A flooded mask can quickly ruin your dive. The last thing you want is water leaking into your mask and obstructing your view. That’s why learning how to properly clear your scuba mask is a critical skill every scuba diver should know. With simple practice, you can quickly master the ability to clear your mask underwater.
In this article, we’ll break down 3 simple steps to clearing your mask, and pro tips for perfecting this essential scuba diving skill.
- Clearing a flooded mask only takes 3 simple steps - tilt back, make seal, and exhale through the nose. Following this basic process pushes the water out quickly.
- Practicing mask clearing regularly in a pool, shower, or shallow open water is key to making the skill feel automatic.
- Staying calm, equalizing properly, and having a well-fitted mask prevent excessive water from entering in the first place.
3 Simple Steps To Clearing Your Scuba Mask
Clearing a flooded mask is easy when you follow these basic steps:
Tilt Your Head Back
Start by tilting your head back and looking towards the surface. This prevents water from flowing forward into your mask when you exhale. Tilting back also helps create an air pocket at the top of the mask.
Press the Mask to Your Forehead
Place hands on both sides of the mask and press the top of the mask firmly on your forehead. This secures the seal to prepare for exhalation.
Blow Out Through Your Nose
With the top of the mask sealed to your forehead, powerfully blow out air through your nose. The force of your exhalation will displace the water, pushing it down and out of the mask. Continue exhaling until all water is cleared.
That's all it takes! Just three simple steps of tilting back, sealing, and exhaling to clear even the most flooded mask. With practice, the process becomes second nature and takes only seconds to complete underwater.
Why Does Water Get In Your Mask?
Before learning techniques to clear water from your mask, it helps to understand the common ways it can flood in the first place. There are a few typical culprits for letting in unwanted water:
- Poor Mask Fit – If your mask skirt doesn’t create a snug seal around your face, water can gradually seep in around the edges. Ensuring you have the right size mask and that it’s properly tightened is key.
- Breaking the Seal – Any facial movements like smiling, talking, or chewing can cause the mask skirt to briefly break its seal and let water in. Try to avoid moving your face too much when diving.
- Facial Hair – Stubbles, mustaches, and beards prevent the mask skirt from sealing tightly to your skin, allowing water to enter. Either shave closely or use silicone mask sealant.
- Hair – If any stray hairs get caught under the edge of your mask, they can provide a gap for water to trickle in. Make sure no hair is trapped when putting your mask on.
- Pressure Changes – Descending into deeper water increases pressure and can push water into your mask if equalization isn’t done properly. Always equalize regularly when going deeper.
Pro Tips for Mask Clearing
Follow these handy tips for even better results when clearing your scuba mask:
- Relax – Stay calm and avoid panicking. Clearing a mask is easier when your breathing is steady. Rushing the process often makes it take longer.
- Close Your Eyes – Shutting your eyes prevents water from irritating them as it flows out. It also helps keep your vision clear.
- Controlled Breathing – Inhale slowly through your regulator, then exhale continuously through your nose to clear the mask in one go.
- Equalize Early – On the descent, equalize pressure in your mask more frequently to prevent excessive water entry.
- Defog First – If your mask is foggy, defog it before descending to improve clearing efforts.
With practice, mask clearing becomes second nature. Follow these tips for the best results until the process feels natural and automatic. Soon you’ll be an expert at efficiently clearing water from your mask.
How to Practice Mask Clearing
Practicing mask clearing regularly is the best way to master the skill. Try these safe options to get comfortable with the process:
In a Pool
Practicing in the shallow end of a pool is ideal for beginners. With your head above water, hold the mask and simulate tilting, sealing, and blowing out. Then try it with just the mask underwater. Finally, put the full gear on and submerge to practice clearing in a controlled environment.
In the Shower
The shower provides a confined space to work on your mask-clearing technique. With water falling on your face, tilt your head back and go through the motions of sealing, exhaling, and swishing side to side.
In Open Water
Once you are comfortable clearing a full mask, practice the skill at the start of your open-water dives. Flood the mask intentionally and clear it while submerged in shallow water before descending, taking note of any differences from the pool or shower.
The more you practice, the more second nature mask clearing becomes. Take advantage of safe settings to repeatedly work on the techniques until they feel like a reflex. Soon you’ll be a mask clearing pro!
Learning how to easily clear your scuba mask is an essential skill that every diver should master. With the simple three-step process of tilting, sealing, and exhaling, you can efficiently remove water from your mask and maintain clear vision underwater.
Regularly practicing mask clearing builds the muscle memory and confidence needed to handle this common diving situation with ease. A properly fitted mask and the right techniques will allow you to spend less time fiddling with a flooded mask and more time enjoying unobstructed underwater views.
Equipped with this important ability, you can relax and embrace those magical scuba moments without worrying about unexpected leaks. So don’t let mask issues dampen your diving – master this easy skill and unlock the full beauty of the underwater world!