If you have a growing interest in scuba diving or have gone diving a few times, you may be starting to realize that you don’t know as much about the equipment that you are using as you thought you did. Even after completing multiple dives, many new divers still are not sure about how their equipment actually works, why it is necessary, or the various types that are available.
Often, divers stick to what they were introduced to by instructors. By learning more about how each piece of equipment works, you can make more informed decisions for yourself and your specific needs.
Let’s start by learning about diving masks. How do scuba masks work and why should you know more about this?
What Is a Scuba Mask?
Words like scuba masks, diving masks, snorkel masks, half-face masks, and more are all used throughout the diving and snorkeling communities. Fresh faces in this community will take some time to learn about the nuanced differences between each of these items.
A scuba mask, also known as a scuba diving mask or a diving mask, is a type of mask that you wear while scuba diving. Unlike snorkeling masks, which tend to be less expensive, scuba masks are made out of high-quality materials such as tempered glass and silicone.
When diving underwater in high-pressure conditions, these materials can withstand the stress that they are put under while still giving you a great view of the world under the sea.
Why Do We Use Scuba Masks?
While scuba masks work well to keep us comfortable while we are underwater by keeping water from getting into our noses, that is not their primary reason for use.
- Sight Lines
The main reason that we use a scuba mask while diving is to be able to see! It’s possible to go scuba diving without a mask, but you wouldn’t be able to see clearly. Good sight lines are important for checking pressure gauges, reading hand signals, and following your buddy when necessary.
- Better Pressurization
Much of the knowledge that you need to learn when you start scuba diving is about pressure. Your body undergoes a lot of stress during the diving experience, and not understanding the way that pressure works can be very dangerous.
Scuba masks not only help you feel more comfortable because water isn’t in your nose, but they also help your lungs pressurize the air pocket of the mask properly. If the mask did not cover your nose, it could get painfully suctioned to your face as you descended in the water.
How Do Scuba Masks Work?
Now that you know some basic information about scuba masks and why we use them, you are probably already getting somewhat of an idea about how scuba masks work.
Scuba masks create a patch of air around your eyes and nose. This area is created through a mask that is made out of high-quality, tempered materials that can withstand the pressure underwater. This air pocket helps you feel more comfortable underwater while also encouraging proper equalization when ascending and descending.
Style, Fit, and Features
While the basics of how scuba masks work are the same no matter what type of mask we talk about, there are some differences that you should be aware of because not every scuba diving mask is the same.
There are a few different styles of scuba masks. The main two types can be categorized as full-face scuba masks or half scuba masks. Their names highlight the main difference between these two styles.
Full-face scuba masks are very different from the more common half-mask plus regulator set up, and as such, you have to learn how to use them in a controlled environment. There are a few different types of full-face masks, and they all have the regulator attached in different ways.
No matter what style of mask you decide to use, it’s important that you learn how to properly use it and practice with it in a controlled environment to ensure not only your safety but also a comfortable and satisfying experience.
Finding the right fit on a scuba mask can be hard. Many masks may seem to fit until you get into the water. It’s usually right around this time that you discover a leak that you can’t stop. Even though it is possible to clear your mask of water, having to do so every few minutes will take away from the quality of your dive.
For that reason and for your general safety, it’s essential to find a good fit. There are two main techniques that people use to try on a mask’s fit before buying.
- Hold the mask up to your face without putting the strap on. Sniff as hard as you can. If the mask sticks without the strap, it’s a good starting fit.
- Place the mask loosely on your face while your head is tilted backward. The silicone should fall flat to your face along the edges. There should be no large gaps too. If there are, it’s not the right fit.
Even with these two basic fitting procedures, however, it can be hard to figure out if a mask is perfect until you give it a go. Eventually, you’ll find what kind of masks are the perfect fit for the size and shape of your face!
Finally, there are some unique features that you can find on scuba masks that may make your diving experience more enjoyable. One such feature that many divers prefer to have is a purge valve. This is a type of one-way valve that allows water to go out of the mask but not into it. You can easily clear your mask of water with this type of valve.
Others, however, prefer to keep it simple without this kind of feature. Even though features can add a lot of benefits, they can also malfunction and cause more harm than good. For that reason, you should always think carefully if the benefits of the added features are worth the risks.
There are a lot of types of scuba masks out there, and a lot of different opinions about which masks and which types of masks are the best. We have some opinions about this as well, but we know that every mask has its benefits.
Knowing how do scuba masks work is not enough; you have to find one that fits your needs! No matter which type of mask is standing out to you, go with your instinct and give it a try. As long as you practice in a controlled environment, you’ll be able to discover whether or not the mask will work very well for you.