How to Select a SCUBA Mask by primusboy


									How to Select a SCUBA Mask
When you are snorkeling and you get water in your mask you simply raised
your head out of the water, lift the mask and let the water drain. While
diving, you cannot raise your head. You need to secure the mask at your
forehead and exhale from your nose to clear the mask. Because you need to
clear the mask with your exhaled breath the volume of air between the
mask and your face is important. The more air the harder it will be to
clear. For an experienced diver this is likely not to be a problem but a
new diver may find it disconcerting to have to exhale several times to
clear the water from the mask. New divers, particularly those concerned
about a flooded mask will want to buy a smaller volume mask. A SCUBA mask
will also need a soft area around the nose so you can pinch your nose to
equalize the air space in you ears. Goggles that do not enclose the nose
will not work for diving because you will not be able to equalize the air
space in the mask.
Most masks come with either a clear silicone skirt or a black skirt. The
silicone mask may eventually yellow with exposure especially if you leave
it in sunlight. The same chemical process happens to the black skirt but
you cannot see it. The selection of black or clear skirt can depend on
which side of the camera you are on. If you are taking pictures or video
the black skirt will reduce glare and make it easier to see the items in
the view finder. A clear skirt will be better if someone is taking your
picture because it will allow more light around your eyes.
There a many styles of masks. A dual-lens mask has two lenses and
generally dual-lens masks are lower volume than single-lens masks of
relative equal size. Panoramic masks will be the largest volume but will
also give the widest field of vision. A panoramic view mask with dual
lenses will be slightly smaller volume. The size of the glass is not the
only indicator of volume. Generally the more glass you have the more you
can see. With the panoramic you will not being looking out the side
window but you will see movement and be able to turn to the movement. A
mask with a great deal of glass surface can be relatively small volume
because the glass is close to the face and not extended by side panels.
For the experienced divers who dives in very cold water or the public
safety divers who needs to communicate underwater there are full face
masks. These come in several different styles but will usually have ports
to add communication gear. The access to the nose on these masks can be
difficult particularly with heavy wet gloves or thick dry gloves.
When deciding how to choose a scuba mask you should consider fit, skirt -
clear or black, volume of air behind the mask, field of vision, and of
course color. At Sea Lions Dive Center we strongly suggest you try on
masks at a quality dive center because fit is by far the most important
criteria for choosing a mask. A poorly fitting mask will flood and ruin
your diving experience.
Tom Robinson is a PADI OW Instructor in the western suburbs of Chicago
with over 700 dives. He has taught SCUBA at Sea Lions Dive Center and
through dive clubs since 2001. He is part time business manager at Sea
Lions Dive Center in Hanover Park Illinois and writes and ongoing blog
about Sea Lions Dive Center's activities and diving in general. He
welcomes comment on his articles and blog. He has three rules in his
classes 1. Never hold your breath, 2. Have fun, there is no other reason
to dive and 3. no hair jokes.

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