One of the first diving skills you learn in your Open Water Certification training in mask clearing. A fairly simple skill yet, there are several divers with years of experience that aren’t very confident at performing this at the drop a hat. And why not? If you have a good fitting scuba mask and never had a fin in the face by a fellow diver you’ve probably never had to use this skill much at all. But, like most scuba diving skills the confidence comes from practice.
As a fairly important skill to master, mask clearing helps divers dive in comfort despite a leaky mask or if it becomes foggy. Also important incase your mask gets knocked off, by accident or if for whatever reason you need to take your mask off underwater.
Here’s a Short Mask Clearing Lesson to brush up those Scuba Skills-
Mask Clearing 101
For a partially flooded mask-
- Inhale deeply through your mouth (regulator) and get a decent lung full of air.
- Press the top ridge of your mask firmly to your forehead while slowly opening the bottom seal and blowing hard through your nose.
- Tilt your head back slightly looking up while exhaling through your nose. This should help the air you blow out to push the water out of the mask
For a fully flooded mask- say you take off your mask and put it back on underwater and need to clear it, it may seem a little more difficult at first. However, with a little technique it’s as easy as ‘mac n cheese’. While some may have no difficulty in putting the mask back on and then using the same method above to clear it, it sometimes takes more than one breath to completely clear the mask. Also, what makes it a little tougher in a full mask clearing is sometimes if you put the mask back on the water pressure pushes it to your face and making it harder to push the water out. In that case, you should avoid putting the mask strap over your head but holding the mask to your face and clearing your mask once to get as much air in the mask as you can. Once you have a little air in your mask helps release the pressure and you can secure the strap around your head and proceed to completely clear the mask.
The best way to perfect this skill is to practice it over and over again in a controlled environment or swimming pool. Standing in the shallow end of the pool, put on your mask, and crouch down in the water. Pull the mask away from your face and let it flood halfway and get practicing. Once you’ve got the partially flooded mask clearing down to pat, practice taking off your mask completely underwater, putting it back on and clearing it. Soon, you’ll never be irritated by water in your mask on any dive and will actually enjoy performing this skill for the slightest of reasons.