How Do I Clear My Scuba Mask?
To clear your scuba mask first you need to fill it up with some water. Placing your hands on either side of your scuba mask, with your index and middle finger firmly pressing the mask against your forehead, blow out from your nose, tilt your head back and lookup.
Congratulations, you should have successfully cleared your scuba mask!
Mask clearing is one of the first skills you will learn during the Open Water Course. It may be hard at first, but it is an essential skill to master, and one skill you will use a lot in your diving life.
By mastering how to clear your scuba mask, you will be much more comfortable underwater, should you get a leaky or foggy mask (which is why we spit in masks!) while scuba diving. You will also need to learn how to clear your mask, just in case it gets knocked off by accident or if you need to remove it underwater.
If you do not know how to clear your scuba mask, or you need to brush up on your skills, then do not worry, I am here to tell you how!
To help you master mask clearing, we will cover the following points:
- Why do you need to know how to clear a scuba mask?
- How to clear a partially flooded scuba mask?
- How to clear a fully flooded scuba mask?
- How to avoid the need to clear your scuba mask?
So, ‘water’ you waiting for? Let’s dive straight in!
Why Do You Need to Know How to Clear A Scuba Mask?
The mask clearing skill is not in place for fun, it is there for your safety. Sometimes your mask will leak water from laughing too much, a dodgy mask strap, or if your dive buddy knocks it right off of your head with their clumsy kicking.
I’m sure you will agree that learning the mask clearing skill is dreadful, but it is super important!
Why is it important you ask…Well, dive guides, instructors, and your best dive buddy just love to make you laugh underwater! Once you start laughing, water likes to start trickling into your scuba mask.
Or, maybe you will wear a dive mask that feels perfect on land, but once you start descending you soon realise it doesn’t fit as perfectly as you thought.
Another reason you may have to clear your scuba mask is if someone knocks it right off your face – although unlikely, trust me, it can happen.
When water enters your scuba mask, you may start feeling uncomfortable, and now is not the time to quickly ascend to the surface; bolting to the surface can result in a serious scuba diving accident.
So, mastering that mask clearing skill will not only make you a more confident diver, but it will help you conserve your air should you start to panic, because you will know exactly what to do.
How to Clear A Partially Flooded Scuba Mask?
To clear a partially flooded mask, firmly press the top of your mask against your forehead while slowly opening the bottom seal of your mask.
Blow through your nose and tilt your head back, looking up as you continue to exhale through your nose. By blowing through your nose, the air bubbles will force the water out of your mask.
Have you ever laughed or smiled so much that a tiny bit of water found its way into your scuba mask?
This is where knowing how to clear a partially flooded mask comes in handy!
So how exactly can you clear your scuba mask? Here is a step-by-step guide to practising how to clear a partially flooded mask:
- To partially fill your mask, lift the bottom seal of your mask very gently to allow a small amount of water in your mask. You want to be able to still see through your mask, so do not fill it right up to your eyes!
- Take a deep breath through your scuba regulator, so that you have enough air in your lungs to exhale through your nose.
- Press the top ridge of your scuba mask against your forehead with your index and middle fingers, while slowly opening the bottom of your mask with your thumbs.
- Blow through your nose and tilt your head back while continuing to exhale through your nose. The air from your nose will push the water out from your scuba mask.
- Congratulations, you have now mastered how to clear a partially flooded mask!
But, what happens if your mask fully fills with water? Keep reading to find out more!
How to Clear A Fully Flooded Scuba Mask?
To clear a fully flooded mask, first, you need to fill it up, full. Remember, if you are wearing contact lenses, close your eyes!
Place your hands on either side of your scuba mask, with your index and middle finger firmly pressing the mask against your forehead. Exhale through your nose as you look up to allow the bubbles to remove all the water from your mask.
If your mask still has water after you have done the skill, don’t panic! Take another breath and try again.
Filling up your scuba mask with water is as unpleasant as it sounds, but a skill you need to know in case it happens while scuba diving. Comfortably clearing a fully flooded mask will prevent you from panicking underwater.
Here is a step-by-step guide to practising how to clear a fully flooded mask:
- To fill your mask, open the seal of your mask until it is full of water. Remember to close your eyes if you are wearing contact lenses, or if you have sensitive eyes.
- The steps are the same as a particle flood, so, take a deep breath through your scuba regulator.
- Press the top ridge of your scuba mask against your forehead with your middle and index fingers, while slowly opening the bottom of your mask with your thumbs.
- Blow through your nose and tilt your head back while continuing to exhale through your nose.
- Congratulations, you have now mastered how to clear a fully flooded mask!
How to Avoid the Need to Clear Your Scuba Mask?
To avoid water entering your mask and the need to clear it, make sure you have a well-fitted mask, it is in good condition and the mask strap is secure.
If you have a moustache, you can try shaving it to prevent the mask seal from being broken. Although, for beard/moustache lovers like myself, there are ways you can prevent water from entering your mask.
Water is not our normal environment, so as soon as the water comes into our masks and tickles our noses, we automatically feel like we can’t breathe, and often we start to panic.
The good news is, that there are a few ways you can prevent a leaky mask, and here’s how:
- Upon entering the water, ensure your scuba mask is centred on your face, and the seal is still sitting right. Run your finger along the seal to double-check there is no hair inside, or if you are wearing a hood, check it is not obstructing the seal.
- When we do a back-roll or giant-stride entry, it is common for the mask strap to slightly move. Check that your mask strap is nice and secure before you get underwater.
- And finally, if you have any facial hair, it may be worth shaving it. But, as a beard and moustache lover myself, I know the pain of having to shave off all that hard work. But, if you do have a beard and moustache, you can still scuba dive, do not worry!
Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!
Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.
Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:
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Clearing your scuba mask may be scary at first, but once you master the skill, it will become second nature should you laugh too much or your mask fogs up, and you need to clear the water inside.
Clearing your mask is likely to be the one skill you will perform the most as a diver because let’s face it, scuba diving is exciting, and we can’t help but smile at all the amazing marine life!
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