How do you know if your dive mask is the right fit?
Ever see a diver underwater fiddling around with her mask? That’s because she’s got water coming in her mask and she’s trying to get it out! She’d be pretty upset to know she just missed a pod of dolphins that swam beside her!! That diver was me…
Wearing a dive mask that doesn’t fit properly can cause buoyancy issues and cause you to lose focus of your surroundings.
Try diving without a mask! Images look extremely blurry right? That’s because our eyes aren’t design to focus well underwater.
Wearing a good fitting dive mask underwater gets you to delightfully see clearly, the true beauty of the underwater world!!
A good fitting mask is determined as the following:
- No seepage of water
- Fits comfortably
- Allows you to see clearly
- Provides face protection
- Allows you to pinch your nose
The purpose of any water mask, whether it be for snorkelling or diving is to have air space at the front of your eyes to allow you to see clearly. When you’re diving the dive mask also allows pressure equalization within the mask. In order to do this, your nose fits in the nose pocket of the mask so you can inhale and exhale for pressure adjustments.
By the time you finish reading this, you’ll know exactly how to find a dive mask that’s the perfect fit for you!
First.. Let’s get familiar with the dive mask features!
This is going to help you get familiar with what to look for in a dive mask.
1) The Frame.
The frame is made out of polycarbonate non-corroding plastic. It’s the structure of your mask and holds the lens in place, just like your eyeglasses. You can even get frameless single lens mask which makes it lighter in weight!
2) Tempered and Durable Glass Lens.
The lens can be either single or 2 lenses (‘doubled’ – one for each eye’).
You want tempered (toughened) glass meaning if the glass lens breaks, instead of breaking into sharp pieces, it’ll collapse into small fragments.
Selecting the single or doubled is your personal choice. Some divers like the single lens design because it feels more natural. Some like the double because they feel they get a wider range of vision. I’ve tried both… and prefer the single!
Need to wear eyeglasses?
Don’t let diving stop you! Special double lenses can be ordered! You can get dive masks with lenses with prescription. It is costly though…
Before you make this decision, just know this…
Objects underwater will appear 33% larger in salt water and 25% closer than they really are when wearing your mask!
3) Soft Silicone Rubber Skirt.
This usually comes either black or clear. It’s purpose is to create a watertight seal to your face.
The dive mask should have a double skirt. The outer skirt keeps water out and the inner is parallel to the outer except that it doesn’t go under the nose. When you look at a mask you can run your finger in the inside and you’ll see how it stops under the nose and continues along the rest of the frame.
It also has a nose pocket. This allows you to gently exhale thru your nose to adjust pressure in your middle ear when descending by pinching your nose (Frenzel or Valsalva technique).
Black Silicone Skirts or Clear?
Dive photographers love the black skirt because it removes the unwanted light caused by reflections from inside the lens. Like sunglasses it reduces glare caused by bright sun and clear water. Some divers like the clear if lighting is not a problem and help to eliminate the claustrophobia feeling.
Totally your choice!
3) Purge One Way Valve.
This is an integration to your dive mask if you want it. It’s located directly under the nose. It’s purpose is to eliminate water that seeps into your mask by exhaling thru your nose.
It’s convenient for divers who wear contact lens and don’t want to risk losing their lens and for those who feel uncomfortable about removing their mask underwater. Be aware … the only way for this to really work is to have a significant amount of water coming into your mask for you to get that purge working!
Some divers love this type of mask and it’s all they’ll use. Others just don’t want to go this route…
Bring spare silicone diaphragm for the purge valve, otherwise if the valve stops working for whatever reason, it’s useless.
4) Soft, Silicone Rubber Adjustable Straps
If you look at each side of the mask frame, there is an adjustable quick release to tighten or loosen the mask. Your snorkel can also be conveniently attached to the strap.
If you don’t like getting your hair tangled in the strap, you can remove and replace it with a colorful elastic fabric with velcro strap just like the picture.
Don’t opt in getting the cheaper mask, snorkel and fins pack. They’re fine for snorkelling! In most cases, you’ll end up with the lens and skirt of lesser quality. The faceplate may also be just glass and not tempered.
If you’re serious on diving, you want the best quality in fabrication to reduce safety issues. Get the REAL stuff!
Contributing factors of water seeping in your mask
Getting the right dive mask with the right fit is THE most important factor to preventing water seepage! NEVER choose a dive mask for the way it looks!
There are several reasons why you get water in your dive mask:
1) Incorrect Sizing
Everyone’s facial structure is different. The mask skirt is not touching your skin. It’s not double skirted.
If you find yourself pulling the straps too tight… you’ll see mask lines around your face. This changes the natural shape of your mask skirt and also can make it feel extremely uncomfortable on your face.
The mask is not the right fit.
2) Facial Hair
Facial hair or hair trapped in your mask. Water can leak in between individual hairs. If you have facial hair either shave it off or use petroleum jelly which fills the spaces between individual hairs.
Sometimes you might see a diver underwater do something funny and you burst out laughing. When you laugh or even smile, you change your facial muscles causing spaces in the skirt and of course water gushes in. Soooo please, no SMILING unless you’re comfortable with clearing your mask.
4) Mask Strap Too Loose
You’ll know this as soon as you enter the water and water starts to seep into your mask. Chances are it’s too loose.
How to get the right dive mask for a perfect fit!
Because dive masks come in different shapes, sizes and colours, don’t focus on how it looks on you. Facial structure is different for everyone. Perhaps you have wide cheekbones or a large nose, or you have a small face…Getting the right fit is important!
1) Push your hair away from your face.
2) Hold the front part of the mask in front of you. Move the mask strap to the front of the lens.
3) Place the inside of the mask against your face. The mask skirt must touch your skin. Run your finger along the skirt to ensure there are no spaces between the skirt and your face. Water can seep in thru the forehead area as well as at your smile line which are the corners of your mouth, nose area and the temples.
If there are any spaces, try another mask.
4) Lightly inhale thru your nose to create a vacuum into the mask. The mask should remain on your face without the aid of your hands and mask strap. If it doesn’t, try another mask if you have to keep inhaling.
Now that you know how to have your perfect dive mask, you might start searching online on places like Amazon or go to your local dive shop. Try on the different styles!
When you get that perfect dive mask, there’s one thing left you need to do before you enter the water and that’s to keep it from fogging! Check it out here!
I’ve also done some great dive mask reviews for you as well. Check it out here!
Well, that’s it folks, I hope you enjoyed reading this and received some value on how to get your perfect dive mask! If you have had any issues or incidents with your mask, or any comments or questions, I really would like to hear from you. Just put them in the comment box below!