s enough to it all that I wrote a separate article on the right GoPro settings for snorkeling, How to Use a GoPro for Snorkeling: 5 Easy Steps with Photos. Check it out before your next trip to get your GoPro fine-tuned right.
Once our GoPro is set up well for snorkeling, it’s all systems go. But, underwater photography is a whole different ballgame and can sometimes be a little tricky. So, there are a few things I always snorkel with to make sure that the memories I capture with my GoPro are as easy and excellent as possible.
The number one thing that I always, always, always have attached to my GoPro at all times when I’m in and around water is a floating handgrip.
While the GoPro Hero11 Black is natively waterproof to 10 meters / 33 feet, it definitely does not float. And there are plenty of people out there who have fumbled their GoPros off of the side of a boat or while swimming around and the camera (along with everything on the memory card) sank to the bottom of the ocean, never to be seen again. Talk about a buzzkill.
Instead, just get a floating handgrip. They’re inexpensive, light, easy to pack, and will save you definite heartache when using your GoPro in the ocean.
I like the CamKix Waterproof Telescopic Floating Hand Grip (on Amazon) and have used it for years. It easily floats with my GoPro attached, the bright handle pieces make it easy to spot if I ever need to track it down in the water, it’s extendable (which is really nice for getting a closer look at something outside arms’ length, or for taking easy underwater selfies with family and friends), and the grip is hollow which lets me stow cash, rings, or any other smallish stuff in it that I wouldn’t want to leave unattended. It’s a no-brainer.
Now that we know that our GoPro is secure while we’re in the water, let’s talk about how to take our actual photos and videos to the next level. The first step to doing just that is the GoPro Protective Housing (Hero11/10/9 version direct from Amazon).
The Protective Housing does have a little bit of a camera-safety component to it. While I mentioned that the Hero11 Black is natively waterproof to 10 meters or 33 feet, this seemingly-simple case that snaps around your GoPro makes it waterproof down to an astonishing 60 meters or 196 feet. There’s little chance that you’ll get much deeper than the baseline 33 feet while snorkeling, but the added depth does mean that you could also use your GoPro for more advanced scuba diving if you wanted to.
The housing also adds a lot of durability to an already-durable action camera. While that usually isn’t overly needed in the water, it can save you from cracked lenses or broken cameras from anything like simple drops to spills in really extreme sports while on land. So, that’s a nice bonus.
But, for snorkeling, the GoPro Protective Housing (Hero11/10/9 version via Amazon) is our jumping off point to adding more advanced lenses and filters that make our underwater photos really pop, and most of these are made to slide directly onto this housing.
Of all of the best GoPro accessories for snorkeling, a set of red filters [Wikipedia overview] is going to make the biggest and most noticeable jump in the quality of your underwater photography. And, they’ll slip right onto the GoPro Protective Housing (Amazon) that we just talked about.
Red filters make such a huge difference because of how different the environment underwater can be than on land. Many times, even in conditions that seem fine to your eye, your photos and videos will look muddy and overly blue or green. That’s because of how different colors of light refract in different ocean conditions, and it isn’t helpful for photography.
But, pop on the right red filter for your GoPro and it will filter out the types of light muddying up the colors in your photos and video and make them look a lot more true-to-life. This is especially huge when capturing anything that isn’t right on the surface, which is 99% of using a GoPro for snorkeling.
I find that the best red filters for GoPro are the PolarPro DiveMaster Filters (Hero11/10/9 version on Amazon). The set comes with three different red filters which you choose from depending on the water conditions (blueish, greenish or shallow water) and they slide right onto your GoPro Protective Housing.
(You can also find the PolarPro filters for the Hero8 Protective Housing on Amazon here, and a SOONSUN version [also good] that works for the Heroes 5-7 here.)
The PolarPro Dive Filters really do make a huge difference in correcting the colors of my photos and videos underwater. We could talk about all of the physics around how and why they work, but instead let’s just look at the difference for ourselves:
(Also, I think GoPro red filters are so important to good underwater photography that I wrote a whole guide specific to them with more info at What’s the Best GoPro Red Filter for Snorkeling & Scuba?)
Another one of the best GoPro accessories for snorkeling that will instantly make a noticeable impact on the quality of your photo and video is a quality underwater photo dome.
You know those sweet water shots where half of the photo is above water while the other half is below? Those are pretty much impossible to achieve with a GoPro alone, but guess what? That’s what you use underwater domes for.
Plus, they’ll also give you a boost in photo and video quality since the new buffer between your camera and the elements will allow you to clean your GoPro lens once, and keep it clean throughout your dive.
My favorite GoPro underwater dome is the Telesin Dome (Hero11/10/9 version on Amazon). For me, it strikes the best balance of being lightweight but durable, and also being inexpensive without being cheap or chintzy. It’s going to be an awesome choice for just about anybody, and doubles as a floating handgrip.
One of the common complaints with the Telesin Dome, though, is that it can sometimes fog up while in the water. However, if you clean and defog the inside of the dome just like I recommend cleaning and defogging snorkel masks in How to Clean a Snorkel Mask & Easily Prevent Fog and Damage (and don’t let it sit directly in the sun before you get in the water), you’ll be able to avoid that almost entirely.
Lastly, while maybe not as sexy as some of the other items, picking up an extra battery and memory card for your GoPro is definitely going to be one of the best GoPro accessories for snorkeling.
The GoPro Hero11 Black (and the other Hero models before it) performs really well around battery life with the Hero11 Black squeezing out a solid 88 minutes of recording at 4K/30fps [source]. They also do a good job of keeping file sizes reasonable so that your memory card isn’t instantly full if you film at 4K or above.
But, there are always limits, and if you find yourself snorkeling for more than what a morning or afternoon snorkel tour would get you, it’s going to be a really good idea to pick up an extra battery and memory card. There’s nothing worse than draining your battery or filling up your card in the middle of a trip, having to leave your camera on the boat, and then witness something incredible in the water that you can’t capture and may never see again. Ugh.
You also need to make sure to have the right type of memory card for your GoPro. Not all microSD cards are created equal, and you need one that works at a fast enough speed to record huge 4K-and-above video files that your GoPro will be sending its way. Otherwise, you might end up with missing or corrupt video when you look at everything later.
My choice for the best microSD memory card for GoPro is the SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I (on Amazon) with at least 256gb storage for any 4K or 5K video that you may want to dabble in. It’s a high-end memory card while still being relatively inexpensive, and I’ve never once lost any video to it no matter at how high a resolution I’m crushing video (or for how long).
Next, the type of battery you will need depends on which model of GoPro you have. Here’s a quick list of the direct Amazon listings for each model type:
- GoPro Enduro battery for the Hero11/10/9 (increased battery life and low-temperature performance; standard on the Hero11 Black, but not on the Hero10 or Hero9)
- GoPro Hero10/Hero9 Black batteries (x2) plus a charger
- GoPro Heroes 6-8 Black battery plus a charger
- GoPro Heroes 5-7 Black solo battery, or a version with a charger
The Deep Dive
Snorkeling on its own is always incredible and so often creates unforgettable memories. But, with a GoPro, I also get to capture those memories and hold onto them forever, sharing them with anyone and everyone I want. It’s a beautiful addition to something already awesome.
Just buying a GoPro and jumping in the water isn’t usually going to give you high-end results, though. There are definitely a few pieces that you should pick up to keep your new investment safe, and a few others to really make your photo and video absolutely slap. And, this guide to the best GoPro accessories for snorkeling will get you well on your way!
Check out more details on the best GoPro accessories for snorkeling outlined in this guide:
- Floating Handgrip: CamKix Waterproof Telescopic (Amazon)
- GoPro Protective Housing: Hero11/10/9 version on Amazon here, or the Hero8 version here with the Hero7 version here
- Red Filters: PolarPro DiveMaster Filters for the Hero11/10/9 (Amazon), or the Hero8 versions here, and a SOONSUN version [also good] that works for the Heroes 5-7 here.
- Underwater Dome: Telesin Dome (Hero11/10/9 version) with the Hero8 version of the Telesin Dome here, and the Heroes 5-7 version here
- Memory Card: SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I
- Extra Batteries: GoPro Hero11/10/9 Black batteries (x2) plus a charger on Amazon, GoPro Heroes 6-8 Black battery plus a charger, and the GoPro Heroes 5-7 Black solo battery or a version with a charger
- And if you don’t yet have one, the excellent GoPro Hero11 Black (Amazon)
Plus, learn more about GoPro and other action cameras for snorkeling below: