Fullface Snorkel Mask Dangers (and How to Stay Safe)

Fullface Snorkel Mask Dangers (and How to Stay Safe)
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In the last few years, full-face snorkel masks have been showing up in the news for more bad reasons than good ones. Obviously, this can be concerning for those who have been wanting to try snorkeling with this unique type of mask.

What kind of fullface snorkel mask dangers caused these news reports, and are the concerns big enough to stop using this type of mask altogether? While it is very real that using a full-face snorkel mask can be dangerous, the same goes for any type of mask.

Let’s look into more detail about these potential risks and how you can avoid them when using a full-face mask.

What Is A Full-face Snorkel Mask?

Before we get into the details of what types of dangers this specific type of mask could cause, let us first talk about what this mask actually is.

A full-face snorkel mask is a type of snorkeling gear that covers the entire face. The design of the mask allows you to breathe in through either your nose or your mouth while snorkeling. A dry-top snorkel at the top of the mask keeps water out while letting oxygen in.

Full-face snorkel masks differ from traditional masks not only in appearance but also in functionality. Typically, full-face snorkel masks are one-piece gears, and the air circulates through the mask using a series of valves. Generally speaking, this makes it easier to breathe since you do not have to focus on only breathing through your mouth.

Why Are Some People Worried About These Masks?

Why is it that this specific type of mask is showing up in news stories around the world? Unfortunately, there is a sad reason for that. Ever since a few deaths were linked to the use of this type of mask by beginner snorkelers, there have been rising concerns about whether or not this type of mask is safe to use.

It’s great to see that the snorkeling community has come together to research why these masks were causing problems, what type of risks there really are, and how we can address the issue. Learn more about the potential dangers in the following section.

Fullface Snorkel Mask Dangers

There are a number of dangers when using this type of mask, which have been identified through the diligent research of a group of snorkeling brand companies. This section will address each of those dangers and also identify a few ways to ensure that you stay safe while using this type of mask.

  • CO2 Buildup

The Problem:

The full-face design of these snorkel masks can allow CO2 to build up in the area that you are breathing from. If this air isn’t circulated out of the mask properly, the CO2 buildup could cause dizziness, nausea, or even unconsciousness.

Now, while CO2 buildup can happen in both full-face and traditional mask designs, it is a bigger risk in full-face masks.

The Solution:

Learning how to breathe properly while snorkeling is a must. Even in a full-face snorkel mask, it’s essential that you know how to do a big exhale, which will help to push out old air and allow new air to come in. Additionally, choosing a high-quality mask that has proper ventilation setup can ensure your safety.

What you can do is you can test your mask while on land. Put it on, and start breathing. Only the compartment that your nose and mouth are in should fog up. If the whole mask becomes foggy, it is not a smart choice to use it in the water.

  • Tight Straps

The Problem:

The design of full-face snorkel masks covers the entire face. To keep such a big lens secure, the straps on full-face snorkel masks are much more intense than the slim straps on traditional masks. Should you become scared or panicked in the water, it can be very difficult to remove the mask quickly, and this can be dangerous.

The Solution:

Practice taking the mask on and off. Do not use the mask for long periods of time without practicing first. Always snorkel with at least one other person with you, and check on each other frequently. Stay calm when you try to take the mask off quickly so that you don’t get stuck in it. Again, practice with the mask is the key!

  • Seal Issues

The Problem:

All masks have the potential to have seal issues. If your mask doesn’t seal properly with a traditional mask, you can keep breathing and fix the lens. If, however, your mask doesn’t seal properly with a full-face mask, then you need to resurface and take off the mask to breathe.

The Solution:

Always enter the water gradually and check for a good seal before you truly begin snorkeling. Choose a mask that has water vents to let out excess water. Again, practice taking your mask off quickly in case of a seal leak.

  • Knock-Off Products

The Problem:

Tried-and-true snorkel masks that are made by reliable companies have been tested to prove that they will not cause any of the aforementioned dangers. Unfortunately, there are many knock-offs that are not as fully functional as their patented counterparts.

In reality, this is the biggest danger of them all. Knock-off versions of full-face snorkel masks are more likely to deal with every other danger that has been mentioned today.

The Solution:

Don’t buy a full-face snorkel mask from an unknown brand. If you do, you could be putting yourself into life-threatening danger. Poorly made masks won’t have the proper setup or circulation that you need, so using one could be a big risk. Remember that it is easy for anyone to make a full-face mask, but not all of them are functional.

Full-face Masks: They Don’t Have To Be Dangerous

It’s natural and right to be concerned about fullface snorkel mask dangers before using them. When you are snorkeling with any type of mask on, it’s important that you are aware of all risks and be prepared enough to counteract them.

In the case of full-face snorkel masks, there are two key things that you should do to stay safe. First, choose a mask from a reliable, established brand. Second, make sure that you practice using it many times before you truly begin snorkeling.

With the right mask and the right experience, snorkeling with a full-face mask can be a safe, fun adventure!

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