How to Fit Your Scuba Mask
Have you ever had one of those fantastic dives where your rental equipment was in great shape, the abundance of sea life blew you away, BUT your scuba diving mask consistently gave you issues? The way your scuba mask fits can make or break a dive, so we spend a fair amount of time with our guests to find the right scuba diving mask and talk about how to wear it. Learning about your diving mask helps to ensure that our dive together is not impeded by a preventable problem. So, discover in this post how to properly fit your scuba diving mask. For tips on how to defog your diving mask, you can visit a prior blog post, How to Defog Your Mask For Good!
Scuba Diving Masks Need a Good Seal
When deciding on which scuba mask to purchase or rent, the first thing you want to do is hold the scuba mask up to your face, inhale through your nose, and see if it sticks. Naturally, it will fall off once you stop inhaling through your nose, but what you are looking for is a tight seal. If you feel air coming through while inhaling, or the mask feels too wide or narrow on your face, then best to look for a different one. You should also note the way the skirt feels. I wear a Scuba Pro mini spectra for smaller faces. It has softer silicone and ideally seals around my face. It is worth trying this first step with many different masks to see how they compare. Some people prefer a more firm skirt from brands such as Aqualung.
Once you have found a scuba mask with a good seal that rests comfortably on your face, it is time to pull the strap over the back of your head and adjust it to fit correctly. I find that having a neoprene mask strap is necessary for my comfort. It prevents the rubber from pulling on my hair! We have fantastic Banyan Tree Divers mask straps available for $10. So worth it! Contact us if you are interested in receiving an order in the mail.
Putting On Your Scuba Diving Mask
When you adjust the tightness of your scuba mask, lightly pull on the tabs on each side. You don’t have to yank the straps as it risks breaking them. Your scuba diving mask should “rest” on your face. The water pressure will seal it shut. Divers often make the mistake of tightening their mask too much to the point that it pushes on the bridge of their nose or causes the dreaded scuba mask tattoo.
The mask strap itself should fit around the back of your head slightly below the crown of your head. If you wear it too low, it pulls your ears down and tends to leak from the bottom. Wear it too high, and it not only pulls up on your nose, becoming very uncomfortable during the dive, but also causes leakage. With that said, the skirt of your scuba mask should rest just above your upper lip. Place it too high on your face, and it will pull up on your nose, which is a common mistake that we see.
The exception to this rule would be for men with mustaches. If you have facial hair, then it is best to wear the mask as much above your beard as much as possible. Regardless, make sure that ALL of your hair is out of the mask skirt so that it does not leak!
Take Your Time and Be Ready
Try not to wear your mask on top of your head before you descend. Not only does the heat from your head cancel out the defog you prepared ahead of time, but it also doesn’t look cool. When we are in the water, our scuba diving mask should be on our faces. Wear it around your neck until you are ready to put it on. Only panicked divers pushed their scuba diving mask to their forehead, and confident divers are always calm. Your snorkel should be attached to your diving mask on the left side and lightweight so that it doesn’t pull away from your face. Portable snorkels are available to detach, fold up, and store in your BCD until needed at the end of the dive not to annoy you during the dive.
If you start the dive and there is anything about your scuba mask that doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to let your Divemaster or Instructor know. They can often see what help you need to fix it. Taking the time to make sure that your mask fits comfortably before starting the dive will lessen the likelihood of needing any assistance in the water. Worst case, you need to surface and adjust it, and that’s ok. Just make sure that you are always in communication with your buddy and your dive leader.
While Banyan Tree Divers has an array of high-quality rental masks, it’s always a good idea to consider purchasing a scuba mask that you love. A good scuba diving mask will cost around $100. This small piece of equipment is easy to travel with and allows you the peace of mind that an ill-fitting mask will not ruin your dive. Dive supply stores will have endless options. While ScubaPro is my go-to mask provider, my husband loves the Mares X-Vision. Tusa and Aqualung are also great contenders. For more information about preparing a new mask so that it doesn’t fog, be sure to visit our other blog post about defogging your scuba mask for good.
Aloha and Happy Diving!