Leaky masks can turn diving from an extraordinarily enjoyable experience into a chore. If you constantly need to clear your mask, you will never really get the chance to look at your underwater surroundings. This is quite the nuisance, and if you are not skilled at clearing your diving mask, it can become less of a nuissance and more of a frightening experience.
While going out to buy a new diving mask is certainly an option, it is certainly not the only one available, and in many cases it will do nothing to solve the problem. Experienced diving instructors often encounter people who are new to diving that end up buying several diving masks when they first start out. This is because they believe that their masks are leaking because their is a problem with the mask itself. In fact, in many cases, possibly most cases, it is the way that the mask is being worn that is actually causing the problem. As an example, if you are getting hair caught in the skirt of the mask, this will cause the mask to begin flooding with water.
While it may not be good news to realize that you have been wearing your diving mask improperly, the good news is that this means the problem can be solved by taking a few simple steps.
Start by considering the strap adjustments. The straps should not be too tight. This is counterintuitive, of course, since the natural reaction most people have when their mask is starting to leak is to think that the straps are not on tight enough. Believe it or not, a mask that is on too tight will actually cause the problem to get worse, not to mention that it will leave a mark on your face that will not go away for a few hours.
Another thing to consider is a neoprene mask strap cover. These can be used to prevent your hair from getting tangled up in the straps when you put on and take off the mask. If you have long hair this is almost a must.
Check the mask for any rips, cracks, or tears. Obviously, if there is a tear in the mask skirt, this is a likely culprit for the leak. Be sure to take good care of your mask. You should wash it after every time that you use it, dry it out, and store it in a safe place.
Do not use a snorkel mask when you are diving. Snorkel masks are not designed for use underwater. They can not handle the pressure. Your scuba diving equipment should always come from reputable shops selling reputable brands.
Again, hair is a common issue that contributes to or causes leaking in a diving mask. If you are not wearing a hook to protect the mask from your hair, make sure that loose strands of hair are not making their way underneath the skirt of the mask when you put it on. If you have long hair, tie it back when you put on the mask, and pull it back when you are putting on the mask. If you have long bangs or fringes they will often get stuck in the mask when you put them on. Use a French plait or braid in order to prevent this from happening.
For men, facial hair an also be an issue. Sometimes you will be forced to decide between shaving your facial hair and dealing with a leaky mask. Alternatively, you can trim the facial hair, which in some cases is enough to solve the problem. If you are absolutely determined to keep your facial hair and dive without leaks at the same time, there are a few remedies. Silicon gel or salve can be applied in order to deal with the issues. Petroleum products such as Vaseline should be avoided because they cause silicon to break down.
Understand that you will never find a mask that is completely leak proof. No matter what type of mask you are using, some water will always make it in. For this reason it is important to understand how to clear a mask. Some movements, such as turning your neck, will cause small amounts of water to seep in. This is something you need to get used to. Buy good equipment and wear your mask properly and it won’t become intrusive.