Clear Your Mask Like A Pro
Clearing your dive mask is hands down the most important scuba skill for any new diver. Yet it’s also the skill that gives students the most trouble. Clearing your mask is so important it is one of the first skills you learn day one of any scuba diving course.
When teaching this skill 4 out of 5 students struggle to clear their mask on the first try. But after a little practice and a few professional pointers, this skill becomes second nature and the anxiety that comes along with it melts away.
I can’t stress this enough, clearing your mask is an essential skill and it’s critically important you feel comfortable clearing water from your mask in shallow water before you start any dive. Once water enters your mask panicked or nervous divers can accidentally get water up their nose, which is quite an unpleasant experience.
To clear your mask like a pro, first you need to know techniques for clearing your mask and common mistakes divers make.
Let’s break it down step by step.
Step 1. Look up.
This doesn’t just mean look up with your eyes it means tilt your head back and look up. This ensures air is trapped in the top of your mask when you are forcing air through your nose and water out your mask.
Step 2. Lift the bottom of your mask off your face.
Where divers struggle with this step is lifting the mask too far off their face. You only need to have an inch or less of space between the mask and your face. Any more and you will notice it is difficult to remove all the water and you might just end up with more water than when you started.
Pro Tip: If you’re having trouble, instead of lifting your mask from your face, apply pressure to the top of your mask, look up and blow air out of your nose. As long as you have a crack of space between your face and the mask the water can escape.
Step 3. Blow air from your nose.
One of the most common things I hear from new divers, is they are not used to breathing from their mouth and find it restricting to wear a dive mask. In fact, this is so common that manufacturer are now making full face snorkeling masks for nose breathers to feel more comfortable.
On the flip side, some people are not used to breathing from their nose and find this part of the skill challenging. I’ve seen students master step 1. and 2. and then breathe air from their regulator trying to clear the mask. If you’re part of this group practicing breathing air from your nose above water before attempting this skill.
Master Mask Clearing
Sounds easy enough right? Once you get the hang of it, you will be clearing your mask without thinking. If you can master these three steps above water you should have no problems clearing your mask. Just remember to look up, crack the mask seal at the bottom, and blow air from your nose!
If you wear contacts or worried about getting saltwater/pool water in your eyes you are welcome to keep eyes closed when performing this skill. And as with any scuba skill make sure to practice in a shallow confined environment before hitting the open ocean.