How To Swim In Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons just launched part one of its summer update, which means you can now swim and dive in the ocean around your island. But you can’t just dive right in without preparing. In this guide, we’ll explain where to get a wet suit, how to swim and dive, and what to do with sea creatures and other rare finds.

How To Get A Wet Suit

  • Requires: 3,000 bells

You can’t swim in Animal Crossing: New Horizons without a wet suit. To buy a wet suit, head over to Nook’s Cranny. The wet suit will be available to purchase in the cabinet where you usually buy tools, seeds, and wallpaper/flooring.

The wet suit costs 3,000 bells. You can also purchase a wet suit from your Nook Stop terminal for 3,000 bells. They come in new designs daily, so you can keep checking back if you don’t like what you end up with.

Purchasing a wet suit from Nook's Cranny.
Purchasing a wet suit from Nook’s Cranny.

To equip the wet suit, just select it in your inventory, press A, and select “Wear.” The wet suit will be equipped directly over your clothes, so you don’t need to manually remove shirts or bottoms in order to wear it. Your shoes and any socks or tights may still be equipped though–you can still swim with them on, but if you want to take them off or swap them for something more beach-appropriate, you’ll have to do that manually.

Once your wet suit is on, you’re ready to start swimming!

How To Swim

  • Requires: Wet suit

Once you purchase a wet suit, Timmy and Tommy will give you a quick how-to on swimming, but if you skipped it on accident or don’t remember, we’ve run through the basics below.

To swim, you need to head to one of your ocean’s beaches. There are two primary ways you can enter the ocean: wading in from the sandy beach, or diving in from either your beach rocks, that narrow strip of land that juts into the ocean, or your pier.

The first day of the summer update, and it's raining on my island...
The first day of the summer update, and it’s raining on my island…

Either way, you’ll have to run up against the water and press A to enter the water. To keep swimming, press A. Each time you press A, you’ll do a stroke, but if you just hold A down, you’ll keep paddling. You can use the left stick to move around. If you don’t press anything, your character will just tread water. While treading, you can still use the analog stick to paddle lightly around, but you will move very slowly. Your character will never get tired of treading water, so don’t worry about floating around if you get tired of pressing A.

To exit the water, you have to swim back to a sandy beach. Just swim right up to the beach until your character reaches land and can walk out of the water.

How To Dive

  • Requires: Wet suit

There’s no point in swimming in Animal Crossing: New Horizons if you don’t know how to dive.

To dive, just press Y while you’re in the water. Your character will dive under the waves, and from there, you can just use the usual swimming controls to move around–A to swim, joystick to move around. If you want to come back up to the surface, just hit Y again, but don’t worry–your character won’t run out of oxygen and will just come up for air when they need it, so you don’t have to time your dives.

How To Catch Sea Creatures

  • Requires: Wet suit

The new swimming and diving features are all about exploring the ocean around your island, which means there are new sea creatures to catch and rare treasure to find. All you need for this is your wet suit–no net or any other tools required!

A column of bubbles in the water signals a potential discovery.
A column of bubbles in the water signals a potential discovery.

When you’re swimming around, you might notice columns of bubbles floating up from beneath the waves. If you swim directly over the bubbles and press Y, your character will dive under and, if you positioned yourself right, come back up with a sea creature, like a sea star or a sea anemone. You can also find new types of vegetation, like seaweed.

Another way to catch sea creatures is to dive underwater and look for little shadows. When you dive, the camera will tilt and give you a better view of what’s below you. Those bubble columns and shadows line up, so an easier way to find creatures is to dive under and swim towards the shadows. Your character will automatically collect whatever’s down there once you reach the shadow.

Diving under reveals a shadow, which makes it easier to locate and collect sea creatures.
Diving under reveals a shadow, which makes it easier to locate and collect sea creatures.

In addition to the new sea creatures you can gather up for your Critterpedia and the museum, you will also find scallops and pearls. You can use pearls to craft certain DIY recipes, including the new Mermaid set. Scallops can be traded in for pearls to the new special visitor Pascal, a red otter who you will probably run into on one of your swims. If not, keep checking around until you find him.

What To Do With New Sea Creatures

If you check your Critterpedia, you’ll find there’s a brand new tab for “sea creatures.” Anything you find on one of your underwater excursions will end up in this section, even if–as Blathers later explains–it isn’t exactly a “creature.” Seaweed, sea grapes, and other ocean plant life will get categorized here too.

The new sea creatures tab in your Critterpedia. We're still filling ours out!
The new sea creatures tab in your Critterpedia. We’re still filling ours out!

Not only does the new swimming update mean new wildlife to log in your Critterpedia, but new things to donate to your museum as well. Blathers will gladly take any new sea creature or vegetation you find while diving as a donation to the museum.

You can also, as with any other wildlife find, place it as decoration. While most of what we’ve found so far will appear in a standard display tank, a few items like the seaweed have a unique placement style that you can use to decorate your island, so don’t forget to experiment!

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