Whether you’re going for your scuba certification or you’re simply trying to get a refresher on handling your mask while diving, you’ll want to know how to successfully clear your scuba mask. Doing so is one of those basic skills that even master divers can feel awkward about at times.
Due to changing conditions and the various ways that your mask might start to flood, clearing can require some intuitive thinking. Below, we’ll talk about some methods and tricks about how to clear scuba mask floods quickly, efficiently, and easily.
Why Do You Need To Do Mask Clears?
If you’re a beginning diver, you may be wondering why it is so important to be able to do mask clears. Simply put, the answer is because you will absolutely need to at some point in time! Water can get into masks for a variety of reasons. From your dive buddy making you laugh to a rogue flipper hitting the side of your mask, you’ll find that water eventually gets into your mask.
While having a little bit of water in your mask doesn’t make it impossible to continue with your dive, it does make a dive less fun and more stressful. Hence, being able to clear your mask quickly is a great technique to master.
How to Clear Scuba Masks
Clearing Partially Flooded Masks
The first skill that you will want to practice is learning how to clear a partially flooded mask. This might be caused by an ill-fitting mask, and it is the best place to start practicing.
Here are the main steps of what you need to do:
1. Take a deep breath in through your mouth regulator. You want to give yourself a lot of air to use to fix your mask.
2. Push down on the top edge of your mask. Press it into your forehead.
3. Blow softly through your nose while pushing the top, the bottom of the mask will take the least amount of force to have air or any water leave the mask.
4. During step 3, you also want to start tipping your head back slightly. Doing this helps the air fill the mask as the water leaves it.
5. Close your mask while you are still exhaling.
Finally, you might want to check out this visual of how to clear a partially flooded mask. Seeing this method in action can help you understand it more completely:
Clearing Fully Flooded Masks
While you may find yourself clearing a partially flooded mask quite often, the need to clear a fully flooded mask is rarer. Still, it’s important that you are ready to do this at a moment’s notice when necessary.
If your mask gets bumped off of your head or you need to take it off completely for some reason, it will be full of water when you put it back on. As such, it can be more difficult to get it cleared. The key to being able to do this is to practice, practice, and practice!
Some people are able to use the same method outlined above to clear a fully flooded mask. You’ll need more air, however, so you may need to do it more than once to be successful!
Others will turn to this method instead:
1. Do not put the mask fully on your head. Instead, start by holding it firmly up against your face without putting the strap over your head.
2. Do a basic clear, as outlined in the “partially flooded” section above. This clear should create some air pressure to keep the mask on your face.
3. Put the strap over your head.
4. Follow the “partially flooded” section to clear the rest of the water from your mask.
Check out this video of an experienced diver doing fully flooded clears to get a sense of what you are doing:
As you can see, the technique is basically identical whether or not your mask is partially or fully flooded. Still, it takes a lot more focus, patience, and composure to clear a fully flooded mask, so you’ll want to work your way up to this level.
Helpful Tips From Experienced Divers
The hardest thing about doing a clear is overcoming the fear that naturally occurs whenever water begins to get into your mask. No matter how long you have been diving, your body might still have somewhat of a natural reaction when this happens. This natural fear can be hard to overcome.
The only way to truly overcome it and successfully complete clears is to use your mind to focus on the process. Here are some of the best tips from experienced divers to help you learn to do clears more easily:
- Practice in the shower. You will know that you can easily whip your mask off if needed!
- Focus on exhaling through your nose, not your mouth, while you do the clear to prevent any tickling bubbles from causing you to mess up.
- If you can, practice in a pool and with an instructor to help you feel more at ease during your practice sessions.
- If you’re really struggling, try to tilt your head forwards instead of backward. For some people, this helps to keep the air right around their nose while they clear.
- Close your eyes and focus on what you are doing instead of looking around. Some people find that shutting their eyes helps them panic less.
- Pinch the top of the mask to let water in rather than lifting the bottom when practicing. Lifting the bottom of the mask often causes water to go straight up your nose, which can be really uncomfortable.
Being afraid of clearing a mask will only make the situation more difficult when it inevitably arises. Rather than wait until you have to use this technique, it is smarter to practice in advance.
The more you practice clearing your mask, the more comfortable you will be when you need to do so. Clearing your mask quickly helps you to focus on enjoying your dive, so it’s definitely a skill you will want to master as soon as possible!
Now that you know how to clear scuba mask floods, we are more than sure that you will be more confident on every dive.