Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Water Breathing.

Waterbreathing is an Alteration spell, as well as an alchemical and enchanting effect in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Additionally, Argonians are able to breathe underwater as a racial ability.


Waterbreathing is useful in situations that would normally entail a possibility of drowning, such as accessing the submerged entrance to Geirmund's Hall or the various sunken ships. It also allows the Dragonborn unrestricted access to underwater food items such as clam meat and ingredients such as Nordic Barnacles, as well as various fish. Additionally, Waterbreathing aids in quests with underwater components, such as "The Straw that Broke".


Waterbreathing is an Adept-level Alteration spell. Casting it allows the user to breathe underwater for 60 seconds. It cannot be cast while underwater or swimming. Casting it repeatedly while standing in water is an effective way to level the Alteration skill. Casting Candlelight ten seconds before casting waterbreathing is a good indicator of when you need to surface to avoid drowning.

Spell tome[]

Alteration Spell Tome


  • Weight: 1 WeightIcon.png
  • Value: 340 Gold
  • See Spell Tome for a complete table of spell tomes, their descriptions, and their values.



Histcarp carries the Waterbreathing effect.

Main article: Alchemy (Skyrim)

Potions with Waterbreathing may be brewed at an alchemy lab. When consumed, they temporarily allow the user to breathe underwater. The strength of the effect is determined by the Alchemy skill of the potion's creator. The following ingredients contain this effect:

Ingredient Primary Effect Secondary Effect Tertiary Effect Quaternary Effect
Chicken's Egg Resist Magic Damage Magicka Regen Waterbreathing Lingering Damage Stamina
Histcarp Restore Stamina Fortify Magicka Damage Stamina Regen Waterbreathing
Nordic Barnacle Damage Magicka Waterbreathing Regenerate Health Fortify Pickpocket
Hawk's Egg HF Resist Magic Damage Magicka Regen Waterbreathing Lingering Damage Stamina
Salmon Roe HF Restore Stamina Waterbreathing Fortify Magicka Regenerate Magicka



Generic enchanted helmets, amulets, and rings bearing the Waterbreathing enchantment may be found as random loot. These items can be disenchanted at an Arcane Enchanter to learn the enchantment.

Apparel enchanted with this effect allows unlimited breathing underwater as long as they remain equipped. The enchantment's effect is not quantified, so it does not vary with the size of the Soul Gem used: i.e. a Petty Soul Gem grants the same effect as a Grand gem. The Item ID for this effect is: 00092A48

Curiously, even when wearing an item enchanted with Waterbreathing, the player may still be heard gasping for air upon breaking the water's surface.


Volsung Mask

  • The Volsung Mask bears this enchantment but cannot be disenchanted to learn the effect.
  • An Ebony Helmet of Waterbreathing is always worn by the Ebony Warrior, added in Dragonborn. This item can be disenchanted to learn the effect.
  • There is a permanent circlet of Waterbreathing within the Inner SanctumDG, accessible during the Touching the SkyDG quest. Once entering the Inner Sanctum, go into the northern room from the main chamber and a Frozen FalmerDG  will be holding it.
  • Also in the Dragonborn DLC, the Deathbrand Helm holds this enchantment.
  • Reportedly, a Necklace of Waterbreathing tends to spawn through a pattern most common in random women (or rarely on male characters) per game such as Gerdur of Riverwood, Betrid Silver-Blood of Markarth, and so forth. It has also been found in the possession of Mikael of Whiterun, and in the ending chest before exiting Bleak Falls Barrow. It is likely unrelated, but in both of those situations, the player was level 3. The chance to steal one is pretty low: up to 25% with some Deft Hand enchantments.
  • The easiest (albeit costly) way to obtain a Necklace of Waterbreathing is to get it at level 1 from any general goods merchants or Khajiit traders. Avoid leveling up from the Skills menu and save at least 800 gold to purchase it. With Thieves Guild Hood, Amulet of Zenithar, Shrine of Zenithar, and Gift of Charity the price can be down to more affordable 500–600 gold. Assault the merchant (with any attack or Battle Cry) to reset their inventory and reload if needed.
  • One way to find a piece with the enchantment is to utilize a skeleton at Cradlecrush Rock that always holds a random piece of enchanted helmet. Simply save somewhere far from Cradlecrush Rock, travel to the area, and check the skeleton. Repeat until an item with Waterbreathing is found. However the odds are very low and it can take a long time to get it.
    • Alternately, one can discover the location, loot the place (especially the helmet), travel somewhere far, wait for 10–30 days (or continue the game normally), and fast travel back to Cradlecrush Rock to get the desired item.
  • A similar way to acquire a piece would be to return to the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon. Every three game days, the loot will reset. Some form of helmet is the most likely to have the waterbreathing enchantment. Typically, there are two randomly generated enchanted helmets on opposing sides of the treasure chest.