Minecraft: Here’s How To Explore Underwater (Effectively)

How to explore underwater in minecraft

Exploration is one of the most important aspects of Minecraft. It generates almost all the resources that you will need in order to thrive in Minecraft’s environment. Whether you’re exploring mineshafts, caves, other worlds, jungles, and everything in between you’re going to have to be prepared. Exploring any kind of terrain and environment in Minecraft comes with its own set of challenges and dangers, and this guide is dedicated to exploring Minecraft’s deep blue and sometimes very colorful depths. Let’s see how to explore underwater in Minecraft and, most importantly, how to do it effectively. 

  • Article Breakdown:
  • The most effective way to explore underwater in Minecraft is to stock up on enchantments and water-breathing potions as they will allow you to navigate through Minecraft’s oceans.
  • Once you’ve reached the depths, you should employ various strategies to ensure you have a more stable and consistent source of air, such as creating air pockets, using bubble columns, or a Conduit. 

How do you explore underwater without drowning in Minecraft?

Drowning is the biggest, but not the only, danger when it comes to underwater exploration in Minecraft. Obviously, to explore underwater without drowning, you will need something that allows you to breathe underwater and something that allows you to move as quickly as possible. There are other dangers as well, in the form of mobs called Drowned. They are common in oceans and rivers but drop valuable resources and are the only source of tridents in-game. Now, let’s see what we need to do in order to explore Minecraft’s watery depths effectively. 

drowned in the water
Drowned in the water

Make sure you can breathe

Respiration enchantment

You can enchant your helmet (and other items through commands) with Respiration enchantments that allow you to “breathe underwater.” Each level of enchantment adds +15 seconds of water breathing, if you have level 3 that’s 45 seconds of water breathing + 15 seconds of base time till you start to drown. 60 Seconds overall before you start taking drowning damage. Those 60 seconds can be further added too if you wear a turtle shell.


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Potions of Water Breathing 

you can use your brewing skills to create Potion of Water Breathing. A base water breathing potion gives you 3 minutes of water breathing effect. A single potion of water breathing is created by using 1 nether wart, 1 water bottle, and 1 pufferfish. 

  1. Place blaze powder into the upper left corner to activate the brewing stand
  2. add 1x water bottle in one of the lower boxes and 1x nether wart in the upper box of the brewing menu 
  3. When the brewing process is complete, the Awkward potion should replace the water bottle in the lower box
  4. Place pufferfish in the upper box and wait for the brewing process to complete
  5. Once it’s complete Potion of Water Breathing should be in one of the lower boxes

Lingering Potion of Water Breathing is created by adding Dragon’s Breath to the Splash Potion of Weakness. 

Brewing potion of water breathing
Brewing Potion of Water Breathing

Create a Conduit 

Creating a Conduit is difficult and complicated, but once you manage it, it’s worth it. To create a conduit in the first place, you will need 8x nautilus shells and 1x Heart of the Sea. After you have the conduit, you need to create an activation frame for it.

Crafting conduit
Crafting Conduit requires 8x nautilus shells and 1x Heart of the Sea

The frame is built out of blocks in three 5×5 open squares centered on the conduit. Only prismarine, dark prismarine, prismarine bricks, and sea lanterns can be used as blocks. The frame itself needs to be enclosed in the center of a 3×3×3 volume of water. Here’s a neat video explaining exactly how to do it.

Once you’ve built and activated the conduit you will be able to reap the benefits of your labor. Conduit offers you underwater haste, water-breathing, night vision in water, and damages mobs like Drowned, Guardians, and Elder Guardians. 

Make use of bubble columns 

Bubble columns appear when there’s magma or Soul Sand block in the water. Bubble columns can restore your air supply but be careful while you’re using them since they can pull you (or your items) in the direction of magma. If you’re exploring underwater and don’t have any magma blocks nearby, you can always create your own bubble column by placing Soul Sand anywhere in the water.

Soul Sand can be found in hoglin stables, bastion remnants, soul sand valleys, and ancient cities. The quickest way to “harvest” Soul Sand is to use a shovel. 

Bubble columns
Bubble column created by Soul Sand (left) & magma (right)

Create air pockets by abusing the game’s mechanics

You can create your own air pocket by placing doors, fence gates, and banners underwater. The blocks will displace water and allow you to breathe. You’re only able to do this in the Java edition. Doors and banners are probably your best bet as they can be placed on any surface like this:

Door air pocket
Doors can be placed anywhere which makes them a perfect choice for creating air pockets

Make sure you can move in the water

You can increase your underwater movement speed by placing Depth Strider enchantment on your boots (or other items through commands). Level 3 Depth Strider enchantment will allow you to move through water as fast as you would on land, pair it with Dolphin’s Grace status effect and you will move through water at an incredible speed. One more useful enchantment when it comes to water exploration is Aqua Affinity, applied to boots (and other items through commands), which allows you to mine significantly faster while you’re underwater. 

We’ve already mentioned Conduit, which can give you haste and allow you to move faster underwater as well. But we’re taking the difficulty of creating one into account and the above-mentioned enchantments are probably your best bet if you’re just starting your exploration efforts. 


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To sum everything up, your best bet for underwater exploration at maximum efficiency is to create a Conduit that will allow you to breathe underwater, speed you up, and attack hostile mobs in its radius. Conduit is pretty resource-demanding, so you’re probably not going to have it the first time you go exploring waters. To explore Minecraft underwater efficiently, your best bet is to start with the items easiest to acquire, such as Potions of Water Breathing and enchantments. 

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